American Chop Suey Recipe

When you think of the words "chop suey," you often think of an Asian-inspired dish, and rightfully so. But there are other kinds of chop suey out there, including a stellar American version that is a total comfort dish. This American chop suey puts another fun spin on an Asian classic while making it totally unique and delicious. It comes complete with macaroni, ground beef, and a wonderful sauce that is great for kids and adults alike. If you have tried it, welcome back and if you haven't? It's definitely time to give it a shot because it's been around for years — just ask your parents. 

Registered dietitian and recipe developer Kristen Carli is the brains behind this clever dish that will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. She has plenty of good things to say about it but for her it's a childhood fave. "This dish is a classic American pasta casserole," Carli raves. "I love it because I grew up eating a lot of it! It is nostalgic for me." We are all about turning nostalgic dishes into staples in other households and that seems to be Carli's aim here. 

Keep reading to find out how to whip up this fun main course. 

Gather the ingredients

Are you ready to get started? The first step is to make a grocery list to see what items you will need to purchase at the store versus what you already have at home. The first and most important ingredient is the elbow macaroni. You will also need some unsalted butter. Moving down the list, be sure to pick up a yellow onion and ground beef.

In true pasta spirit, the dish also requires diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, and tomato paste. To complete your shopping list, you will also need dried oregano, salt, and pepper, for the seasonings, and if you like cheese, you'll want to grab some grated Parmesan for topping off the final dish. 

Cook the pasta

Okay, now it's time to get down to the actual business of cooking! 

Take out a large pot and fill it up with water. Place the pot over your burner and crank up the heat, bringing the water to a boil. Each pasta brand will have slightly different cooking instructions, so follow the directions on the back of the box to cook the macaroni. When you finish cooking it, strain the water and set the macaroni to the side.

Add the onion and beef

Grab another large pot and add your butter first. Turn the heat on and wait for the butter to melt. Once it does, toss in the onion (diced) and let it cook. It will take about 8 minutes to sauté the onion at which point it will turn translucent, indicating that it's good to go.

Next, add the ground beef to the same pot. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to break it into smaller pieces, as you would do with most other recipes. Continue cooking until the beef is no longer pink. This should only take about 8 more minutes. Then, add a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.

Pile on the tomatoes and macaroni

There's a whole lot going on in the pot already, and it's just a matter of putting on the finishing touches, aka the sauce. This step has us seeing a lot of red, which means it's time for the tomatoes to go in. First, add the diced tomatoes followed by the tomato sauce. Then, throw in your last remaining tomato-related ingredient — the tomato paste. Finish things off with the dried oregano and a little bit of salt and pepper. You can also add the cooked macaroni in at this time. 

Now, the only thing that's left for you do is stir everything to combine all the ingredients. 

Serving suggestions and leftover storage

Now that you have completed cooking the chop suey, place it in a serving dish of your choice and divvy it out to your lucky guests. For some extra flavor, feel free to add some grated Parmesan to each dish. "I love to serve this along side some roasted vegetables or fresh salad," Carli notes. We also think that it would go really well with some garlic bread. 

Due to this dish being so yummy, we don't think you will have very many leftovers, but if you do, we've got you covered. "Leftovers store best in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days," Carli shares. 

We hope you love this comfort food dish as much as we do!

American Chop Suey Recipe
5 from 123 ratings
This American chop suey puts another fun spin on an Asian classic while making it totally unique and delicious.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pasta in a dish
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Optional Ingredients
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a separate large pot, add the butter. Once melted, add the onion. Sauté for 8 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until it is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, tomato paste, dried oregano, cooked pasta, and remaining salt and pepper to the pot.
  5. Stir well until combined.
  6. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired, and serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 550
Total Fat 18.7 g
Saturated Fat 7.3 g
Trans Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 58.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 70.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Total Sugars 10.6 g
Sodium 791.6 mg
Protein 25.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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