Make your own version of the comforting Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni meal that we all know and love. This easy dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes and it is more affordable than the boxed variety!
Why This Recipe Works
When you think of Hamburger Helper, do you think of childhood? I do. My mom made it often and I still remember the catchy theme song from the commercials: Hamburger Helper…helper hamburger…heeelllp herrr…make a great meal! (Because apparently men weren’t allowed to cook.) Back then and still today, people love easy. Having a single box that contains most of the ingredients along with a few simple instructions was like a dream come true in the 70s and 80s.
But boxed hamburger helpers are losing steam during this time when people want to control what goes into their food. When you can find a homemade dinner that is just as easy as a boxed meal and more affordable and tastier…well, that’s called weeknight perfection, people. I LOVE this recipe and hope you do, as well!
What You’ll Need
Ground beef – Use 90/10 for a more lean portion of the cow.
Sauce – Ketchup, yellow mustard, beef broth
Elbow macaroni – Use whatever pasta you have on hand but elbow macaroni goes a long way to feeding a lot of people.
Sour cream – To make this recipe healthier, use a reduced-calorie variety of sour cream or cut the amount in half.
Cheddar cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese is the go-to option for cheesy toppings, but this variety can be replaced with any shredded cheese that melts well.
Parsley – Garnish on the top!
Seasonings – Seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder
How To Make Hamburger Helper
The popular Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni from that magical box is exactly what you see in the photos in this post, minus excessive seasonings and preservatives. This is one of the easiest meals I’ve made in my kitchen, as it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The beef gets cooked in a skillet and then all other ingredients are added. Cook until the pasta is done! That’s it! It’s a comforting, quick and delicious one-pot meal.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return skillet to stove top. Reduce heat to medium and add the ketchup, mustard, onion and garlic powders, seasoned salt, salt and pepper to the browned ground beef. Stir until combined.
Add the macaroni, beef broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is soft and liquids have thickened.
Add the sour cream and cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and parsley, if desired.
- Drizzle hot sauce over the top just before serving for an added kick!
- Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top before serving for an extra cheesy meal.
- Use gluten free pasta to make this a gluten free meal.
How To Make Hamburger Helper Healthier
By making this homemade version (as opposed to using the box version), you already are making it healthier. If you want to take it a step further, you can do any or all of the following:
- Reduce the amount of cheese by half.
- Omit the sour cream.
- Use a lean ground beef or even ground turkey.
- Use a low-sodium beef broth or replace half of the broth with water.
Other Delicious One Pot Meals
I know how valuable one-pot/one-pan meals are. They’re like gold, especially when they are also comforting and can feed the entire family. Here are a few other one-pot options for you on those busy weeknights!
Easy Comfort Foods To Warm You Up and Fill You Up
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – This is a delicious combination of the tastiest flavors you will ever eat in a single bite. Bacon, chicken, creamy alfredo sauce and pasta all make dinner a hit in less than 30 minutes!
- Runza Casserole is inspired by a world-famous sandwich made with ground beef and cabbage. This is a filling, delicious and affordable way to feed an entire family!
- Slow Cooker Crack Chicken – You need to try this mixture on a bun because it’s an addicting and delicious lunch or dinner option that everyone will enjoy. Great weeknight meal AND the perfect party food!
- One-Pan Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – Dinner has never been easier! NO PREP is required for this quick and delicious Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. Simplify those busy weeknights by adding this hearty meal to the dinner rotation!
- I also recommend this amazing dish from A Gouda Life – she makes an incredible Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese that is DELICIOUS!
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Homemade Hamburger Helper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 30 oz beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return skillet to stovetop. Add the ketchup, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir until combined. Add the macaroni, beef broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is soft and liquids have thickened.
- Add the sour cream and cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Top with parsley, if desired.