Loaded Mashed Potato and Meatball Casserole

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
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This Loaded Mashed Potato and Meatball Casserole combines two family-friendly favorites into one irresistible dinner! Tender meatballs in marinara are topped with mozzarella, and baked over creamy, loaded mashed potatoes.

Savory Meatballs and Marinara with Loaded Mashed Potatoes

This easy potato and meatball casserole dish is perfect for busy families! It’s solid, wholesome comfort food that’s easy to make, even on a weeknight. Loaded mashed potatoes are topped with juicy Homemade Meatballs, my favorite Homemade Marinara Sauce, and cheese. Baked until bubbly, this casserole is a terrific combination of two favorite dishes.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t have to be cooked completely (or at all) from scratch. You can choose which elements of this recipe you want to make from scratch, or use store-bought. It’s up to you! I use store-bought, refrigerated mashed potatoes (that we doctor up with all the fixings) to save time, but you could also use frozen meatballs and marinara sauce from a jar. Easy!

Close-up shot of a loaded mashed potato and meatball casserole, with one serving taken out to show texture.

What You’ll Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need the ingredients for the meatballs, potatoes, and sauce. Each item is simple, and uses mainly pantry staples and fridge basics. Here’s the complete list:

From top: ground beef, ground pork, onion, bread crumbs, salt, eggs, garlic, parsley, parmesan, pepper.

For the Meatballs

  • Ground Beef and Ground Pork: A combination of lean ground beef and ground pork makes a savory, flavorful meatball.
  • Bread Crumbs: Use fine, fresh breadcrumbs. This recipe is not ideal for using Panko.
  • Onion: Dice up the onion, or finely chop it for a more subtle flavor.
  • Eggs: Large, whole eggs bind he mixture together. 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic: Mince the garlic, or put it through a garlic press.
  • Parsley: You can use fresh minced parsley, or parsley flakes.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Fresh or from a jar is fine.
From top: Mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, salt, garlic, parsley, pepper, eggs.

For the Loaded Mashed Potatoes

  • Mashed Potatoes: I use store-bought, or you can make your own. I highly recommend my Garlic Mashed Potatoes for this recipe if you have the time to make them from scratch!
  • Parsley: Again, you can do fresh or dried – whichever is best for you.
  • Bacon: Cooked, chopped bacon gives these potatoes a ton of flavor.
  • Garlic: Mince or press the garlic, or just use garlic powder.
  • Eggs: Eggs are optional, but they do add extra richness.
  • Cheddar: A bit of shredded cheddar gives these that classic “loaded” taste.
  • Salt and Pepper
From top left: Tomato sauce, fresh basil, onion, pepper, olive oil, salt, garlic, spices.

For the Sauce

  • Olive Oil: For sauteing.
  • Onion: Diced or finely chopped.
  • Garlic: Minced.
  • Tomato Sauce: Plain tomato sauce in a can or a box is the base for this flavorful sauce. You can also use strained tomatoes.
  • Basil: I love fresh basil in this sauce, but dried also works.
  • Salt, Pepper, and Sugar: To balance out the sauce.
  • Thyme and Oregano: You could also use Italian Seasoning blend.

For the Topping

  • Mozzarella: Mozzarella slices are better than shreds, because they will stay put on top of the meatballs. However, you can use shredded mozzarella if you prefer.
Baked loaded mashed potato casserole with meatballs, sauce, and cheese.

How to Make It

Loaded mashed potato and meatball casserole has three basic components: the mashed potatoes, the meatballs, and the sauce. Making each one is very easy! Here’s how to do it.

Make the Meatballs

  1. Get Ready. First things first – preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet or cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper, so the meatballs won’t stick.
  2. Mix and Shape the Meatballs. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in one large mixing bow. Gently mix until well-combined, but don’t over-mix, and don’t pack the mixture together. Then use a large ice cream scoop to divide the meat into 12 even portions, and roll the portions gently into meatballs.
  3. Bake. Place the meatballs on the cookie sheet, and bake for about half an hour, until the meatballs are cooked through. Then take them out of the oven and set them aside.

Make the Loaded Mashed Potatoes

  1. Mix the Potato Ingredients. While the meatballs are baking, spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Then combine all of the loaded mashed potato ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir well to combine. 
  2. Shape the Potato Scoops. Use a large ice cream scoop to measure the potatoes into large balls, and line them up in your baking dish in four rows of three. 
  3. Top the Potato Scoops with the Meatballs. Make dent in the center of each scoop, for a meatball to sit in. I like to use a large cookie scoop to form the indents. Place one baked meatball on top of each potato scoop.

Make the Marinara Sauce

  1. Cook the Aromatics. Set a large saucepan over medium heat, and add a swirl of olive oil. Cook the onions in the hot oil for about five minutes, until they are softened, and then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for an additional 60 seconds to release the fragrance. 
  2. Add the Tomato Sauce and Seasonings. Next, pour in the tomato sauce, and stir in the basil. Cook for ten minutes, before adding the salt, sugar, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Cook for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  3. Top the Meatballs and Bake. Top each meatball with sauce, and then with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes.
  4. Broil. Finally, turn on the broiler to 500°F. Move the casserole to the top rack, and broil until the cheese is lightly browned. This should only take a few minutes, so keep a close eye on it to prevent burning. Note that when using the broiler, it’s safer to use metal pans, rather than glass or ceramic, which can break under the high heat.
  5. Enjoy!
A serving of potatoes and meatballs being lifted from a casserole dish on a serving utensil.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

These are my favorite helpful hints for making this potato and meatball casserole, easily and successfully. Read on, and enjoy! This savory dish is sure to be a favorite.

  • Protein Options: I like to use beef and pork for my meatballs, but you can use any combination of beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. Also, if you don’t want to use two types of meat, you can instead use my recipe to make traditional Baked Italian Meatballs instead.
  • Sauce Substitutes: Substitute any gravy or cream sauce that you like for the marinara. You can even use my Best Alfredo Sauce on top!
  • Cheese Choices: You can also use different cheeses, such as muenster, provolone, or even mild cheddar, depending on your family’s preferences!
A serving of cheesy potatoes and meatballs on a small plate.

What to Serve with Loaded Mashed Potato and Meatball Casserole

To serve this crowd-pleasing dish, pair it with a simple side dish or two. These recipes are easy to make, and sure to please.

  • Bread: This recipe for Goat Cheese Garlic Bread goes Netflix beautifully with meatballs and marinara. 
  • Salad: This fresh and flavorful Greek Salad is a classic way to add raw veggies to any meal.
  • Carrots: Add a touch of earthy sweetness, with traditional Candied Carrots. They’re a cinch to make, and so satisfying.
  • Green Beans: Some sautéed Green Beans with Bacon would also pair great with this dish to add an extra veggie to the mix!

Storing and Reheating the Leftovers

To store leftovers, place in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I Freeze This Casserole?

Yes, this freezes well. Just pack the cooled casserole in an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, before baking.

More Easy Dinner Ideas

Up close image of meatball potato casserole with a serving removed so you can see the inside layers.
4.5 from 62 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 6 Servings

Loaded Mashed Potato and Meatball Casserole

This Loaded Mashed Potato and Meatball Casserole tender meatballs in marinara with mozzarella, and creamy, loaded mashed potatoes.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground bef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • cup grated parmesan cheese

For the Loaded Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes, about 5 potatoes, if using homemade
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For the Marinara Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 large basil leaves, minced (or 1 tablespoon dried basil)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano

For the Topping

  • 12 slices mozzarella cheese

Instructions 

Make the Meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet or cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the meat into 12 even pieces, and roll between your hands to form meatballs.
  • Place on the cookie sheet, and bake for 28 – 30 minutes, until cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.

Make the Loaded Mashed Potatoes:

  • Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the loaded mashed potato ingredients, and mix well.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop 12 large balls of mashed potato mixture, and line them up in the baking dish in rows of 3.
  • Using a small scoop or spoon, create a dip in the center of each potato ball for the meatball to sit on top.
  • Place the baked meatballs in the hole on top of the potato balls.

Make the Marinara Sauce:

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes, until softened, and then add the garlic. Cook for an additional 60 seconds. 
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, and stir. Add the basil to the sauce and cook the sauce for 10 minutes. 
  • Add the salt, sugar, pepper, thyme, and oregano, and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Put it all Together:

  • Place a scoop of sauce on top of each meatball, and top each mound with a slice of mozzarella cheese.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Turn on the broiler to 500°F, and move the casserole to the top rack. Broil until the cheese is lightly browned, about 3 – 5 minutes. NOTE: Broiling is safest in metal baking pans. Glass and ceramic pans may break under high heat.
  • Remove and serve with your favorite side dish and bread.

Video

Notes

Storage: To store leftovers, place in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 766kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 266mg, Sodium: 2502mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g

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Can this be made up a head of time?

5 stars
I changed it just a little for I needed to use some little frozen meatballs up I had. I also used Pepper Jack & Mozzarella for my cheeses on top. Yummy

Was wondering if rice would work in this ?

5 stars
No additional salt. Between the bacon and the pork sausage, it was salty enough already. Added butter and sour cream to the potatoes. Thanks for posting,it was a fun recipe.

5 stars
My husband likes food to have alotnod flavor. He really liked this and so did my teenage boys. This recipe is a keeper.

My wife loved this meatball casserole. I had leftover mashed potatoes and homemade meatballs in the freezer. I substituted tomato sauce for a can of cream of mushroom. Next casserole will be with chicken. Thanks for recipe

I made this!
Absolutely Delicious!
I had some leftovers so i froze them! Again delicious!
Try it!
You can use store bought meatballs and mashed potatoes to save time!!!

I didn’t understand the serving size. Does this make 12? And how many is one serving? 2? So 6 servings?

Can you use brown gravy instead of the marinara sauce?

Can this go in the oven?

Gonna be honest, I had high hopes for this recipe but it tastes like vomit. Spaghetti sauce and mashed potatoes DO NOT go together. Yuck.

This was so good and so clever cute. I used leftover smashed potatoes and leeks and used turkey for the meatballs.

I made it this evening for dinner and added fresh peas. It was fabulous!

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.