Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is a simple and delicious meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights. With minimal prep and just one baking dish, you can have a hearty and flavorful dinner on the table in no time. This casserole combines tender meatballs, pasta, marinara sauce, and melted cheese for a comforting and satisfying dish. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes.


  • 1 bag frozen meatballs, defrosted
  • 1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 box bowtie pasta
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Step 1: Prepare the Baking Dish

  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Combine Ingredients in the Baking Dish:
    • In a large 9×13-inch baking dish, combine the defrosted meatballs, marinara or spaghetti sauce, water, bowtie pasta, and Italian seasoning. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed and the pasta is evenly distributed.

Step 2: Bake the Casserole

  1. Cover and Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Check and Stir:
    • After 30 minutes, carefully remove the foil and stir the casserole to ensure the pasta cooks evenly. Check the pasta for doneness; if it is not fully cooked, cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

Step 3: Add the Cheese

  1. Top with Cheese:
    • Once the pasta is cooked, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  2. Bake Until Cheese is Melted:
    • Return the uncovered baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Serve Hot:
    • Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Enjoy this hearty and comforting Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Meatballs: Use your favorite brand of frozen meatballs, or make your own if you prefer. Make sure they are fully defrosted before adding them to the casserole.
  • Pasta: Bowtie pasta works well for this recipe, but you can substitute with other pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or rigatoni.


  • Vegetable Meatball Casserole:
    • Add 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach, to the casserole for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Spicy Meatball Casserole:
    • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce to the marinara sauce for a spicy kick.
  • Cheesy Meatball Casserole:
    • Mix in 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese with the pasta and sauce for a creamier texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use fresh meatballs instead of frozen?

Yes, you can use fresh homemade meatballs. Just make sure they are fully cooked before adding them to the casserole.

2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

3. Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the casserole up to the point of baking, cover it, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, follow the instructions as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time if needed.

4. Can I freeze this casserole?

Yes, you can freeze the assembled (but unbaked) casserole. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

5. What can I serve with Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole?

This casserole pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is a quick and easy family dinner that’s perfect for busy weeknights. With minimal prep and just one baking dish, you can have a hearty and flavorful meal on the table in no time. Whether you’re making it for a busy weeknight or a casual gathering, this recipe is easy to follow and full of delicious flavors. Give this Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole a try and enjoy a comforting and delightful dinner. Happy cooking!

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