Crock pot pizza casserole is a delicious and easy dinner recipe the whole family will love. Use your favorite pizza toppings with uncooked pasta and pantry ingredients to make crock pot pizza perfect for you.
You can't have enough great crock pot recipes, and this easy crock pot pizza casserole recipe will become a family favorite. It provides a delicious meal, usually with leftovers.
I love pizza and almost lived on it for years before marriage. So a crock pot pizza casserole is a natural for me.
I have tried other recipes with all kinds of variations. I read a lot of recipes for this recipe. There were lots of precooking of the pasta going on. Let's see, precooked and 4-5 hours in a slow cooker will make mush.
I ended up with a "pizza" variation of my Crock Pot Baked Ziti with cooking the pasta with the sauce. The perfect combination
It is a high 4 for us pizza lovers. But it can't be a five just because there is no crust.
👨🍳Ingredients for Crock Pot Pizza
Most similar recipes call for jar pizza sauce (yuck). Other recipes suggest spaghetti sauce—just say no to that.
This recipes' sauce is "make it yourself" with the crushed tomatoes, and a few spices is so much better. I have used this for 40 plus years.
Be careful about adding red pepper or other spicing. The cooking gets the pepperoni spicing distributed, and some of it is already spicy.
Use a shorter standard pasta like ziti, rigatoni, or penne. We depend on the fluid in the dish to cook the pasta. So the behavior of a non-standard pasta is unpredictable.
Anytime you cook dry pasta in a crock pot, the results can vary—sometimes a lot. The type of pasta, the amount of free fluid, and the crock pot variables can cause problems.
Modern crock pots do reasonably well with temperature regulation. The sauce is the right amount of fluid for the suggested standard pasta.
Lower fat ground beef works well. You can also use something like ground turkey or chicken.
If you use Italian sausage, substitute it for only half of the needed ground meat due to the spices released in the crock pot.
All ground meat should be thoroughly cooked to 165° before adding to the crock pot.
Shredded mozzarella cheese is standard. Mixing some into the casserole helps keep it together.
You can use other cheeses if you wish. A good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on the topping is a nice touch.
A pizza is not a pizza to me without pepperoni, so I mix some in and add it to the topping.
Be careful with spiced meats like the Italian sausage and pepperoni since the season will come out of the meat and may dominate the flavor.
This is very much a make-it like you want recipe. If it is a pizza topping, you can use it: ham, bacon, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, and many other things.
Delicate toppings, like pineapple, should be mixed in about 30 minutes before the end of cooking.
♨️How to Cook Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
This recipe works well in a 3 to 4-quart crock pot.
A double recipe works well in a 6 to 8 quart crock pot.
Cooking a small recipe in a large crock pot can cook the pasta faster due to the lower mass being cooked. If you do this, please check the pasta early a few times. The pasta may be done before the cheese is browned.
Generally no if using uncooked dry pasta. The cooking of the pasta becomes unpredictable. If you precook the pasta as described above, follow the instructions for precooked pasta.
No, precooking is not needed for this recipe. See the next question for an option to precook.
If you use non-standard pasta or are unsure about your crock pot temperature control, you should precook your pasta with the adjustments covered below.
Four to five hours will be just right on low for raw pasta to cook. Five hours will give you some nice cheese browning also. But remember, crock pots vary, so watch what you are doing.
Cook the pasta to al denta and skip the cup of water in the recipe to help the dry pasta.
Decrease the cooking time to about 2 hours on low. More if you have some additives that need to cook longer but much longer can make the precooked pasta mushy.
About 4 hours usually, but pasta and crock pots can vary. You want tender pasta.
If you use precooked pasta, then about half the time. Watch the pasta for overcooking since crock pots vary a lot on high.
Sealed airtight in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Leftovers can also be frozen for 2-3 months, but the texture will suffer.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Standard pizza stuff but with dry pasta to replace the crust. The crushed tomatoes didn't make it to the picture.
Start by chopping a small onion and half a green pepper.
Brown 1 pound of lower fat ground beef over medium-high heat. Add one small chopped medium onion after a couple of minutes. Cook for about 8 minutes until no pink is left. Add two cloves of crushed garlic at the last minute of browning — about 8 minutes total.
Add 1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 cup water, 4 oz of sliced pepperoni minus 12 slices for topping, oregano, salt, pepper, ½ chopped green pepper, 1 cup mozzarella cheese to a smaller 3 to 4 quart crock pot. Mix well. Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta. Mix well. Helpful hint: separate the pepperoni as it goes in.
Add the cooked ground beef after draining the fat.
Top with 1 cup mozzarella and 12 slices of pepperoni.
Cook on low for approximately 4-5 hours until edges brown nicely. Test a piece of pasta at 4 hours into cooking and again before stopping cooking.
Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
- 1 pound ground beef - lower fat
- 4 oz sliced pepperoni
- 1 onion - small
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 2 cups uncooked pasta
- ½ green pepper - chopped
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese - divided
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Start by chopping a small onion and half a green pepper.
- Brown 1 pound of lower fat ground beef over medium-high heat. Add one small chopped medium onion after a couple of minutes. Cook for about 8 minutes until no pink left. Add two cloves of crushed garlic the last minute of browning — about 8 minutes total.
- Add 1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 cup water, 4 oz of sliced pepperoni minus 12 slices for topping, oregano, salt, pepper, ½ chopped green pepper, 1 cup mozzarella cheese to a smaller 3 to 4 quart crock pot. Mix well. Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta. Mix well. Helpful hint: separate the pepperoni as it goes in.WARNING: Cooking a small recipe in a large crock pot can cook the pasta faster due to the lower mass being cooked. If you do this, please check the pasta early a few time. The pasta may be done before the cheese is browned.
- Add the cooked ground beef after draining fat. Mix well.
- Top with 1 cup mozzarella and 12 slices of pepperoni.
- Cook on low for approximately 4-5 hours until edges brown nicely. Test a piece of pasta at 3 hours into cooking and again before stopping cooking.
My Private Notes
- This fits nicely in a 3-4 qt crock pot. If double, a 6-7 qt pot would be fine.
- WARNING: Cooking a small recipe in a large crock pot can cook the pasta faster due to the lower mass being cooked. If you do this, please check the pasta early a few times. The pasta may be done before the cheese is browned.
- Use a standard short pasta. Results with others may work, but the behavior of a non-standard pasta is unpredictable.
- 2 cups of dry pasta is 8 oz. generally—so half a 1-pound box.
- The precooked pasta option is discussed in the post.
- Do not cook on high. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and watch the results about 1 hour before the end of cooking since crock pots vary.
- My sauce is much better than can or jar sauce. You can use jarred sauce. You will need 36 oz of fluid to replace the 28 oz of crushed tomatoes and the water.
- You may vary the ingredients some, but you need a base of pasta, ground meat, sauce, and cheese.
- The pepperoni will release a lot of spice, so be careful with things like red pepper.
- Good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and frozen for 2-3 months but the texture will suffer.
- Nutrition is calculated on ⅙ of the recipe which is about one cup.
- Many more options are discussed in the post.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published December 26, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.