Homemade Hamburger Helper

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Skip the box; this homemade hamburger helper recipe is ready in about 30 minutes!

Ground beef and pasta are simmered in rich cheesy sauce for an easy one-pan meal.

cooking Hamburger Helper in a pot

Ingredients in Hamburger Helper

Hamburger helper is an easy recipe and this homemade version uses simple pantry ingredients. It’s budget-friendly and reheats well so double up for easy meals throughout the week.

Ground Beef – Use lean ground beef (80/20) for the best flavor and drain any fat after cooking. If using ground turkey or ground chicken; add additional seasoning as needed.

Pasta – Choose small to medium size pasta like shells, elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini. Depending on the type of pasta, you may need a little bit more or less broth and/or cooking time.

Liquid – Broth and tomato paste add flavor while milk makes it creamy. Replace beef broth with chicken broth if needed.

Seasonings – I add chili powder and onion powder. Feel free to add some garlic powder, taco seasoning, or Italian herbs to make your own version of hamburger helper.

Cheese – Use sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor (pre-shredded works just fine in this recipe).

tomato sauce , pasta , milk , beef , broth , cheese , salt , onion powder and chili powder with labels to make Hamburger Helpertomato sauce , pasta , milk , beef , broth , cheese , salt , onion powder and chili powder with labels to make Hamburger Helper

Variations and Additions

  • Cook fresh onions and/or garlic when browning the beef.
  • Stir in fresh veggies like diced celery, chopped tomatoes, or sliced mushrooms.
  • Stir in ½ cup of heavy cream in place of some of the milk for added richness.
  • Stir in ½ cup of sour cream after removing from the heat for a little tang.

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

This is a homemade versoin of a childhood favorite and is loved by kids and adults alike!

  1. Brown the beef in a deep skillet or Dutch oven per the recipe below.
  2. Add the sauce ingredients and dry pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender.
  3. Stir in cheese cheese.
  • Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Depending on the type of pasta, you may need extra broth or cooking time.
  • Remove from the heat before adding cheese.
  • The sauce will thicken as it rests.
plated Hamburger Helperplated Hamburger Helper

Leftover Hamburger Helper

  • Keep leftover hamburger helper in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the freezer for 4 months in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

One Pot Wonders

Did your family love this homemade Hamburger Helper? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

cooking Hamburger Helper in a potcooking Hamburger Helper in a pot
5 from 26 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Homemade Hamburger Helper

This easy cheesy family favorite is a one-pot meal with tender pasta and ground beef in a rich zesty sauce.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Servings 4 servings

Author Holly Nilsson

Skillet on white backgroundSkillet on white background
  • In a 12-inch skillet, cook the ground beef over medium high heat until no pink remains while breaking up with a spoon. Drain any fat.

  • Add the 1 ¾ cups beef broth, milk, tomato sauce, onion powder, chili powder, and salt. Bring to a boil.

  • Add the pasta and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 2 to 4 minutes or until the pasta is tender, adding more liquid as needed.

  • Remove from the heat and rest uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

    • Additional seasonings such as paprika can be added.
    • Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
    • Depending on the type of pasta, you may need extra broth or cooking time.
    • Remove from the heat before adding cheese.
    • The sauce will thicken as it rests.

5 from 26 votes

Calories: 532 | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1096mg | Potassium: 1071mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 812IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 309mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Pasta
Cuisine American
cheesy Hamburger Helper in a bowl with a titlecheesy Hamburger Helper in a bowl with a title
cooked Hamburger Helper in a pot with writingcooked Hamburger Helper in a pot with writing
close up of Hamburger Helper with a titleclose up of Hamburger Helper with a title
Hamburger Helper in the pot and plated with a titleHamburger Helper in the pot and plated with a title
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