Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

In the realm of comfort food, few dishes hold as much sway over my heart and appetite as the casserole. With its warm, hearty layers and an ability to satiate my hunger, the humble casserole embodies the essence of home cooking. Today, I’m venturing into the cherished domain of Grandma’s Pizza Casserole. This is not just a recipe; it’s a time machine that zips me back to the aroma of simmering tomato sauce in my grandmother’s kitchen.

There’s nothing quite like the nostalgia of a familiar taste, and this concoction marries the rustic charm of a home-cooked meal with the universally adored flavors of pizza. Whether I’m a culinary enthusiast or a novice home cook, this dish promises to make an impression. Let’s get started and savor the heartwarming experience of Grandma’s Pizza Casserole!

Why Choose Pizza Casserole?

Pizza casserole is a great option for busy weeknights when you want a quick and easy meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover ingredients you have in your fridge, making it a budget-friendly option.

Plus, this dump-and-bake pizza casserole recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional pizza, as it’s packed with lean protein and vegetables. It’s a great way to get your family to eat their greens without even realizing it.

Why Choose Pizza Casserole?

Lean and Green Option

This pizza casserole recipe is a lean and green option, meaning it’s low in calories and packed with nutritious ingredients. It’s a great way to stick to your healthy eating goals without sacrificing flavor.

The lean protein in this recipe comes from the ground turkey, which is a healthier alternative to traditional pizza toppings like pepperoni or sausage. The vegetables, including bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, add a variety of vitamins and minerals to the dish. And the whole wheat pasta provides complex carbohydrates for sustained energy.

Easy and Convenient

One of the best things about this pizza casserole recipe is how easy and convenient it is to make. You simply dump all the ingredients into a casserole dish and bake it in the oven. No need to worry about rolling out dough or making a mess with pizza sauce. It’s a one-dish meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights.


Pizza casserole is a great option for families because it’s a crowd-pleaser. Kids and adults alike will love the familiar flavors of pizza in a new and exciting form. Plus, it’s a great way to get picky eaters to try new vegetables and flavors.

How To Make Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Step-by-step

So, are you ready to bring a touch of nostalgia and a whole lot of flavor to your dinner table? Let’s unravel the secrets of grandma’s pizza casserole together.


  • 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, basil, and thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step by Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Once browned, drain fat and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms (if using) until they are soft.
  4. Return the ground beef to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives, and seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Cook the rotini pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  6. Combine the meat sauce with the cooked pasta, and stir in half of the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Serve this flavorful pizza casserole with a side of freshly baked garlic bread or a crisp green salad for a meal that is sure to be devoured.

Tips and Tricks

  • For a vegetarian option, omit the ground turkey and add extra vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or spinach.
  • You can use any type of pasta you have on hand, but whole wheat pasta is a healthier option.
  • If you prefer a spicier casserole, add some red pepper flakes to the turkey and vegetable mixture.
  • This casserole can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Variations of This Pizza Casserole

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This pizza casserole recipe is versatile and can be customized to your liking. Here are a few variations you can try:

Mexican Pizza Casserole

For a Mexican twist on this recipe, use ground beef instead of turkey and add some taco seasoning to the meat mixture. Swap the marinara sauce for salsa and top the casserole with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with sour cream and guacamole for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal.

Hawaiian Pizza Casserole

For a tropical twist, use diced ham instead of ground turkey and add some pineapple chunks to the vegetable mixture. Top the casserole with shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake as directed. This sweet and savory combination is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Meat Lover’s Pizza Casserole

If you’re a fan of meat lover’s pizza, you can add all your favorite toppings to this casserole. Try adding cooked bacon, pepperoni, and Italian sausage to the turkey and vegetable mixture before baking. Top with extra cheese for a hearty and indulgent meal.

Grandma’s Pizza Casserole Recipe

Difficulty:IntermediatePrep time: 15 minutesCook time: 30 minutesRest time: 40 minutesTotal time: 45 minutesServings:6-8 servingsCalories:350 kcal Best Season:Summer


Hungry for a dinner that’s both delicious and guilt-free? Keep reading, because Grandma’s Pizza Casserole is about to become your kitchen’s MVP.



  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water generously. Once boiling, add the bow tie pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, brown the ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Drain excess grease when finished and transfer meat to a plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  4. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  5. Layer half of the cooked pasta noodles over the sauce.
  6. Spread 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce over the pasta layer. Sprinkle with the oregano and garlic powder.
  7. Scatter the cooked ground meat evenly over the sauce layer.
  8. Arrange a layer of pepperoni slices over the meat.
  9. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the pepperoni.
  10. Top with half of the shredded Italian cheese blend.
  11. Add any additional toppings like olives, sausage, onions etc. if desired.
  12. Top with the remaining half of the cooked pasta noodles.
  13. Spread the remaining pasta sauce evenly over the top layer of pasta.
  14. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
  15. Top with the remaining half of the shredded Italian cheese.
  16. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.
  17. Let the casserole rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Now serve and enjoy the delicious pizza
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Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re new to assembling casseroles, you may have some questions about tackling Grandma’s famous pizza bake. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What can I substitute if I don’t have bowtie pasta?

Any small pasta shape like penne, rotini or elbow macaroni would work well in place of the bowties. You want a pasta that will hold sauce.

Do I need to cook the pasta al dente?

Yes, the pasta should be cooked until al dente, which is just shy of being fully cooked through. This prevents the pasta from getting mushy when baked.

Can I prep this the night before?

Absolutely! Assemble the casserole in the baking dish, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Add 15 minutes to the covered baking time.

What if my family doesn’t like pepperoni?

Pepperoni gives great flavor, but you can leave it out or sub with browned Italian sausage or crumbled bacon.

Do I need to use a glass baking dish?

The casserole can be baked in a glass or metal baking dish. Ceramic would work too. Just avoid baking in disposable aluminum pans.


Casseroles, especially those rooted in family history, are more than food. They carry tradition, spark reunions, and forge connections. Making Grandma’s Pizza Casserole isn’t just cooking dinner; it’s reliving shared memories and cherishing the present. Gather around for life’s moments, catch up with friends over a meal, or enjoy a cozy night with Grandma’s Pizza Casserole. It embodies the joy of good company and delicious food.

Next time you crave a heartwarming dish, try Grandma’s Pizza Casserole. Its heritage and ability to unite make it a family favorite. Share, savor, and add your twist. Tradition evolves as we write our family’s story, one bite at a time.


Hey there! I'm Emma, the nostalgic home cook behind When I'm not busy cooking up childhood classics in my Portland kitchen, you can find this 80s-music loving thrift shopper spending time with my family and hunting for vintage treasures.

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