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This healthy, homemade Dump-and-Bake Beefaroni recipe is a 5-ingredient easy dinner that only requires about 5 minutes of prep! You don’t even have to brown the meat or boil the pasta before it all cooks in one dish!

Overhead image of white bowl with blue trim full of homemade beefaroni casserole

Ditch the canned stuff, because this simple version is WAY better, way healthier…and it’s almost as fast to pull together!

The store-bought Chef Boyardee Beefaroni is described as “pasta in tomato and meat sauce,” and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. It’s a kid-friendly dinner for your busiest weeknights, and it only requires a few minutes of your attention before you pop it in the oven.

Overhead image of blue casserole dish with homemade beefaroni recipe

HOW DO YOU MAKE BEEFARONI CASSEROLE?

This homemade beefaroni casserole requires just 5 simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: a jar of pasta sauce, elbow macaroni pasta, extra lean ground beef, diced onion (I use frozen for a shortcut) and cheddar cheese. You’ll also need a little bit of water when stirring everything together.

Beefaroni ingredients

I prefer to grate my own cheese for this casserole, because hand-grated cheese seems to melt better than a bag of the pre-shredded stuff. Either will work, so use whatever you’ve got on hand, but block cheddar is definitely best!

Grated cheddar cheese on cutting board

Once you’ve got all of your ingredients out on the counter, you literally dump everything into a casserole dish, stir, and cover with foil. How easy is that?!

Unbaked beefaroni casserole before it goes in the oven

You’ll stir the casserole about halfway through the baking time, just to make sure that everything cooks evenly. After about 45 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees F, you will have a delicious and hearty homemade Beefaroni to share with your family — no cans required!

The pasta absorbs a lot of the liquid as it cooks, so the sauce will be thick, rich, and cheesy. What more could a hungry child (or parent) ask for on a chilly night?!

Bowl of beefaroni garnished with fresh basil and parsley

COOK’S TIPS:

  • Do NOT boil the pasta or brown the beef before it goes into the dish. All of your ingredients are raw!
  • Grate your own cheddar — it melts better than the packaged version.
  • Make sure to spray the baking dish before adding your ingredients. This will prevent the pasta from sticking as it bakes.
  • Stir the pasta halfway through the baking time. This will ensure that all of the ingredients cook evenly.
  • I recommend using extra lean ground beef (at least 93% lean). This is because you will not be draining the meat after it cooks, so you don’t want extra grease in your casserole. If you prefer, you can substitute ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast for the ground beef.
  • Serve the Beefaroni with optional toppings such as fresh parsley or basil, or extra grated cheddar or Parmesan cheeses.
  • This recipe makes enough to serve about 3-4 people. If you’re cooking for a larger family, I suggest that you double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.

Overhead image of blue casserole dish with beefaroni and individual serving bowl

Love the ease of a dump-and-bake pasta dinner? Try these other options as well:

5-Ingredient Dump-and-Bake Beefaroni

4.41 from 5 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 328 kcal
This homemade Dump-and-Bake Beefaroni recipe only requires about 5 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup diced onion I used frozen pre-diced onion as a shortcut
  • 1 ½ cups (about 5.5 ounces) dry elbow macaroni pasta (NOT cooked)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade is fine)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ lb. extra lean ground beef at least 93% lean

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Spray a 2-quart (about 8-inch square) baking dish with cooking spray. Place onion, uncooked pasta, grated cheese, marinara sauce, and water in the dish and stir to combine. Add the uncooked ground beef to the dish, breaking it up into small pieces with your fingers. Stir to combine.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Stir, cover, and return to oven for 15-20 more minutes, or until pasta is tender and beef is cooked through.

Notes

  • Do NOT boil the pasta or brown the beef before it goes into the dish. All of your ingredients are raw!
  • Grate your own cheddar -- it melts better than the packaged version.
  • Make sure to spray the baking dish before adding your ingredients. This will prevent the pasta from sticking as it bakes.
  • Stir the pasta halfway through the baking time. This will ensure that all of the ingredients cook evenly.
  • I recommend using extra lean ground beef (at least 93% lean). This is because you will not be draining the meat after it cooks, so you don't want extra grease in your casserole. If you prefer, you can substitute ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast for the ground beef.
  • Serve the beefaroni with optional toppings such as fresh parsley or basil, or extra grated cheddar or Parmesan cheeses.
  • This recipe makes enough to serve about 3-4 people. If you're cooking for a larger family, I suggest that you double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the casseroleCalories: 328kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 23gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 1021mgPotassium: 889mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 880IUVitamin C: 13.4mgCalcium: 142mgIron: 3.7mg
Keyword: easy ground beef recipe, ground beef casserole, Pasta casserole recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. This was a common meal in all homes in Rhode Island in the 1950-60’s. But it was called American Chop Suey. We did boil the pasta first and brown the ground beef first. My mother used a can of plain tomato sauce but she and my aunt always said you give it a couple good glops of ketchup. This is how I’ve made it for my family. And still do.

    1. Oops, I forget to mention to drain the pasta as usual after the soaking. I know it’s common sense, but with some people, you can never be sure!????

    2. Yes! Early in my adult career i tried it with pasta sauce, and it was too Italian! I tasted the Stouffers version again (called Macaroni and Beef, i believe), and sure enough you can taste the ketchup! Tomato paste and vinegar will do, but those flavors make it authentic! And yes, many people called it American Chop Suey, but I’ve also heard it referred to as Housewife’s Rescue, or some version thereof. The idea was that you could make it with what you already had in the house. Oh, and there was no cheese on it!

      1. You can totally brown the ground beef in advance, but you really don’t need to if you’re using at least 96% extra lean beef (since that extra lean beef releases very little grease in the dish). Either way, it will work! Enjoy! 🙂

  2. Even though the macaroni is uncooked in this dish, I’d like to pass along the best tip for baked pasta dishes I’ve ever used (courtesy of Sara Moulton). Don’t boil the pasta! Soak any sized pasta in a large bowl of warm salted water for up to 45 minutes & the baked pasta won’t be mushy or overcooked. So there is no need to turn on a burner & heat up the kitchen. Use the soaking bowl for mixing the ingredients & there’s no boiling pot to wash. This method has never failed me.

  3. Have you frozen this Blair? It sounds like a great candidate for a freezer meal, but I always worry about freezing pasta (the ‘mush’ factor). I also like the hint Sam shared about soaking the pasta!

    1. Hi! I haven’t tried freezing it, but I bet it would work! The pasta might be a little bit more mushy than normal, but I think it would still be okay!

  4. What are your thoughts of adding a chili block to this recipe ? Do you have a hamburger chili Mac and cheese recipe ?
    My husband loves these types of recipes and I can’t wait to give this one a try.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for this recipe. I love cooking and have so many recipes in my book. I wanted something new that I used to eat, but never made from scratch. I am always concerned about cooking times when throwing raw ingredients into a casserole, but this was absolutely perfect in every way. I’ll have to browse your stuff to see what other gems I can make for my family.

  6. Yes! Early in my adult career i tried it with pasta sauce, and it was too Italian! I tasted the Stouffers version again (called Macaroni and Beef, i believe), and sure enough you can taste the ketchup! Tomato paste and vinegar will do, but those flavors make it authentic! And yes, many people called it American Chop Suey, but I’ve also heard it referred to as Housewife’s Rescue, or some version thereof. The idea was that you could make it with what you already had in the house. Oh, and there was no cheese on it!

    1. Absolutely! You can add almost any veggie that you enjoy. If you pre-cook the vegetables, you won’t have to worry about them softening and cooking through at the same time as the pasta, so that’s what I would recommend. Enjoy!

  7. I wouldn’t make this dish as a dump and recipe when you can cook it on the stove I half the time and have more control. Brown the meat and drain the fat. Add whatever you have between canned or jarred pasta or tomoto sauce or diced tomatoes or paste and water. Heat til sauce is boiling. Meanwhile prepare a box of macaroni and cheese as per the box, and mix together.

    1. Yes, you’re absolutely right! However, many of us are so busy, it’s worth it to give up some of that control for the ability to dump and bake literally anything so that we’re not always eating out and can maximize our time while we’re at home. It may not be a good fit for you, but for many of us, it’s a great fit!

  8. I wouldn’t make this dish as a dump and bake recipe when you can cook it on the stove in half the time and have more control. Brown meat and drain the fat. Add whatever you have between jarred pasta or canned tomato sauce or diced tomatoes or paste & water. Heat til sauce is boiling. Meanwhile prepare a box of macaroni and cheese as per the box, and mix together. Season the meat with a bit of taco seasoning for a Mexican flavor or add oregano, garlic powder and basil for Italian to taste.

  9. Have you tried making this with gluten free noodles? It looks delicious, but I have no idea how to adjust the water and/or bake time so the noodles aren’t over or under cooked (and GF noodles already have a tendancy to be mushy).

    1. Hi! I have never cooked with gluten-free noodles, so I’m not familiar with the way that they work in recipes like this. That said, I’ve heard from other readers that they’ve used GF noodles with good luck. I would give it a try!

  10. 5 stars
    Another hit with my family. After a long day and a headache I didn’t feel like cooking but I knew you would motivate me! I browsed your site for a beef recipe and this one worked out perfect! Thank you Blair. I did brown the meat 1st though because it was not lean and I soaked the noodles. Delicious!

    1. Great! Thanks, Adela. I appreciate you taking the time to come back here and leave me a note — especially when you’re tired! 🙂

    1. Hi, MaryAnn! Yes, I think it could — it’s just harder to control the cooking process in the Crock Pot. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the pasta and turn off the slow cooker as soon as the pasta is tender. If the pasta cooks for too long, it will become gummy and mushy. 🙂

  11. Mom of a toddler and a husband with a broken back and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your dump and bake recipes. They save me weekly.

    Thank you!

  12. 3 stars
    Honestly I have recently became a dump and bake fan. My all time favorite from Seasoned Mom is the Dump and Bake Chicken Broccoli Rice casserole. You can only feed that so many times a month to family before it gets boring. So tonight I tried this recipe. Not a fan of it. I will give this recipe another try down the road but what I will do different is use actual Meatballs along with Mozzarella Cheese.

    In the meantime I think the next up Dump Bake recipe will be the Pizza One. The kids love Pizza so we shall see!