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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. Amy says:

    This has a delicious flavor but I can’t figure out how I’ve made this twice now but it turned out more like soup both times. The second time I even added less broth and took out a half cup after the noodles were done cooking and it was still too soupy. Maybe next time I’ll add only 16 oz of broth.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You could definitely try adding less broth. There is a video on the post too… is yours turning out to be much soupier than what you see in the video? That’s probably your best bet is to reduce the broth if the noodles aren’t soaking it up enough.

  2. Mandi says:

    5 stars
    This is as close to the real thing as you can get but so much better!! My whole family loves this meal!

  3. Melanie Bennett says:

    5 stars
    Family favorite that everyone will eat in our house

  4. Jen says:

    5 stars
    Hard to get my kid to eat anything with protein in it! She requests this recipe now! So delish!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes!! That is definitely a win. So glad the recipe is a hit!

  5. Brenda says:

    Little upset that mine came out like a soup!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      I’m sorry to hear that! That’s frustrating. Perhaps there was too much liquid? It sounds like the pasta didn’t absorb enough of the liquid?

  6. Dorothy says:

    Made this for supper.. yummy!. Better than the box stuff.
    Dorothy

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thank you!! So glad you love the recipe!

  7. Janet says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I loved it. Was very easy and I will make it again

  8. Michael Sherman says:

    5 stars
    Good tasting meal that the kids loved! Easy, quick, and very few dishes. Recommend!!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. It is a great one for kids/families!

  9. Sami V. says:

    4 stars
    Made this last night for dinner with a few modifications found in the comments. I added chopped onions when browning ground beef and reduced the amount of broth to 16 ounces. I also used gluten free lentil pasta (which I’ve substituted in many of my recipes) and it turned out delicious! My hubby is picky about sour cream, so I left it out and adding some to my plate. Was just as good without sour cream, just less creamy. Even picky toddler loved it. Will definitely make again!

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      I’m glad your modifications worked so well with this recipe. Toddlers can be hard to please and I’m so happy it turned out for you. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Annelise says:

    5 stars
    Great base recipe! As simple and convenient as the boxed version, but I like that I can control the salt. (Low sodium diet here.) I took the advice in the tips section and added chili powder, smoked paprika, and chili sauce. Also browned the meat with chopped onion. Delicious!

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Thank you for sharing that!! I love being able to add whatever you like 🙂

    2. Jamie says:

      How much is in one serving?

      1. Lil'Luna Team says:

        I’d say about 1 cup, give or take.