Mince Pasta Bake is a hearty pasta with juicy beef, al dente macaroni, a simple tomato sauce and lots of cheese. Quick and easy to make, it will soon become a much loved family favorite. This beef mince pasta bake will tick the taste, texture and comfort food boxes and then some 😁👌.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Everyday ingredients: you will be able to get everything you need to make this simple dish from your local grocery store. They are year round available ingredients that will be easy to get your hands on.
- Budget friendly: there is nothing in this macaroni pasta bake that will break the bank. Mince beef is cheaper than other cuts of meat and pasta is an economical ingredient any time of year.
- Family friendly: this is a recipe that the whole family can enjoy together. Whilst there is garlic in the dish, it is only a small amount and blends in well with the layers of pasta and other ingredients. The Italian herbs add flavour but again, they do not overwhelm the dish, so give the kids a fork and let them dig in!
- Comfort food: beef mince pasta bake is one of the most crowd pleasing meals you can concoct. Not only is there pasta, there is a delicious and hearty meaty sauce which is then covered in cheese. It is the kind of comfort food that is almost too good to be true, right 🥰😘!!
- Freezer friendly: whether you want to freeze the minced beef pasta before you bake it as a means to have an easy homemade recipe ready to go one night or freeze leftover portions for busy weeknights both options will work without compromising the flavor of the dish.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the pasta bake with mince beef recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Olive oil: we use the oil to cook the beef mince as one of the initial recipe steps.
- Salt and pepper: we use salt and a little bit of black pepper to season the beef mince before we cook it.
- Garlic: we add the garlic to the pan when we are cooking the beef. You can use fresh garlic cloves (2-3) finely diced or a tablespoon of chunky chopped or minced garlic.
- Italian herbs: also known as Italian seasoning. This helps to bring flavor to the beef as it cooks.
- Worcestershire sauce: this adds a little oomph to meat based recipes. Give the bottle a shake before measuring the 2 tablespoons.
- Tomato paste: thick and rich with tomato flavor, this can also be used an an easy pizza sauce if you need a quick option!
- Onion: we use ½ of a large onion. Peeled and diced. This gets added to the pan as we cook the beef.
- Diced tomatoes: we use 1 tin of these.
- Passata: this helps to create the tomato sauce for the pasta bake. It is smooth and rich and in some countries it is referred to as 'tomato puree'.
- Celery: adds a vegetable to the pasta bake. We use about 4 stalks and give them a fine slice with a knife and chopping board.
- Red kidney beans: this is a standard tin of red kidney beans. We drain and rinse these before adding them to the tomato sauce.
- Macaroni: the pasta we use for the recipe is macaroni. It cooks quickly and pairs well with the beef and sauce combination.
- Beef mince: also known as ground beef. This is an excellent cut of meat that is versatile and lends itself to a wide variety of recipes and cooking methods.
🧀 Cheese For Pasta Bake
- Cheese: we use 2 types of grated cheese to top the pasta bake. Plenty of cheese is never a bad thing right 😂. The 1st is a cheddar cheese or tasty cheese for flavour. Both cheeses are best freshly grated using a handheld or box grater.
- Mozzarella cheese: this is the 2nd type of cheese used to top the pasta bake. It is also the best cheese for pasta bake as whilst it is relatively mild in flavour it melts and 'pulls' very well. This allows us to both have an ooey gooey cheese layer as well and cheese flavor.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by browning the beef mince.
- Add the oil, garlic, beef mince and onion to a pan (Photo 1)
- Add the Italian herbs, salt and pepper (Photo 2)
- Next add the passata and diced tomatoes (Photo 3)
- Add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Mince Pasta Bake
Start the recipe by placing a large heavy based frying pan or saute pan on the stove top. Then turn the heat to high, add the olive oil, beef mince, garlic, diced onion, Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
Cook, using a wooden spoon to break up any clumps of meat as you go. The mince will take 8-10 minutes to cook.
Once the beef is browned, we want to add the sauce ingredients. So pour in the passata, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Then stir these to create the mince sauce.
You can now turn the heat down to medium-high and add the celery and red kidney beans. You can see me doing this in the photos below 😉👍.
- Stir to combine (Photo 5)
- Add the celery pieces (Photo 6)
- Then add the red kidney beans (Photo 7)
- Stir again to combine (Photo 8)
Next we want to cook the macaroni. To do so place a medium saucepan on a separate element, fill with water and a pinch of salt and then read and follow the packet instructions on the macaroni to cook it.
Once the macaroni is cooked, use a colander over the sink to drain it and discard the water.
Then add the cooked pasta to the combined meat mixture with the sauce and vegetables.
- Add the cooked pasta (Photo 9)
- Stir to combine (Photo 10)
- Transfer the mixture into a baking dish (Photo 11)
- Top with both cheeses (Photo 12)
Once everything is combined in the saute pan, you can grab the oiled baking dish (a casserole dish will work too!) and use a wooden spoon to transfer the mixture in. Then use the bake of the spoon to flatten the meat mixture pushing it into the corners of the dish also.
Next sprinkle the top of the beef pasta bake with both types of cheese.
Once done, place it onto the oven on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and let it bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
During this time the cheese will melt and the surface of the mince and vegetable pasta bake turn a lovely golden brown 🥰👌.
Now that all of your hard work is done, you can get your garnish on and get ready to serve the dish! I have some suggestions to help below.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
When it comes to serving your pasta bake, some bread pairings that will work well are the Turkish Garlic Bread, Garlic Pizza Bread or the Garlic Ciabatta Bread. For a speedy option the Tortilla Garlic Bread offers a homemade garlic bread that takes less than 15 minutes.
For garnish, some black pepper and basil leaves will do the trick and you can see what this will look like in the photo above.
Grab some bowls, forks and spoons and spoon portions into everyone's dish, there is going to be some cheese going here, there and everywhere and we all know that is the best thing about a cheesy pasta bake!
Then get ready to shout 'its dinner time!' from the kitchen for the gang to come running.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Next day leftovers taste even better!
Store the leftover mince pasta bake in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge. They can be refrigerated for 3 days and are best consumed hot.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into air tight containers or zip lock bags, squeeze the air out then seal. Frozen portions of the dish can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
Or you have the option to make the recipe in its entirety then covered with cling wrap and freeze. Then when ready to cook, remove from the freezer, let the baking dish sit till it comes to room temperature (so that it doesn't go very quickly from a cold temperature to a very hot one) and then oven bake till heated through with the cheese on top melted.
How to Reheat
Allow frozen portions to fully thaw in the fridge overnight or on the bench during the day before reheating. Reheat in the microwave (fastest) covered with plastic wrap for 2 to 3 minutes. Or you can add the cooked pasta bake back to a pan on the stove, turn to medium heat and stir till the pasta is heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- In place of the dried Italian seasoning you can use the equivalent amount of either dried basil, dried parsley or dried oregano.
- If you want to use lean ground beef for a healthier option you can.
- You can use a different type of pasta if you wish to. Elbow macaroni, penne pasta or fusilli spiral pasta are all good choices. Short pasta works best over long pastas for baking.
- You can use a tin of four bean mix in place of the red kidney beans if you wish to.
- For extra vegetables you can add a peeled and diced carrot.
- You can use pork mince (ground pork) in place of the beef mince (equivalent amount) if you want to.
- You can use crushed tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes if you prefer.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- When purchasing the diced tomatoes, go for a plain tin with no additional herbs or spices (it Italian flavored diced tomatoes).
- If you don't have the energy to grate your own cheese a store bought shredded Italian cheese blend will do the trick.
- After you have cooked the beef mince if you notice that there is a lot of excess oil in the base of the pan, you can use a wooden spoon to move the cooked beef to one side, fold a piece of paper towel and use tongs to remove this liquid.
- When we cook the pasta, we want to stop short of over cooking it. This is because it will also cook a little bit further in the oven and we don't want it to be too mushy. So test a bit once you have cooking it for about 7 minutes and if it is still a bit chewy then that will be perfect! 👌😁
- If you love a good pasta bake you might also like to try the Chorizo Pasta Bake, Baked Ziti With Meatballs, Meatball Rigatoni or the Baked Pasta Bolognese.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to cook pasta before baking?
Yes, it is necessary to cook pasta before baking it. However, the trick is to under cook it slightly when initially boiling it on the stove. This is because it will continue to cook when it is in the oven with the sauce and minced beef.
Do you bake pasta covered or uncovered?
Uncovered. As most of the dish has been cooked already and we are simply oven baking it to allow the cheese to melt, we place the pasta bake into the oven uncovered.
Do you let pasta cool before adding sauce?
No, we don't want to let the pasta cool before adding it to sauce. This is because as it cools, it starts to stick to the rest of the pasta. If however, as soon as it is drained, it is tossed in sauce, you will find that the hot pasta will help the sauce and meat mixture combine easily.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Let's make dinner easy and something to look forward to! To achieve this we need a wide variety of options to turn to that we know we tick a lot of our boxes. These recipes are those solutions:
- Chicken Pesto Linguine
- Pesto Pasta Bake
- Spinach and Feta Pizza
- Pork Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
- Air Fryer Tortilla Pizza
- Penne Bolognese
- Salmon Linguine
- Thai Minced Pork
- Polenta Al Forno
- Baked Meatballs In Sauce
Mince Pasta Bake
Beef Mince Filling
- 2 tbs olive oil Note 1
- 500 grams/16 oz beef mince (ground beef) Note 2
- ½ large onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic chunky,minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs Note 3
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 700 grams/24.5 oz passata
- 400 grams/14 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce Note 4
Beans and Vegetables
- 2 cups celery finely chopped, Note 5
- 400 grams/14 oz red kidney beans Note 6
- 2 cup dried macaroni Note 7
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese grated using a hand held or box grater
- ½ cup tasty cheese grated using a hand held or box grater
- black pepper
- basil leaves
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Baking dish: spray a large baking dish with cooking oil and then set aside.
- Cook the beef: heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy based pan. Add the garlic, beef mince, onion, Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Cook till browned and use a wooden spoon to stir and break up any clumps of meat as you go.
- Tomato sauce: once the minced beef is cooked, reduce the heat to medium-high and add the passata, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Then stir to combine.
- Beans and vegetables: next add the celery pieces and red kidney beans to the combined meat and sauce mixture and stir to consistently combine.
- Pasta: bring a medium saucepan with salted water to the boil and read and follow the instructions on the macaroni packet to cook it. Stop cooking it when the pasta is al dente (a little bit chewy). Then use a colander over the sink to drain the pasta and discard the water.
- Combine: add the cooked hot pasta to the meat and sauce and stir to combine. Then use a wooden spoon to transfer the mixture into the oiled baking dish.
- Cheese: sprinkle a layer of each of the tasty cheese and mozzarella cheese over the top of the pasta bake.
- Oven bake: place the pasta bake into the oven and cook for 10 - 15 minutes. It will be ready when the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
- Serve: use oven mitts to remove the cooked pasta bake from the oven and place it onto a heat proof surface. Season with black pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Note 1 - Olive oil: we use the oil to cook the beef mince as one of the initial recipe steps.
- Note 2 - Beef mince: also known as ground beef. This is an excellent cut of meat that is versatile and lends itself to a wide variety of recipes and cooking methods.
- Note 3 - Italian herbs: also known as Italian seasoning. This helps to bring flavor to the beef as it cooks. You can use 1 teaspoon of either dried basil, parsley or oregano in place of the combined seasoning if you wish to.
- Note 4 - Worcestershire sauce: this adds a little oomph to meat based recipes. Give the bottle a shake before measuring the 2 tablespoons.
- Note 5 - Celery: adds a vegetable to the pasta bake. We use about 4 stalks and give them a fine slice with a knife and chopping board.
- Note 6 - Red kidney beans: this is a standard tin of red kidney beans. We drain and rinse these before adding them to the tomato sauce.
- Note 7 - Macaroni: the pasta we use for the recipe is macaroni. It cooks quickly and pairs well with the beef and sauce combination.
- Serving size: this recipe will allow for 6 adult servings of the pasta bake. You can also reduce the serving sizes to increase the quantities by making the portions smaller.
- Measurements: I use an Australian 20ml tablespoon for measuring where 1 tablespoon has been referred to.
I initially published a version of this recipe in October 2019 and called it a Ground Beef Casserole. In September 2023 I remade the recipe with minor alterations and published it with new photos and title Minced Pasta Bake.