Meatball Parmesan Casserole Recipe

Elevate Your Dinner Game: Mouthwatering Meatball Parmesan Casserole

When it comes to comforting and satisfying meals, few dishes rival the classic combination of savory meatballs, tangy marinara sauce, and gooey melted cheese. Enter the Meatball Parmesan Casserole, a delightful twist on the traditional Italian favorite that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through the steps to create a hearty and flavorful casserole that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or any occasion that calls for a comforting homemade meal.


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Casserole:

  • 1 jar (about 24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh basil for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Make the Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined, but be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough meatballs. Roll the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter, and place them evenly in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Layer with Marinara Sauce: Pour the marinara sauce evenly over the meatballs, ensuring they are well coated. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the sauce evenly across the surface.
  4. Top with Mozzarella Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the marinara sauce, covering the entire surface of the casserole.
  5. Bake to Perfection: Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the meatballs are cooked through. If desired, broil for an additional 1-2 minutes to achieve a golden brown crust on the cheese.
  6. Garnish and Serve: Remove the casserole from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves, if using. Allow it to cool slightly before serving to avoid burning yourself. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cook’s Notes and Variations

  • Customize the Meatballs: Feel free to customize the meatball mixture by adding ingredients like chopped onions, bell peppers, or fresh herbs for extra flavor and texture.
  • Use Homemade Marinara Sauce: While store-bought marinara sauce works perfectly fine, you can elevate the dish even further by using homemade marinara sauce. Experiment with different herbs and spices to create a sauce that suits your taste preferences.
  • Make it Ahead: This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Simply cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and bake as directed when ready to serve.
  • Add Pasta: For a heartier meal, you can add cooked pasta such as spaghetti or penne to the casserole before adding the marinara sauce and cheese. This turns the dish into a delicious pasta bake that’s sure to satisfy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef?
    • Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef if you prefer. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the meatballs may vary slightly.
  2. Can I freeze the casserole?
    • Yes, you can freeze the assembled casserole before baking. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.
  3. How do I know when the meatballs are cooked through?
    • The meatballs are cooked through when they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) on a meat thermometer. Alternatively, you can cut into one of the meatballs to ensure that it is no longer pink in the center.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Low-Carb Option: Substitute the breadcrumbs with almond flour or crushed pork rinds, and use a low-carb marinara sauce to reduce the carbohydrate content of the dish. You can also omit the breadcrumbs entirely for a keto-friendly version.

Keto-Friendly Variation: Follow the low-carb option above and use ground beef with a higher fat content to increase the fat content of the dish. You can also add additional cheese on top for a richer flavor.

In conclusion, this Meatball Parmesan Casserole is a simple yet satisfying dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights or casual gatherings. With flavorful meatballs, tangy marinara sauce, and gooey melted cheese, it’s sure to become a family favorite in no time. Get creative with the ingredients, customize the recipe to suit your taste preferences, and enjoy the deliciousness of homemade comfort food. Happy cooking!

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