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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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Jill S says

    I am almost 70. Have had this a few times a year since early childhood. Love it, some times put a few sausages in for the meat. A recipe that comes the hard times years. The other night had supper with an old friend. she served this using mushroom soup instead of tomato, it was very nice and for me made an old recipe new.

  2. Nora says

    I enjoy your recipes.
    I’m wondering ,why aren’t any of the comments/ questions answered?

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      There are several thousand recipes on the website so we don’t always see comments unless we are reviewing randomly. In order to constantly provide new content and stay active on all social platforms, we have to focus elsewhere but we do our best!

  3. Emily says

    I didn’t have tomato soup so used diced tomatoes and a little extra liquid instead, it still came out delicious. It was like a messy version of shepherds pie, my husband actually said he preferred the texture to that of shepherds pie. And some may cringe at this but ketchup lovers rejoice, it tastes even better with a little ketchup for sweetness.5 stars

    • Me again says

      Commenting to add, I used only 1 onion as I’m not a big fan, seems other reviews people found onions and soup overpowering so maybe I accidentally made it the preferred way

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      You can certainly try but it will add alot of water to the recipe and could result in sogginess5 stars

  4. C. A. Cobb says

    my mother made Shipwreck casserole but the recipe differs, no rice. The raw hamburger, lean is best, was placed in the bottom of the baking dish. Season the meat well with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and a little paprika. I use a mandolin to slice veggies, first onions, potatoes and last carrots. Mom used a can of tomato soup and a can of mushroom soup. Maybe 1/2 can of water depending on the size of the casserole. She usually made this in a turkey roaster, there were 8 hungry mouths to feed. It was one of our favorites growing up, and I still make it.

  5. Julie says

    Sorry to say, this recipe was really bad. The recipe was followed to a T and we could not eat it. The combination of tomato soup and carrots was overpowering and not appetizing.1 star

  6. Marie M says

    I really wanted to like this. The ease of this recipe was what drew me to it. I was surprised to see there was no seasoning in the recipe other than a miniscule amount of seasoning salt. So, I added worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper. It wasn’t enough. This recipe has good bones, but it needs… flavor… We got it down with a lot of Frank’s and a bunch of kimchi. I might try to tweak this to make it enjoyable, but I’m not sure if it is worth my time… or the ingredients. So sorry.1 star

  7. Lynn L says

    Made over the weekend It was ok not great. Added seasoning and used vegetable broth instead of water. I would skip onions or just 1. Not sure would make again.4 stars

  8. Kath Cain says

    This was a staple growing up in our big busy household. Agree not appealing looking at all but as a kid we loved ‘Shipwreck” night. Mom used to make hers in a large roasting pan. When it was cooked she would sometimes put some cheese on top and return it to the oven for a few minutes. No hungry mouth at our table complained that it was bland !! I make it occasionally and have doctored moms recipe a tad. Will use Italian sausage mixed in with the ground meat. Soup has been substituted with marinara sauce, passata, or diced tomatoes. Mom also would use cooked rice or cooked pasta for one layer. Just depended on what was in the fridge. Thanks for sharing your recipe and allowing me to have a little trip down memory lane !

  9. Ray Rogers says

    This is an awful recipe.. absolutely no flavor, no imagination and a waste of time and money. Even after trying to spice it up in the end it wasn’t very good.

    Don’t waste your energy or money. But now I know ….1 star

    • Ashley says

      Imagination is not exactly something busy moms can have sometimes. This is a great, easy recipe for people who are exhausted but need simple recipes and nutrition. And waste energy? There is hardly any energy or money needed for this. Go gripe somewhere else

      • Tanya Landry says

        A friend of mine used to make a version of this years ago (an old Newfoundland recipe). I made it tonight and added tinned corn, garlic and a bit of Chipotle chili powder and it’s sooooo amazing! Tastes just like I remember 😊5 stars

    • Pam says

      I can’t wait to make this recipe. Sounds absolutely yummy! In the mean time I must say that all those that bashed this recipe for having no flavor should learn to read the recipe before starting to cook. If you prefer more seasoning than salt, tomato soup, and onions then add it BEFORE you cook. Don’t blame the creator for something you should have known.

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      This is a very plain recipe, for those who enjoy the simple tastes of ground beef and tomato soup. This comes from the era of “lean times” and you can definitely change it up how you want.

      For some of us, though this is exactly how it tasted in our childhood and that’s OK! It was filling and hearty, and it’s comfort food for some of us.

      Play around with the seasonings as you see fit.5 stars

  10. Garcia says

    I used ground turkey, riced cauliflower and served it on a bed of cabbage. Came out great.5 stars

  11. Ian Schafer says

    Ok it’s cooked now, 6 hours on low is way too long, I halved mine as I only have a 1.5 ltr slow cooker.
    Didn’t lack flavour as i seasoned to my taste & using sausages instead of beef mince added to the flavour.
    But it looks like shite !!! not attractive or looking very eatable.
    I will eat & enjoy it but will not put on my favourite list.4 stars

  12. Ian Schafer says

    Got this cooking now, the name intrigued me, Lol, I used cut up breakfast sausages that I have heaps of to use,
    I make an old R.A.Navy recipe called Train Smash, but it’s a fry up of over ripe tomatoes, sugar, salt & bkack pepper onions, bacon & what ever is in the fridge crisper that needs to be used before you have to chuck it out, I throw in some mushies, corn kernels, & sliced capsicum ( Bell peppers you yanks call them ). You should try it … I love it !!!
    I hope I enjoy mine not like some of the reviews, but I have imagination, I taste as I cook & adjust to my taste, Maybe you should add season to taste at the end of the recipe3 stars

  13. Tatum says

    As a person who absolutely loves to cook and spends most of her time in the kitchen, this recipe is TRASH. I give it no stars. Following the recipe, it is so bland that it’s not even tolerable. Even after I doused it in seasonings, it still didn’t sit right. My husband nailed it when he said that it “tastes like spaghetti-os”. Yuck! It sucks that I waited for it to be finished to continue reading the reviews in order to get to the bad ones. A waste of time, money and good ingredients. Don’t bother with this recipe.

  14. Kat says

    This was good! I used beef broth and added 2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce instead of water. I cooked in crockpot 4 hrs high, 45 mins low. It was really tasty.5 stars

    • Kat says

      I forgot to add that I also put onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Montreal seasoning in the meat and browned it a bit first.

  15. Sharron Biccum says

    Best to put the rice on the veggies then add the meat. Also add Worcestershire sauce to the meat with garlic powder and salt and pepper This will boast the flavor which is needed4 stars

  16. Amy says

    We love a crockpot shipwreck around here. Here are the small changes we’ve made over time to perfect it to our families liking that others might enjoy. First I always use instant rice. If using instant, it cooks down and disappears into the mixture and acts as a thickener. The end result is just like a beef stew. We omit the onions, nobody but me eats them and its one less ingredient to buy and prep. I use chicken or beef broth in place of the water that is mixed with the tomato soup for extra flavor. And I generously season each layer (potatoes, carrots, hamburger) with garlic salt, black pepper, and onion powder. The whole family enjoys it and we keep it on regular rotation!5 stars

  17. dave says

    OK: just served this. I am a cook and a baker. For some unknown reason; this intriqed me. My bad. Just served this rendition of food; ……again…my bad. Move on! don’t waste your time on this poor thought out recipe. It is cooking at it’s basest form. I may be able to be talked into serving this to my dog…poor dog!

  18. Dave says

    OK, followed the directions. Sprinkling the rice on top….bad idea. I was disappointed because the rice is left on top to be cooked crispy. Not cool. I would not put the rice on ” at all”

  19. STEVEN says

    I didn’t like it at all…… needs cheese or something. Have made better Hamburger Helper. I tossed it over the fence for the woods wildlife

  20. Rand says

    I grew up with this as a kid. My mom and dad always used a can of crushed tomatoes and added Worcestershire sauce,either a little cider or maybe white vinegar,salt pepper and garlic to can of crushed tomatoes and old bay seasoning. Yo the hamburger they added salt,pepper,Worcestershire sauce and garlic(I think) I was a kid,but you have the basics of this recipe and play with spices and veggies you enjoy. Thank you for posting it! I’m going to attempt tomorrow for my family!

    • Rand says

      Karylyn,this was a great find for me even though I know it’s a bit different forms yours. As I said,I was a kid,and didn’t really know how to assemble it all,or veggies needed to be partially par boiled,or if rice needed to be cooked first. My Dad never really cooked with recipes,so a few ingredients I may not have right,and sorry I don’t have any measurements,but I’m so excited to make this! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  21. Laureen says

    You have two different cooking times; 1 hour at the beginning of the recipe and two hours in step 6. My mom’s recipe is very similar, no potatoes and add Parmesan cheese 10 minutes before the end of cooking time

    • Rand says

      I think the first version is done in the oven and second one in crock pot. Or maybe you’re seeing something I’m not seeing. What I saw was the oven version cooks for 2 hours and slow cooker on low for 6-8.

    • Katie Wilson says

      Your right, it does say 1hour at the beginning of the recipe and then 2 hours in step 6.

    • Sarai says

      I was pleasantly surprised with this. I popped this bad boy in the crock pot and stacked it as told. I should’ve mixed the soup and water together but i didn’t so the rice had places where it didn’t cook, and others where it was mushy. overall the flavor was good. the potatoes and carrots were good! I also seasoned every layer in order to get the best flavor. I also used ground turkey instead of ground beef and it was good. it was something very different but it was good!4 stars

  22. Jackie says

    I halved the recipe but kept the meat and the tomato soup the same. It definitely needed more salt and more sauce. The overall flavour Was ok and will be great with the extra salt and moisture. I think I will like it better if I up the rice and meat and use less potatoes too.

  23. Louisette says

    Never heard of this recipe before but after reading the ingredients I thought it looked good so I made it for supper tonight. We all loved it. The only thing I changed was that I added about 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes. Next time, because there will be one, I will add some red sweet peppers and a bit of Sambal oelek or Tabasco for some heat.

4.91 from 186 votes (157 ratings without comment)

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