Dump And Bake Your Way To A Fantastic Meatball Casserole

Imagine coming home after a long day, hungry and ready for a comforting meal but not up for a long stint in the kitchen. Enter the Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole – your weeknight dinner hero. This dish is the epitome of simplicity and flavor, requiring minimal prep and no pre-cooking of the pasta.

With just five essential ingredients and a handful of optional garnishes, you can create a hearty, satisfying meal that feels like a warm embrace. Perfect for busy families, this casserole is a testament to the magic that happens when convenience meets deliciousness. Let’s dive into this culinary delight that promises a no-fuss, all-flavor dinner experience.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta: The spiral shape holds onto the sauce beautifully.
  • 1 (24 or 25 ounce) jar marinara sauce: Choose a quality sauce for the best flavor; it makes all the difference.
  • 3 cups water: This helps cook the pasta to perfection right in the oven.
  • 1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs: Thaw if frozen to ensure even cooking.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella: Melts into a gooey, cheesy layer on top.
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (like basil, oregano, and parsley) for a gourmet touch.


  1. Prep: Kick things off by preheating your oven to a hot 425°F, setting the stage for the magic to unfold.
  2. Mix: In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, create a harmonious mix of uncooked pasta, tangy marinara sauce, water, and savory meatballs. A pinch of salt can enhance the flavors further.
  3. Bake Covered: Seal the deal with aluminum foil and let it bake. This step is crucial for cooking the pasta perfectly.
  4. Cheese It Up: After 35 minutes, unveil your creation, give it a stir, and if the pasta whispers “I’m ready,” crown it with mozzarella and bake uncovered to achieve golden, melty goodness.


  • Thawing Meatballs: Remember, if your meatballs were in the freezer, they need a warm-up in the fridge before joining the casserole party.
  • Sauce Matters: With such a simple ingredient list, each component needs to shine—select a marinara sauce that makes your taste buds dance.
  • Cooking Nuances: Different ovens and dishes (think glass vs. metal) can affect cooking times. Keep an eye on your pasta’s texture and adjust as needed.
  • Finishing Touches: Elevate your dish with a sprinkle of Parmesan and fresh herbs for a burst of flavor and color.

This Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is more than just a meal; it’s a lifesaver for those evenings when time is of the essence but compromise on taste isn’t an option. It’s about gathering around the table, sharing stories, and making memories over a dish that’s as easy to make as it is delightful to devour.

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