Easy Cheesy Meatball Casserole has soft, tender meatballs, gooey cheese and saucy marinara. Serve with pasta or garlic bread – or keep it low carb and serve with spaghetti squash or zoodles!
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Cheesy Meatball Casserole
A comforting dinner with the best homemade meatballs, homemade or store bought marinara, and ooey gooey cheese. These meatballs have 3 kinds of meat – beef, pork and lamb – for the ultimate flavor and texture. Not only that, it is made in one dish – first the meatballs are baked on their own, then sauce and cheese is added.
How to make Cheesy Meatball Casserole
First make the meatballs. I used three kinds of meat for these baked meatball – ground beef, ground pork and ground lamb. I think this gives them the best flavor and texture, However, you can use any combination of the three that you prefer. For best results, use 80/20 ground beef as the fat in the meat will help make the meatballs moist and flavorful. A lower fat percentage could result in dry meatballs.
First, mix together ground beef, pork and lamb with garlic, egg, milk, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes. Mix until well combined but try not to overwork the meat mixture, as that could make your meatballs tough. After mixing the ingredients for the meatballs, shape them into balls. I use a medium sized cookie scoop to do this so that they are all the same size.
How long should I bake meatballs in the oven?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange meatballs in a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Cooked meatballs should reach an internal tempurature of 165 degrees F using an instant read thermometer.
Remove meatballs from dish and drain fat from pan. Spread half a cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. I use my Easy 20 Minute Marinara sauce for this recipe, but you could also use your favorite jarred marinara.
Return the meatballs to the dish, top with more marinara sauce and then top with shredded cheese. As always, I recommend grating your own mozzarella cheese for this instead of using pre shredded cheese from a bag.
Return to oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes, then finish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown in spots.
What to serve with Cheesy Meatball Casserole?
My Easy Garlic Bread is perfect for mopping up the sauce in this meatball bake. It is also great served with pasta and salad. I also love serving this cheesy meatball bake with spaghetti squash for a low carb meal.
- 1/2 lb Ground Beef 80/20
- 1/2 lb ground pork*
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 4 Garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 TBSP milk
- 1 tsp kosher salt* use only 1/2 tsp if using regular table salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
For Meatball Casserole
- 1.5 cups Easy Marinara divided. I use my easy marinara sauce here, you can also use store bought sauce.
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella whole milk preferred
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley optional, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish lightly with cooking spray, set aside.
- Combine ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl. Mix until well combined but try not to overwork the meat, which may cause tough meatballs.
- Roll meat mixture into 24 equal sized balls. Using a cookie scoop makes this easier.
- Arrange meatballs in the baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. The meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove from oven, and remove meatballs from baking dish. Pour off extra fat. Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish.
- Return the meatballs to the dish. Spread the rest of the marinara sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle cheese evenly over meatballs.
- Return baking dish to oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted. Finish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes if desired, for cheese that is golden and bubbly.
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