My Homemade Hamburger Helper is just like what you had during your childhood… except even better!! We’re adding extra flavor around every corner: garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, and more! It’s cheesy, it’s easy, and it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Don’t skip out on your chance to make dinner easier and cheesier than ever before!
Homemade Hamburger Helper
How does some saucy, simple one pot hamburger helper sound for dinner? It takes 30 minutes to make and serves up 8 servings!
Plus, the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to snag at any store year-round.
That’s right — my homemade hamburger helper recipe is just as easy as the boxed stuff, and it tastes better to boot!
Homemade Hamburger Helper Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Ground Beef – I use lean ground beef. Any ground protein can be used to make homemade hamburger helper!
Turkey and chicken are some other great lean options.
- Cellentani Pasta – While this is my noodle of choice, your classic elbow pasta is certainly right at home in my cheeseburger macaroni recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese – This definitely drives that nostalgic flavor home! You can also toss in American or a Mexican blend, or use one in place of the cheddar.
- Chicken Broth – Adds way more flavor than boring, plain water! Beef broth and vegetable broth are two good substitutes.
- Dijon Mustard – Something a little smoky and spicy! Regular yellow mustard or spicy brown can be used instead.
- Worcestershire Sauce – If you don’t have some of this in your cabinet and don’t want to buy it just for this dish (no judgment here!), try a combination of soy sauce, ketchup, and vinegar.
Cheeseburger Macaroni Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Emphasize the cheeseburger flavor.
I use canned tomatoes in my homemade hamburger helper recipe to give it more of a “cheeseburger” flavor. But there’s room for variation here!
For example, fresh tomatoes straight from the garden would taste wonderful.
Other kinds of prepackaged tomatoes are also good. Salsa or tomatoes with green chiles (for some spice!) will suit the same purpose.
Be creative, use what you have, or add what you like!
- Spice it up however you’d like.
One of the things that I love so much about this recipe – and really any ground beef recipe – is that it’s a blank canvas.
For example, chili powder and paprika add a nice smokiness that complements the cheeseburger flavor anytime, anywhere!
A bit of BBQ? Who doesn’t love a BBQ cheeseburger!
- Have some veggies? Throw them right in!
Trust me, I know how hard it can be to get our kids (and sometimes even our husbands!) to eat their veggies.
But in this homemade hamburger helper? You hardly notice they’re there!
Onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini – all of these are easy to dice, and they blend right in with the tomatoes.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Cheeseburger Macaroni
Like any cooked beef recipe, one pot hamburger helper can be saved for up to 4 days in the fridge.
This recipe makes a lot of food, so don’t feel bad if you have a lot leftover!
Reheat in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, or simmer on the stovetop until everything’s warmed through.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Non-stick Skillet – Everyone needs a good skillet. I use this almost daily for everything from cooking eggs to browning chicken and ground beef.
- A sturdy silicone spatula can be used for scraping, stirring, and smoothing and is easy to clean too!
- Box Grater – As much as I love buying bagged shreds because it’s easier, freshly grated cheese melts down so much smoother and tastes better too.
Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe FAQ
Adding the cheese and letting it simmer helps to thicken homemade hamburger helper well.
But if you’d like it even thicker, add a cornstarch slurry (a 1:1 ratio of cornstarch and water) and stir it in. A little goes a long way, so use a small amount!
Adding a dollop of sour cream will do the trick! It also adds a pleasant tang that matches the seasonings really well.
Greek Yogurt does about the same job with lower calories. You could also add some heavy cream in with the broth!
I’ve also seen similar recipes that use Velveeta for a smooth, creamy cheeseburger macaroni.
Broccoli, dinner rolls, green beans… Really any side will do! That’s part of what makes this such a convenient meal.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other One Pot Recipes
One Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper with Cheese + Video
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
- 1 pinch black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 8 ounces uncooked cellentani pasta, or elbows
- 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 16 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
- parsley, for garnish (optional)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add ground beef to skillet and cook and crumble until browned, about 5-8 minutes. If necessary, drain any excess grease from the pan.
- Add Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, salt, and pepper to ground beef, then quickly stir to coat the ground beef.
- Pour in chicken broth and elbow pasta to skillet, then stir. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and allow to cook until pasta is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Lift lid and add cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes, then stir to mix. Return lid and let cheeseburger macaroni sit for 2-4 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Serve cheeseburger macaroni immediately with chopped parsley as garnish.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2018, updated and republished August 2023
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