If you’re anything like me, creamy + tomatoey + pasta = delicious. This is my mom’s “Casserole Supreme,” a hamburger macaroni casserole that is still a favorite comfort food of mine today.
I do give it just a few tweaks, but in general, I try to respect my mom’s casserole recipe. Part of its charm is in its simplicity and creamy goodness.
If comfort food pasta has a place in your kitchen, you may also enjoy my creamy pasta sauce or my creamy vodka sauce recipes.
For ease of browsing, you can find all my pasta recipes in one place. Thanks so much for being here.
My Introduction to Casserole Supreme
I don’t know when my mother found the Better Homes & Gardens Casserole Cookbook, but it was published in 1968.
As far as I’m concerned, it was a very good year. Just as it says about my beloved Angel Slices in older copies of Joy of Cooking, “many a copy of Joy has been sold on the strength of this recipe alone,” the same should be said of the Casserole Supreme recipe in the BH&G Casserole Cookbook.
Several years ago I called my mom because I wanted to know why she bought the cookbook in the first place and how she chose Casserole Supreme to make at all.
She thinks she bought the book to find “recipes for a crowd,” since we always went to our Wednesday night potluck suppers at our church, and she didn’t want to bring the same thing every time.
I guess the first time she made casserole supreme, the angels sang and people clambered for the recipe, so she really did end up making more or less the same thing every week after all. But at least it was a delicious thing that everyone loved.
And, if there were a very special occasion at home, like Greg and I not fighting for a whole day or dad’s church softball team winning a game, mom would make Casserole Supreme hamburger macaroni casserole just for our family. No sharing with the greedy Presbyterian horde!
Since Mom has passed, I created a new category for recipe with her and my Auntie Ev’s stamp on them. You can find them all in my Family Recipes category.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
At a Glance
✅Creamy and Comforting
✅Easy to make
✅Made with Pantry Staples
✅No added sugar
Unlike the original recipe, my version of casserole supreme is based on canned tomatoes while the original used canned tomato soup.
I consider that a plus, because this updated version isn’t too sweet, and it doesn’t contain the added sugar that lurk in condensed tomato soup.
The recipe uses pastry staple that most folks already have on hand, so that’s a bonus on a weeknight.
You can serve casserole supreme (or any hamburger macaroni casserole honestly) either straight out of the pot, or you can pack the mix into casserole dishes and bake it so you get a crisp crust on top.
Either option is delicious, so it really depends on your preference and the time you have.
How to Make Mom’s Casserole Supreme
This next section gives a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need as well as substitutions where applicable.
I also share a couple of tips for success and answer some questions about the recipe.
If you would like, you can skip straight to the recipe.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- ground beef: I use 80/20. If you use a leaner mix, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. You can also experiment by using a meatloaf blend, such as beef/pork/veal if you prefer. Substitute ground chicken or turkey if you don’t eat beef. Or use bulk sweet or hot Italian sausage. It will all work
- diced onion: sweet or yellow onion. I usually use about 1/2 a large onion or one medium-sized onion
- minced garlic: jarred, freeze-dried, or freshly minced garlic
- salt & pepper: to taste to bring out the flavor and counteract any slight “tinniness” that you can sometimes get with canned tomatoes. If using a seasoned sausage mix, you will be able to cut back on addtional salt and pepper
- pepper flake: just for a little heat. You may leave it out if you don’t like spicy foods, or feel free to use your favorite hot sauce instead
- Italian seasoning: Or your favorite beef seasoning blend. I like to use Italian seasoning since it goes nicely with tomates and pasta
- canned whole tomatoes: I use a 28 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes. You may substitute diced tomatoes or, for an even smoother texture, crushed tomatoes. If you don’t have large, 28 oz cans, you can substitute 2 smaller 14-15 oz cans
- cream cheese: Adds a delicious creaminess and a bit of tang
- sour cream: Serves the same purpose while keeping the texture a bit looser, so you can certainly use all sour cream or all cream cheese if one is all you have. You may want to add a little water or chicken broth if using all cream cheese
- pasta shells: Use 12 oz for a creamier, saucier version or use a full pound of pasta. Your call. And any short shape will do just fine here. Mom always used shells so that’s what I generally use, but elbows, rotini, penne, orecchiette, and cavatappi are also good choices
When I say this is an easy recipe to make, I really mean it.
Start by browning your ground beef along with salt and pepper. Add a little oil if your meat is very lean.
Alternatively, if your mixture is fatty, drain off all but 1-2 Tablespoons of fat.
Add onions, garlic, pepper flake and Italian seasoning and continue to cook until onions are soft.
Add whole tomatoes and cream cheese.
Jenni Says: I really like to use a meat chopper tool for breaking up the ground meat and the whole tomatoes in this recipe. I use it way more than I ever imagined I would.
Useful not only for breaking up sausage and other ground meats while cooking, I also use this to roughly chop any soft foods right in the pan. It works great on whole canned tomatoes and also is really useful for cooking up any hash on the stove.
Cook the pasta and then add it to the meat and tomato mixture along with the sour cream.
Mix together and heat through.
Serve as is, or bake in a casserole dish to get some crunchy bits on top.
Casserole Supreme Variations
And no, there is no rule that says you can’t add some bell pepper when you add your onions. Or maybe make it Mexican-style by stirring in some black beans and corn and using cumin and/or chili powder for flavor rather than the Italian seasoning. You can also use RoTel in place of the canned tomatoes.
Casserole supreme really is a pretty standard tomato beef sauce with cream cheese and sour cream, so feel free to add your favorite flavorings to switch it up however you like.
Me? I like it pretty much straight up, but that doesn’t mean that a Mexican version doesn’t call to me!
However you make your Casserole Supreme, do make some and enjoy the creamy retro-goodness!
Tips for Success
Using a combination of cream cheese and sour cream lends tang and delicious creaminess to this dish. Cream cheese adds more body than sour cream does, so using both together is always a good call.
For easy cleanup, spray your casserole dish/es lightly with some pan spray before filling with the macaroni mixture.
Hamburger Macaroni Casserole Supreme Q & A
This recipe makes enough to feed a hungry family of four or a moderately hungry family of six. If you serve it with salad, bread, or other side dishes, expect to feed six to eight from one recipe.It also doubles really well if you have a large enough pot, so feel free to make a ton to feed a crowd.
Keep leftovers, well-covered, in the fridge for up to a week. For food safety, please reheat to 165F for 15 seconds. Since pasta tends to soak up moisture, whether reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop, add a splash or milk or water so it’s creamy once you reheat.
Yes, this hamburger macaroni casserole, like most pasta casseroles, freezes really well. My mom used to freeze small-ish portions in her Corningware and then bake them from frozen. Pack the mix into casserole dishes, cover tightly and freeze for up to three months. Bake from frozen, or thaw overnight in the fridge before baking the next day.
More Pasta Dishes to Try
Lord, I love me some pasta, so I have a few recipes on my site I turn to again and again. Don’t miss my post on How to Make Vodka Sauce, because there is no need to go to a restaurant to get delicious vodka sauce.
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- 1 pound ground beef (80/20 is perfect for this)
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil if necessary, (depends on how fatty your meat is)
- 1 small-to-medium onion,diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend of your choice
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes and their juice
- 3 oz softened cream cheese, (eyeballing it is fine)
- 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream, (ditto--a huge serving spoonful will do nicely)
- 1 pound pasta short pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente (elbows, shells, penne, fusilli, rigatoni, wagon wheels, radiatore, cavatappi, etc)
- Place the ground beef in a heavy skillet to brown, breaking it up with a spatula. If the meat is on the lean side, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan.
- Once the meat is about halfway done (some will be browned and some still pink or red), add the onion and garlic.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Cook until onions and garlic are softened and meat is completely cooked.
- Add the Italian seasoning, tomatoes and softened cream cheese.
- Stir around so the cream cheese melts evenly into the tomatoes. Using a meat masher will allow you to easily break up the tomatoes while stirring.
- Let simmer for about ten minutes or so.
- With the heat on low, fold in freshly drained pasta and sour cream.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve as-is or spoon into individual ramekins or a big old casserole.
- Bake at 350F until the pasta on top has a bit of crunch to it and the casserole is bubbling all around the sides.
- Let sit for ten minutes before serving.
Nutritional information calculated for 6 servings.
Keep leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat thoroughly either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Regardless, add a splash of milk to bring back the creaminess, and heat to a minimum of 165F for 15 seconds.
Once cool, wrap casserole dishes or even individual ramekins or other oven-safe stoneware in plastic and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, or allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 556Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 99mgSodium 204mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 4gSugar 11gProtein 29g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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