Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole


Casseroles have long been a staple in American kitchens, beloved for their ability to blend simplicity and comfort into one dish. Originating as a method for utilizing leftovers, the casserole has evolved into a culinary genre of its own, with countless variations spanning across regions and cultures. The Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is a perfect example of this evolution, combining hearty ingredients in a dish that’s both satisfying and easy to prepare.

This particular casserole leverages the robust flavors of ranch dressing mix and ground beef, enveloped in a creamy, cheesy sauce, making it an irresistible main course that promises to delight family members of all ages. Its convenience and ease of preparation have secured its place as a weeknight dinner favorite, particularly for those who value both taste and efficiency.

A deeper look into the components of the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole reveals a harmonious blend of protein, carbs, and fat, all seasoned to perfection with the zesty tang of ranch. It’s a testament to the versatility of casseroles, capable of adapting to different tastes and dietary preferences with simple adjustments. For example, swapping ground beef with ground turkey can cater to a lighter calorie count, while the inclusion of vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers can enhance its nutritional profile.

By adhering to the core principles of casserole making, this dish not only provides a hearty meal but also brings a sense of comfort and nostalgia, reminiscent of family gatherings and cozy evenings. It’s a modern take on a traditional concept, proving that even the simplest dishes can be transformed into something extraordinary with the right ingredients and a touch of creativity.

Overview of Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole :

The Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is more than just a meal; it’s a comfort food that soothes the soul with each cheesy, creamy bite. This dish stands out for its rich layers of flavor, which combine the savory taste of ground beef with the bold zest of ranch seasoning. Mixed with creamy cheddar and a bed of fluffy rice, it creates a texture that’s both pleasing to the palate and comforting in its warmth.

Key components that make this casserole a favorite include:

  • Lean Ground Beef: Providing the substantial base that offers both protein and flavor.
  • Ranch Dressing Mix: Enhances the dish with its creamy, tangy profile.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds a gooey, melty quality that pulls all the ingredients together.

Perfect for busy weeknights, this casserole can be prepared ahead of time, making it a practical choice for families on the go. The recipe is straightforward, involving simple steps that even novice cooks can follow confidently. From browning the meat to layering the ingredients and baking, each step contributes to a dish that’s as rewarding to make as it is to eat.

Moreover, this casserole adapts easily to various dietary preferences. For those watching their carb intake, low-carb rice alternatives like cauliflower rice can be used without sacrificing flavor. Likewise, the recipe can be made gluten-free by choosing a suitable ranch mix and verifying that all other ingredients comply with gluten-free standards.

In essence, the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole encapsulates the essence of family-centric cooking. It’s a dish that brings people together, offering a delicious way to end a day with a satisfying meal that everyone can appreciate.

Ingredients List :

Creating the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole begins with gathering the right ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to bring this comforting dish to life:

  • 8 slices of bacon: Chopped to lend a smoky depth.
  • 1 lb lean ground beef: The main protein source, providing rich flavor and texture.
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic: Adds aromatic sharpness.
  • 1 cup instant rice: For a quick and fluffy base.
  • 10.5 oz condensed cheddar soup: Creates a creamy, cheesy sauce.
  • 1 1/4 cups milk: Thins the soup to a perfect consistency.
  • 1 oz ranch dressing mix: Infuses the dish with its signature ranch flavor.
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend: Offers a melty, gooey quality.
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped green onions: Brings a mild, crunchy zest.

These ingredients are staples in many kitchens, making this recipe not only delicious but also convenient. Each component plays a pivotal role in crafting the final flavor profile, from the savory punch of the ground beef to the tangy kick of the ranch dressing mix.

For those interested in substitutions:

  • Ground turkey can replace beef for a lighter fare.
  • Broccoli or diced peppers can add a nutritional boost.
  • Low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese can decrease calorie content.

Assembling these ingredients requires minimal effort but promises maximum flavor, making the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole a go-to recipe for meals that need to be both satisfying and simple to prepare.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions :

Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure your Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole turns out perfectly every time:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), setting the stage for even cooking.
  2. Cook the bacon: In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
  3. Brown the ground beef: In the same skillet, add the ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.
  4. Add garlic: Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
  5. Combine ingredients: Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in the cooked rice, condensed cheddar soup, milk, and ranch dressing mix until well combined.
  6. Layer the casserole: Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Stir in one cup of the shredded cheese, one cup of the chopped green onions, and two-thirds of the cooked bacon.
  7. Bake: Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  8. Add more cheese: Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese and bacon over the top, and return to the oven.
  9. Final bake: Bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
  10. Rest and serve: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before garnishing with the remaining green onions.

These instructions are designed to guide you through the cooking process smoothly, ensuring each layer of the casserole melds together into a delightful combination of flavors and textures. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner, following these steps will help you achieve a delicious result that will be a hit at any family meal.

Cooking Tips and Variations :

To elevate your Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole experience, consider these tips and variations that can customize the dish to your liking:

  • Optimal Cheese Choices: For a richer flavor, consider mixing different types of cheeses such as sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even a bit of Gouda. Each cheese adds a unique taste and texture, enhancing the overall complexity of the dish.
  • Meat Variations: While lean ground beef is the standard, trying ground turkey or chicken can lighten the dish without sacrificing flavor. For a vegetarian twist, crumbled tofu or a meat substitute can be used.
  • Rice Selection: Instant rice is convenient, but using long-grain or brown rice cooked separately before adding can improve the texture and nutritional value of your casserole.
  • Spice It Up: Incorporate spices like paprika, cumin, or a dash of cayenne pepper for a subtle heat that complements the creamy elements.
  • Add Vegetables: To make the dish heartier and more colorful, add vegetables such as peas, diced carrots, or even spinach. This not only boosts the nutritional profile but also adds vibrant colors to the meal.

Preparing in Advance:

  • The casserole can be assembled a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, covered. Simply bake as directed, adding an extra 5-10 minutes to the cooking time if it’s coming straight from the fridge.

Freezing and Reheating:

  • This casserole freezes well. Cool completely, then cover and freeze. Reheat in the oven at 350°F until thoroughly warmed, about 20 minutes.

These tips and variations allow you to tailor the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole to fit dietary preferences and spice tolerances, making it a versatile option for any meal plan.

Health and Nutrition :

Understanding the nutritional impact of your meals is crucial, especially when it involves family favorites like the Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole. Here are some key nutritional aspects to consider:

  • Calories: This casserole is quite rich, mainly due to the cheese and ground beef. A single serving can be quite calorific, so it’s best enjoyed in moderation.
  • Protein: Ground beef is a good source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Carbohydrates: Rice forms the base of this dish, providing the necessary carbohydrates that serve as the body’s primary energy source.
  • Fats: The cheese and ground beef contribute to the fat content, which can be high. Opting for leaner meat and low-fat cheese can help reduce this.
  • Dietary Fiber: Adding vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers can increase the fiber content, which is beneficial for digestive health.

To make this dish healthier:

  • Use lean cuts of beef or ground turkey to reduce fat content.
  • Incorporate whole-grain rice to increase fiber and nutrients.
  • Add more vegetables like spinach or zucchini to boost vitamin and mineral intake.

Remember, balancing the ingredients can transform this comforting casserole into a healthier meal option without compromising on taste.

FAQs: Common Questions about the Dish

What type of rice is best for making Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole?

  • The best type of rice for this casserole is one that maintains its texture and doesn’t become mushy upon cooking. Long-grain rice like Basmati or Jasmine is ideal because it stays fluffy and separate, enhancing the overall texture of the dish. Instant rice can also be used for convenience, though it may not hold up as well during the baking process.

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare this casserole in advance, making it a perfect option for busy schedules. Simply assemble the casserole, cover it with foil, and store it in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before you plan to bake it. When ready to cook, you might need to add an additional 10-15 minutes to the baking time if the casserole is cold from the fridge.

What vegetables work well in this casserole?

  • This casserole is versatile when it comes to adding vegetables. Some great additions include:
    • Broccoli: Chopped into small florets, it adds color and nutrients.
    • Carrots: Thinly sliced or diced for a sweet, crunchy texture.
    • Peas: Provide a mild sweetness and are easy to mix in.
    • Spinach: Wilt it slightly before adding to incorporate easily without overpowering the dish.
    • Bell peppers: Any color, diced for a burst of sweetness and vibrant color.

Adding vegetables not only enhances the nutritional profile of the casserole but also introduces more flavors and textures, making the dish more balanced and appealing. Experiment with different combinations to find what best suits your taste preferences and dietary needs.

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Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

  • Author: Easy Recipes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes



8 slices bacon, chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup instant rice

10.5 oz condensed cheddar soup

1 1/4 cups milk

1 oz ranch dressing mix

3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

1 1/4 cups chopped green onions


Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until browned and crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.
In the same skillet, add ground beef and cook until browned, crumbling it as it cooks. Drain excess grease.
Stir in minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in instant rice.
Add condensed cheddar soup, milk, and ranch dressing mix, stirring well.
Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheese, 1 cup of the chopped green onions, and two-thirds of the cooked bacon.
Transfer mixture to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, spreading evenly.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheese and cooked bacon pieces on top, and return to the oven.
Bake uncovered until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes.
Let rest for a few minutes before sprinkling with the remaining green onions.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes


  • Serving Size: 6 servings
  • Calories: 609 kcal

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