Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole

The Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole is a testament to the power of simplicity in cooking. With its hearty mix of ground meat, potatoes, noodles, and cheese, it’s a dish that brings comfort and warmth to any meal. I stumbled upon this recipe on a chilly evening when the pantry was somewhat sparse, and the desire for a fuss-free, comforting meal was paramount. The result was nothing short of miraculous; it transformed simple ingredients into a delicious, savory casserole that had my family asking for seconds. It’s the kind of recipe that reminds you of the magic of slow cooking: throw in the ingredients, set the timer, and let the slow cooker do its magic. This casserole, with its creamy texture and rich flavor, is now a beloved staple in our home, perfect for busy weekdays, lazy weekends, or anytime we crave a comforting meal without the hassle.


  • 1 pound ground beef or ground sausage, pre-cooked and drained
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1.5 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2.5 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Brown the Meat: In a saucepan, brown the ground beef or sausage over medium heat and drain off any excess fat.
  2. Prepare the Slow Cooker: Lightly grease the inside of the slow cooker. Add the cooked meat, diced onion, cream of mushroom soup, and diced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture well.
  3. Cook on High: Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 3 hours.
  4. Add Broth and Macaroni: After 3 hours, stir in the broth and uncooked macaroni noodles. Cover and continue cooking on high for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Add Cheese and Sour Cream: Mix in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and the sour cream. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings: This recipe serves 6-8 people.
  • Calories per serving: Approximately 450-500 calories, varying based on the specific ingredients used.

Preparation Time

  • Total preparation time: Approximately 4 hours, including initial browning and slow cooker time.

Additional Tips

  1. Variations: Feel free to substitute ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option. You can also add vegetables like carrots or peas for added nutrition and color.
  2. Potato Choices: Using different types of potatoes can alter the texture and flavor. Russet potatoes give a classic feel, while red potatoes offer a slightly sweeter taste.
  3. Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese for varying flavors. A mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses can add a nice depth.
  4. Serving Suggestions: Serve this casserole with a side of crusty bread or a simple green salad for a complete meal.
  5. Storing Leftovers: Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave or oven.

FAQ Section

Q: Can I cook this casserole on the low setting of my slow cooker? A: Yes, you can cook it on low for 6-7 hours before adding the macaroni, broth, cheese, and sour cream.

Q: Can I add the macaroni noodles at the beginning with the other ingredients? A: It’s best to add the macaroni towards the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming too mushy.

Q: Is it possible to make this casserole vegetarian? A: For a vegetarian version, omit the ground meat and use a can of drained, rinsed beans of your choice for protein. Ensure the broth and cream of mushroom soup are vegetarian as well.

Q: Can I freeze this casserole? A: Yes, this casserole freezes well. Cool completely, then freeze in airtight containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat thoroughly before serving.

Q: What can I use instead of cream of mushroom soup? A: Cream of chicken or cream of celery soup can be a good substitute if you’re not a fan of mushrooms.

Q: Can I use fresh mushrooms instead of cream of mushroom soup? A: Yes, you can sauté fresh mushrooms and add them to the casserole. You might need to add a little extra broth or a roux (butter and flour mixture) to compensate for the lack of soup thickness.

Q: How can I make this recipe gluten-free? A: Use gluten-free cream of mushroom soup and broth, and ensure your macaroni noodles are gluten-free.

Q: Can I use frozen potatoes? A: Yes, frozen diced potatoes can be used without thawing, but you might need to adjust the cooking time slightly.

Q: How can I add more flavor to the casserole? A: Consider adding spices such as paprika, garlic powder, or Italian seasoning for an extra flavor boost.

Q: Can I use rice instead of macaroni noodles? A: Yes, but the liquid ratios and cooking times may need to be adjusted. Rice generally requires more liquid and a longer cooking time than macaroni.

The Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole is a perfect example of how a few simple ingredients, when combined and slow-cooked to perfection, can create a meal that’s both satisfying and delicious. It’s a versatile recipe that can be adapted to fit your dietary needs or taste preferences, making it a valuable addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re feeding a crowd, looking for an easy weeknight dinner, or simply craving the comfort of a home-cooked meal, this casserole promises to deliver on all fronts.