Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

The Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is a simple, hearty dish perfect for busy weeknights or when you want a comforting meal without the fuss. This recipe cleverly combines frozen meatballs, pasta, and cheese in a delicious marinara sauce, all baked together to create a flavorful and satisfying meal. It’s a great example of a “dump and go” recipe, where the preparation is as simple as combining all the ingredients and letting the oven do the work.


  • 1 Bag of frozen meatballs, defrosted
  • 1 Jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 3 Cups of water
  • 1 Box of Bowtie pasta
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ Cups of Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ Cup of Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures a consistent cooking environment as soon as the dish goes in.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In a high-sided oven-proof pot or skillet, add the defrosted meatballs, the entire jar of marinara sauce, water, uncooked Bowtie pasta, and Italian seasoning. Gently stir these ingredients to ensure they are well combined. The pasta will cook in the sauce and water, absorbing the flavors as it bakes.
  3. Bake the Casserole: Cover the pot or skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. During this time, the heat will cook the pasta and meatballs while infusing them with the flavors of the sauce and seasoning.
  4. Add Cheese Topping: After 35 minutes, remove the cover and sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the casserole. These cheeses are chosen for their melting properties and flavor; Mozzarella offers a wonderful stretch and mild taste, while Parmesan adds a salty, nutty flavor to the dish.
  5. Final Bake: Return the casserole to the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. This final bake helps the cheese melt and slightly brown, adding a deliciously gooey and slightly crispy texture to the top of the casserole.
  6. Rest Before Serving: Once the baking is complete, let the casserole sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This resting period allows the casserole to set slightly, making it easier to serve and ensuring that it’s not too hot to eat.

Serving Suggestions

  • Garnish: Add a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil or parsley for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Side Dishes: Serve with a side of garlic bread or a simple green salad to round out the meal.

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