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If there’s one type of meal that makes an appearance most often at our house, it’s low carb dinner recipes that are an entire meal in one. Even more so when they are flexible enough to make ahead or freeze! This easy keto cheeseburger casserole has been a favorite for a long time, because it fits all of that criteria and it’s very family-friendly. I’m excited to finally share it with you! I hope this skinny low carb cheeseburger casserole recipe will become a staple for your family like it is for mine.
Layers in a Low Carb Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe
Traditional cheeseburger casserole recipes almost always include a starch. Most often this pasta, but sometimes potatoes or rice. These are obviously all unsuitable for a low carb cheeseburger casserole.
Can you guess what my keto cheeseburger casserole recipe uses instead? It’s probably my favorite low carb vegetable ever… or at least the most versatile – cauliflower!
So, even though it’s loaded with cheese and beef, using the cauliflower actually makes this a skinny cheeseburger casserole. In addition to being keto friendly, it’s also pretty light for such a hearty type of dish. It has 479 calories and 2 grams net carbs in a large meal-sized portion.
But even if you’re not a huge fan of cauliflower, don’t turn away just yet. You might actually like the way we use it in this keto cheeseburger casserole recipe.
We have 3 main layers in the skinny cheeseburger casserole…
1. The Cheesy Base Layer
The base is similar to a cheesy cauliflower rice. Just like my cauliflower fried rice and cauliflower pizza crust recipes, we stir fry it first. This releases all the moisture and cooks the cauliflower, at the same time avoiding that awful steamed cauliflower smell. Win-win!
The base layer also has some similarities to the flavors in loaded cauliflower casserole, because of the cheddar cheese and cream in there. You could leave the florets whole like that recipe does, but the keto cheeseburger casserole stays together much better with riced cauliflower.
2. The Hearty Beef Layer
You can’t have a low carb cheeseburger casserole without ground beef, can you? Of course not. This layer is simply sauteed ground beef. I use a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of ground beef, which is what Julia Child recommends.
And, you can use the same pan you used to stir fry the cauliflower, so no additional dishes. Yay!
3. The Topping
The last layer in keto cheeseburger casserole is the topping. Add anything here that you’d put on your burger. (That is, anything that can withstand heat – no lettuce, please!) I used ketchup, mustard and cheddar cheese.
Once all the layers are assembled, the low carb cheeseburger casserole goes in the oven, until the cheese is nice and gooey.
Tips For How To Make Keto Cheeseburger Casserole
For some tips and variations when making this low carb cheeseburger casserole recipe, you can try…
…Ricing cauliflower in the easiest way for you.
If you haven’t riced cauliflower before, it’s very easy to do! Check my post on cauliflower fried rice for instructions on how to do it using a food processor or box grater.
…Buying pre-made riced cauliflower to save time and effort.
>> Can you just buy riced cauliflower?
Sure! Many grocery stores carry it these days. If purchasing fresh cauliflower rice, make sure to buy it no more than 1-2 days before using, otherwise the raw stuff in the bag gets mushy and spoils pretty quickly in the fridge.
>> Can you use frozen cauliflower rice?
Yep, that works too! No need to thaw it. You can just stir fry it from frozen.
Either way, this will skip the step of making the cauliflower rice yourself.
…Using cauliflower florets instead of cauliflower rice.
While it’s not my favorite method for this recipe, you can use cauliflower florets instead.
If you do, you’ll need to roast them first, which is actually more time consuming than just stir frying the cauliflower rice. I highly recommend using my favorite method for the best roasted cauliflower.
After that, you can mix it with the cheese and cream, then proceed with the low carb cheeseburger casserole recipe as written.
…Including homemade sugar-free ketchup if you can, or buying it if you need to.
What about the ketchup in this keto cheeseburger casserole recipe? Doesn’t ketchup contain sugar?
It’s up to you what to do with this one. My preference is to make my own easy sugar-free ketchup recipe like this.
Otherwise, if your household is cutting carbs and sugar but not strictly sugar-free, you can use a regular store bought ketchup as well. From a functional standpoint it will work just fine, and even then this skinny cheeseburger casserole recipe will be much lighter than most casseroles.
…Adding your favorite toppings.
This easy cheeseburger casserole recipe is a breeze to customize with your favorite toppings. Almost anything you can put on a burger, you can put it either on or in this casserole!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
>> Want a bacon cheeseburger casserole?
Crumble some bacon on top of the cheese.
>> Like pickles on your burgers?
Add some on top of the ground beef. Don’t add too much, though, because they tend to water down the casserole. This is why I left them out of the base version on the recipe card. It’s up to you if that’s worth the trade-off. You can also just add them on top at the end.
>> Missing the lettuce or tomatoes?
Shred or dice ’em on top of the casserole after baking.
>> Feel like a bun – with or without sesame seeds?
Serve the casserole with some almond flour biscuits, or just top it with sesame seeds.
…Making the low carb cheeseburger casserole in advance.
A huge bonus about this low carb casserole is that it’s easy to make ahead! Check the instructions below on how to freeze it, or simply make it a few days beforehand for meal prep.
How To Freeze Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole
You can easily make skinny cheeseburger casserole ahead, either for meal prep or for freezing long term.
How to meal prep keto cheeseburger casserole
To meal prep this casserole just a few days ahead, complete all the steps except adding the toppings (ketchup, mustard and cheese). These are best added right before baking, because they’ll soak into the meat below too much if they sit in the fridge for a long time.
Instead, prepare the base layer and meat layer in the casserole dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you want to serve the low carb cheeseburger casserole, simply add the toppings and cheese. Then, complete the final baking step to heat it through and melt the cheese.
However, if you already made the casserole and just want to store the leftovers, they’ll still be plenty good if you refrigerate them all assembled. This is also convenient if you want to plan ahead for work lunches that you can take with you.
Can you freeze low carb cheeseburger casserole?
If you want to freeze this easy cheeseburger casserole, go for it! Just assemble the whole thing and let it cool to room temperature before freezing. The flavor is optimal for about 6 months, but it’s safe in the freezer even beyond that.
To reheat after freezing, you can either do it from frozen or thaw it first. The ketchup and mustard do mix into the meat a little more than they would if it was fresh, but it’s still delicious!
Easy Low Carb Keto Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe:
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Easy Low Carb Keto Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe
With common ingredients, this easy keto cheeseburger casserole recipe is a one-dish low carb dinner for the whole family. Check the tips & variations for the best skinny low carb cheeseburger casserole ever.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Rice the cauliflower using a food processor or box grater. (Learn more about how to make cauliflower rice here.)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower rice and sea salt. Stir fry until the cauliflower is cooked and a little browned, about 7-10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese and heavy cream.
Transfer the mixture evenly to a 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) glass casserole dish. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
Lightly wipe down the saute pan to remove any cauliflower pieces, and add the ground beef. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cook the ground beef until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain if needed.
Sprinkle the ground beef evenly over the cauliflower in the casserole dish.
Drizzle the casserole with ketchup (you can make your own sugar-free ketchup like this, or store bought is fine if you are not strictly sugar-free) and mustard. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until casserole is hot and cheese melts.
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Serving size: 1/9 of entire casserole (cut into approx 3 x 4.3 in rectangles)
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