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.
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!
read more: Looking for easy casserole recipes? Try our Pork Chop Casserole with Rice next!
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.
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.
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?
Super Easy Ground Beef Recipes:
- Mexican Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- Shepherd’s Pie
- One-Skillet Enchilada Ground Beef Casserole
- 30 Minute Skillet Beef Pot Pie
- Cheesy Enchilada Chili
- Taco Pinwheels
- World’s Best Chili (Made in an Instant Pot!)
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Easy Sloppy Joes
- Teriyaki Piña Colada Burger
- Southern Pimento Cheeseburgers
You can find all of our beef recipes here.
Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1 Cup Long Grain White Rice, uncooked
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Carrots, sliced
- 1/2-1 lb Ground Beef, cooked
- Cheddar or Colby Jack Cheese, sliced about 9 pieces
- 1 Cup Long Grain White Rice, uncooked
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/2 to 1 lb Ground Beef, cooked, depending on preference
- 1 cup Carrots, sliced
- Pacific Foods Mushroom gravy 13.9 ounces
- 1/2 cup Milk
- Colby Jack or Medium Cheddar Cheese for topping
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 cup Onion, minced
- 1 clove Garlic , minced
- 1/2 cup White Button Mushroom, minced
- 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 Long Grain White Rice, uncooked
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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Can I use ground deer meat instead of ground beef or should I mix them together?
Hi Martha! This is great question! I honestly don’t cook with venison often, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work well. Venison is much leaner, but I don’t see that being an issue in this recipe. I would give it a go…either all venison or a mix of two!
Nancy J Rogers
Made the quick recipe and it was delicious! I did substitute leftover turkey for the ground beef, added a teaspoon of garlic powder. Fantastic!!
Yay! Thank you so much Nancy! I love the sound of using turkey in it! Yum!
Very good, I’ve made it multiple times from the quick recipe to scratch. The kids will eat it too.
Yay! Thank you so much Julie! Love to hear this!
I did the quick recipe- tossed in 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper when I browned the meat! Then added 2cups thawed mixed vegetables! My husband LOVED it and said I could make it weekly as far as he’s concerned! GREAT easy recipe that’s easy on the budget too!
Thank you so much Phyllis! It’s such a great comfort meal!
Tried this recipe and am pleased! Very easy which is needed in my busy schedule and after putting my own magic touch its definitely a hit. Thank you!
Thank you so much for the feedback!! Glad you enjoyed it!
I just made this. Eating now, as I post.
I want to say it’s my fault for not reading the lengthy post, but there is too much to read and too many pop ups
This recipe claims ‘favorite’ … ‘most sought after’ and it’s just ok. No seasoning in the recipe itself. After I put it together, I was freaked out how bland it would be. I went crazy with the S&P and garlic salt and it isn’t too bad
I Would make this again, just season next time
Hello! Yes, this is why the recipe says to season to taste! It is meant for those picky little eaters, but you’ll definitely want to add salt and pepper.
I love how you made 3 ways to make this recipe: 1) fast, 2) semi-homemade, and 3) from scratch. That is smartest thing ever. I hope you do this on more recipes. Also, we’re planning on buying your cookbook.
Yay! Thank you so much David! Everything is better from scratch but sometimes life just demands faster…haha! We appreciate the support!
I agree 100%, she’s amazing for offering us 3 ways to prepare the recipe. I plan to purchase her cookbooks aswell. 📖 📕 📘 👩🍳 🍳
Thank you so much Pamela!
Looks good but we need lower sodium recipes too.
Hi guys! I’m an 80 year old adventurer in food and other life adventures!
Thank you for being my mentors to make ground turkey/beef tip/Italian sausage/jasmine/onion/garlic/herb/crumb/cheese stuffed roasted poblanos with a zesty cheese sauce! I love a creative beginning , so that I can conjure up a lovely looking entree! Another thought: serve on a bed of Mexican rice with cheese sauce drizzled over the poblano entree!Grilled squashes on the side,seasoned with smoked paprika & sprinkled with fresh Mexican spices. ! Sandy
That sounds so amazing Sandy! I love your food adventure! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Very impressive website and recipes. I plan to share your site with my family 👪 and friends. Thank you so much. 💓
I appreciate the support so much Pamela! Thank you!
This is good! Thank you. How do I double it (or at least increase the servings I’m making) in the instant pot? (I used 2 cups of water & cooked it on high for 6 min. & that was perfect for the 1 lb meat/ 1 c. Rice /1 can cream of mushroom soup).
Hi Kim! We actually have a post on making this in the instant pot (https://ohsweetbasil.com/instant-pot-cheesy-ground-beef-and-rice-casserole-recipe/). You would just double the ingredients and add a couple of minutes to the cook time. You’ll need an 8qt instant pot for it to fit. You could one and half it in a 6qt pot. I hope this helps!
Such a good casserole to warm us up on a cold and snowy night.
Thank you Jill! So glad you enjoyed it!
I want to try this ground beef and rice recipe to give to someone. It would need to be frozen. Is this possible? Do I cook, then freeze or at what point do I stop preparing and freeze? Thanks!
Hi Julie! Yes, this recipe freezes great. Make it as written except don’t add the cheese. Let it cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and foil. When you are ready to make it, warm it up in the oven and add the cheese for the last few minutes of baking.
I made this from scratch, put in the oven in a cast iron pan (with a lid on) for 30mins and it was done! A little bland, but a sprinkle of smoked paprika and a good tsp of salt fixed that- i grated on some cheddar and some red leicester cheese, another 10mins in the oven to melt and my gosh, it was amazing! The kids didnt notice the mushroom, and I also added sliced half moon zucchini too. Thankyou so much for a quick and cheap weeknight dinner!
Sounds so delicious! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for the feedback Ellen!
I didn’t realize how long the recipe was and I read the comments and came across yours and it SAVED ME! I bumped my oven up to 400 for another 15 minutes (After 30 at 350) and then added the cheese. It was perfect!
Thank you for the feedback Tami!
Like Stel, I used basmati rice in mine. It was good! Nice base recipe to flavor up however you want. I only had frozen mushrooms. A good hack to use frozen mushrooms (or corn or anything else) to add the flour in last. I started with a bit of butter to sizzle some garlic, then added the heavy cream and frozen mushrooms. Once it simmered, I mixed 1/3 cup of milk with 2 TB of flour (I use GF) then stired it in and kept stiring for 5 minutes. It thickens up really nice this way! I also used frozen veggie mix and covered the casserole to reduce cook time to about 65 mins. Thanks for sharing a good recipe!
Hi Helene! Thank you so much for all the tips! This is great feedback!
I’ve made this recipe twice now (currently have the second round going in the oven!).
The recipe is a good jumping off point for a quick and easy meal. I did a sort of hybrid between the quick recipe and the semi-homemade.
I sauteed about half a large onion, the ground beef and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Seasoned with the recommendations from other comments of crushed red pepper flakes, italian seasoning and a bit of smoked paprika (I like the colour it gives, plus who doesn’t love paprika?) and a good bit of salt and pepper. To me, “season to taste” has always meant just the addition of salt and pepper to preference, not what is essentially all the flavour of a dish – so that was a bit weird, but whatever, it’s not hard to figure out what additions would be good that you also have on hand.
I like to whisk the mushroom soup with the water first to avoid clumps, then add in the carrots and onions, stir to mix everything and then layer in the beef (add all the juices from the pan as well). Bake for 90 mins and add the cheese a bit before it’s done – easy dinner!
I did use basmati this time around so I’m curious to see how that turns out.
Thank you so much for the feedback Stel! I’m totally with you on the paprika! It is in so many of our recipes! Thank you for taking time to leave your tips and insights!
Thank you for another quick, easy and delicious recipe. Love your recipes and stories about your family. Have a good evening.
Thank you so much Jill! You support means everything to us!
I cooked my jasmine rice in a pressure cooker with beef stock, while I sautéed green onion and carrots in butter. When carrots were almost tender I added hamburger and browned it all together. Added small can mushroom, can of condensed mushroom soup, and almost a can of milk. Baked 20 minutes to set, added cheese until melty . Awesome recipe!
Thank you Kelly! I love how you improvised to make it work for you!
The reason rice might not cook is
Thank you! Great tip!
Question: If you use the quick recipe do you first reconstitute the soup?
Hi Susan! No, you just you the soup straight from the can.
Looking for recipes with rice I could make more diabetes-friendly with brown rice and decided to try this one. I used the from scratch version since I also want to avoid the wheat, soy and sodium in condensed soups. I really appreciate that you provide that option. I used regular 2% milk and it was fine, just watch that it doesn’t cook too hot and fast or it could curdle. Added a LOT more spice — Italian blend, chili powder and lemon pepper — and used a mix of brown rice, wild rice and lentils that my local grocery carries in bulk. I used the same amount of liquid that the recipe calls for and threw in some frozen corn with the carrots. I don’t know how regular white rice isn’t dried to a crisp after 90 minutes. I checked after 60 mins and it was almost there. Added grated cheese to the top and with another 20 minutes it was perfect.
Thank you so much for leaving feedback for us! I love how you took this recipe and totally made it your own!
This is my second time coming back for this recipe. The first time I made it because I was searching for what I could do with the few ingredients I had in the house before pay day. This time I am back just because my family loved the recipe so much. I doubled the recipe last time to make sure we would have plenty of left overs and it worked perfectly. Really delicious and comforting.
By the way, I really loved all the details and beautful photos you included and had no issue finding the actual recipe. After having gotten lost in the comment section, I have to say, some of the commenters are beyond obnoxious, not your post layout.
Thanks for the delicious recipe!
Thank you so so much Elizabeth! So glad this was a hit for your family and thank you so much for your support!
I love cooking and am into to following recipes from you. thanks you much much!
Thank you!! We love to hear that!
Great easy casserole!
Yes!! so true 😉
Thank you you so much for having a “from Scratch” option. Also thank you for stating it up front. I don’t canned goods in my cooking and get frustrated when I find canned goods in recipes I want to try. I have to decide if it’s worth trying to modify myself or move on to something else.
You’re welcome Philip! We love cooking everything from scratch as much as we can! Hope you enjoy this recipe! It is a favorite of ours!
Do you think I would be able to substitute quick-cooking brown rice would work in this? I have the Della brand from Costco
Yes, I think that should work fine. You’ll probably want to add a little more liquid as brown rice soaks up more liquid than white.
This was great! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you so much and you’re welcome!
I liked this recipe. I read the comments about it being bland so i spontaneously added Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and even some Cajun seasoning. I used para boiled long grain white rice so it took only an hour compared to 90 minutes. I also used ground turkey because it’s what i had. It turned out really good. It’s comfort food and good for leftovers.
Thank you so much for the feedback Christine! So glad you enjoyed it!
Ever try this with brown rice?
I haven’t tried it, but it would definitely take more time to cook and need more water.
I followed the recipe exactly as it is. I’m guessing because it’s instant rice it may not need the liquid like regular rice would. It was great!
Thank you for the feedback!! So glad you enjoyed it!
Fairly bland. I did add some seasoning. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Used chicken broth instead of water and it’s still extremely bland. I read several comments about children enjoying this particular recipe and I can definitely understand that because again it’s bland As an adult cooking for myself and my husband this was definitely not a winner
Hi Vanessa! That’s why the recipe says to season to taste. We’ve had several people add onions, garlic, herbs, other vegetables, etc. to amp up the flavor. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it.
One can never have enough good, tasty ground beef recipes! This one looks SO good, and I know it’s something the whole family will love!
Amen! Budget and family friendly! Thanks Callie!
Great! I used cream of chicken instead of mushroom I don’t care for mushroom. Added a little butter in the mix (That caused a tad bit of grease) but must have decreased the cook time. Ready in one hour. Rice is nice and tendered and the flavor awesome. Sometimes you don’t need to measure just use your eye. (This is that kind of recipe) That’s what I did and it turned out perfect! Thank you🙌🏽
Thank you so much for the feedback Keosha!
This recipe, for lack of a better phrase, was a waste of ingredients. I even went the homemade route. The rice was still hard even after an extra 25 minutes in the oven and was bland. Ended up ordering takeout. Win some, lose some. I do like the site and have made other things that have turned out great.
I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out for you! The rice wasn’t cooked after 90 minutes in the oven? That shouldn’t be possible. It is made to be kid friendly, so you might want to add more salt and pepper to taste.
I love this! Have you tried making it in the Crock-Pot? Do I need to make any changes?
We have a recipe on the blog for making it in an Instant Pot, but we haven’t tried it in the crock pot. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work though! Here is the Instant Pot post: https://ohsweetbasil.com/instant-pot-cheesy-ground-beef-and-rice-casserole-recipe/
So delicious. I used this as a jumping off point that would suit my tastes.
Before sautéing the beef I sautéed some onions and then when I put in the garlic I added some Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and fresh ground peppers. Once the beef was brown I added in some shakes of Worcestershire sauce and a tone of salt.
I ended up just subbing more chicken broth in for the cream and used just over a cup. I heavily seasoned the roux as well.
The vegetables I used were broccoli and carrots because that’s what I had. I mixed it all up, added the water and let it go for 90 minutes. Like many others I panicked at 60 minutes but noticed the rice was still not done. After 90 minutes I added shredded up some cheddar and a little Parmesan. I shredded too much because my eyes are alwayssssss bigger than my recipe so I mixed some in and added the rest on top. A few minutes later I had a delicious dish.
I know I changed a lot but I thought this could be helpful to those who aren’t quite sure when she means “season to taste”
Thank you so much Chelsea! This is one of the reasons we love cooking…take a recipe and then make it your own! Your version sounds totally delicious!
Hi! I made this tonight and it’s back in the oven now with cheese on top. I think we must have a super fast oven because this seemed done in 45 min, but I stirred it and left it in. Just took it out to add cheese, and actually added a little beef broth because it seemed dry. Smells amazing though and should be done soon! This seems great on it’s own, or as a base to add your own touch. Thanks for the recipe!
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.
Thank you so much Joan! We would love to hear what you think of this recipe made from scratch!
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
Yay! Love to hear that Katie! Thank you for taking time to leave us some valuable feedback!
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
Mixed vegetables…I love that! Thank you for the feedback and for your support!
Wow….just put this in the oven …it smells great!
Reading the reviews and I must say….you have some of the most rude comments I have ever seen. The folks that “can’t find the recipe” but can find a way to comment must just be trolls that can’t operate any machinery or electronic devices. I think your layout is great….especially how you give 3 options….I scratch make most everthing….thanks!
Thank you so much Graham! I hope you loved eating it as much as you loved smelling it!
I tried this recipe and it is HORRIBLE! AND, BY THE WAY, YOU MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO POST A COMMENT WITH ALL THE ICONS ON THE LEFT SIDE!
Can I substitute with minute made rice?
Hi Nicole! Minute Rice is hard because it doesn’t absorb all the liquid and it cooks too fast. I wouldn’t recommend it.