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An old fashioned favorite, this Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust is an easy dinner recipe that the entire family will love! Hamburger is mixed with tomato soup, corn, and zesty chili seasoning for a simple and affordable filling that’s finished with a golden brown Jiffy cornbread topping. Serve the casserole with a simple green salad for a quick weeknight meal!

Overhead shot of a dish of the best ground beef casserole recipe with a cornbread topping on a wooden table

How to Make Ground Beef Casserole | 1-Minute Video

This is the simple ground beef casserole recipe that I grew up with, and I’m still making it for my own family! My mom gave me the recipe in a little handwritten notebook when I moved into my first apartment as a 21-year-old, and the comfort food classic has stood the test of time!

Browning ground beef in a cast iron skillet

What is ground beef casserole?

A ground beef casserole is any baked dish that includes ground beef and a variety of other ingredients. You will often find ground beef casseroles made with rice, noodles or potatoes, all tossed in a tomato-based sauce or a creamy, cheesy sauce. The options are truly endless, but this particular recipe is one of the best ground beef casseroles yet! It tastes like a bowl of chili topped with sweet cornbread, it’s easy to mix together quickly, and it’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients.

Adding canned corn to a skillet

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a ground beef cornbread casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: the hearty base of the casserole.
  • Onion and garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Corn: I use a can of corn, but you can substitute with frozen corn.
  • Condensed tomato soup: this thick, sweet condensed soup forms the base of the sauce that brings the casserole filling together.
  • Water: to thin the sauce.
  • Chili powder: for zesty flavor.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Jiffy corn muffin mix: for the cornbread topping.
  • Egg and milk: for the cornbread batter.
Stirring together cornbread batter in a white bowl

Which type of ground beef is best for casseroles?

You can use any type of ground beef that you prefer in a casserole. I typically use 85% lean beef (or “ground round”). If you like a leaner meat for a healthier dish, that’s fine. If you like a less-expensive ground beef with a higher fat content, that will work, too — you’ll strain off any extra grease from the pan.

Why precook ground beef for casserole?

Cooking the beef in a skillet before adding it to the casserole dish serves two main purposes. First, it ensures that the meat is cooked through by the time the topping is done. Second, precooking the meat allows you to drain off the fat from the pan so that your casserole filling isn’t too greasy.

Spreading cornbread batter on top of ground beef casserole

How to Make Ground Beef Casserole

This easy dinner can be prepared in advance or baked right away, and you only need a handful of pantry staples!

  1. Cook the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then drain off the fat.
  3. Stir in the corn, tomato soup, water, chili powder, and salt.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, which gives it time to thicken.
  5. Transfer the beef filling to a 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.
  6. Stir together the corn muffin mix, egg, and water to make the cornbread crust.
  7. Spread the batter on top of the beef filling.
  8. Bake the casserole in a 425°F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through.
Hands holding a round baking dish full of ground beef casserole

What to Serve with Ground Beef Cornbread Casserole

We always offer a variety of toppings for this dish, which the kids can use to garnish their own plates. Try these:

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Diced red onion or sliced green onion
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Guacamole

Sides That Go Well with Hamburger Casserole

Square side shot of a dish of ground beef casserole with cornbread topping

Make Ahead

To prepare the casserole in advance, make the filling as instructed and place it in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the filling to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes. Then stir together the topping and bake as instructed.

Storage Tips for Hamburger Casserole

A casserole with ground beef will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

The casserole can be frozen after baking. Wrap any leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Overhead image of a plate of ground beef cornbread casserole

How to Reheat

Thaw frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Place the casserole in a 325°F oven and heat just until warm — about 20 minutes. If the topping starts to get too brown before the filling is heated through, cover loosely with foil. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave.

Recipe Variations

  • Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef called for in this recipe.
  • Rather than corn, use a can of drained, rinsed beans.
  • Add grated cheese to the filling and to the cornbread crust for a cheesy casserole.
  • Include extra vegetables in the filling, such as diced zucchini or diced sweet bell peppers.
  • Mexican: add taco seasoning to the beef filling instead of chili powder.
  • To make the cornbread crust from scratch, see my mom’s recipe instructions in the box below.
  • Instead of a can of condensed tomato soup, substitute with an equal amount of tomato sauce, combined with about 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (a thickening agent), 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Ground beef and cornbread casserole in a baking dish on a table

Tips for the Best Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  • Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to add cayenne to make it spicy, or a dash of cumin for a smoky flavor.
  • Garnish the casserole with your favorite fresh toppings. Good options include fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped green onions or minced red onion, grated cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, or sliced black olives.
  • Insert a toothpick in the center of your casserole to make sure that the cornbread crust is completely cooked through before removing the dish from the oven. You shouldn’t see any wet batter on the toothpick.
  • If the top of your casserole starts to get too dark before the cornbread is cooked through, tent the top of the dish loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
  • Cooking for a larger family? Double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. You’ll need to increase the total baking time by a few minutes.
Overhead shot of a ground beef cornbread casserole on a dinner table with a side salad

More Easy Ground Beef Casserole Recipes with Few Ingredients

Overhead shot of a dish of the best ground beef casserole recipe with a cornbread topping on a wooden table

Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 58 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 602 kcal
An old fashioned favorite, this Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust is an easy dinner recipe that the entire family will love!

Ingredients
  

For the Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 1 teaspoon total)
  • 1 (11 ounce) can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup, NOT diluted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cornbread Topping (see alternative made-from-scratch topping below):

  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • cup milk
  • Optional garnish: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, parsley or cilantro, chopped red onion, sliced green onion

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside.

Prepare Ground Beef Filling:

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent (about 7-10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Drain off the fat.
  • Stir in the corn, tomato soup, water, chili powder and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the beef mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Prepare Cornbread Topping:

  • In a medium bowl, stir together the cornbread mix, egg, and milk. Spread batter over the beef mixture.

Bake the Casserole:

  • Bake at 425°F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and topping is cooked through. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

  • To prepare a made-from-scratch cornbread topping, stir together the following ingredients:
    • ¾ cup cornmeal
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ cup milk
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil (or other mild oil of choice)
    • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, if you like a slightly sweet cornbread crust)
  • Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to add cayenne to make it spicy, or a dash of cumin for a smoky flavor.
  • Garnish the casserole with your favorite fresh toppings. Good options include fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped green onions or minced red onion, grated cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, or sliced black olives.
  • Insert a toothpick in the center of your casserole to make sure that the cornbread crust is completely cooked through before removing the dish from the oven. You shouldn’t see any wet batter on the toothpick.
  • If the top of your casserole starts to get too dark before the cornbread is cooked through, tent the top of the dish loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
  • Cooking for a larger family? Double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. You’ll need to increase the total baking time by a few minutes.
  •  

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the casseroleCalories: 602kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 32gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 1624mgPotassium: 1073mgFiber: 6gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 1041IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 104mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: easy ground beef casseroles, easy ground beef recipe, ground beef casserole, ground beef cornbread casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in October, 2019. It was updated in December, 2021.

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!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Hi, Diana! Yep — that’s correct. The bulk of the topping comes from the cornmeal. It’s still a relatively thin batter (as you can see in the photo of the batter in the bowl), but it won’t be a sloppy mess. The thin batter kind of sinks down a bit as it bakes and mixes with some of the filling. Works perfectly!

    If you prefer a more traditional, sweeter, puffier cornbread topping, you can also substitute with a small box of Jiffy corn muffin mix (prepared according to package instructions and then added to the top of the casserole in the same way). Hope that helps, and enjoy!

    1. Hi, Leslie! I think so; however, the topping will definitely be more soggy since the slow cooker holds in so much liquid and condensation. You can try putting a couple of layers of paper towels under the lid to catch some of that moisture before it drops back down onto the crust, but just know that the texture won’t quite be the same. If you give it a shot, let us know how long you put it in the Crock Pot! 🙂

  2. I make something similar to this. It,’d called “Hamburger Upside Down.” Cooked in a cast iron skillet. 1 lb lean hamburger. 1/2 Cup of catsup,( I uße BBQ sauce for a lil more kick.,) 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 cup of chopped onions. 1 14.5 oz can of kernel corn., 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix, 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk for the Jiffy cornbread mix.m
    Place meat, chili powder, catsup and onions into cast iron skillet? Brown meat. Once browned drain off excess grease. Move meat/onion mixture towards the sides of the bottom of skillet. Forming a ring. Pour undrained can of kernel corn into center of skillet. Mix up the Jiffy cornbread mix following the directions on the box. Pour the cornbread mixture all over the meat and corn. Bake at the temperature cited on the box of Jiffy for the time specified. Once time has expired remove skillet from oven and allow to cool run the tip of a butter knife between the cornbread and the side of the skillet. Place a large plate on top of the skillet. With pot holders hold the plate on top of the skillet as you flip both upside down. Allow the casserole to ease out of the skillet then remove skillet. Slice as you would a pie/cake. Once a slice is on your plate/bowl be sure to mix up the meat. Corn & cornbread so you get a bite of each with each bite. Enjoy? Let me know how you like it!? Thank you

    1. That sounds delicious, Vincent! I definitely want to try it! Thank you for taking the time to share the recipe. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is almost exactly like one I grew up with, making it from my first stepmom. I don’t add onion or garlic (but I might next time), and I add the corn, but also green beans & peas. I don’t add water. I use the leanest ground beef I can get, for healthier reasons. I also make the regular cornbread recipe & pour on top. We called it Indian Casserole. So funny to see basically the same recipe which I love! Thank you for posting this!