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Better than the box, Homemade Hamburger Helper is a perfect one-pot meal that comes together in under 30 minutes!

This tasty bowl-full of Homemade Hamburger Helper not only comes together quickly and easily, but it only uses one pan! For more weeknight favorites try Kung Pao Chicken, Crock Pot Spaghetti, and Chicken Flautas.

Close up of a pan of homemade hamburger helper.

Homemade is the way to go!

“Hamburger Helper” is a boxed food product that General Mills started selling back in the 1970s. It became a popular dinner choice for a couple of reasons.

First, moms didn’t have to use as much meat because the pasta helped fill up hungry bellies. Another reason is that it was a one-pot meal that could be made quickly. 

There is something so homey about a good pasta dish, am I right?! It is just so hearty and stick-to-your-bones tasty.

I remember having Hamburger Helper growing up, and it’s one of my childhood favorites, but this homemade version is even better!

PLUS – The kids LOVE this bowl of Homemade Hamburger Helper goodness. It’s even better than the boxed version and is beyond simple to make. It comes together in one pan (a big plus), and in under 30 minutes!

How to Make Hamburger Helper

You will love the flavor of this cheesy sauce, once you go homemade you’ll never go back!

GROUND BEEF. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return meat to the pan.

PASTA. Reduce heat to low and add the ketchup, seasonings, macaroni, and broth to the pan. Stir well to combine.

SIMMER. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until macaroni is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

SERVE. Return the pan to the warm burner and stir in the shredded cheese until well combined. Add any more broth or water, if needed, to make it more creamy. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe Tips

Cheese. Freshly grated cheese melts better than pre-packaged shredded cheese. Substitute cheddar cheese with a Mexican blend or pepper jack cheese.

Pasta. Small elbow macaroni is what we used for this recipe, but any similarly sized noodle will also work such as cavatappi, rotini, or small shells.

Add more liquid like milk, chicken broth, or water if you feel your pasta is too dry.

Meat. Use ground turkey, ground sausage, or ground chicken in place of ground beef.

Veggies. Add veggies like broccoli, cauliflower florets, or corn.

Spice. Add spice with paprika, chili flakes, or hot sauce.

Serve Homemade Hamburger Helper with:

A bowl of homemade hamburger helper topped with fresh parsley.

Storing Info

STORE leftover Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

FREEZE in an airtight container in the freezer for 4-6 weeks.

Reheat slowly over low heat on the stove. The pasta will have soaked up some of the moisture. Go ahead and add a little bit of milk to help smooth it out. If you’re in a hurry or on the go, reheat it in the microwave.

Close up of hamburger helper topped with parsley.

For more Pasta Dishes, try:

4.97 from 56 votes

Hamburger Helper Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Better than the box, Homemade Hamburger Helper is a perfect one-pot meal that comes together in under 30 minutes!
Servings: 8
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (with parsley flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup macaroni
  • 32 oz chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cup cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions 

  • Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return meat to the pan.
  • Reduce heat to low and add the ketchup, seasonings, macaroni, and broth to the pan and stir well to combine.
  • Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until macaroni is cooked through.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
  • Return the pan to the warm burner and stir in the shredded cheese until well combined. Add any more broth or water if needed to make it more creamy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 949mg, Potassium: 346mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 382IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 241mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




42 Comments

  1. Love this recipe! Anything homemade is better and this is a keeper. Tasty, easy, and affordable. I’ll use this recipe often. The whole family loves it.

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this hamburger helper recipe many times for my boyfriend. He loves it. He says it’s better than the store bought bc it has less salt.

  3. Hi Kristyn,

    I have been looking for a homemade version of Hamburger Helper and your recipe looks wonderful. I was wondering if you think I could substitute the 1/2 cup of sour cream for plain greek yogurt, or do you think the yogurt would curdle? Thank you in advance!

    Sophie