This Easy Cheesy Pizza Casserole Recipe is everything you want in a family dinner! Something that both adults and kids will love, it's easy and can be made-ahead, frozen, reheated - you name it!
Rigatoni pasta is smothered in a tasty meat sauce with shredded cheese stirred in for the cheese-factor, you know what I'm sayin'.....then topped with more cheese and pepperoni slices.
Our entire family loves this pizza pasta casserole recipe. It's great for busy weeknights (which is most of the time in our home) this easy casserole dish tastes delicious leftover the next day. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!
Why you'll love this pizza pasta bake
- easy weeknight dinner - spend time with the family instead of in the kitchen with this quick meal idea.
- level up your pizza night fun with an easy casserole the whole family will love and tastes just as delicious leftover!
- it's versatile - add your favorite pizza toppings like green bell peppers, Italian sausage, bacon, green or black olives and dare I say pineapple? You can even divide up the toppings into sections for the picky eaters.
If you're looking for other easy dinner ideas, try these next:
Ingredients needed to make pepperoni pizza casserole
This recipe uses simple ingredients that you can easily find in the grocery store. I've listed substitutions where applicable below.
- Rigatoni - or, you can use your favorite pasta shape in this recipe.
- Ground beef - or you could also substitute ground sausage, ground turkey,
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Olive Oil - you need a little for cooking the ground beef, onion and garlic. I like to use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Chopped onion - sweet onions, cooking onions are perfect.
- Fresh garlic - adds delicious flavor to this recipe
- Marinara sauce - use your favorite brand of marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce, and you could even swap out half the pasta sauce with pizza sauce.
- Italian seasoning - for flavor. You could also sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes.
- Mozzarella cheese- buy the kind that you find in the deli section that you have to shred yourself vs. the pre-shredded cheese for best results. We think the cheese is perfectly balanced in this recipe, but if you like lots of cheese, you could add another ½ cup!
- Sliced pepperoni
- Optional: Baked pizza pasta tastes delicious with freshly grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top when serving, along with fresh chopped parsley.
Can I make this vegetarian?
You can! Simply omit the meat and sneak in some veggies like blanched broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, green or black olives.
How to make pizza casserole with pasta
In a hurry to make this recipe? You can find a full, printable recipe card at the bottom of this page and skip the step by step instructions. But, remember to come back for tips and photos!
Now, let's get dinner going!
STEP 1 - Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
STEP 2 - COOK THE PASTA - In a large pot of boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
STEP 3 - COOK THE GROUND BEEF - in a skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the ground beef, onions, garlic, salt & black pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain off any grease.
STEP 4 -ADD THE SAUCE AND SEASONING - Reduce heat to low and stir in the marinara sauce and 2 teaspoons of the Italian seasoning. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
STEP 5 - STIR IN THE PASTA AND SOME OF THE CHEESE - stir in the cooked pasta and 1 and ¼ cups of the shredded mozzarella cheese until combined.
STEP 6 - SPRINKLE WITH CHEESE AND MORE SEASONING! - Transfer pasta mixture to prepared casserole dish and spread out evenly.
STEP 7 - Top with remaining 1 and ¼ cups of mozzarella cheese.
STEP 8 - In a single layer, place the slices of pepperoni on top of the cheese, then sprinkle with remaining italian seasonings and any other optional toppings.
STEP 9 - BAKE! - uncovered in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Optional - sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley and enjoy!!
Serve with my cheesy garlic bread and a simple salad recipe.
Make it ahead of time
To prepare this easy pizza casserole recipe in advance to cook later, assemble the recipe (do not bake) and cover with aluminum foil. Store in the fridge and proceed with cooking when ready.
Can I make pizza casserole in a slow cooker?
You sure can! Pour the pasta and meat sauce mixture into your slow cooker, top with shredded cheese and cook on low until cheese melts.
How to store this pizza casserole
Cool casserole, then store wrapped in an airtight container or cover casserole dish with plastic wrap or foil for up to five days in the refrigerator.
To reheat: Remove plastic wrap, then wrap in foil and reheat in 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until heated through, or reheat in the microwave on a plate in 30 second intervals until heated through.
How to freeze cheesy pizza pasta bake
A casserole in the freezer that's ready to cook for tomorrow's meal saves so much time on busy days when the family is coming and going.
This pasta bake is perfect for making ahead and freezing to enjoy later.
To freeze: Follow the recipe instructions and bake it. Let the baked casserole cool completely, then remove it from the casserole dish and transfer it to a freezer-safe container
To cook: Allow the casserole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator the night before.
Ready to bake it? Place it bake in an oven-safe casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake in 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until heated through completely. Remove foil during last five minutes of reheating.
Some casserole dishes are rated freezer to oven, many are not. That is way we transfer it to a freezer-safe container. See my handy resource for how to reheat a casserole for any other questions.