Easy Meatball Casserole (without Pasta)

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This Meatball Casserole is an easy and delicious weeknight meal. Packed with store-bought meatballs, creamy ricotta, and mozzarella cheese, this cheesy meatball casserole is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Be sure to check out a few of our other family favorite casserole recipes like Tater Tot Casserole, Hamburger Rice Casserole, Ranch Ground Beef and Rice, and French Onion Chicken Casserole.

Spoon holding up a baked meatball.

Easy meatball casserole is a delicious, budget-friendly meal that will quickly become a crowd-pleaser. The base of this dish is made up of pre-made meatballs cooked in a savory marinara sauce topped with creamy ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

This casserole is flavorful and filling, making it the perfect weeknight dinner option. In addition to being served as-is, it can also be used as the base for meatball sandwiches or over pasta for an even heartier meal.

Not only does this casserole freeze well, making it ideal for meal prepping and storing leftovers, but it’s prepared with store bought meatballs for minimal prep. Perfectly cheesy and full of flavor, meatball casserole will leave you asking for seconds!

How to Make Meatball Casserole without Pasta:

Our casserole only takes a few minutes of prep and the rest of the time is hands off! It’s so easy and so delicious.

See the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a large sheet pan with foil.
  2. Spray the foil with cooking spray then add the meatballs. Bake for 20 minutes turning halfway through.
  3. Heat an oven-safe skillet over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Unbaked meatballs on a baking sheet.
Marinara in a cast iron pan.
  1. Pour in the marinara and tuck the meatballs into the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and dot ricotta over the top.
  2. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese and sauce are bubbly and the cheese begins to brown.
  3. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh basil and toasted, homemade garlic bread.
Cooked meatballs in a marinara.
Ricotta and mozzarella sprinkled over a pan of meatballs and marinara.

Tips for Success:

  • Use high-quality, store-bought or homemade meatballs for the best flavor and texture.
  • For a heartier casserole, add cooked rice, pasta, or quinoa before baking.
  • Use your favorite marinara sauce or tomato sauce and add fresh herbs and red chili flakes for added heat and flavor.
  • Use a smaller, deeper skillet and layer the meatballs, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese to create an even cheesier dish.
  • Add in some chopped vegetables like mushrooms or bell peppers to give your baked casserole more substance!
  • Finish off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top before baking for extra cheesy goodness!
  • Place this easy casserole under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to get the cheese golden brown and bubbly.

Storage:

Refrigerator: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Reheating: Reheat in the microwave on half power or in the conventional oven at 350°F until warmed through.

Close up view of a pan of meatballs and marinara with cheese.

Can Meatball Casserole be Frozen?

Yes, Meatball Casserole can be frozen. Place the cooled casserole in a freezer-safe dish and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, transfer the casserole to the refrigerator overnight.

Reheat in the microwave on half power or in the oven at 350°F until warmed through.

How Can I Add More Flavor to Cheesy Meatball Casserole?

Adding more flavor to this casserole is easy! Start by using Italian-flavored meatballs for the best flavor and texture.

Experiment with using homemade marinara sauce or meat sauces, adding fresh herbs such as parsley or oregano, adding a touch of garlic powder or onion powder, and including red chili flakes for a little bit of heat.

You can also add chopped vegetables such as mushrooms or bell peppers. Finally, add freshly grated Parmesan cheese before baking for even more cheesy goodness!

Wooden spoon dipped into a casserole with meatballs.

Do I Need to Cook the Meatballs Before Baking Them in the Casserole?

Yes, it is necessary to cook the meatballs before baking them in the casserole. Homemade or pre-cooked meatballs can be used or store-bought meatballs can be cooked according to package instructions before assembling the casserole.

Once cooked, place the meatballs into the marinara sauce and assemble your casserole as directed.

Is It Possible to Substitute Ricotta Cheese with Another Type of Cheese?

Yes, it is possible to substitute ricotta cheese with another type of cheese in our casserole. Popular alternatives include cottage cheese, cream cheese, and shredded Monterey Jack.

However, ricotta provides the best texture and flavor for this dish due to its creamy consistency and a mild taste. Experiment with different cheeses to get the perfect balance of flavors!

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Wooden spoon holding a cheesy baked meatball.

Easy Meatball Casserole (without Pasta)

4.5 from 8 votes
Print Pin
Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces Italian style meatballs, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray then add the meatballs. Bake for 20 minutes turning halfway through.
    32 ounces Italian style meatballs
  • Heat a large oven-safe skillet over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Then add the garlic. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small onion
    3 garlic cloves
  • Pour in the marinara and add the cooked meatballs to the pan.
    24 ounces marinara sauce
    1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
    1 cup ricotta cheese
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and dot ricotta over the top.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese and sauce are bubbly and the cheese begins to brown.
  • Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh basil.
  • Scroll up and see post for tips, FAQs, and storage options.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 2 meatballs with sauce and cheese. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

Nutrition

Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 417mg | Potassium: 434mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 1mg
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