Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole [+VIDEO]

Picky eaters are going to love this Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole. Mom called it busy day casserole because it’s a quick and easy dinner.


a white casserole dish with a ground beef, rice and carrot casserole with melted colby jack cheese on top and parsley for garnish.



Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Alright, this Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole recipe is definitely not my norm, but it is who I am and it happens to be a recipe that I get a crazy amount of emails about. A long time ago (and seriously, check out the picture and you’ll laugh your heart out at how little I knew about food photography), I posted a recipe called Busy Day Casserole and it has been one of my top recipes for years now. It never disappears from the most viewed recipes. In fact, a lot of our hamburger recipe ideas are our top recipes. You can find them all here.

People love this cheesy ground beef and rice casserole, and while it’s totally simple I know why. This quick and easy dinner idea with ground beef and melted cheese is in fact the cure for all picky eaters. It’s very dependent on you for the seasoning so for picky eaters it’s perfect, but if you want more flavor season it well or add in more vegetables. If you wanted to try something similar, but with chicken, try this!



a purple plate with a fork with a wood handle next to a ground beef and rice casserole full of bits of bright orange carrots and melted colby jack cheese all over the top.



What’s in This Ground Beef Casserole Recipe?

The ingredients you’ll need for this ground beef and rice recipe will vary depending on whether you want to make this casserole completely from scratch, semi-homemade, or if you’d rather throw together something really quickly (i.e. use a few shortcuts). 

If you have the time and energy, I highly recommend making this casserole recipe with ground beef from scratch. Don’t let the longer ingredients list fool you, I bet you already have most of them on hand already!

To make this cheesy beef and rice casserole completely from scratch, you’ll need some butter, onion, garlic, flour, cream, chicken broth, veggies, cheese, white rice, ground beef, and water. Oh, and salt and pepper, of course! 

If you’re looking for a simpler hamburger recipe idea, the quicker version of this casserole (which is noted in the recipe card below) uses canned condensed soup, veggies, ground beef, cheese, and rice. Pick whichever version of this beef and rice casserole you have time to make — I know you won’t always have time for the from-scratch version! 

How to Make Hamburger and Rice Casserole Without Canned Soup

When you read through the from-scratch recipe for this ground beef casserole, you’ll notice that I use my own mixture for the liquid instead of cream of mushroom soup. You can do either, we just don’t cook with cream of anything soup at our house anymore, but it is what I grew up with, so I wanted you to have all of the versions. 

  • To make this ground beef casserole recipe, you’ll first need to prepare the homemade canned soup. Making a homemade canned soup is actually quite easy. You’ll need some butter, flour for thickening, milk or cream and seasoning to taste. If you’re making a from scratch canned soup with mushrooms, just add those in too!
  • Start by whisking the melted butter and onion or mushrooms with the flour in a hot pot until it clumps up. Next, add in the liquid and whisk, while boiling until thickened. Add in your seasonings and you’ve got condensed soup!
  • To finish making this casserole recipe, simply combine the soup mixture with the rice, water, browned ground beef, and veggies in a greased baking dish. 
  • Bake for around 90 minutes, then top with cheese and return to the oven until the cheese has melted. 



a wooden spoon scooping a ground beef, rice and carrots casserole with melted cheese on the top



What Vegetables are Good in a Casserole?

This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is a great casserole to add any veggies you’d like, but we recommend broccoli, peas, corn or even green beans.

Do I Need to Cover a Casserole with Foil?

This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole does not need to be covered with foil to bake. I know it seems like it will, especially as you see that rice start to cook, but it’s just fine as is. In fact I really like the top and sides to get a very slight crispness as it adds so much flavor and texture to this hamburger and rice casserole. You can tent with foil if you can’t resist.

Why Didn’t my Rice Cook?

If your casserole finishes cooking and you find yourself asking why didn’t my rice cook in my beef rice casserole, well I’m guessing you used the wrong rice, or your oven didn’t hold a constant heat. There’s plenty of moisture and time, so there’s no reason this casserole wouldn’t bake up perfectly.


A dark purple plate with a wooden handled fork sitting next to a scoop of cheesy ground beef and rice casserole with carrots and a little parsley chopped up as garnish on top.



What Should I Serve with Hamburger and Rice Casserole?

The beauty of this easy ground beef recipe is that it’s a full meal all by itself. You get carbs from the rice, protein from the beef, and fiber and extra nutrients from the veggies. 

But if you’re trying to bulk up this meal or have a little extra time on your hands, you may want to consider pairing your serving of beef and rice casserole with a simple salad or sauteed veggies. Really though, you don’t need a side for this easy ground beef and rice recipe! 

What Rice to Use in Casseroles?

Long grain, white rice is the best rice to use in casseroles as it doesn’t become sticky or mushy when baked. You cannot use quick rice in this ground beef casserole unless you adjust the liquid according to package directions and cook the carrots completely before mixing it all together

Best Recipes For Picky Eaters

The cheese is also a little different only because again, we don’t really buy medium cheddar cheese, we usually get Colby Jack and since they are so similar I don’t mind using it, either one will work though. This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is something that even as a food blogger I totally love to eat and the kids do too. It’s one of the best recipes for picky eaters. It’s something really simple on their little palates and it has cheese which is always a good thing.

So, to my sweet momma who had to put up with my picky little self, thanks for this delicious Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole recipe that is feeding people everywhere. I say you’re famous for it now. You didn’t know you’d end up famous did you?


A wooden table with a wooden serving spoon on it next to a blue and white striped napkin which is sitting under a white, square casserole dish full of cheesy ground beef and rice casserole with parsley sprinkled over the top


More CASSEROLE RECIPES You’re Sure to Love:


Super Easy Ground Beef Recipes:

You can find all of our beef recipes here.


a wooden spoon scooping a ground beef, rice and carrots casserole with melted cheese on the top
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4.43 from 126 votes

Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Picky eaters are going to love this quick and easy dinner. Mom called it busy day casserole but our readers call is cheesy ground beef and rice casserole. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner
Keyword: beef, carrots, casserole, cheese, ground beef, main dish, rice
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 659kcal
Author: Sweet Basil


Quick Recipe

  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Carrots sliced
  • 1/2-1 lb Ground Beef cooked
  • Cheddar or colby jack cheese sliced about 9 pieces

Semi Homemade

  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 to 1 lb depending on preference ground beef, cooked
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • Pacific Foods Mushroom gravy 13.9 ounces
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Colby Jack or Medium Cheddar Cheese for topping

From Scratch

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup onion minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup minced white button mushroom
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2-1 lb Ground Beef cooked
  • 1 Cup Carrots sliced
  • Cheddar or colby Jack Cheese sliced- about 9 slices
  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice


Quick Recipe

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x9" baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Stir together the soup,rice, water, carrots, and beef.
  • Place in the baking dish and bake for 90 minutes.
  • Top with cheese slices and bake a few more minutes or until melted.

Semi Homemade

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x9" baking dish.
  • Whisk together the water, mushroom gravy, and milk.
  • Add the mushroom mix, rice, cooked beef and carrots to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Dump into an 8x9" baking dish and bake, uncovered for 90 minutes.
  • Add slices of cheese and return to the oven for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.

From Scratch

  • In a medium pan over medium heat, add the butter and melt.
  • Whisk in the onion, garlic and mushrooms.
  • Add the flour, whisking continually and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  • Add the cream and broth and cook until thick.
  • Season and remove from heat.
  • Heat the oven to 350 and spray an 8x9" baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Place the cream mixture, rice, water, beef and carrots into the dish and stir to combine.
  • Bake for 90 minutes, add the cheese and bake for a few more minutes or until melted.



Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 659kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 771mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g
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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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491 comments on “Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole [+VIDEO]”

  1. Pingback: Cheesy Ground Beef And Rice Casserole Recipe - Cafedeles

  2. 5 stars
    Love your site, appreciate all of the instructions as I am trying to get away from using canned soup and thanks to you I know what the best rice is and why! Also love your tender comments about learning from your mom.

  3. I’ve made this several times following the scratch recipe, using gluten free flour. We love this dish. Tonight being very short on time instead of using raw rice I pre cooked the rice and eliminated the water. Baked for 25 min added cheese and baked 5 min more.  Of course the texture is not as firm, but the flavor was just as awesome.  Sometimes I add more vegetables, like zucchini just to bump up our vegetable consumption.  Being just 2 of us the leftovers are wonderful too. Thanks for a great recipe

  4. 5 stars
    I have made this twice now, and so far it’s the only way baby will eat ground beef! We love this casserole! I have to admit I have only done the fast way so far, but I plan on making it from scratch next time
    Also I did change one thing
    I used frozen mixed vegetables instead of just carrots.
    Thanks guys! I love your recipes


  6. Can I substitute with minute made rice?

  7. Great recipe! Made the scratch version for dinner yesterday, and it was delicious! My picky toddler loved it too! Today we enjoyed leftovers. I used an 8×8 Pyrex dish, and I didn’t have any issues with the rice drying out. I put foil over the top around the 30 minute mark just in case. While I could have cooked for the full 90 minutes, the rice seemed cooked at around the 75 minute mark, so I took it out.  Thanks for the great recipe! 

  8. Thank you for the great recipe. We really enjoyed it. Instead of cooking it in the oven I put it all in the rice cooker and it was easy and turned out great.

  9. Scrolled this page for about three minutes, and never found the recipe. Literally not worth any more time if I would have to look this long for a recipe every time my screen blacks out. So ridiculous. Do you not have kids or something? 

    • You made it to the section to leave a comment which is actually past the recipe card! So you scrolled right by it. You can also always click the print recipe button and it opens the just the recipe in another screen. I do that all the time when I’m making recipes using my phone.

    • I had no problem finding the recipe and it surely did not take me 3 minutes. I think your comment was rude and unnecessary!! This recipe look’s and sounds delicious. I can’t wait to make it for my family, thank you for sharing it!! 😀

  10. I have the casserole in the oven at the moment. I have been reading the comments on how well it cooked for others. I learned to stir the rice as it’s cooking. The first time I stirred the casserole, the rice was staring to stick to the bottom of the pan with liquid on top. Now it’s all evenly cooking. I can’t wait until it’s done!

  11. So I tried this receipe and was so excited, then I pulled it out of the oven and all of the meat & soup had floated to the top and burned while my rice was perfectly cooked!

  12. Great recipe, very yummy! Any suggestions for other ways to use the left over Miso paste? Marinade? Make into another type of sauce? Ideas??? It’s too good to not use up!

  13. I’m confused. It calls for an 8 x 9″ baking dish? And it’s 8 servings with no other side? Do you mean an 8 x 8 with 4 – 6 servings? Or a 13 x 9 with 8 servings? If it’s truly an 8 x 9 pan any idea where to buy that size?

    • We have an actual 8×9″ baking dish which is a really odd size. An 8×8 or 9×9 will work just fine. And it is really hearty so it makes about eight 1 cup servings.

  14. Are the times to cook the same if I double it?

  15. Where can I find this recipe,?

  16. How should I adjust cooking time if I use ground bison?

  17. Easy and delicious! I had a container of Trader Joe’s portobello mushroom condensed soup and I added a sprinkling of peas. Everybody loved it and it was so easy to throw together! Thank you!! 

  18. The content layout on this page is truly horrible. I suspect it is only intended to increase dwell time metrics.

    That said, I lost interest in this recipe because I had to scroll way too far to get to it.

    Candid feedback.

  19. I love love love this recipe. I can get my kids to eat all there vegetables with this dish. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. I only have Goya brand medium grain white rice. If I want to use that rice instead, how should I adjust the recipe time in oven to make sure the rice is cooked? Or should I try to cook the rice a bit before adding to the oven?

    • Hi Shelby, that should work just the same. No changes needed. Enjoy!

    • Can I turn this into a freezer meal? Would I freeze it before baking it or after? Thanks so much for this recipe, I have a husband who takes the trophy for the “most picky eater” award and I can’t wait to get the thumbs up I have a feeling will surely come from him when he tries it. 😉👍

      • Yes absolutely! Cook it completely without the cheese, and then allow it to cool completely. Then freeze it. Put the cheese on it and warm it up in the oven. Please let us know if it passes the picky husband test!

    • Thank you for the recipe! I am making this dish tonight for a freezer meal! What would you recommend for the reheating instructions? You wrote previously to warm it in the oven, but at what temperature and how long? 

      • Hey Christine! You can warm it up in the oven for about 15 or 20 minutes on 300 or in the microwave. You might want to add a little bit of water to keep it from drying out. A tablespoon or two will be great.