Crock Pot Pizza Casserole is the best of both worlds: pizza and pasta! Get all the ingredients added to your slow cooker then let it do the rest of the work!
AN EASY FAMILY FAVORITE CASSEROLE
The next time you’re on the hunt for what to make for dinner and can’t decide between pasta or pizza, make this Crock Pot Pizza Casserole. It’s all the flavors that you love about pizza mixed with cheese, pasta and ground beef. It’s the ultimate comfort food dinner.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
You can definitely make this in the oven if you prefer. Once you’ve made the sauce and pasta combination, layer it with the cheese in a 9×13-inch baking dish instead of the crock pot insert. Then bake uncovered at 350F for 30 minutes or so until the top cheese has melted and everything is warmed through.
Having said that, some folks just prefer using a crock pot for meals. Maybe because they know once they put it all in the crock pot, they can walk away knowing it won’t burn or that they can set it to go to the “keep warm” setting after it’s done cooking and it will be ready when they are ready. There are a lot of different reasons so you do whichever you prefer.
This is pizza casserole, so I went with pizza sauce. But, I completely understand if you don’t want to purchase three jars of pizza sauce. You can certainly use marinara sauce. Keep in mind that marinara sauce is typically thinner than pizza sauce, so that can change the texture of the dish, and you need to know that the pizza sauce and marinara sauce jars are different sizes.
Pizza sauce jars are usually 14 ounces, making it 42 ounces that you need in total. With marinara sauce or pasta sauce, they’re usually 24 ounces (sometimes larger but 24 ounce is a standard size), so you’d need 2 jars and you won’t need to use the entire second jar (unless you want it really saucy).
Unfortunately, this recipe has only been tested with cooked pasta. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I just haven’t tested that. You would definitely have to add much more liquid for the pasta to cook in and soak up.
Yes. You can pretty much use your favorite pizza toppings except for maybe pineapple. I’m not sure how that would turn out. If using peppers or mushrooms, I would add them in while cooking the ground beef so they can soften up slightly first.
Yes! Which is one thing I love about recipes like this. Prepare the noodles and the sauce. Keep the noodles separate from the sauce in the fridge. When ready to assemble, just stir the noodles into the sauce and proceed with the recipe as written from step 7.
You do not have to do this but I have found that some pepperoni can release a lot of grease so I prefer to cook some of that out first but that is personal preference.
No. This needs to be cooked on low heat. If cooked on high, the edges may burn. Since you can’t stir it around, burning is highly likely on high heat (especially if you have a metal insert instead of ceramic).
It won’t fit in one crock pot unfortunately. You would need to use a separate crock pot.
Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or try to freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or covered with foil in a baking dish in the oven. I do not suggest reheating in the slow cooker.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- rigatoni – you can use any type of pasta you prefer, just use the same amount.
- lean ground beef – I used a leaner (80/20) ground beef but you are cooking it first so if you want to go with a fattier ground beef that is fine since we don’t have to worry about it releasing a lot of grease while in the crock pot.
- Italian sausage – this is optional, you can use all ground beef if you prefer.
- sweet onion – if you don’t like the onion then just leave it out.
- pepperoni – use your favorite pizza toppings (see above on other ideas).
- garlic – I prefer fresh garlic but jarred garlic is fine.
- pizza sauce – please see my FAQ (frequently asked questions) above for more detail on this.
- shredded mozzarella – I used pre-shredded but you can freshly shred if you prefer.
- chopped parsley – you can use fresh or dried or don’t use it at all. I like to add parsley to recipes like this just to give it a little color but it is not necessary for taste.
HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT PIZZA CASSEROLE
Spray a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray and set aside. Cook the rigatoni per the directions on the back of the box to al dente, drain well, and set aside. While the rigatoni is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and sausage, break it up into crumbles, and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and there is no pink left in the meat.
Lower the heat to medium-low, add the pepperoni and garlic to the pan, stir it in well, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the mixture well and add it to a large bowl. Add the pizza sauce to the bowl and stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and stir well until everything is coated.
Add half of the pasta mixture to the slow cooker. Top with half of the cheese.
Add the remaining pasta mixture on top. Add the remaining cheese on top of the pasta.
Add the lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours until warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with parsley garnish if using.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
- Spray a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the rigatoni per the directions on the back of the box to al dente, drain well, and set aside.
- While the rigatoni is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and sausage, break it up into crumbles, and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and there is no pink left in the meat.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, add the pepperoni and garlic to the pan, stir it in well, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the mixture well and add it to a large bowl. Add the pizza sauce to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the cooked pasta and stir well until everything is coated.
- Add half of the pasta mixture to the slow cooker.
- Top with half of the cheese.
- Add the remaining pasta mixture on top.
- Add the remaining cheese on top of the pasta.
- Add the lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours until warmed through and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately with chopped parsley (if using)
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.