One Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper with Cheese + Video

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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!

Titled: one pot cheeseburger macaroni


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!

It’s just one of many of my easy ground beef recipes! I’ve also curated a list of beef recipes that only use 3 to 5 ingredients for when you need something really simple.

Recipe Video

There’s a lot that goes into it, so don’t worry — I’ve included a quick video that takes you through each step!

overhead: stirring browned hamburger in a skillet

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.
overhead: stirring uncooked macaroni with browned beef in a skillet

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. 

overhead: mixing one pot cheeseburger macaroni recipe

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

What makes hamburger helper thick?

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!

How to make cheeseburger macaroni creamier?

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. 

What to serve with cheeseburger mac?

What would you serve with a cheeseburger? French fries, chips, and tater tots are all really good choices! A simple side salad that freshens up the plate is also welcome. 

Broccoli, dinner rolls, green beans… Really any side will do! That’s part of what makes this such a convenient meal.

overhead: cooked one pot hamburger helper

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cooked homemade hamburger helper on a wooden spoon

closeup of cheeseburger macaroni

One Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper with Cheese + Video

Donna Elick
Homemade Hamburger Helper takes tender pasta and cheesy beef to a new level! Try my new yet nostalgic cheeseburger macaroni recipe today!
4.67 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 6 – 8


  • 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.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 439cal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 599mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 3mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): One Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

Originally published May 2018, updated and republished August 2023

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    1. You can leave it out. My husband is very sensitive so I understand. Enjoy Hilary and let us know how it goes!

    1. I can't see why not. I'd also suggest that the pasta be cooked separately. Otherwise, the pasta is going to soak up a lot of juice and the pasta is going to get mushy.

  1. This was really very good! The only thing I had to change was adding more broth – I probably used closer to 2c to get my macaroni to cook.

  2. Not sure why this says cook time is 3 hr 20 mins….when I added it all up, the max time I got was 29 mins…am I missing something?

    1. Hi Jan. The total time (as shown on the recipe card) for one pot cheeseburger macaroni is actually 30 minutes. 10 for prep and 20 for cook time. Please let us know where you are seeing 3 hours and 20 minutes so that we can be sure to correct it. Thank you!

      TSRI Team member,

  3. it was so easy and delicious. I added two tbsp tomato paste as I usually have it in freezer prepped in small bags. I loved this dish. I only had some dry twisted egg noodles on hand so I substituted. it was easy to prep the seasonings and then put together at a more convenient time. this will be a repeat meal for me with lima beans and small salad.

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