An old fashioned favorite, this Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust is an easy dinner recipe that the entire family will love! Hamburger is mixed with tomato soup, corn, and zesty chili seasoning for a simple and affordable filling that’s finished with a golden brown Jiffy cornbread topping. Serve the casserole with a simple green salad for a quick weeknight meal!
How to Make Ground Beef Casserole | 1-Minute Video
This is the simple ground beef casserole recipe that I grew up with, and I’m still making it for my own family! My mom gave me the recipe in a little handwritten notebook when I moved into my first apartment as a 21-year-old, and the comfort food classic has stood the test of time!
What is ground beef casserole?
A ground beef casserole is any baked dish that includes ground beef and a variety of other ingredients. You will often find ground beef casseroles made with rice, noodles or potatoes, all tossed in a tomato-based sauce or a creamy, cheesy sauce. The options are truly endless, but this particular recipe is one of the best ground beef casseroles yet! It tastes like a bowl of chili topped with sweet cornbread, it’s easy to mix together quickly, and it’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients.
This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a ground beef cornbread casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Ground beef: the hearty base of the casserole.
- Onion and garlic: for savory flavor.
- Corn: I use a can of corn, but you can substitute with frozen corn.
- Condensed tomato soup: this thick, sweet condensed soup forms the base of the sauce that brings the casserole filling together.
- Water: to thin the sauce.
- Chili powder: for zesty flavor.
- Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
- Jiffy corn muffin mix: for the cornbread topping.
- Egg and milk: for the cornbread batter.
Which type of ground beef is best for casseroles?
You can use any type of ground beef that you prefer in a casserole. I typically use 85% lean beef (or “ground round”). If you like a leaner meat for a healthier dish, that’s fine. If you like a less-expensive ground beef with a higher fat content, that will work, too – you’ll strain off any extra grease from the pan.
Why precook ground beef for casserole?
Cooking the beef in a skillet before adding it to the casserole dish serves two main purposes. First, it ensures that the meat is cooked through by the time the topping is done. Second, precooking the meat allows you to drain off the fat from the pan so that your casserole filling isn’t too greasy.
How to Make Ground Beef Casserole
This easy dinner can be prepared in advance or baked right away, and you only need a handful of pantry staples!
- Cook the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then drain off the fat.
- Stir in the corn, tomato soup, water, chili powder, and salt.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, which gives it time to thicken.
- Transfer the beef filling to a 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.
- Stir together the corn muffin mix, egg, and water to make the cornbread crust.
- Spread the batter on top of the beef filling.
- Bake the casserole in a 425°F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through.
What to Serve with Ground Beef Cornbread Casserole
We always offer a variety of toppings for this dish, which the kids can use to garnish their own plates. Try these:
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Diced red onion or sliced green onion
- Sour cream
- Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Sides That Go Well with Hamburger Casserole
- A simple green salad with red wine vinaigrette
- House salad with candied pecans
- Roasted broccoli
- Southern-style green beans
- Oven roasted asparagus
- Arkansas green beans with bacon
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Baked apple slices with brown sugar and cinnamon
- Roasted root vegetables
- Tomato salad
- Roasted yellow squash
- Summer corn salad
- Cucumber dill salad
- Easy fruit salad
To prepare the casserole in advance, make the filling as instructed and place it in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Before baking, allow the filling to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes. Then stir together the topping and bake as instructed.
Storage Tips for Hamburger Casserole
A casserole with ground beef will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The casserole can be frozen after baking. Wrap any leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
Thaw frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Place the casserole in a 325°F oven and heat just until warm – about 20 minutes. If the topping starts to get too brown before the filling is heated through, cover loosely with foil. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave.
- Substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef called for in this recipe.
- Rather than corn, use a can of drained, rinsed beans.
- Add grated cheese to the filling and to the cornbread crust for a cheesy casserole.
- Include extra vegetables in the filling, such as diced zucchini or diced sweet bell peppers.
- Mexican: add taco seasoning to the beef filling instead of chili powder.
- To make the cornbread crust from scratch, see my mom’s recipe instructions in the box below.
- Instead of a can of condensed tomato soup, substitute with an equal amount of tomato sauce, combined with about 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (a thickening agent), 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Tips for the Best Ground Beef Casserole Recipe
- Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences. For instance, you might like to add cayenne to make it spicy, or a dash of cumin for a smoky flavor.
- Garnish the casserole with your favorite fresh toppings. Good options include fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped green onions or minced red onion, grated cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, or sliced black olives.
- Insert a toothpick in the center of your casserole to make sure that the cornbread crust is completely cooked through before removing the dish from the oven. You shouldn’t see any wet batter on the toothpick.
- If the top of your casserole starts to get too dark before the cornbread is cooked through, tent the top of the dish loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
- Cooking for a larger family? Double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 9 x 13-inch dish. You’ll need to increase the total baking time by a few minutes.
More Easy Ground Beef Casserole Recipes with Few Ingredients
- Ground Beef Casserole with Potatoes
- Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- Dorito Casserole with Ground Beef
- Tater Tot Casserole
- Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole
- Ground Beef Casserole with Noodles
- Cabbage Beef Casserole
- Mexican Ground Beef Casserole (“Taco Pie”)
This recipe was originally published in October, 2019. It was updated in December, 2021.
For more information please see the list of Does cornbread go with beef stew