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Swap out the bun for this sloppy joe casserole full of pasta and a sweet ground beef mixture. All of the meaty and delicious flavors of a sloppy joe sandwich transform into an easy weeknight meal your family will love!

Everyone loves this sloppy joe casserole because they can dig in and enjoy this all-in-one meal! I love to make casseroles for that very reason, it’s all baked in one dish and makes everyone happy. Casseroles are the easiest way to serve dinner for a hungry family! If you’re looking for more casserole recipes to try, this chicken casserole is one of our favorites! We also love this rigatoni recipe and this incredible casserole for breakfast!

Top view of sloppy Joe casserole in a white baking dish. A striped blue and white towel and black bowl filled with casserole are next to the baking dish.

What is Sloppy Joe Casserole?

Imagine a sloppy joe getting a makeover with the addition of pasta baked into a hearty and tasty casserole. A traditional sloppy joe recipe is filled with ground beef and smothered in a sweet tomato-based sauce. Sandwiched between hamburger buns, the sloppy jo mixture is known for its sloppy and messy outcome.

This is the perfect casserole to make for your family or to feed a crowd. The flavors are so delicious and everyone will love the brown sugar that adds sweetness to the meaty sauce mixture. And the best part is that is a lot less messy than real sloppy joe sandwiches! I have a mean sloppy joe recipe if this recipe inspires me to make real ones! Or if you’re wanting more sandwich recipes make these Cuban sandwiches or this easy French dip recipe.

Ingredients Needed

This sloppy joe casserole starts with an easy meat mixture that comes together in about 20 minutes with ingredients right in your pantry. Pop it in the oven and dinner is ready in one pan! Follow the recipe card below for the exact measurements! 

  • Olive oil: For sauteing the onions.
  • Onion: Onions add so much flavor.
  • Ground beef: Use lean ground beef for less fat. 
  • Garlic: Mince the garlic finely. 
  • Ketchup: Adds the tangy sauce. 
  • Brown sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness and caramelization. 
  • Chili powder: Brings the heat to balance the sweetness. 
  • Paprika: Adds a kick of flavor that can be a bit hot.
  • Worcestershire sauce: The perfect savory umami flavor 
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste!
  • Penne Pasta: We like penne pasta in this recipe, but use any pasta you would like.
  • Colby Jack Cheese: I love the flavor of Colby Jack in this recipe, but cheddar also works great.

Sloppy Joe Casserole Recipe

Quick and easy this is a great dish for a busy weekday! Sloppy joes are irresistible and all ages love them, but this casserole is our new favorite way of enjoying sloppy joe flavors. The directions are very easy to follow, and I know you’re going to love this!

  1. Preheat Oven/ Prepare Dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 2-quart baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
  2. Saute the Onion/ Cook the Meat: In a medium-sized skillet add the olive oil and onion over medium-high heat. Sauté until almost tender then add the ground beef and cook and crumble until no longer pink.
  3. Add the Sauce Ingredients: Add the garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce salt, and pepper. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the Cooked Pasta: Add the cooked drained pasta into the sloppy joe sauce mixture then stir to combine. 
  5. Layer the Pasta and Cheese: Pour half of the sloppy jo mixture into the prepared pan. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Add the rest of the sloppy joe mixture to the pan then sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
  6. Bake: Bake the casserole for 15-20 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted. Enjoy warm!
First process photo is a top view of cooked penne pasta. Second process photo is the sloppy jo meat and sauce in a saucepan. Third process photo is the pasta mixed in with the meat mixture. Fourth process photo is the layered casserole in a baking dish with cheese on top.

Tips and Variations

This sloppy joe casserole recipe can be made to your liking! The flavors in this recipe allow you to make simple changes or add to it if you choose. Here are some ideas for you to switch things up!

  • Pasta: Pick your pasta! This recipe uses penne, but any other kind of pasta would work. I’ve also used rigatoni, rotini, or small shells. Try to choose thicker and shorter pasta that holds its shape. Noodles like spaghetti or egg won’t hold their shape and they tend to get mushy.
  • Cheese: Play around with your cheese. Cheddar cheese or smoked gouda would be delicious, but you could also use a combination of cheese. Definitely stick to cheddar flavors because white cheeses aren’t as common in this recipe.
  • Add Bell Peppers: I LOVE to sneak in veggies because it adds more nutrition to the casserole. I like to saute green bell peppers with the onions, but you can add any sweet bell pepper. They are all delicious!
  • Make it Spicy: Add more paprika or cayenne pepper to the sauce if you like a little kick. I love spice so much that I like to sprinkle red pepper flakes or Tabasco on my serving of casserole. Try it, it’s SO good!
Close side view of sloppy jo casserole being lifted out of the baking dish with a serving spoon.

Storing Leftovers

This sloppy joe casserole makes great leftovers because you can enjoy it the next day for lunch or dinner. It warms up perfectly and the flavors taste even better! Follow my instructions below for storing and reheating leftovers.

  • In the Refrigerator: Place the cooled casserole into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: Remove the leftovers from the refrigerator and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until warmed through. Add more cheese on top before warming if you would like!
Close view of a fork lifting a bite of the casserole out of a black bowl. A striped blue and white towel along with the casserole dish are next to the serving bowl.

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Sloppy Joe Casserole

4 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
Swap out the bun for this sloppy joe casserole full of pasta and a sweet ground beef mixture. All of the meaty and delicious flavors of a sloppy joe sandwich transform into an easy weeknight meal your family will love! 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 2-quart casserole dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • In a medium-sized skillet add the olive oil and onion over medium-high heat. Sauté until almost tender and add the ground beef and cook and crumble until no longer pink.
  • Add the garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce salt, and pepper. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked drained pasta into the sloppy joe mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Pour half of the sloppy jo mixture into the prepared pan. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Add the rest of the sloppy joe mixture to the pan then sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
  • Bake the casserole for 15-20 minutes until warmed through and the cheese is melted. Enjoy warm!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 489kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 22gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 849mgPotassium: 491mgFiber: 1gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 911IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 266mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating




1 Comment

  1. 4 stars
    Great basic recipe! Wonderful taste. I did tweek a bit. Added two tablespoons of French’s Mustard and a tablespoon of Cider Vinegar. My 80 year little kid has never had a Sloopy Joe so made it to his taste. He loved it and so did the neighbor. He likes the vinegary taste not so much sweet.
    It was a winner. Used Swiss and Yellow Cheese the color was nice mixed. Thank you.