Shipwreck Casserole (In the Slow Cooker)

Ground beef Shipwreck Casserole! It's layers of onions, potatoes, ground beef and rice & your favourite tomato soup! It turns out absolutely delicious!

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Want to know why a Shipwreck Casserole is called a Shipwreck Casserole?

Because it looks like a shipwreck. Totally. It’s messy, it’s all over the place, there is no rhyme or reason to the layers ( they always fall apart) and it looks like a disaster, aka a shipwreck, but let me assure you of one thing. Shipwreck casserole is deeeeelicious!

close up ground beef Casserole in a crockpot

How to Make Shipwreck Casserole

Really, this was probably one of the hardest meals that I have had to try to make look appetizing for you guys – and I’m not even sure that I succeeded.

If you have had shipwreck casserole as a kid, you will know how delicious this is and I don’t have to make it look pretty for you. It’s layers of onions, potatoes, ground beef and rice, and then you pour your favourite tomato soup over the top of it. It turns out absolutely delicious and it’s so easy!

top down view of Shipwreck Casserole

If you watch the video, you can get a better idea of how delicious this really is. I have made it a few times – but always in the oven- and finally decided to try it in the slow cooker.

It worked like a charm! You DO have to have a slow cooker that seals well – mine is brand new so it does. If you have one that you know leaks heat and moisture, your rice won’t cook properly. Place a piece of tinfoil between the lid and the pot to seal it and keep all the moisture in to cook the rice.

cooking the rice on a crockpot with lid on top

Who ate this as a kid? Did you like it? You can also put cheese on top at the end if you like – and then it’s more like a campfire tinfoil dinner minus the rice. I eat onions, carrots, potatoes and cheese in tinfoil all the time when camping!

If you are looking for more delicious dinner ideas, try my:

Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo

close up Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo on a plate with blue line design

Lazy Cabbage Casserole

Lazy Cabbage Casserole in a transparent bowl on white background

Creamy Yellow Bean & Potato Soup

Creamy Yellow Bean & Potato Soup in a white bowl over a vintage white plate

Happy cooking!



Shipwreck Casserole (In the Slow Cooker)

Ground beef Shipwreck Casserole! It's layers of onions, potatoes, ground beef and rice & your favourite tomato soup! It turns out absolutely delicious!
4.91 from 186 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Slow Cooker / Crockpot
Karlynn Johnston


  • 2 white onions sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef uncooked
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 cup white rice uncooked
  • 2 cups of carrots sliced
  • one 10 ounces can of condensed tomato soup ( I use roasted red pepper for extra flavour! Use your favourite soup!)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water


  • This can be done in a casserole dish in the oven or in the slow cooker. For the crockpot, your vegetables can be sliced THICKER if you are going to cook all day!

Oven instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
  • Place onions in the bottom of a well greased 9×13 baking dish. Add the potatoes, then the carrots.
  • Mix the seasoning salt into the ground beef then spread the beef over top of the vegetables then sprinkle with rice.
  • Mix together the tomato soup and the water then pour over top.
  • Cover with tin foil.
  • Cook for two hours, until the vegetables are soft and the rice has cooked.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • Place onions in the bottom of a well greased slow cooker. Add the potatoes, then the carrots.
  • Mix the seasoning salt into the ground beef then spread the beef over top of the vegetables then sprinkle with rice.
  • Mix together the tomato soup and the water then pour over top.
  • Cover with tin foil. ( this is the best way to seal your crockpot) and place the crockpot lid on top.
  • Cook on low 6-8 hours until the vegetables are soft and the rice has cooked.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Use your favourite tomato soup to make this recipe even more delicious! I use a roasted red pepper tomato soup to boost the flavour!
  • If you have trouble cooking the rice, put the rice UNDER the ground beef to cook.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 458kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 1100mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 7130IU, Vitamin C: 21.5mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 7.1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Shipwreck Casserole! This quick and easy classic can also be done in your slow cooker! . #recipe #crockpot #slowcooker #supper

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Christina Spencer says

    This was very good. I was a nervous to use tomato soup in a casserole, but I’m happy we tried it! Will definitely make again. I made a couple small changes. I used an entire 32 oz box of Pacific Foods Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup (did not add water), only one onion (didn’t have two on hand) and two lbs of ground moose. Cooked in a Dutch oven. Delicious. Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

  2. Louise says

    I have not tried this yet but i am going to. If it doesn’t turn out the right way first don’t fret try again and add some of your own seasonings and different things you like. Don’t complain and be rude these people are just trying to give us some new ideas and I think they are doing a great job

  3. Wendy says

    My kids were grown by the time I heard of this recipe, so it isn’t something I’ve ever eaten. But, I just can’t imagine having two starches in the same dish. I’d rather either just have potatoes or just have rice. I might try it that way, maybe with green beans or baby limas added. I think it looks great, but sounds too heavy.

  4. Amie Splattstoesser says

    This was a hit in our house. I didnt have q can of tomato soup so I used a can of petite diced tomatos and a little tomato paste. It was amazing!!

  5. Tammy says

    My shipwreck casserole it’s different cook my ground beef then I add one can of each tomato soup and cream of celery soup than spread it in the bottom of my baking dish and put a layer of onions than 1 can of each kidney beans carrote corn and pea than sliced potatoes on the top and bake till the potatoes are just about done then I throw a little bit of cheese on the top and bake another 10 min

  6. Glennyce Johnson says

    We grew up on shipwreck, 9 in the family & quite often cousins ( about 20). It was an affordable way to feed a large family. This goes back to the 1950’s. We all still make it today. I use a Dutch oven bc the lid fits tight. Also I do 2 layers of everything & finish with the rice on top ( don’t use minute rice) & 2 cans of Campbell’s Soup with 1 can water. 350° for 2 hrs. It was also served with a side of coleslaw & fresh bun. My mom didn’t put carrots in it. Some have commented about it being greasy; A bit of fat gives it flavor but I mix 80% x-lean 20% reg.

  7. Ward says

    Made this last night in the slow cooker. Did not change anything in the recipe. It was flavorless. It had no taste at all. I plan on trying to save it tonight by adding some rotel tomato sauce and cheese and hope it will have some taste.

  8. djghettoredneck says

    Sounds good. How to cook this in my Instapot?

  9. Karen Joy says

    Oh interesting!I make an almost exact recipe from our old Mennonite(I’m not mennonite,just life in an area with them)cook book called seven layer casserole.The only difference is the rice is over the carrot layer and then is a can of peas topped with a layer of sausage,I use pork breakfast sausage.IVe heard some use ground beef but I’ve been afraid to try it thinking it may be greasy.ill give it a go now see what I think.

  10. Robert Zittle says

    Is it one or two hours? In the recipe it says two but only one hour in the cook time summary.

  11. George Shank says

    I’ve always thought of recipes as guides not laws.
    It never hurts to add a little bit of your own ideas and taste to the mix.5 stars

  12. Linda says

    Just wondering if it’s greasy since you don’t pre-cook and drain the meat? Also it seems like 2 hours wouldn’t be enough cooking time. Really want to try this recipe! Thanks!

  13. Carole says

    I always make a new recipe exactly as written the first time, which is what I did here. I followed the directions to the letter, and I still ended up with some raw rice. I wondered why the rice was placed on top instead of on the bottom, but I gave the creator the benefit of the doubt. However, next time, I’m layering in this order: onions, rice, carrots, potatoes, beef. I will also add the salt to the soup/water so it will mix better. I think it will turn out better that way.

    • Dave Stone says

      My Mother made this for us about 40 + years ago. Thank you for the recipe allowing me to enjoy and relive those memories. It was delish! She also added kernel corn and celery from time to time. Always a little different but always good! Slow cooker used for 6 hours and it was perfect.5 stars

    • Teresa Dean says

      I read 1 hr so planned dinner around that ,then get into recipe 6 to 8 he in slow cooker, 2 in oven

  14. Pat Meierhenry says

    well, our family has made Shipwreck with pork & beans for years, no rice, and we all love it!! not saying we would not like this, but had to defend Calee’s dad!!! I fed it to my cousin/hired hand & he called for the recipe after he was married, & his mom claimed he did not do casseroles!!

  15. Carol Dirosa says

    What a great website. I want to cook them all.

  16. KORi says

    So I made this tonight….and I’m sorry but it’s not good. It’s so bland and flavourless. I looked at the recipe again because I though maybe I missed something and I didn’t. My husband ended adding a bunch of stuff just so it was edible1 star

    • Kristen Roberds says

      I think this recipe needs something else too. So I added a can of Mexican tomatoes, a can of Rotella, a tsp of sugar, 1 tbps chili powder, 1 tbs paprika, 1/4 cup chives” 1 /2 bell pepper, a hillashire link sausage cut up. Forget the tomato soup and use celery or creme of chicken soup and 1 c chicken broth instead of water. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. And yes, it will be spicy good but not too much.
      I loved this added to the rest of the recipe but I just couldn’t help myself. I just had to spice it up.
      Thbank you for the recipes. Turned out great..
      Kristen Roberds5 stars

      • Cheryl says

        Thats more liquid than the original recipe. Was it runny or just saucier (kind of creamy) that way?

    • Rhonda Lynch says

      It was totally flavorless!!! Yuck! I had to season that right up! And we sprinkled some cheese on top for added taste… THEN it was alright… we’ll keep it as a backup meal not a real favorite for the family…. sorry 🤷🏽

  17. erin sikink says

    OhEmGeeee!! i LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. nothing could be easier than whipping this up before leaving the house for today. as a busy business professional i dont have a lot of time before rushing out the door in the morning. and sometimes when i get home i just dont have the time or energy to get a hot home cooked meal together. it feels like quite a few days of the week i just plop down on the couch with a microwave dinner and a box of wine LOZ!
    i made this last night and it was fantastic. i even let my cat eat a little and she loved it, and she NEVER loves sweedz meatz (what i call microwave swedish meatballs), so this meal fed us both hahah <3 <3 <3 this recipe, il be following your site closely! thanks!

  18. Lori Smith says

    I have a question. When you say a can of tomato soup, do you mean a can of condensed tomato soup (ex: Campbell’s) or do you mean more like a can of “heat and serve” (ex: Progresso Tomato Basil)?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Yes, condensed soup will be the strongest flavor.5 stars

    • Emma says

      What if you use fresh tomato soup that is already cooked? Will that work?

      • Kim says

        So excited to try…. so disappointed. It had zero taste and was so greasy. I followed the recipe every step of the way but it turned out horrible.

  19. Susan Taylor says

    What kind of white rice to use, minute rice?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      No, just normal white rice, short, medium or long grain.5 stars

      • Cassie says

        Do you add more liquid if cooking with long grain rice?

  20. Krista says

    Casseroles are great when you have a busy week but to make it in the slow cooker! Amazing!

  21. Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie says

    I know what my slow cooker will be making next!

  22. Jacque Hastert says

    I have never made this, but seeing how easy it is to make it will be on my list.5 stars

  23. Katerina @ diethood .com says

    This sounds incredible!! I am loving the flavors!!

  24. Amanda says

    Sometimes the best tasting foods don’t look the prettiest, this sounds amazing!

  25. Jen says

    I’ve never even heard of this before but it sounds like a dinner I can’t mess up, lol!

  26. Stephanie says

    How well do you think this would work with other soups? Like maybe a French onion, or mushroom?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      It would work amazing with mushroom soup!!!5 stars

  27. Lucille Machia says

    The recipes all look great. If you have a news letter or website please add me to it. ☺5 stars

  28. Calee says

    Oh man, I about died laughing when I saw the title of this post! I couldn’t believe anybody would blog about (what I know as “shipwreck”). We had a casserole called “shipwreck” that my dad made all the time when I was a kid. My high school boyfriend still jokes about how many times he ate it and how bad it was. Our recipe used a can of baked beans instead of soup (there was ketchup in there, too), and no rice. I don’t remember vegetables other than the potatoes. It was hella gross! This, on the other hand, looks pretty darn good.

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      LOL! Yes, your version sounds…… not that appetizing with the beans. This one is reaaaally good – especially if you top it with cheese at the end!5 stars

      • Calee says

        I’m pretty sure my dad saw the original recipe and was like, “um, we don’t have tomato soup, but we do have beans. Close enough.”

4.91 from 186 votes (157 ratings without comment)

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