Homemade Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes
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Unusual Casseroles That Are Actually Delicious

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Homemade Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes
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Taste Sensations

Sometimes the last thing your family wants to eat is another basic casserole, even if it’s a perennial pleaser such as lasagna or macaroni and cheese. It’s easier to mix things up than you might imagine thanks to these recipes that combine the ease of casserole cooking with some decidedly unexpected ingredients and flavors. Read on for a culinary tour that includes options for brunches, lunches, dinners, and late-night snacks, as well as side dishes and desserts — all with a unique appeal.


Related: Jell-O Salad and Other Old-School Recipes We Secretly Love


Creamy Tuna, Vegetable and Noodle Casserole
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Tuna Unusual Casserole

Canned tuna, elbow macaroni, plus ingredients such as dark corn syrup and stewed tomatoes are featured in this casserole with a name that doesn’t lie. Those who don’t skip over it will find themselves serving a dish that has reviewers leaving comments ranging from “This hit the spot” to “It was a change from the everyday for sure.”


Recipe: Food.


Related: 20 Bizarre Retro Dishes From Holidays Past


Savory Breakfast casserole
wsmahar/istockphoto

Barbecue Chicken and Apple Bread Pudding

Bread pudding doesn’t have to be sweet. Diced cooked chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, and a small green apple team up with cornbread to create a one-of-a-kind taste.


Recipe: Taste of Home


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Cream of Mushroom Soup
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Strange But True Casserole

You’ll have to trust us on some of these. This recipe features ground turkey, cream of mushroom soup, and canned spaghetti among its ingredients. A nod to its quirkiness, the recipe’s contributor admits it sounds unappealing but is easy and pleases his family every time. 


Recipe:All Recipes

Appetizing Italian pizza
Nikolay_Donetsk/istockphoto

Chicken Spinach Pizza Couscous Casserole

This quirky recipe promises to be “the perfect make-ahead meal with all the flavors of pizza in a quick and easy casserole.” Whole-wheat couscous, baby spinach, and a rotisserie chicken combine with pizza sauce and cheese for something quite unexpected.


Recipe:Healthy Aperture

Casserole with pepperoni
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Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

We are already deciding what night to make this dish billed as a “pizza meets garlic bread” casserole ideal for that classic combo of kids and Friday night dinners. Forget waiting for delivery. This recipe relies on frozen garlic bread and jarred marinara sauce to give you a head start on convenience.


Recipe:MyRecipes

Homemade Tater Tot Hotdish Casserole
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Tatertot Casserole

Many tater-tot recipes are simply cheesy, gloppy messes. Sure, they can be delicious but often lack heft. This take adds ground beef to the mix to make it more of an entrée than a simple side. Dig in.


Recipe:AllRecipes

Vegetarian cuisine. Brussels Sprouts roasted with olive oil. Copyspace
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Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

For those accustomed to the roasted Brussels sprouts that have become the appetizer of choice at many restaurants, this casserole will provide a creamy alternative. It not only features heavy cream and your choice of sharp white cheddar or Swiss cheese, but also nutmeg and red pepper flakes for a sublime flavor profile.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Shepherd's Pie
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Deep Dish Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry

If you think the pub-favorite shepherd’s pie is only about the beef or lamb, mashed white potatoes and assorted vegetables, this twist will wake up your taste buds as it spotlights the regional flavors of India including cloves, coriander, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and coconut.


Recipe: The Kitchn

Pasta casserole with barbecue chicken breast, cheese and vegetables
gbh007/istockphoto

Cajun Beef Casserole

This flavorful recipe is billed as a way to get the little ones to eat vegetables without complaint, as mixed vegetables, tomatoes and green onions combine with ground beef, cheese, cornbread mix, and a zest from Cajun seasoning.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Shepherd's Pie
rudisill/istockphoto

Easy Creamed Corn Casserole

If you’re among those who bristles at the thought of corn eaten any way but on the cob, this casserole recipe might have you rethinking your hesitation. With a 4.5/5 average from more than 500 reviewers, the “custardy creamed corn recipe” features two kinds of canned corn, milk, sugar, eggs and more. Sounds sweet.


Recipe: Unsophisticook


Homemade Baked Egg Casserole
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Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

This is a casserole that promises to be hearty and filling, plus packed with beloved breakfast foods: bacon, sausage, and tater tots. We didn’t expect all those things to find a home in one dish. Did you?


Recipe: Buns in My Oven


Cooking pumpkin baked with cheese
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Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta Bake

For the pumpkin-obsessed out there — and we know there are many of you — this recipe offers a way to incorporate that classic autumn flavor (here in the form of pumpkin puree) into an entrée. It features a pumpkin sauce that tops a mix of shredded chicken, bacon, pasta, and several cheeses.


Recipe: Pinch of Yum

baked pancake with cheese sauce
baiajaku/istockphoto

Pancake Lasagna

Why choose one breakfast meal when you can have this option that includes buttermilk, eggs, bacon, sausage, cheddar cheese, heavy cream and more, all “tied together” with a maple-bacon béchamel? This recipe by chef Eric Greenspan is a keeper.


Recipe:Pop Sugar

Lobster mac and cheese
BDMcIntosh/istockphoto

Seafood Casserole (As Made by Betsy’s Gammy)

We don’t know Betsy’s Gammy, but we do know this creamy casserole featuring shrimp, scallops, lump crabmeat, and homemade sourdough breadcrumbs (not to mention dry white wine, butter, half and half, and artichoke hearts) doesn’t sound like anything we’ve ever tried… but now absolutely must.


Recipe: Tasty 


Yellow Baking Dish of Summer Squash Casserole
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Summer Squash Casserole with Nuts

Pick zucchini or summer squash for this summer recipe. Pecans are the unexpected ingredient. They combine with peppers, butter, cheese, breadcrumbs, and more for a popular side or meatless entrée.


Recipe: All Recipes

Layered, Beef Taco Pie Baked in a Cast Iron Skillet with Sour Cream, Salsa and Guacamole
LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Mexican Casserole

If you think of a hard-shelled taco when you consider Mexican food, this casserole will offer quite the alternative — and a healthy one, at that. The recipe adds Greek yogurt to an ingredient list that also includes lean ground beef, brown rice, beans, and tomatoes with green chilies to spice it up.


Recipe: Well Plated by Erin


Spicy Korean Kimchi Fried Rice with Spring Rolls
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Baked Chinese Chicken and Rice

This is one Chinese dish that doesn’t come in a takeout box. A made-at-home Asian dish that integrates Chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil allows the home cook to combine two favorites — Chinese chicken and fried rice — in one easy bake.


Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Casserole with sausage, bacon and apples
Elena_Danileiko/istockphoto

Sausage, Pepper and Grits Casserole

Did you expect another grits recipe featuring shrimp? Well, this unusual take from Southern Living emphasizes a sweet sauce (thanks to grape jelly) that envelops sausage within a crust of creamy cheese grits.


Recipe: MyRecipes

Homemade Cheesy Tuna Casserole
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Johnny Marzetti Casserole

This Midwest staple that originated in an Ohio Italian restaurant (and is basically unknown in the rest of the country) is a ground beef-based casserole that includes egg noodles, tomato soup, mushrooms, cheese — and green olives.


Recipe: The Seasoned Mom


Related: The Best Casserole Recipe From Every State

Potatoes Gratin
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Vidalia Casserole

Sure, the onion may shine in French Onion Soup but the pride-of-Georgia Vidalia is the onion in the spotlight in this unique casserole that is as rich as it is simple. Its ingredient list may be deceptively simple, since sweet Vidalia onions, butter, Parmesan, sour cream, and butter-flavored crackers add up to a richly satisfying dish that’s far from basic.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Close-Up Shot of Fresh Chopped Seasoned Red Beets On an Aluminum Foil Lined Baking Pan Tray Ready to Cook for Dinner
Jeremy Poland/istockphoto

Baked Beet Casserole

If anyone likes beets enough, they might consider this unusual preparation. It’s a casserole that complements beets with brown sugar, butter, horseradish, and breadcrumbs.


Recipe: Food.

Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake
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Elegant Smoked Salmon Strata

When you want to impress, serve up this “overnight egg bake” that features smoked salmon. Without a bagel in sight, guests will still savor this rich treatment of smoked salmon that includes cubed ciabatta bread, crème fraiche, Dijon mustard, green onions, and a pair of cheeses.


Recipe: Taste of Home

Homemade Sweet Potato Casserole
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Pineapple Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Sweet potatoes may have the word sweet in their name, but this dish puts that sweetness right in your mouth. Sugar, crushed pineapple, and marshmallows are featured in this side dish sure to please any sweet tooth at the table.


Recipe:Taste of Home

A delicious dish of Pork Pear sweet potato and stilton tray roast on a wooden kitchen work top
Duncan Cuthbertson/istockphoto

Mayo Pork Chop Casserole

Some people avoid mayonnaise at all costs. They don’t have to know it’s the condiment gives a creamy depth to this keto-friendly, low-carb pork dinner. Carrots, onions, and mushrooms (plus an optional addition of Gouda cheese) also help create a memorable dish.


Recipe:Yummly

recipe for a simple strata with ham, bread, onions, cheese and eggs close-up in a pan. Horizontal top view
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Southwestern-Style Leftover Ham Casserole

When you want it spicy, this dish is billed as “tongue-tingling.” Basic ham leftovers are turned into a zippy meal thanks to jalapenos and fire-roasted hatch chilies. 


Recipe:Garlic & Zest

Pan fried ground beef with vegetables
Angelika Heine/istockphoto

Keto Ground-Beef Casserole

Casseroles aren’t always carb-heavy messes. Mix it up with this keto and low-carb option that’s unusual in its straightforwardness. It simply focuses on ground beef surrounded by cheeses and spices in a 30-minute meal that’s just as tasty as leftovers.


Recipe:Healthy Recipes

Baked Spaghetti and Beef Pie
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Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

This recipe is clearly a fan favorite. Nearly 300 reviewers gave it an average of 4.9 out of five stars. Spaghetti (not lasagna noodles) are the featured pasta, complemented by sausage, onion, the creamy focus of ricotta or cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream. 


Recipe:Spend with Pennies

Potato Gratin with Rosemary
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Scalloped Fish Stick Casserole

Quick – what was served on Fridays in the school cafeteria? If you said fish sticks, give yourself a gold star. The elementary-school staple gets a truly unexpected interpretation with this dish featuring scalloped potatoes, frozen peas, and the humble fish stick. 


Recipe: Pillsbury 


Italian Chicken Rice Casserole
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Chicken & Coconut Rice Casserole

Coconut milk gives ordinary rice a creamy, tasty complexity in this recipe, and it’s the secret to this casserole. The coconut milk puts an Thai-flavored spin on an otherwise routine chicken dinner.


Recipe:Delish

Baked carrots
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Mom’s Zesty Carrots with Horseradish

For everyone dreaming of carrots with honey glaze or swimming in butter, this recipe will jolt you awake. Freshly ground horseradish and some mayonnaise kick up the flavor profile of a dish that also features more traditional ingredients such as butter, breadcrumbs, and onion.


Recipe: All Recipes 


Broccoli gratin with bechamel sauce and sausages
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Polish Pasta Casserole

Expand your repertoire to create pasta dishes outside the expected Italian realm. This dish takes a basic short pasta, such as penne or fusilli, and adds everything from sour cream to sauerkraut and Dijon mustard to Polish sausage or kielbasa – and a bit of Swiss cheese. The website notes it can be considered macaroni and cheese with a Polish twist.


Recipe: 12 Tomatoes


Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole
StephanieFrey/istockphoto

French Toast Casserole

If you’ve only ever had French toast fresh from the stovetop, this recipe is a game-changer. You won’t be frying up slice after slice but instead cutting into a pan of the classic brunch fare that’s even more custardy than you might expect. It’s also crunchy, thanks to a cinnamon-sugar top. For those who are frazzled in the morning, it’s a great make-ahead meal.


Recipe: Simply Recipes


Delicious lentils with pepper and mushrooms on dark background
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Lentil Casserole with Mushrooms

This vegetarian dish is described as both hearty and flavorful, offering a way to integrate lentils into your repertoire beyond the usual lentil soup. There are plenty of variations, such as the addition of roasted vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, or sautéed Brussels sprouts.


Recipe:iFoodReal

Fresh traditional bakery food
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Curried Fruit Bake

The key piece of advice for this unexpectedly savory dish is to make sure to drain your fruit well. That way, the unique side doesn’t get watered down. Canned fruits, including pineapple, pears, peaches, apricots and maraschino cherries are cut up and covered in sauce that features… yes, curry. We are officially intrigued.


Recipe: Cheery Kitchen


sweet baked cottage cheese casserole with nuts and candied fruits
peredniankina/istockphoto

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

Tangy pineapple, sharp cheddar cheese, and cracker crumbs are an unusual combination but come together in this casserole for a sweet and salty treat. This casserole that takes under an hour to get to the table is billed as the perfect complement to the Easter ham, as part of a Thanksgiving meal, or simply a weeknight side.


Recipe:Southern Bite

Baked rice pudding turkish milky dessert sutlac in earthenware casserole with hazelnuts
Esin Deniz/istockphoto

Harvest Hazelnut Casserole

If you prefer your hazelnuts in a chocolate-based spread, this approach might seem a bit unusual. But this is an award-winning recipe that integrates hazelnuts in a veggie casserole that also includes broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and onions.


Recipe: Oregon Orchard


Smoked Meat
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Baked Rueben Casserole

This one may be polarizing. While many foodies savor a classic delicatessen sandwich like the Reuben, they might balk at having it turned into a casserole. This version uses rye bread, corned beef (or pastrami), sauerkraut, and more, including caraway seeds for a final, authentic touch.


Recipe: The Country Cook


Ballpark Mac & Cheese
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Cheesy Hot Dog Casserole

This recipe seems to hearken back to childhood campfires when hot dogs and beans were fast and filling. Pork and beans create the base for a dish that includes hot dogs, biscuits, cheese, and (for a sweet touch) a dash of brown sugar. Positive reviews are plentiful including this one that cuts to the chase: “The recipe is not especially pleasing in appearance but it was absolutely delicious.” 


Recipe: Pillsbury