Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.

Hobo Casserole – Comfort Food On A Budget

Sharing is caring!

As someone who grew up with limited means, I’ve always appreciated a good budget-friendly meal that doesn’t skimp on comfort or flavor. That’s why I’m so excited to share my recipe for Hobo Casserole with you today on my blog, Life with Jeviko!
This hearty, stick-to-your-ribs casserole is made with simple pantry staples like ground beef, pasta, cheese, and veggies. It’s the perfect way to stretch a little into a lot when money is tight or you just want an easy, no-fuss dinner.

Here are some common questions about Hobo Casserole:

What is Hobo Casserole?

Hobo Casserole is a budget-friendly baked dish that gets its name from the resourceful ways hobos and wanderers cooked meals over campfires using simple ingredients during the early 1900s. This hearty casserole brings together ground beef, pasta, vegetables, and cheese sauce into one rib-sticking bake that’s easy to customize based on what you have on hand. It’s the ultimate comfort food for chilly nights when you’re looking for an inexpensive, no-fuss dinner the whole family will love.

Why should I make Hobo Casserole?

There are so many reasons to give Hobo Casserole a try. First, it’s extremely wallet-friendly, allowing you to throw together a filling dinner even when funds are low by using humble pantry staples. It also appeals to both kids and adults with its saucy, cheesy flavors. The recipe is quite forgiving as well – add any veggies or dried pasta you have available. And the hands-off preparation and all-in-one baking makes it a perfect fuss-free meal for busy weeknights or casual get-togethers. You’ll love that it makes excellent leftovers too!

What type of pasta works best in Hobo Casserole?

Smaller dried pasta shapes like elbow macaroni, mini penne, ditalini, or mini shell pasta work best as they hold their shape well during baking. The small sizes also allow the pasta to soak up lots of flavor from the cheesy sauce. You’ll want to avoid longer pastas like spaghetti or linguine that may overcook and get too soft during the baking time.

What vegetables can I add to Hobo Casserole?

You can truly customize Hobo Casserole to your taste and what you have in your fridge by adding almost any vegetable! Some great options are corn, peas, diced carrots, green beans, broccoli florets, diced zucchini or yellow squash, chopped spinach, or diced bell peppers. Frozen or canned vegetables also work wonderfully to cut down prep time. Get creative with mixing and matching to use up whatever veggie odds and ends you have.

Can I prepare Hobo Casserole ahead of time?

Yes, assembling Hobo Casserole the night before and refrigerating it until ready to bake makes this dish even more convenient. Simply prepare the casserole completely raw, cover, and store it in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. When ready to cook, add 15-20 extra minutes to the original baking time to ensure the center is piping hot and the pasta tender.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried elbow macaroni pasta (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks. Drain excess fat if needed.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the browned beef. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with their juice), dried pasta, mixed frozen vegetables, cheddar cheese, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well until fully combined.
  5. Transfer the hobo casserole mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes until the pasta is tender and the top is lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cooking Tips:

  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken if preferred.
  • For more vegetables, stir in chopped zucchini, spinach, broccoli florets or a can of drained beans.
  • For spicy flavor, add chopped jalapenos, hot sauce or chili powder.
  • Sprinkle each serving with hot sauce or additional shredded cheese.
  • Cook once and enjoy twice! Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!