5 from 7 votes

Pizza Casserole

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Pizza casserole takes under 30 minutes to make, including boiling your pasta. It’s my kid’s favorite pizza dish and is so family-loved that it’s kept on rotation. 

This quick and easy pizza meal will have everyone saying YUM and MORE, PLEASE.

pepperoni pizza pasta casserole in a cast iron pan.

Kid-approved pizza casserole combines the beloved taste of a slice of pizza with flavorful and filling pasta. Inexpensive to make, cheesy, and makes excellent leftovers – the perfect dinner combination!

Why you will love this Kid Friendly Casserole!

Pizza, by its very nature, is a kid-friendly dish, but there is more than one way to enjoy pizza flavors without an actual pizza. From pizza dippizza rollspull-apart pizza bread, or even big mac pizza, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy popular pizza.

Perfect for picky eaters, kids will adore the pasta combined with pepperoni and pasta sauce for a slice-free meal. Easy, cheesy, and done in 30 minutes, this dish also makes great leftovers, which means tomorrow’s dinner will be made too!

Simple Ingredients

  • Rotini pasta
  • Italian sausage
  • minced garlic
  • chopped onion
  • green bell pepper
  • pepperoni slices
  • pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • mozzarella cheese

How to make Pepperoni Pizza Casserole.

Pasta is an incredible comfort food and great for weeknight dinners. Incredibly hearty and filling, you cannot go wrong when you combine delicious flavors like rotini pasta (or penne pasta) in a large skillet with Italian pasta.

I can think of many delicious main dishes and side dish recipes that start this way, and the kid-friendly pizza casserole recipe is no exception.

Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. This ensures the oven is ready and at the right temperature when your casserole is ready to bake.

Cook the Pasta: Prepare the rotini pasta by cooking it according to the package directions. This usually involves boiling in salted water until al dente. Drain pasta and set it aside for later.

Tip: Add a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking!

Brown the Sausage: In a cast-iron pan, add the ground sausage. Cook it over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned. If there’s excess grease, drain it from the pan to keep the dish from becoming too oily.

6 image collage of how to make pizza casserole.

Add Veggies: Stir in minced garlic, chopped onions, and diced green peppers. Cook these ingredients for an additional 3-5 minutes. This process softens the onions and green peppers, releasing their flavors.

Mix in More Goodies: Stir in sliced pepperoni, pre-cooked pasta, and tomato sauce. Mix well to ensure all the ingredients are nicely coated and mingled together.

Cheese It Up: Top your pizza casserole with shredded mozzarella cheese. Be generous if you love it cheesy!

Bake the Casserole: Place the pan into the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is beautifully melted and all ingredients are heated. You’re looking for a bubbly and golden top.

Personalize Your Pizza Pasta Bake: After taking it out of the oven, top it with Parmesan cheese, sliced black olives, mushrooms, or any of your favorite pizza toppings. Whether you love extra cheese, a sprinkle of chili flakes, or fresh basil, make it yours!

Serve and Enjoy: Let the casserole rest for a few minutes before serving. Dish it with a side salad, green beans, or some garlic bread, and you have a meal everyone will love! The pasta mixture also tastes great with light pepper flakes.

Expert Tips for a Perfect Pepperoni Casserole

Are you trying to make a mouthwatering casserole but don’t have an ovenproof skillet like a cast-iron pan? Don’t fret! 

  1. No Cast Iron Pan? No Problem! If you lack an ovenproof skillet, transfer your mix to a greased casserole or baking dish and pop it in the oven. It’s that simple!
  2. Greasy Meat? Drain It! If you’re using greasy ground sausage or other proteins, don’t forget to drain any excess grease. It’s the secret to a perfect balance of flavors.
  3. Go Meaty or Vegetarian: Whether you love Italian sausage, ground beef, or diced ham, this casserole is versatile. Just substitute to suit your taste. Love meat? Go for it!

Variations for Kid-Friendly Pizza Casserole

Trying to create a casserole that both kids and adults will adore? Here’s the secret: customization! 

From pasta choices to additional toppings, here’s how you can make this pizza casserole your own:

Choosing Your Pasta:

You can make this pizza pasta bake a hit with different pasta shapes and sizes. Here’s what you might consider:

  1. Bowtie: Fun for the kids and classy for the adults. A versatile choice that holds sauces well.
  2. Penne: Great for robust sauces. Its cylindrical shape captures meat and sauce perfectly.
  3. Macaroni Shells: Ideal for cheese lovers. These little shells will hug your sauce and create a gooey delight.

But remember that different shapes give a unique taste as they carry the sauce and meat differently. Our top recommendation? Rotini! 

It’s fabulous at snagging all those flavorful ingredients, making every bite a flavor party in your mouth.

Add More Veggies:

Want to sneak in some healthy stuff? Add chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, or even spinach. The kids won’t even notice!

Swap the Meat:

Not a sausage fan? Try ground chicken, lean ground beef, ground turkey, or even a meat substitute. Also, seasoning the meat with Italian Seasoning is a great choice. 

This recipe is all about flexibility.

Cheese Galore:

Love cheese? Mix different types like mozzarella, cheddar, or Parmesan. It’s all about that cheesy goodness!

Remember, cooking is all about creativity. Mix and match your favorite toppings to suit your family’s tastes. This kid-friendly pizza casserole is your canvas, so paint it with flavors they love!

FAQs – All Your Casserole Questions Answered!

Can I freeze the pizza pasta casserole?

Yes, you sure can! Prep your dish up until the cheese part (hold off on adding it), cover, and freeze.

When ready to enjoy, thaw it naturally overnight in the fridge and bake in a 350-degree oven for up to an hour.

Remember to add cheese in the final 10 minutes of baking. Your hot and melty casserole is ready when everything’s sizzling in the center.

plate of cheesy pizza casserole in a cast iron pan.

Can I use something other than pasta?

Got dietary restrictions, or want to try something new? Many folks love substituting pasta with veggies like broccoli or cauliflower, especially for keto or low-carb diets.

Feel free to make the swap, but remember, the taste will be a bit different. Still yummy, though!

How to store leftover pizza casserole. 

Cool It Down: Allow the leftover casserole to cool to room temperature. Leaving it out too long can create a breeding ground for bacteria, so aim to cool it within two hours.

Choose Proper Containers: Use airtight containers or heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap the casserole. This helps in preserving the flavor and preventing any contamination.

More Delicious Casserole Recipes

If you’ve got an appetite for amazing and filling casserole dishes, don’t stop at just one. Explore some of my all-time favorite recipes.

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole: Craving a juicy cheeseburger but wanting something new? Dive into this cheeseburger tater to casserole! Layers of seasoned beef, gooey cheese, and crispy tater tots combine to create an irresistibly delicious dish. Perfect for family dinners or game days, click to explore this comfort food masterpiece!

Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole: Bring a touch of sweetness to your dinner table with this sweet potato crunch casserole. Imagine creamy sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy pecan crumble, creating a taste sensation that dances on your taste buds. Click now to discover this delightful dish, perfect for holidays or a cozy family meal!

Frito Chicken Casserole: Get ready for a Tex-Mex twist with this Frito chicken casserole! Tender chicken layered with zesty salsa, crunchy Fritos, and melted cheese makes for a flavor-packed meal. It’s the perfect combination of salty crunch and savory goodness. Intrigued? Click to uncover this unique, family-friendly recipe!

Million Dollar Chicken Casserole: Feel like indulging in something extravagant? Look no further than this million-dollar chicken casserole! Creamy, rich, and topped with flaky golden pastry, this dish lives up to its luxurious name. Experience flavors that make you feel like a million bucks! Click here to taste luxury on a plate.

Mexican Street Corn Casserole: Spice up your dinner routine with this Mexican Street corn casserole! Inspired by the flavors of traditional Mexican street corn, this casserole combines grilled corn, tangy lime, spicy chili, and creamy cheese for an unforgettable meal. Ready to excite your taste buds? 

Ham and Potato Casserole: Comfort food at its best – that’s what our ham and potato casserole is all about! Juicy ham, tender potatoes, and a creamy sauce are baked to perfection for a meal that warms the soul. Ideal for using leftover ham or creating a new family favorite, click to uncover this heartwarming recipe today!

5 from 7 votes

Kid Friendly Pizza Casserole


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Alright, pizza lovers! Pizza casserole takes under 30 minutes to make; it's my kid's favorite pizza dish and is so family-loved that it's kept on rotation. Get ready to whip up a mouthwatering dish that combines the magic of pizza with the comfort of a casserole. This Pizza Pasta Bake, often referred to as Pizza Pepperoni Casserole, is bound to be your new family favorite.

Ingredients
 

  • 8 oz. rotini pasta cooked and drained
  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage cooked
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup pepperoni slices
  • 14 oz. pizza sauce jar- any flavor
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the Oven Like a Pro: Get things sizzling by preheating your oven to 350°F. You're setting the stage for a mouth-watering pizza casserole!
  • Pasta Time: Now, grab that box of rotini pasta. Cook it as the package suggests because they know their stuff. Once it's cooked to al dente perfection, drain it and set it aside. This twisty pasta is ideal for our pizza casserole as it grabs onto the sauce and toppings.
  • In your trusty cast iron pan (or any pan you have on hand), toss in cooked ground sausage. Let it sizzle and cook until it's gorgeously brown. If the sausage is too greasy, drain off the excess. This ensures your pizza pasta bake isn't swimming in oil.
  • Add in garlic, chopped onions, and green peppers. Let everything mingle and cook together for about 3-5 minutes. We want those onions and peppers to soften, soaking in all the flavors.
  • Now for the fun part! Stir in those delicious slices of pepperoni, cooked pasta, and tomato sauce. Mix it all up until everything's hugging each other in that pan.
  • Layer that mozzarella on top. Don't be shy – the cheesier, the better.
  • Bake that Pizza Pasta Bake: Carefully place the pan into the preheated oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it until the cheese is melted, and everything is bubbling.
  • Serve: Once out of the oven, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese for a sharp bite. Try adding black olives, cooked sliced mushrooms, or any of your top-tier pizza ingredients. Maybe some chili flakes for a kick? Customize it to your heart's content!

Notes

Can pizza Casserole be frozen? 
Yes, this dish can be prepped up until the point where cheese is added (but don’t add it), covered and frozen. Prior to eating, just unfreeze overnight (fridge natural thaw works great) and bake (versus skillet) in a 350 degree oven for up to an hour.
Add cheese in the final 10 minutes of baking.
Final cooking times will vary and the baked pasta dish is ready once everything is hot and melty through the center. 
Is there a substitute for pasta in this dish?
Many people like using broccoli or cauliflower to substitute as pasta in dishes for nutritional needs like keto or low carb. That is fine to do, however, it certainly won’t be the same meal.

Nutrition

Serving: 6people | Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 1076mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 486IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 7 votes

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2 Comments

  1. Audrey McClelland says:

    I made this PIZZA CAssErole on satfor my 5 kids (who are the pickiest eaters on the planet!) and they loved this!! It was easy and hearty and the leftovers were just as good on sunday for breakfast (LOL!) too!!!!! I will be adding this in as a staple for our family.

    1. I am so excited you loved this pizza casserole dish! I know how hard it is to get kids to eat, so it makes me so happy this is going on your menu. 🙂

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