Crockpot Pizza Casserole is an easy weeknight dinner everyone LOVES! All the flavors of your favorite pizza, slow-cooked to perfection.
A simple and delicious kid-friendly crockpot casserole recipe. It's even a wonderful leftover lunch the next day!
Looking for a simple, family-friendly casserole dinner recipe that doesn't disappoint?
Great! We've got you covered!
The reality is, we don't have time to try a million recipes hoping one will work for everybody's tastebuds, and we're sure you don't either!
We serve this yummy Tater Tot Casserole all the time. However, the all-time favorite is this Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole. It's a winner for everyone in our house, and we're sure it will be in yours too!
With the crowd-pleasing taste of pizza and the ease of your crockpot, it's the perfect recipe for busy weeknights. It is a family favorite worth trying.
This literally is one of the easiest kid-friendly crockpot casserole meals.
Not only do we make it on busy nights, but we also take it to get-togethers because everyone loves it. It's the best potluck crockpot idea.
The basic ingredients for this slow cooker pizza recipe are below.
The shredded zucchini is optional but a great way to increase the nutritional value and hide some veggies for the kiddos 🙂
- Ground Sausage - ½ pound of ground Italian sausage (browned and drained)
- Ground Beef - 1 pound of lean ground beef (browned and drained)
- Onion - ½ large white onion (diced)
- Pasta - 8-ounce box (approximately ½ pound) of short whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, penne, or ziti), undercooked slightly
- Red Sauce - 2 (14-ounce) jars of marinara sauce (aka pizza sauce)
- Italian Seasoning - 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- Garlic - 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- Zucchini - 1 small zucchini, shredded (optional)
- Pepperoni - 8-ounce package of sliced pepperoni (placed between paper towels and microwaved for a few seconds to remove extra grease)
- Mozzarella Cheese - 16 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan - ½ cup Parmesan cheese
You can certainly use ground beef or ground turkey, but the recipe may not be as flavor-packed.
How to Make - Step By Step
Let's get the crockpot (or slow cooker) out and start!
Step 1 - BROWN MEAT AND COOK PASTA
Before you brown the meat, put a pot of water on the stove to boil the pasta. Follow the pasta cooking instructions but slightly undercook it for the best results in the crockpot.
Now, while the pasta is cooking, brown, and then drain the meat.
Step 2 - LAYER INGREDIENTS IN CROCKPOT
Next, spray the crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, place all ingredients in the crockpot except ⅓ of the cheese, and mix well.
Tip: to remove excess grease from the pepperoni, place it in the microwave between paper towels for approximately 10-20 seconds.
Step 3 - COOK
Next, top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and set it to cook for 3 - 4 hours. Our crockpot works well, so 3 hours was plenty.
Test your pizza casserole at three hours to make sure it doesn't overcook.
This is the crockpot we use - it's held up year after year.
Oven Instructions for Pizza Casserole
If you don't have time for the slow cooking process and you prefer to make this pizza casserole in the oven, follow these instructions:
- Cook ground beef and pasta and layer ingredients as instructed. Top with remaining cheese.
- Then, place the pasta recipe in the oven at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for 30-40 minutes.
Can I Use Different Pizza Topping for this Casserole?
Yes, you can customize this pizza casserole with the toppings of your choice! Depending on what you choose, you want to make sure the toppings are cooked before they go in the crockpot.
- Swap out the mild Italian sausage for spicy.
- Instead of pepperoni, try Canadian bacon or salami.
- Use the cheese of your choice; provolone would also be good.
- You can add olives or other veggies.
Can I freeze It?
You can absolutely freeze any leftover Crockpot Pizza Casserole. First, let it cool completely, place it in an airtight container, label it, and then place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make sure to follow our tips to prevent freezer burn.
To defrost the pizza casserole you made in the slow cooker, take it out of the freezer the night before, and reheat it in an oven-safe dish or microwave.
More Delicious Crock Pot Recipes
Tips & Tricks
- Use short but sturdy pasta like ziti, rigatoni, or penne in your slow cooker recipe.
- We don't recommend cooking this recipe on high as it may burn.
- You can substitute regular pasta for whole-wheat pasta if that's what your family prefers.
- You can add some shredded veggies like carrot or zucchini for an added nutrition boost. You can also add diced bell pepper.
- Store any leftovers (if any) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
- This Crock pot Pizza Casserole is a wonderful leftover lunch the next day.
(this version is made with spiral pasta)
What To Serve with a Crockpot Casserole
- Serve with a green salad, and dinner is done!
- Make some crispy garlic bread, and you'd be in heaven!
- A side of green beans, broccoli, or roasted Brussels sprouts would also go nicely.
We Love Hearing from YOU!
If you try Crock Pot Pizza Casserole or any other recipe on Suburban Simplicity, don't forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it went in the comments below, we love hearing from you! Better yet, use the hashtag #suburbansimplicity if you make the recipe.
Crockpot Pizza Casserole Recipe
- 4-6-quart Crockpot
- Spatula or cooking spoon
- non-stick cooking spray
- ½ pound of ground Italian sausage (browned and drained (mild or spicy))
- 1 pound of ground beef (browned and drained)
- ½ large white onion (diced)
- 8 ounce box of short whole wheat pasta ((rigatoni, penne or ziti), undercooked slightly)
- 2 (14-ounce) jars of marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small zucchini (shredded (optional))
- 8 ounce package of sliced pepperoni (placed between paper towels and microwaved for a few seconds to remove extra grease)
- 16 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Brown ground beef and cook pasta al dente. Spray the inside of a 4 - 6 quart Crock-Pot with non-stick spray.
- Mix all ingredients in the crockpot except for ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese.
- Place the remaining cheese on top of all ingredients.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 3 - 4 hours. If cooked longer than 4 hours or on high, it may burn (THREE hours works perfectly fine in our crockpot)
- For best results, read the cooking instructions and then undercook the pasta slightly before putting it in the crockpot.
- Use short but sturdy pasta like ziti, rigatoni, or penne.
- We do not recommend cooking this recipe on high as it may burn.
- Regular pasta can be substituted for whole wheat pasta if that's what your family prefers.
- Freeze any leftover in an airtight container for up to three months.
- Keep in an airtight container the refrigerator for about 4-5 days.
Updated with enhanced instructions and tips on December 7, 2019, and more images and a video on November 11, 2020.
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