This easy keto cheeseburger casserole is hearty and filling and makes a wonderful low-carb alternative to a classic cheeseburger. You won't miss the bun!
I really like casseroles. They're just so EASY. You place a few ingredients in a baking dish, place it in the oven, and 30-60 minutes later, dinner is ready!
This casserole is so delicious, in a delightfully non-gourmet sort of way. Grownups and kids alike always enjoy it. You can make it as written, you can vary the spices you use, and you can add veggies. Like most casseroles, it's a very forgiving and flexible recipe. See specific suggestions below.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make a keto cheeseburger casserole. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Olive oil: My favorite oil to cook with! It's so flavorful. Other options include avocado oil and ghee.
Extra-lean ground beef: I prefer to use leaner beef here because I end up draining the rendered fat anyway.
Onion and garlic. Sometimes when I'm feeling extra lazy I sub onion and garlic powders... but it's not the same. So I try not to be lazy!
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt instead of kosher salt, reduce the amount you use by half.
Mayonnaise: I prefer mayonnaise made with avocado oil. Sir Kensington's is a good brand.
Unsweetened ketchup: You can find it at Whole Foods and on Amazon.
Mustard: I usually like Dijon mustard. It's creamier and less vinegary than yellow mustard. But in this particular recipe, yellow mustard works too.
Shredded cheddar: I like to use sharp or even extra-sharp cheddar. It really enhances the flavor of this dish.
Making this keto cheeseburger casserole is so easy! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
You start by cooking ground beef and onion in olive oil.
Next, you add seasonings: garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Off heat, you stir in condiments: mayo, ketchup, mustard, and shredded cheese.
The last step is to transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish and sprinkle it with more cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes at 400°F, then serve!
Frequently asked questions
I use extra lean ground beef (93% lean). I've got nothing against lean ground beef (85% lean), but when I cook it for a casserole I end up draining the fat anyway. So it makes more sense to use leaner meat that doesn't require much draining.
Absolutely! One option, mentioned above, is to add riced cauliflower to the beef and onions mixture and cook the three of them together. You can also add two cups (about 2 oz) of raw baby spinach leaves to the beef mixture when it's done cooking. Add the spinach right before you add the seasonings and mix it in just until it very slightly wilts. Don't overcook it at this stage.
Yes! A classic casserole contains protein (meat, poultry), starch (rice, potatoes), vegetables, sauce, and cheese. But one of the best things about casseroles is that they are so flexible and forgiving, so you can adapt them to your needs and to the ingredients you have on hand. Made as written, this casserole contains just protein, sauce, and cheese, and it's AMAZING.
If you'd like to turn this casserole into a complete meal, you can add 1-2 cups of uncooked riced cauliflower to the meat and onion and cook everything together. You might need to increase the olive oil a little if you do.
Variations and substitutions
The best thing about this recipe is how simple it is to make. But if you'd like to experiment a little, here are a few ideas for you:
- Add crumbled cooked bacon.
- You can try making this recipe with ground chicken thighs or with ground turkey thighs. It won't be the same, obviously, but it's still good. I do recommend using ground thighs and not ground breast, which is very lean.
- Add your favorite spices, even if they're not classic cheeseburger seasonings. Smoked paprika and chili powder are very good in this recipe.
- Mix some sliced pickled jalapenos into the beef mixture before baking it.
Recommended side dishes
To balance out the richness of this dish, I definitely recommend skipping the starches and serving it with a side veggie, such as simple steamed green beans, roasted asparagus, or a green salad (this arugula salad is excellent).
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave, on 50% power. You can also successfully freeze individual servings for up to three months.
I have several ground beef recipes that I really like and make often for my family. Here are a few of them:
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Keto Cheeseburger Casserole, Hearty and Cheesy
- Olive oil spray for the baking dish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lb. extra lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion finely chopped (6 oz)
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- ¼ cup unsweetened ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar divided (6 oz)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and the onions. Cook, stirring to break up the beef, until the meat is browned and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
- If there are liquids at the bottom of the skillet, carefuly drain the mixture and return it to the skillet.
- Stir in the kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 more minute.
- Turn the heat off. Stir in the mayonnaise, unsweetened ketchup, mustard, and 1 cup cheddar.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 15 minutes. Or, if your baking dish is broiler-safe, broil the casserole 6 inches below the heating element (not directly below) until the cheese is melted, 1-2 minutes.