Simple Casserole Recipes

Bowl of beef stew

Casseroles can be made from whatever you like; meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables. All are delicious. Here are some simple casserole recipes for you to try.

Imagine a hot, steaming bowl of stew or casserole on a cold day – tender meat and vegetables in a thick gravy. It’s the ultimate comfort food. There is also very little work involved in making casseroles, just minimal preparation and then it can be left to cook happily while you go off and do something else.

*Stews are usually cooked on the hob and casseroles in the oven but the terms are interchangeable.

Beef Casserole

Beef casserole

This is a very economical dish as you can use the cheaper cuts of beef; these would normally be too tough and chewy but long, slow cooking transforms them into something meltingly tender and delicious.

1kg braising steak or shin of beef, cut into large cubes
Flour for coating
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
300 ml beef stock (gravy granules or a stock cube is fine)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Oil for frying
2 dried bay leaves

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, preferably one which can also go into the oven. Put the flour on a large plate, season it with salt and pepper and dust each piece of meat with the seasoned flour by dropping it onto the plate and turning it a few times until thoroughly coated. This helps to give a nice crust to the meat, which really adds to the flavour.

Fry the meat, a few pieces at a time, removing the cooked pieces to a plate as you go. Never put all of the meat in the pan at once as it will create steam and the meat won’t brown. Next, fry the onions, stirring occasionally, until they have started to soften. Add some salt and pepper and the dried bay leaves and cook for a few more minutes.

Cut the stalk end off the carrots and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin in long strips. Slice the carrots quite thickly and add to the onions. Add the chopped celery and stir well. It should all be smelling very appetising by now.

Return the meat and any juices to the pan then pour in the stock. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir and bring the casserole to the boil. Pop a lid on the pan and transfer to a preheated oven, gas mark 3/170C/325F and leave it to cook for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, lift the lid and check that the casserole isn’t drying out. If it is, add some more beef stock or water. Stir once then replace the lid and continue cooking for another hour. Test a piece of the meat and if it’s not quite soft enough, cook for another hour. It won’t overcook, so don’t worry.

Ladle the casserole into warmed bowls and serve accompanied by new potatoes, and some good crusty bread to mop up the delicious gravy.

*Other good things to serve with casserole are mashed potatoes, rice or additional vegetables like red cabbage or broccoli.

Chicken Casserole

This is a good way to use up any leftover roast chicken, but it’s also worth buying some chicken just to make this recipe.

300g leftover cooked chicken, or the same weight in chicken thighs
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 potatoes (about 200g) peeled and diced
200g mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
100g frozen peas
1 litre chicken stock (gravy granules or a stock cube is fine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Heat the oil in a deep, non-stick pan and when it’s hot, fry the onions, carrots, potatoes and bacon together for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaves and peas and stir well. If you’re using raw chicken, cut it into chunks and add it to the bacon and vegetables. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the chicken is browned all over.

Pour in the chicken stock and stir. Add the mushrooms and the cooked chicken at this point. Cover with a lid and put the casserole into a preheated oven, gas mark 5/190C/375F and cook for about 45 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread.

Market Day Stew with Herby Dumplings

This is a lovely, warming dish to fill you up on the coldest winter’s day. Tender lamb and vegetables in a rich, thick gravy with herby dumplings. Food that sticks to your ribs. This is a stew rather than a casserole but the only difference is that it’s cooked on the hob rather than in the oven.

1.5kg boneless lamb, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
25g butter
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 small turnip or swede, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
750 ml lamb stock (a stock cube is fine)
2 dried bay leaves
Half a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
125g self-raising flour
60g shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
Half a teaspoon of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Cold water to mix

First of all, put the flour on a plate, season it with salt and pepper and roll the meat in the flour until evenly coated. Heat the oil and butter in a deep, non-stick pan and when sizzling, brown the meat a few pieces at a time. Remove onto a plate as you go.

When the meat is all cooked, add the onions, carrots, celery and turnip or swede to the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened. This should take about 10 minutes. Add the stock, herbs and seasoning and tip the meat and any juices back into the pan. Cover with a lid and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.

To make the dumplings, put the flour, suet, herbs and seasoning into a bowl. Add the water a little at a time. Mix with a fork until it starts to clump together then go in with your hands and press the mixture together. If it still seems a bit dry, add a splash more water. Roll the mixture into balls, about the size of a walnut, using the palms of your hands. You should have about 10 dumplings.

Add the dumplings to the stew, placing them on top of the gravy. You don’t want to submerge the dumplings; the underneath should be soft and the tops should have a light crust on them. Cook for a further 20 – 25 minutes. Serve in warmed, deep bowls accompanied by new potatoes or bread.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

Goulash is the Hungarian version of our casserole, usually made with beef but you can use pork if you like. Smoked paprika is the star ingredient in this recipe; use the sweet rather than the hot paprika for best results.

1.5kg braising or chuck steak, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons sweet pimenton (smoked paprika)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or grated
2 tablespoons plain flour
3 dried bay leaves
2  400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 medium red peppers, seeds and stems removed
Salt and pepper
200 ml soured cream

Put the flour on a plate, season it with salt and pepper and roll the cubes of meat in it until completely coated. Heat the oil in a deep, non-stick pan and fry the meat in batches, removing them to a plate as you go. You’re aiming to get a nice, brown crust on the meat which will really add to the flavour.

Add the onions to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring now and then, until starting to soften. Add the garlic, tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the smoked paprika, bay leaves, tinned tomatoes with their juice and salt and pepper. Stir well then cover and put into a low oven, gas mark 2/150C/300F. Cook for 2 hours.

Prepare the peppers by cutting them in half, removing all the seeds and the stems and slicing them into thin strips. Add the pepper strips to the goulash, put the lid back on and cook for a further 30 minutes.

You should now have a rich, aromatic stew with a thick sauce. If it still looks a bit runny, place the pan on the hob and boil rapidly for about 5 minutes without the lid to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Serve with rice and some soured cream spooned over the top.

Boeuf en Daube

This is a French beef stew, made with cheap cuts of beef cooked in wine and tomatoes with lots of onions and garlic. The wine helps to tenderise the meat as it cooks. Daube comes from the French daubiere which was the name for the pot the dish was cooked in.

1kg piece of brisket
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Small bunch of fresh thyme or half a teaspoon of dried thyme
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200 ml hot beef stock
100 ml dry white wine
50g black olives, stones removed and cut in half
Salt and pepper

Season the brisket generously with salt and pepper and heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep ovenproof pan or casserole dish. When hot, fry the beef on all sides until browned all over. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove onto a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pan and fry the onions over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Tip in the tomatoes, beef stock and wine, stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the pan to a preheated oven, gas mark 4/180C/350F and cook for 2 – 3 hours, or until the meat is very soft.

Stir in the halved black olives and serve the beef in thick slices with the sauce spooned over. This is lovely with mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.

Beef Bourguignon 

A timeless French classic, chunks of beef with whole baby onions, bacon and mushrooms, slowly cooked in red wine. This is good enough to serve at a dinner party.

1kg braising steak, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g smoked streaky bacon lardons (cubes)
250g whole baby onions or shallots
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
250g button mushrooms
300 ml full-bodied red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 heaped teaspoon soft brown sugar
Salt and pepper
A small bunch of fresh thyme or half a teaspoon of dried thyme

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep pan. When hot, add the meat and cook, turning the pieces over with tongs until dark brown all over. Remove onto a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining spoonful of oil in the same pan and fry the onions and bacon for about 5 minutes. The onions should be starting to brown on the outside and the bacon fat will crisp up. Add the garlic, lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes.

Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan, pour in the wine and season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, stir and cover with a lid.

Cook in a preheated oven, gas mark 3/160C/325F for about 3 hours. Add the whole mushrooms, stir and cover again. Cook for a further 30 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. The meat should be very soft by now.

Serve on warmed plates accompanied by rice or mashed potato and a green vegetable or two.

Lamb Kleftiko

This is a wonderful melting, baked dish of lamb, vegetables and herbs. It’s Greek in origin. The name ‘kleftiko’ comes from klepto or stolen. The thieves would cook the sheep to make sure that the shepherd never got it back.

1 leg or shoulder of lamb, about 750g, bone left in
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into thick slices
6 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Take a casserole dish large enough to fit the lamb and add all the ingredients, lamb first. Season with salt and pepper and push the rosemary sprigs underneath the lamb. Cover with a lid or a sheet of kitchen foil and cook in a low oven, gas mark 3/170C/325F, for an hour. Turn the meat and vegetables and cook for another hour.

After this time, the potatoes will have absorbed all the other flavours and the meat will be very soft. Serve in thick slices, accompanied by the potatoes. Spoon over the tomatoey juices and have some warm crusty bread ready to dip into the lovely sauce.

I hope that you enjoyed this article and will try some of the casserole recipes for yourself. If you have any comments or questions, please leave the below.

Casseroles are great comfort food. For more comfort food ideas, see the 10 best comfort foods

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4 thoughts on “Simple Casserole Recipes”

  1. Thank you very much for this valuable and detailed post about Simple Casserole Recipes. I really like to see his recipes. Because I like to try new things. But I haven’t made the Casserole yet. But I wanted to make this post out of the blue. First I hope to try the chicken casserole. Keep posting like this.

    • Thanks Pasindu, casseroles are easy to make because you put them in the oven and they cook by themselves. The chicken casserole is very tasty!

  2. This is what I love and the food recipes look so delicious and healthy, there is nothing like cooking a healthy delicious home-cooked meal. I thank you for this post and I am sure that your readers will find what you are sharing helpful as well. easy homemade dinners are a winner.

    • Hi Norman, thank you for the positive feedback. Casseroles are so easy to make, minimal prep then in the oven. They can also be adapted for a slow cooker so you can come home from work to find a delicious meal waiting for you. And the ingredients can be varied depending on your tastes and what you have available, so the recipes are very flexible. I hope you enjoy trying the recipes Norman!


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