Homemade Hamburger Helper
My flavor-packed homemade Hamburger Helper recipe takes just 30 minutes to make, is made with fresh ingredients and is the perfect kid-friendly dinner recipe!
Serve this hamburger helper from scratch with a side of sweet boiled corn, peas, or buttered vegetables. Easy, 30 minute meals are a must! If you need more ideas, I suggest you make my favorite Homemade Sloppy Joes, Mexican Quinoa, or Baked Chicken Taquitos.
Why This Recipe Works
- Forgot the mysterious ingredients in the boxed hamburger helper! With this recipe, you know exactly what you are putting into the dish.
- The store-bought version is flat, a bit dull and BLAND. This recreated one pot hamburger helper recipe is everything the store-bought version isn’t: Creamy, flavorful and fresh!
- With littles in the house, dinner has to be quick, easy and a winner for the kids. This recipe hits all those points! Plus, it’s all in one pot, reducing the amount of dirty dishes. Another big win there!
- Ground Beef: I like to use a lean ground beef, 96/4. You could also use ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Tomato Paste: This adds more depth to the recipe.
- Beef Broth: Use low-sodium beef broth. If you don’t have beef broth you can use water, however the dish will lack some flavor.
- Elbow Macaroni Pasta: Really any pasta will work, but I like regular macaroni or the large macaroni noodles for this recipe.
- Cheese: You can use sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, Colby Jack cheese, or Monterey Jack.
- In a small bowl combine the dry seasonings.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to get the meat broken up into small pieces. Drain any excess fat.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the meat and add the tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the beef broth, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta, stir to combine so that it gets all melty. Remove from the heat.
- Let pasta stand for a minute or two to thicken slightly. Garnish with fresh parley and serve warm.
For a healthier meat option, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef.
You can reduce the amount of cheese to 1 cup for a lower calorie meal, but keep in mind the pasta won’t be as cheesy. OR up the cheese game by adding cheese on top and sticking the pan in the oven on broil for a minute.
Use a low-sodium beef broth however, if you use regular beef broth eliminate the salt in the recipe.
Can use regular or whole grain pasta. I’d recommend elbow macaroni pasta or shell pasta work best for this recipe.
Looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into your meals in ways your kids will eat them? This recipe is the perfect way to camouflage those veggies such as chopped zucchini, carrots or peas.
What to Serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper
Store any leftovers of the hamburger helper in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheating: Add a splash of broth or milk to keep the creaminess.
Mostly it’s all the added preservatives and the high, high amount of sodium! By making hamburger helper at home, you are skipping all of that by using fresh ingredients with low-sodium broth and no added preservatives.
The beef noodle hamburger helper flavor is the most traditional of the flavors.
While the meat will add flavor, texture and protein to the dish, removing it will leave you with a simple noodle and sauce dish.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
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Homemade Hamburger Helper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta - uncooked
- 2 cups cheese - shredded
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a small bowl combine the seasoning ingredients.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture and the tomato paste. Stir in the beef broth, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
- Sprinkle grated cheese over the pasta, stir to combine so that it gets all melty. Remove from heat.
- Let pasta stand for a few minutes to thicken. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
This recipe was originally published on Aug. 20, 2020. It was republished on Aug. 19, 2021 to include additional information and photos.
8 Comments on “Homemade Hamburger Helper”
Very good. I made it tonight and the family liked it. It is easy to make.
Can this be frozen after cooked?
Yes, the texture of the pasta might differ after it has been frozen and thawed so just be aware of that.
Is the nutritional information for the whole dish?
Nutritional information is based on 1 serving, and this dish has 4 servings… give or take.
So 1 serving is over 1000 calories?
I tweaked this a bit to make it vegetarian, and a I halved the recipe. It turned out AMAZING. I’ve made it 4x in the past 2 weeks with other variations.
My main swaps were instead of beef I used Gardein beefless ground, instead of beef broth and milk I used a combination of water and sour cream plus a vegetarian beef broth concentrate (Better Than Bouillon). For the cheese I used half a cup each extra sharp cheddar and monterey jack. I also used the Barilla brand veggie rotini pasta which has a serving of veggies per serving of pasta! And the last thing was I added a little nutritional yeast to up the vitamins a bit. It really was amazing and I did not feel guilty at all after lol
The second time I made it, I added cumin, taco seasoning, bell peppers, mushrooms, and canned diced tomatoes.
The third time I swapped tomato paste for cream cheese, added peppers and mushrooms, swapped the seasonings for simple salt, pepper, season salt, italian seasoning.. and it was Philly cheese steak style!
The fourth time (lol can you see how much I loved this recipe?!) I made it like I made it taco style the second time, however I used all pepper jack cheese and instead of the vegan beef, I used the Quorn meatless pieces which are more like plain diced chicken. So delicious!
Needless to say, this recipe and variations of it have become a staple around my house.
So excited to try this! Always looking for kid friendly meals 🙂