Homemade Hamburger Helper – One Pot Meal!

Who remembers Hamburger Helper from their childhood? It’s a classic that we all know and love. Now, you can make it at home in one pot with ingredients you know and trust. This homemade version of your favorite Cheeseburger Macaroni is so much better than the boxed version. It’s made in one pot, is cheesy, rich and delicious. Plus, the kids will love it!

Wooden spoon with cheesy hamburger helper over a dutch oven

Homemade Hamburger Helper is sooo much better than the boxed stuff! Made with wholesome ingredients and no scary science-sounding additives this is an easy one-pot recipe your whole family will love. Beef, pasta and a savory sauce all simmered together on the stove. Add some cheese and you get a delicious dinner!

Not gonna lie, I loved the boxed stuff growing up but have you ever looked at the ingredient list? Eeek! My kids love it, so I came up with this from-scratch Instant Pot Hamburger Helper, but a few of your don’t have a pressure cooker, so then I made a One Pot stove-top version. My kids loving refer to this as cheeseburger macaroni!

It’s not hard to make and everything, including the pasta, cooks together in one pan on the stove. So easy! I like to serve it with a veggie on the side like roasted cauliflower, asparagus or a simple salad.

If you’re craving a hearty beef and pasta dinner you have to give this a try! It’s a great weeknight meal.

Ingredients for Hamburger Helper

  • I recommend grabbing the low-sodium beef broth for this recipe especially if you are worried about sodium. You could also use more water and less broth to keep the sodium content down.
  • Another tip is to grab a block of cheddar cheese and grate it yourself to make it perfectly melty and gooey. Freshly grated cheese is so much better!
  • I usually use 80% ground beef but you can use leaner ground beef if you’d like.

Overhead image of ingredients to make hamburger helper

How to Make Hamburger Helper from Scratch

  • Brown – Cook the ground beef and onion in a large pot over medium-high heat. Just about the time the beef is done, add the garlic and cook it all for a minute longer. Drain off the excess grease from the pan.
  • Add Ingredients – Lower the heat to low and add the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Then add the broth and uncooked pasta, give it all a stir.
  • Simmer – Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.
  • Serve – Take the pot off the heat and add the cheese. Stir until it’s melted. Spoon all the beefy, cheesy, pasta goodness onto plates and devour!

Collage of images on steps to make hamburger helper

Can you make it without meat?

Yes, you can! If you don’t want to add meat, just skip it! Cook the onions until they’ve softened and then follow the recipe as written. You could also add mushrooms to get a meaty texture without meat – just cook the mushrooms with onions until they have released their moisture and have turned a nice golden brown. This usually takes about 10 minutes.

Recipe Variations

What’s great about this recipe is that you can adjust and add things to change it up!

  • Add some canned diced tomatoes. Add them when you add the broth and pasta!
  • Chopped bell peppers add a nice flavor, too! Cook them with the onions and ground beef. If you like a kick of heat add some chopped jalapeno, too.
  • You can also add mushrooms – any kind will work! Cook them with the onions and beef.
  • Substitute the beef for ground turkey, pork or chicken.
  • Change up the seasonings! Add some dried Italian seasoning or other dried herbs like parsley or thyme when you cook the beef. A few pinches of red pepper flakes add a nice spicy bite, too.
  • You can also add some fresh herbs – chopped parsley or cilantro work well! Just wait to add them until the end so they stay nice and fresh.

The Leftovers are Amazing!

Another thing I love is that the leftovers keep really well! Just stick them in a container and reheat in the microwave for easy lunches. Jason always loves to get his second helping for lunch the next day! The leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days.

Or make a big batch and freeze it for easy dinners on those crazy busy nights – you know what I’m talking about, right? When everyone’s going in ten directions and there’s no time to cook? I’ve been there! When you make it let it cool and then keep it in a freezer-safe container. It will be good for two to three months. For best results, thaw it before you rewarm on the stove or in the microwave.

Bowl of prepared hamburger helper in it

Want Some More Easy One-Pot Dinner Recipes?

I’m guessing the answer is: YES! Don’t we all need lots of easy recipes like this Hamburger Helper? Here are some more ideas for you to try:

Try it and love it? Rate it, please!!!? Seriously though a five-star rating below will make my day! If you snap a photo, please be sure tag me on Instagram at @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats so I can see your yummy treat!!

Wooden spoon with cheesy hamburger helper over a dutch oven

Hamburger Helper

A delicious one pot meal full of hamburger, cheese and more! This homemade version of Hamburger Helper is amazing!

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 648kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. yellow onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 c. low sodium beef broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni dry

Instructions

  • In a large skillet or dutch oven brown ground beef and onions over medium high heat. During the last minute of cooking add garlic. Drain off grease.

  • Reduce heat to low and add in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir until combined.

  • Add in broth and elbow macaroni. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through.

  • Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Cover and let melt.

Notes

Recipe Variations

  • Add some canned diced tomatoes. Add them when you add the broth and pasta!
  • Chopped bell peppers add a nice flavor, too! Cook them with the onions and ground beef. If you like a kick of heat add some chopped jalapeno, too.
  • You can also add mushrooms – any kind will work! Cook them with the onions and beef.
  • Substitute the beef for ground turkey, pork or chicken.
  • Change up the seasonings! Add some dried Italian seasoning or other dried herbs like parsley or thyme when you cook the beef. A few pinches of red pepper flakes add a nice spicy bite, too.
  • You can also add some fresh herbs – chopped parsley or cilantro work well! Just wait to add them until the end so they stay nice and fresh.

Can you make it without meat? Yes! Cook the onions until they’ve softened and then follow the recipe as written. You could also add mushrooms to get a meaty texture without meat – just cook the mushrooms with onions until they have released their moisture and have turned a nice golden brown. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Leftovers Another thing I love is that the leftovers keep really well! Just stick them in a container and reheat in the microwave for easy lunches. Jason always loves to get his second helping for lunch the next day! The leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days. Or make a big batch and freeze it for easy dinners on those crazy busy nights – you know what I’m talking about, right? When everyone’s going in ten directions and there’s no time to cook? I’ve been there! When you make it let it cool and then keep it in a freezer-safe container. It will be good for two to three months. For best results, thaw it before you rewarm on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 648kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 323mg | Iron: 3mg

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