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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

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This Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole requires just 5 ingredients and no boiling the pasta first! With minimal prep, you will have a hearty and cheese pasta and meatball bake the whole family will love.

amazing meal in a matter of minutes

Easy Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole Recipe

It’s so fast to put together because all you do is ‘dump’ the ingredients into a casserole dish and let the oven do its magic. 

Making a meal that the whole family will enjoy doesn’t get simpler than this meatball casserole. Using handy staple ingredients like frozen meatballs and jarred pasta sauce makes this a must for busy weeknights.

This meatball pasta bake recipe doesn’t need any fancy kitchen gadgets, so it’s great for beginner cooks or to whip up for your next holiday.

Cover it and let it bake in the oven while you take care of laundry, help with homework, feed the dog, and tackle the mountain of other tasks on your “To Do” list.

Topped off with tons of gooey mozzarella cheese, it’s a big hit that you will make this every week without fail.

Check out my Lasagna casserole, garlic bread casserole, and my Crockpot Pizza Casserole for more family friendly dinner ideas!

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cups kraft, package barilla pasta, and simple ingredients

Ingredients Needed

  • Pasta – Uncooked rotini pasta works best but use any shape other than long pasta noodles.
  • Spaghetti sauce – 1 jar marinara sauce. I like to use spicy!
  • Meatballs – Fully-cooked miniature meatballs work the best.
  • Seasoning – Homemade Italian seasoning or your favorite italian blend.
  • Cheese – Mozzarella cheese melts best. Substitute parmesan cheese if needed.
  • ​Pantry staples – A few cups water.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Make Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Grab a deep 9×13 pan or large baking dish.
  2. Spread the meatballs and uncooked pasta in the bottom of the dish.
  3. Pour in the cups of water and jar of sauce sauce. Stir to mix.
  1. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and spread over half the cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake casserole for 40-45 minutes. 
  2. Uncover and check that the pasta is tender. If not, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover. 
  3. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
dump and bake meatball casserole is one of my favorite recipes for a weeknight meal

What do you serve with it?

Serve this easy recipe with a crisp Italian salad and some toasted garlic bread for a complete meal!

Can I make it ahead of time?

You can put the casserole together a few hours ahead of time, or even let it sit covered in the fridge overnight before it goes into the oven. 

The pasta will begin to soften and soak up some of the liquid as it rests, so you might need to cut down the baking time a bit.

You don’t want to cook the casserole too much or your pasta will turn out sticky and overdone.

easy dump and bake meatball casserole in a spoon

Leftover Meatball Casserole?

This casserole is best right out of the oven. If you do have leftovers, they’ll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

The pasta might dry out a little over time, so you might want to mix in some extra marinara sauce when you warm up the dish.

fork of pasta and meatball casserole with parsley

Best Casserole Tips

If you love this recipe as much as I do, pin this to your favorite casserole Pinterest board and share it on your favorite social media channels!

Large scoop of dump and bake meatball casserole

This dump and bake casserole is a simple recipe that makes a delicious meal that is perfect for the hustle and bustle of life. It’s delicious which makes it a family favorite but the super easy prep makes it mine!

meatball casserole with pasta in a spoon

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole Recipe

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This easy Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole uses just 5 simple ingredients and super quick prep time which is perfect for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar spicy marinara sauce
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag frozen meatballs, thawed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Using a deep 9x13 pan or a similar lasagna or casserole pan, add the meatballs.
  3. Top with the pasta noodles and add the water.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Stir gently to mix.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. 
  6. Uncover and check that the pasta is done. If not, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and uncover. Top with shredded cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Rotini and penne pasta work best for this recipe
  • Frozen meatballs are super easy or you can use homemade meatballs.
  • Substitute turkey meatballs for ground beef and pork ones.
  • Leave out Italian seasoning or sprinkle in a mix of garlic powder and onion powder.
  • I find using hot water and mixing it with the sauce before pouring over the noodles works best.
  • If the noodles stick together, you can always add the meatballs last.
  • The pasta should be cooked al dente but tender.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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Barbara

Saturday 3rd of February 2024

This recipe sounds yummy and easy. I was wondering what brand of "spicy" marinara you use and, also, if this recipe could be halved and cooked in an 8x8 pan?

Jennifer Stewart

Tuesday 6th of February 2024

You can certainly half the recipe and use an 8x8 pan!In regards to the sauce I use Rao's arrabbiata sauce or the Classico spicy red pepper sauce.

Kathleen

Monday 29th of January 2024

Love this recipe and make it often! Super easy and my family loves it!

Laura Ashley Johnson

Monday 29th of January 2024

This meatball casserole was 10/10! It was so hearty and I looked forward to the leftovers the next day! SO good!

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