American Chop Suey Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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American Chop Suey Recipe

New Englanders love American chop suey. It was a weeknight staple growing up in my family. Ground beef, peppers and onions, tomato sauce, spices, and elbow macaroni. That’s how I always remember it. It’s a really simple recipe and almost resembles a very simplified bolognese sauce.

Well, this is not your average chop suey dish. This American chop suey recipe is a fancied-up spin on the classic dish. Made with ground beef, fresh basil and rosemary, crispy bacon, cream, peppers and onions, red pepper flakes, and melted mozzarella and ricotta cheese, it’s everything you remember about American chop suey but with date-night worthy flair.

How to Make My American Chop Suey

My recipe is still as simple as any other American chop suey recipe. The only difference is extra fresh herbs, cream for a creamier touch, bacon, and of course the freshly melted cheese.

I make this recipe in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet for easy transfer from the stove to the oven. The bacon, beef, and vegetables are all cooked/simmered in the skillet and quickly transferred to the oven for the final bake of melted fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese.

How Are The Ingredients Different from Typical American Chop Suey?

I’ve bolded the big differences, you can leave those out for the regular dish.

  • Ground beef
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Chopped bacon
  • Yellow onion
  • Green bell pepper
  • Fresh basil versus dried basil
  • Fresh rosemary versus dried oregano
  • Cream
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sugar
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • I opt for a splash of water or white wine over tomato juice

Do I Need A Cast-iron Skillet?

You don’t need one, but you absolutely should get one if you haven’t already. Especially if we’re going to be friends. You can make this recipe in any large pan or Dutch oven, and transfer it to a Pyrex for the baking portion. If you have another oven-safe pan that’s not a skillet, that’s fine too. A single pan, of course, makes the recipe easier and involves fewer dishes to clean.

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American Chop Suey Recipe
5 from 1 vote

American Chop Suey Recipe

Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
A fancy, creamy twist on American chop suey made with bacon, fresh rosemary and basil, and melted ricotta and mozzarella cheese.


  • 1 pound ground beef or sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella
  • 5-6 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from sprig and minced
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash, crushed red pepper flakes
  • tablespoon of sugar
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Fully cook bacon in a cast iron skillet* on medium heat, about 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and place on paper-towel lined plate to drain, then chop.
  • Discard the majority of the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons left in the skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and simmer for 1 minute. Add ground beef, breaking up the chunks of meat with a spoon. Cook until browned and no longer pink, about 5- 7 minutes. Add rosemary and basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
  • Add the canned tomatoes with all juice, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, tomato paste, bacon, red pepper flakes and sugar. Simmer while you cook the pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Strain and mix with the macaroni. Stir in cream. Top evenly with chucks of mozzarella and dollops of ricotta cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese melts. Optional last step, turn the broiler on high to lightly brown the top of the cheese. just note, it will brown very quickly, so monitor closely. Serve immediately.


If sauce seems too thick, add a splash of water or white wine.
If not including bacon, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in place of bacon fat.
You don't need a skillet to make this recipe. You can use a large pan and transfer to an oven safe dish to bake. Alternatively, you can use an oven-safe pan.


Serving: 1gCalories: 664kcalCarbohydrates: 57.9gProtein: 41.3gFat: 20.2gSaturated Fat: 9.1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 884mgFiber: 4.4gSugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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1 Comment

  1. This sounds like what was called American Goulash when I was a kid. American Chop Suey was made with ground beef, rice, soy sauce, cream of mushroom and