Baked Penne Casserole comes together in mere minutes for a quick family meal. Meatballs are combined with penne noodles, pasta sauce and cheese for the perfect weeknight casserole recipe!

Serve this with a side salad and some crusty bread.

Cheesy baked penne in a white bowl garnished with parsley

Penne is the perfect shaped pasta for this saucy bake! Round, tubular shapes that hold the sauce and the cheese inside as well as on the outside.

How to Make a Penne Pasta Bake

  1. Bake meatballs in a 9×13 pan according to package instructions (or according to your favorite meatball recipe).
  2. In a pan, saute onion and garlic until fragrant and stir in reamaining sauce ingredients.
  3. Add sauce along with cooked penne to the meatballs (in the same pan… less dishes!) and top with cheese. Bake until heated through.

Garnish with a little parsley and serve with a slice of homemade garlic bread for the perfect meal!

Baked Penne ingredients in a casserole dish

Variations

PENNE

    • Any medium pasta will work in this recipe. Shells, rotini or even ziti.

MEATBALLS

    • Use store bought or homemade meatballs.
    • Swap out the meatballs for leftover pieces of meatloaf or leftover hamburger patties.
    • Instead of meatballs, create a meat sauce with ground beef or turkey.
    • Swap out beef meatballs for turkey meatballs.

SAUCE

    • Use store bought sauce or homemade marinara.
    • Use leftover spaghetti sauce.
    • Add shredded or chopped veggies to the sauce to stretch the meal (and for added nutrition).

Baked Penne in a casserole dish

Got Leftovers?

Cheesy baked penne pasta makes for perfect leftovers! Simply store leftovers in a container that can be sealed and place in the fridge. Better yet, store leftovers in small freezer containers or plastic bags and grab-and-go for a quick lunch at the desk or a quick bite after school!

To reheat, just put in the microwave. Give it a stir and refresh the flavors with sprinkle of cheese!

 

More Baked Pasta Faves

Cheesy baked penne in a white bowl garnished with parsley
5 from 17 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Baked Penne Casserole

Penne pasta and meatballs in a tomato sauce, topped with mozza cheese and baked until bubbly!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Servings 6
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Ingredients  

  • 12 ounces penne pasta* cooked al dente
  • 1 pound prepared meatballs or recipe below
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce or pasta sauce
  • 14 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Place meatballs in a 9x13 pan and bake 20 minutes (or according to recipe or package directions).
  • Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes or until softened.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven. Drain fat if there is a lot in the bottom, if there is a little bit you can leave it for flavor.
  • Add cooked penne, and remaining ingredients to the 9x13 pan with the meatballs. Stir to combine.
  • Top with cheese and bake an additional 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Notes

To Make Homemade Meatballs combine the ingredients below. Roll into 24 meatballs and bake at 375°F for 20 to 22 minutes or until cooked through. 
1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons parsley
5 from 17 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 6g | Calories: 508 | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 883mg | Potassium: 765mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 244mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Cheesy baked penne in a casserole dish with writing
Cheesy baked penne in a bowl with writing
Ingredients for cheesy baked penne in a casserole dish and cheesy baked penne with a spoon and writing

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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Comments

  1. Hello! I made this and loved it! Id like to prep the meal and freeze it so my husband can put it straight into the oven to cook, but Im not sure how to do that. Id prefer not to cook it first. I am using frozen meatballs. Would I cook the meatballs and pasta, assemble, and then freeze? Or leave the meatballs (fully cooked) frozen? What are your suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Hi Jessica, I have never tried prepping and freezing this ahead of time. But you should be able to cook the pasta, let cool, then combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. The meatballs, since precooked, should be fine to stay frozen. I would take it out to thaw in the fridge the night before then cook according to the recipe instructions. We would love to hear how it turns out for you!

  2. I just now made your recipe for the first time ever, but I added one can of diced tomatoes. So hoping my picky kids like it. This dish looks great and smells awesome. It was very easy to put together as well, so that was a bonus to me! Thanks so much for this recipe! Update: Both kids did like it and asked for seconds and third servings of this dish! So awesome, it will be a keeper recipe for us! Great recipe!5 stars

  3. I just now made your recipe for the first time ever, but I added one can of diced tomatoes. So hoping my picky kids like it. This dish looks great and smells awesome. It was very easy to put together as well, so that was a bonus to me! Thanks so much for this recipe!