I love recipes that are just thrown together, popped in the oven and the rest of the work is done for you! This Easy Shipwreck Casserole is just that - EASY! It's a simple, delicious, and hearty one-pot comfort food meal that is perfect for busy weeknights. The original recipe and most versions of shipwreck casseroles are in the form of a layered casserole, but doing all that 'layering' work really isn't necessary when you can just throw everything together!
This easy dinner recipe was a big hit at my house and is popular any time of the year, although it makes a great cozy dish when it's chilly outside. It's inspired by the traditional "shipwreck stew" or "hobo stew" that was often cooked over an open fire by travelers or workers during the Great Depression.
It's called "Shipwreck Casserole" because it's said that the ingredients for this recipe could be salvaged from a shipwreck. So, yeah, you're bound to have these ingredients on hand in your pantry, fridge, and freezer!
It also reminds me a lot of my Dad's 'hamburger surprise' we used to eat growing up, except he'd make it in a large skillet on the stovetop.
To make this shipwreck casserole, you will need some basic ingredients:
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 2 potatoes, chopped into cubes
- 1 small onion
- 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- ¼ cup uncooked rice * I use instant white rice
- 1 pound of raw ground beef *It is critical you use EXTRA LEAN (do NOT use regular or lean)
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup (10 oz cans)
- Optional Garnish: green onions, salt,, and black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and spray the casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Add all ingredients to casserole dish (do NOT cook the ground beef in advance)
Cover and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours
*You will know it's done when the ground beef is cooked through (see top tip)
You will know for sure that the casserole is done if you use an instant-read thermometer (affiliate link) to make sure the casserole is at 165 degrees F for safe consumption.
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Slow Cooker -this can be cooked in a slow cooker (crock pot) for 4-6 hours on low (until ground beef is cooked through- see top tip)
- Potatoes - you can use any type of potato, but russet potatoes (aka Idaho potatoes) work well in this dish. And you could slice the potatoes into rounds instead of chopping them
- Ground Meat - you could use ground turkey instead of ground beef
- Rice - you can use instant brown rice or white rice
- Frozen mixed vegetables : you could use fresh carrots instead, with canned corn, frozen or fresh peas and fresh green beans
- Add-ins- you could also use dark red kidney beans and Italian seasoning and top the casserole with shredded cheese
🥗 Side Dishes
Shipwreck Casserole has everything in it and is a complete meal on its own, but I like to serve it with :
- spinach salad
- side salad
- Old Fashioned Fruit Salad (with Honey Lime Dressing)
And for dessert...this casserole pairs perfectly with my Mixed Berry Crumble (with Lemon, Mint & Coconut), which is also a very easy recipe!
You will need a casserole dish or large baking dish for this ground beef casserole recipe. I love my Corningware casserole dishes I received as a wedding gift! The set comes with a lid that's perfect for transporting or storing in both the fridge or freezer! You will also need a trivet. I LOVE my silicone trivets (black trivet in photo) - they are so easy to clean/dishwasher safe! I would also recommend an instant read thermometer. (affiliate links)
Store leftover Shipwreck Casserole in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you want a simple make-ahead dinner, you can make this dish 2-3 days in advance and it can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
👪 Serving Size
This shipwreck recipe makes 8 servings. However, you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You'll just need a bigger casserole dish if you double or triple it.
This hearty casserole recipe is Weight Watchers friendly @ 5 WW points per serving. However, if you use ground turkey instead of ground beef, it's 3 WW points per serving.
- Cook ground beef to an internal minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Never leave cooking food unattended
And if you love ground beef casserole recipes, then check out my Potato and Ground Beef Casserole (with spinach)!
So if you are looking for easy casserole dishes, this is a recipe the whole family will love; it's sure to become a family favorite!
📋 Easy Shipwreck Casserole Recipe
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- ¼ cup instant rice (uncooked)
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup 10 oz cans
- green onions
- black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add everything to the casserole dish. * Do NOT cook the ground beef in advance, add it raw.
- Mix together.
- Cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours or until ground beef is cooked through.
A GREAT recipe, even though I substituted cauliflower for the potatoes, used brown rice, & used Heart Healthy canned soup.
I made this a bit healthier than the original recipe was, but it was (still) a very tasty dish.
I liked that your recipe called for Extra Lean Ground Beef, especially since I never use Ground Beef that's fattier than 90/10% in any of my dishes. I try to make interesting, yet healthy meals for my family.
My family (even the kiddoes) loved this Casserole. I'll definately make it again.
I love your even healthier version, Angela! And happy to hear the family loved it! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I remember my Mom making a version of this recipe. We always loved it. This version is so easy and so good.
Glad it could bring back fond memories for you, Edith! And I'm happy to hear you enjoyed my version 🙂
Norma Del Pezo
This recipe looks yummy and super easy ...but...it can be done in pressure cooker instead ? Instead of two hours in the oven...Thanks
I don't see why not. I don't have a pressure cooker and have honestly never used one, but if you know how to change recipes for your pressure cooker it should work. It will work in a slow cooker. Enjoy! Terri
We made a version of this in girl scouts in the 60's on camp outs.I used a can of Rotel tomatoes in place of one of the soups because it was what I had. Still was a good, speedy dinner!
That's very cool, Lisa! We never made anything that yummy on girl guide cook-outs - lucky you!
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Terri