This Homemade Hamburger Helper is easy to make, requires no fancy ingredients, is ready in 30 minutes, and is a meal the whole family will love!
This is probably one of my kid’s favorite meals. I mean they could eat this for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.
Along with pancakes, pizza, and pb&j. My kids are normal right??
This is also a reader favorite! It’s one of the top recipes on Countryside Cravings! One reader, Michelle, says “I had my doubts as I was making this, but it was a big hit with my picky husband and toddler. This is going in the weekly rotation.”
Another reader, Rob says “Whole family loved this meal. It was so quick and easy to make and even my fussiest eater cleared his plate!”
Why You Will Love It:
- Only takes 30 minutes to make
- Homemade so you control what goes into it
- Budget friendly
- Uses easy to find ingredients you probably already have on hand
- Will take you back to your childhood
- Can add in additional veggies for extra nutrition
- It’s a true one pot meal which is great for clean up
Ground beef: can also substitute with ground turkey
Spices: paprika, parsley, garlic powder, cayenne pepper
Milk: feel free to use broth if you don’t have milk on hand
Beef broth: can also use chicken broth if you prefer
Elbow macaroni: or substitute in a similar pasta.
Cheddar cheese: it’s best to grate your own cheese. The pre-shredded is coated in anti-caking agents and doesn’t melt as well. I’m a Tillamook cheese fan and it’s perfect for this dish!
How To Make Hamburger Helper:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef, onion, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt, and pepper. If using ground beef with a higher fat content add in the seasonings after draining the grease.
Stir in the milk, broth, macaroni, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Stir in cheddar cheese until melted.
Substitutions and Variations
- Feel free to add in extra vegetables! Grated zucchini, grated carrot, peas, spinach, and tomatoes are all great options.
- Change up the flavor using different spices or add more. Also, if you don’t like some of the spices listed in the ingredients feel free to leave them out.
- Don’t like cheddar cheese?? No problem, this recipe works great with pepper jack, monterey jack, or any easy to melt cheese.
- Readers have used other shapes of pasta without needing to change the liquids.
- This recipe also works great with ground turkey instead of beef. One reader even used lentils!
No, it is not recommended to freeze this dish as the pasta gets too mushy.
Store cooled hamburger helper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
While this tastes best fresh reheat on the stovetop and add a little broth. Reheat over low heat stirring constantly to prevent burning. Can also reheat in a microwave if preferred.
What to serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper
This meal is a great stand alone especially if you have added in extra vegetables. However, it is great with a simple side salad and these Buttermilk Biscuits too!
I have also served it with these Simple Roasted Green Beans which are one of my kid’s favorite vegetables.
And if you are looking for something sweet to add alongside this retro dish this Creamy Key Lime Fruit Salad is perfect.
This Homemade Hamburger Helper is just as easy as the store bought stuff but a whole lot healthier! An easy ground beef recipe that both adults and kids love!
- 1 pound (500g) lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch to ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1½ cups (355ml) milk
- 1½ cups (355ml) beef broth
- 2 cups (260g) elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 (8oz) (227g) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups (225g) shredded cheddar cheese
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef, onion, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt and pepper. If using a ground beef with a higher fat content add in the seasonings after draining the grease.
Stir in the milk, broth, macaroni and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Stir in cheddar cheese until melted.
- If using whole wheat elbow pasta you may need to add more liquid while cooking.
- STORAGE: Store cooled hamburger helper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
What to serve with this Homemade Hamburger Helper:
- Steamed vegetable of choice
- Simple side salad
- Fresh fruit of choice
- Or buttered bread