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Johnny Marzetti is a classic ground beef casserole with egg noodles, tomato soup, veggies, and cheese — all baked into one delicious comfort food dish! The easy dinner recipe is a perfect freezer meal, prep-ahead supper, or potluck offering to share with friends and family.

Close overhead shot of a bowl of johnny marzetti.

Looking for even more ground beef casserole recipes? Try this tamale pie, a pan of Mexican lasagna, this family-friendly bacon cheeseburger casserole with rice, the longtime favorite Johnny Marzetti casserole, and this old-school shipwreck casserole, too!

Johnny Marzetti is a blast from my past, and it’s the type of comforting meal that I grew up enjoying during the cool weather months. Just the smell of the ground beef browning in a skillet takes me back to my mamma’s kitchen!

Overhead shot of a serving spoon in a pan of johnny marzetti casserole.

Why do they call it Johnny Marzetti?

The classic combination of ground beef, noodles, and tomato sauce has been a staple in American cuisine for generations. The dish goes by many different names, including beefaroni, goulash, slumgullion, American Chop Suey, and Johnny Marzetti, Marzetti, Johnny Mazetti, Mazetti, and Johnny Machete.

The name Johnny Marzetti casserole originated in Columbus, Ohio, where Italian immigrant Teresa Marzetti owned a small Italian restaurant in the first half of the 20th century. She was supposedly the first to serve a version of this recipe, and it was soon named for her brother-in-law.

Horizontal side shot of johnny marzetti casserole in a blue and white bowl.

The Difference Between Marzetti and Goulash

While some use “goulash” and “Marzetti” interchangeably, this recipe for Johnny Marzetti casserole differs in a few ways from American goulash. First, Johnny Marzetti is baked in a casserole dish, while our goulash recipe comes together on the stovetop. Johnny Marzetti includes egg noodles (rather than macaroni), a layer of melty cheese on top, as well as sausage and green olives, which you may not find in a traditional goulash.

Kids love this simple, hearty casserole, making it the perfect option for family dinners and for larger group gatherings like a church potluck.

Browning ground beef with onion and bell peppers in a skillet.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pan of Johnny Marzetti. As always, specific measurements are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef and pork sausage: the meat that adds great flavor and satisfying protein to the dish. Use Italian sausage instead of pork sausage if you prefer.
  • Green bell pepper and yellow onion: for fresh, savory flavor.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other ingredients.
  • Canned whole tomatoes and condensed tomato soup: form the tomato sauce that binds the casserole together. You can sub with diced tomatoes instead of the whole tomatoes if you like.
  • Light brown sugar, dry ground mustard, and garlic powder: for extra flavor in the sauce.
  • Egg noodles: I use wide egg noodles, but just about any variety will work.
  • Canned sliced mushrooms and green olives: these ingredients are optional, so only use them if your family loves mushrooms and olives!
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: because every good casserole needs plenty of melted cheese on top! You can sub with other varieties of cheese, such as Colby, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, mozzarella cheese, or an Italian cheese blend.
Process shot showing how to make Johnny Marzetti in a Dutch oven.

How to Make Johnny Marzetti Casserole with Egg Noodles

This cozy, comfort food casserole is an easy dinner that you can adapt to suit your family’s taste preferences. I’ve included detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick overview:

  • Brown the meat and veggies in a skillet until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add the tomatoes, soup, and seasoning.
  • Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, stirring in the mushrooms and olives at the end (if using).
  • Boil and drain the egg noodles.
  • Combine the cooked noodles with the meat sauce.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • Top with shredded cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
Overhead image of a white baking dish full of johnny marzetti casserole.

Serving Suggestions

Pair the Johnny Marzetti casserole recipe with any of these easy sides:

Two bowls of johnny marzetti on a table with a salad.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: Assemble the entire casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Freeze the casserole before baking. Wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, the assembled casserole will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • How to Reheat: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350°F oven until warmed through (about 20 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Side shot of two bowls of johnny marzetti on a dinner table with a side salad.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the ground beef and sausage and use only ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, or a combination of these.
  • Instead of the egg noodles, try other pasta shapes such as medium shells, penne pasta, or elbow macaroni.
  • Add More Veggies: feel free to include crisp-tender steamed, roasted, or sauteed broccoli, green beans, carrots, corn, or even frozen peas in the casserole.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese and use Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Colby, or Pepper Jack.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The baking instructions remain the same. You can even prepare the full recipe, but divide the ingredients between two 8-inch pans and freeze one casserole for later.
Square overhead shot of johnny marzetti in a bowl.

Tips for the Best Johnny Marzetti Recipe

  • Omit the green olives and/or sliced mushrooms if your family doesn’t care for those ingredients.
  • Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to omit the brown sugar for a less sweet tomato sauce, add cayenne to make it spicy, or include chili powder for a zestier flavor.
  • Boil the noodles in well-salted water. This is your opportunity to really season the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, so you want to slightly under-boil them so that they don’t become mushy after baking.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, basil or oregano) for a bright, fresh touch. Sliced green onions are also good!
Overhead image of johnny marzetti in a blue and white bowl on a wooden table.

More Ground Beef Casserole Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of johnny marzetti in a bowl.

Johnny Marzetti Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 50 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 393 kcal
Johnny Marzetti is a classic ground beef casserole with egg noodles, tomato soup, veggies, and cheese — all baked into one delicious comfort food dish!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • ½ lb. pork sausage (or use additional ground beef)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup, not diluted (I used Campbell’s Healthy Request)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces dry wide egg noodles
  • 1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar green olives, drained (optional)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown beef, sausage, bell pepper, and onion in the skillet; drain. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add tomatoes (with juice), crushing them slightly with a wooden spoon, condensed soup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and garlic powder. Simmer over very low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and olives, if using.
    Browning ground beef with onion and bell peppers in a skillet.
  • Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in a large pot of well salted boiling water for about 1 minute less than the package directions for al dente. Drain well.
    Boiled egg noodles in a colander.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Remove the sauce mixture from the heat; toss with the cooked noodles.
    Process shot showing how to make Johnny Marzetti in a Dutch oven.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
    Overhead shot of a serving spoon in a pan of johnny marzetti casserole.

Notes

  • Omit the green olives and/or sliced mushrooms if your family doesn’t care for those ingredients.
  • Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to omit the brown sugar for a less sweet tomato sauce, add cayenne to make it spicy, or include chili powder for a zestier flavor.
  • Boil the noodles in well-salted water. This is your opportunity to really season the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven, so you want to slightly under-boil them so that they don’t become mushy after baking.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, basil or oregano) for a bright, fresh touch. Sliced green onions are also good!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 30gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 413mgPotassium: 594mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 295IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 3.5mg
Keyword: casserole with egg noodles, ground beef casserole, Johnny Marzetti, Johnny Marzetti casserole, Johnny Marzetti recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2018. The images were updated in December, 2023.

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. Greg V says:

    5 stars
    Oh my, I made this tonight and boy, it was so delicious! I posted the link to Facebook and I hope that everyone gets a chance to make it. It’s so fantastic that you can dress it up however you like! And the olives make a huge difference in the taste. Enjoy all!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you, Greg! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, and I really appreciate you sharing it with your friends. 🙂

  2. jean says:

    sunds good! like a saturday night specialmy mother would make, except no olives. although i believe i would like olives also being my family like elbow macaroni i would sub that thanks

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Great! I hope you enjoy it, Jean!

  3. jean says:

    sounds good! like a saturday night specialmy mother would make, except no olives. although i believe i would like olives also being my family like elbow macaroni i would sub that thanks

  4. Sue says:

    My mom only called it Johnny Marzetti when it had cheese in it, otherwise it was goulash growing up in WV. I lived in MA for 14 years and it was always American Chop Suey there (no cheese).

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Interesting! It’s funny how recipes can go by so many different names.