This hamburger casserole is a wholesome, hearty, and protein-packed weeknight dinner. Made with ground turkey, a sweet potato cheese sauce, warm spices, and noodles, you’ll love this nourishing alternative to classic Hamburger Helper.
The OG hamburger casserole comes from a box and is essentially noodles and a powdered cheese sauce with ground hamburger mixed in. While boxed food has a time and a place, we’re here to help you recreate hamburger casserole in your own home with a Fit Foodie twist.
Say hello to our revamped, still hearty yet totally wholesome, hamburger casserole with a sweet potato cheese sauce. This easy and delicious hamburger casserole is made with spiced ground turkey, puréed sweet potatoes + cheese, and noodles. It bakes up in the oven to bubbly golden brown perfection – a comfort food we all love!
“I made this tonight and everyone in my family loved it! Picky kids included.” – Trish
What You Need for Hamburger Casserole
No boxed mix here! Our version of hamburger casserole is just as comforting, but made without the additives and sodium so often found in classic hamburger casserole. It’s creamy and tastes even better than the classic! Here’s what you need for each part of this casserole recipe:
Cheese Sauce: While there is still cheese in our homemade cheese sauce, the secret ingredient is actually sweet potatoes. They add a touch of sweetness, lots of nutrients, and the perfect bright orange color. You’ll purée the sweet potatoes and blend them together with cheese, broth, and salt.
Noodles: Instead of classic white noodles, we love to use whole wheat noodles or even a chickpea pasta for a little more protein.
Hamburger Casserole Substitutions
Use this casserole recipe as a starting point for what ingredients you have on hand or what you like best.
- Instead of using ground turkey, use the same amount of ground beef or ground chicken. You could even use beans or lentils to make it vegetarian.
- Use your favorite kind of noodle. Protein pasta (like chickpea noodles) or gluten free noodles work great in this recipe.
- If you don’t have time to make your own sweet potato purée, use the same amount of canned sweet potatoes or pumpkin in the sauce.
Can you make hamburger casserole without the hamburger?
Hamburger casserole can be made without traditional ground beef. We suggest subbing another ground meat such as turkey (like in this recipe) or chicken, but you could even use beans or lentils for a vegetarian version.
Can you halve this recipe?
Yes! To halve this recipe, simply divide all of the ingredients in half and use a 8×8-inch square baking dish. Bake as directed.
How do you make this casserole saucier?
1.5x or 2x the sweet potato cheese sauce for a saucier hamburger casserole.
How do you prevent the casserole top from burning?
If you notice the top of your casserole is crisping up too quickly, tent a piece of foil over the pan while it finishes baking.
How to Store this Casserole
We don’t suggest freezing hamburger casserole because the noodles will get soggy when defrosting. But, this recipe does reheat well when stored in the fridge for leftover meals throughout the week! When completely cool, transfer leftover casserole to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Hamburger casserole can totally be a meal on its own. However, if time allows, whip up a quick vegetable side to go along with it like air fryer broccoli, sautéed green beans, or air fryer asparagus for a double dose of veggies.
Hamburger Casserole with Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce
Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce
- 16 oz. shells or any kind of noodle
- optional: more shredded cheese for topping
- optional: fresh parsley for serving
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cook and prepare your sweet potato purée by following our how to make sweet potato purée post for details. You'll need about 1 cup. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 16 ounces of shell pasta to boiling water. Cook pasta until it is almost cooked. You want the pasta to still have a bite to it (harder than al dente) as it will continue to cook in the oven.
- Strain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is fragrant, add ground turkey. Break the turkey up into small pieces. Add in the rest of the ingredients for the ground turkey mixture, mix, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Lower oven temperature to 375ºF. Place your sweet potato purée into a blender or food processor with all the ingredients for the sweet potato cheese sauce. Blend until all ingredients are combined and the sauce is nice and smooth.
- Spray a large 9×13-inch casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray. Place noodles, ground turkey, and sweet potato sauce into the casserole dish and mix until everything is coated in the sweet potato cheese sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese (optional), place into the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove, let cool for 10 minutes, and sprinkle on fresh parsley.
Tips & Notes
- Storage: When completely cool, transfer leftover casserole to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.