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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:

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4.97 from 58 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
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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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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




45 Comments

  1. Annie says:

    Looks yummy (and easy)! Think I can use egg noodles instead of macaroni? Just worried the noodles will cook too fast.

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      You sure could! Enjoy!!

      1. Annie says:

        5 stars
        I ended up using macaroni since that’s what my husband likes, and it came out great! WAY better than the boxed stuff. I added a half cup of diced onions to the meat, but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing! Also I simmered a little longer to make it thicker. Yummy!!

      2. Kristyn Merkley says:

        Happy to hear that!! Thank you for letting me know 🙂

  2. Marijon says:

    5 stars
    This is a great meal for busy nights.

  3. Julie Pearcy says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! My husband and I loved it. I had to cook down the broth for an additional 15-20 minutes though.

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Thank you for trying it 🙂

      1. Jeffrey Jamieson says:

        4 stars
        Great recipe, needs a few tweaks to the cooking time. Should bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low using the same amount of water or chicken broth, covered, but vented until about a half a cup of liquid remains… about 20 minutes. Other than that, very good…very little leftovers. Will try hamburger stroganoff next. Thanks bunches for the recipe.

      2. Kristyn Merkley says:

        Thank you so much for trying it 🙂

  4. L says:

    Tastes good, but very very very runny. I’d suggest using less water/broth or reducing it on the stove before adding the sour cream/cheese.

  5. kristina says:

    5 stars
    Not usually my favorite meal, but then again I’ve only had the boxed version. Homemade is definitly the way to go! This is a perfect recipe for busy week nights.

  6. Anna says:

    5 stars
    Perfect dinner idea for busy weekdays! My family loves it!

  7. Jen says:

    5 stars
    So much better than the box version! Putting this into our regUlar dinner rotation.

  8. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This looks so delicious and yummy! I can’t wait to give this a try!

  9. Olivia says:

    5 stars
    Another family favorite. Always better than the boxed version!

    1. April says:

      And less salty

  10. Joy says:

    5 stars
    My 14 yr old son could eat the boxed hamburger helper weekly, so when I made him this, he said “no more to the boxed stuff!”