This Easy Pizza Casserole recipe is loaded with marinara sauce, pepperoni, sausage, and green pepper layered with cheesy toasted garlic bread. Your whole family is going to love this quick weeknight casserole!
The first time I made this Pizza Casserole, I thought, “Oh yeah, this is good, but it definitely needs more cheese,” which, if we’re honest, is true for a lot of recipes. (See also: Ground Beef and Potatoes Skillet, Cheesy One Pot Tortellini and Sausage, and Pulled Roast Beef Sliders).
Let’s just say me singing “Because I’m all about that cheese, ’bout that cheese, no treble” while testing pizza casserole is very on brand for me.
On the second go around, I fixed a few things that were holding this casserole back, added more cheese, and came up with what I really believe is the BEST pizza casserole recipe out there. This recipe was easy to make and gave us leftovers for several days. Our whole family enjoyed it, which means it’s going to be a regular at our table from here on out.
If you like pizza and easy, family-friendly dinners, this one is for you!
The BEST Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe
There are a couple reasons why I think this recipe beats the competition.
- First, it’s got all the pepperoni toppings. We are not pepperoni-only pizza fans around here. Our go-to pizza order is usually sausage, green pepper, onion, mushroom, and pepperoni, and that’s what I’ve included here. This combo has loads of flavor and enough cheese and sauce to make the toddler forget he’s eating vegetables.
- Next up, GARLIC BREAD. I’ve made a pizza casserole with pasta before, but it’s so.much.better with garlic bread. All those garlicky carbs are meant to be layered up with marinara, pizza toppings, and melty cheese.
- Finally, the layering. The first time I made this, I didn’t get the layering right, and while it was good, it wasn’t great. The next time, I started with marinara sauce and half the sausage and veggies. Then I layered on half the cheese, then the garlic bread, then more cheese and more toppings. This order of ingredients accomplished everything I wanted it to:
- Garlic bread that is partly crispy, golden, crunchy, and cheesy and partly soaked in marinara sauce. PERFECTION.
- A layer of saucy toppings AND a layer of crispy, browned toppings.
- Plenty of extremely melty, delicious, stringy cheese in every bite.
How To Make Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add a pound of bulk Italian sausage, a sweet yellow onion, and chopped green pepper. Cook this combo until the sausage is browned and the veggies are softened, about 6-7 minutes. Remove them to a plate, leaving the rendered fat behind.
- Add the mushrooms. Let them cook, undisturbed, in the meaty oil until their nice and browned, then flip and do the same on the other side. Sprinkle with a little salt. These mushrooms are so good, I’m drooling just thinking about them!
- Add the sausage and veggies back to the pan and stir. Drain off any excess oil.
- Put about 3/4 of the sausage mixture at the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread the marinara sauce on top, along with half the cheese and half the pepperonis. Layer with half the pepperonis.
- Scatter the garlic bread cubes on top. I don’t like them to be very orderly. We’re going for maximum toastiness, so let them poke out in all different directions. Sprinkle the rest of the veggie mixture and pepperonis on top followed by the last of the cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until you’ve got a mess of golden, melty, cheesy pizza casserole!
Pizza Casserole Variations and Substitutions
The best part about making Pizza Casserole at home is getting to customize it just to your liking! Add whatever toppings or veggies you want, mix up your cheeses, or keep it simple. I’ve even included some ways you can get this casserole in your oven even faster.
- Substitute canned mushrooms for fresh–This saves a step and some cooking time. Simply stir the mushrooms into the sausage mixture before adding it to the casserole dish to bake.
- Make it a plain Pepperoni Pizza Casserole- Skip the other toppings and layer the marinara sauce at the bottom of your dish with the cheese, garlic bread, and pepperonis on top. With this adjustment, this casserole can be in your oven in less than 10 minutes!
- Add more veggies! Feel free to add olives, banana peppers (YES!), spinach or any other toppings that suit your fancy.
- For the garlic bread, I prefer to use a thick-sliced frozen Texas toast. I cut the individual slices into 6 pieces each. However, feel free to use a loaf of frozen garlic bread if you prefer. Just make sure to cut it into chunks that are about 1.5-2 inches square.
How to Reheat Leftover Casserole
Leftover pizza casserole will keep in the fridge for several days. If you’re using a glass or ceramic baking dish you can store it in the fridge in the original baking dish.
To reheat the casserole, cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven while it’s preheating to 350 degrees. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes, or until heated through. Uncover for another 5 minutes to crisp up the tops again, or switch to broiler mode to give the top some extra crunch!
The casserole can also be reheated in the microwave, though the garlic bread won’t be nearly as crispy.
What to Do with Leftover Pasta Sauce
If you use a standard (24 ounce) jar of pasta or marinara sauce for this recipe, you’ll have some leftovers. Need some ideas for using it up? Try using it as a dipping sauce for Wonton Mozzarella Sticks or Garlic Cheese Breadsticks, have a DIY Pita Pizza night, or make this Three Cheese Lasagna Dip.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium marinara sauce
- 20 pepperoni slices
- 8 slices thick cut garlic bread, sliced into 6 hunks each
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, green pepper, and sausage to the pan and cook until onion is soft and sausage is fully browned, about 6-7 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving the oil behind.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet. Allow to cook for a few minutes undisturbed, then toss and continue to cook until softened, another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Add the sausage, peppers, and onion back to the pan and stir. Drain off any excess oil.
- Place about 3/4 of the sausage mixture at the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan followed by all of the marinara sauce. Layer 10 pepperonis on top. Then layer on half of your shredded cheese (about 1 1/2 cups).
- Scatter the garlic bread cubes on top followed by the rest of the pepperonis and sausage. Cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until garlic bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
Feel free to substitute or replace your favorite pizza toppings for the ones listed here.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 576Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1057mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 27g