This one-pot Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is cheesy, comforting, and so easy to make! Made with elbow macaroni, ground beef, sour cream, simple seasonings, and cheddar cheese, it’s so much better than the boxed version and is ready in just 30 minutes!
Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
Hamburger helper is delicious. It just is.
If this is your first time trying hamburger helper, imagine if beef stroganoff, mac and cheese, and your favorite juicy cheeseburger all combined into one wildly fantastic comfort food.
Today we’re making our own homemade hamburger helper recipe.
Made with simple ingredients, this homemade version is just as easy to make as the store-bought boxed hamburger helper but tastes soooo much better. Ready in about 30 minutes, this delicious one-pot meal is the perfect yummy weeknight dinner.
Serve with a side of veggies like peas or a small green salad, and be amazed as your picky eaters and hubby (or wife!) devour their entire plate (and quite possibly even ask for seconds!)
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
1. Brown the ground beef: Using your favorite large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef with salt, black pepper, and paprika in olive oil until it is no longer pink in the middle.
2. Cook the onions and season: Reduce the heat to medium and add in the onions. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, then add the chili powder and garlic powder (optional seasonings include onion powder, cumin, or Italian seasoning). Cook until the onions are tender.
3. Cook the pasta: Add the ketchup, mustard, noodles, and broth (beef broth, vegetable broth, or even chicken broth). Cover and simmer until the macaroni is cooked, around 12-15 minutes.
4. Finish: Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream (perfect for extra creaminess) and shredded cheddar cheese.
This one-pot hamburger helper is a fantastic all-in-one dinner. Feel free to sneak in some extra veggies like chopped zucchini, bell peppers, peas, or carrots, or serve it with a salad on the side.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use ground turkey or ground chicken instead of ground beef to cut down on the total amount of fat. You may also enjoy my Ground Turkey Pasta.
- I used elbow macaroni. Feel free to use a different small pasta shape like ditalini, shells, orecchiette, etc.
- As written, this recipe is mild. To add a little heat, add one-half to one teaspoon of cayenne powder at the same time as the other seasonings.
- If possible, shred your own cheese. It melts better.
- If halfway through cooking the pasta, it seems that you need a bit more broth, don’t be afraid to add a little more, about a half cup at a time.
- Swap regular pasta for your favorite gluten-free macaroni to make this recipe gluten-free.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Hamburger Helper
Note: This homemade hamburger helper is best just after cooking.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: Allow any leftovers to cool before transferring them to a freezer-safe air-tight container in the freezer for up to three months.
Reheating: When reheating leftover homemade hamburger helper, you may need to add a splash of milk or broth as the pasta most likely absorbed any remaining liquid as it cooled. Reheat in the microwave or the stovetop. To reheat from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator first, then reheat as instructed.
More Delicious Ground Beef Recipes
- Hamburger Stroganoff Recipe (Ground Beef Stroganoff)
- 20-Minute Ground Beef Tacos Recipe
- Hamburger Soup Recipe (Beef and Macaroni Soup)
- The Best Chili Recipe
- American Goulash Recipe
If you try making this Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 onion - finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1½ cups elbow macaroni
- 3½ cups low sodium beef broth
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese - shredded
- fresh parsley - to garnish
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Cook the ground beef until no longer pink and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces.
- Stir in the diced onion and mix well to combine with the ground beef. Reduce heat to medium and season with chili powder and garlic powder. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are tender.
- Add the ketchup, mustard, macaroni noodles, and beef broth. Stir well to combine.
- Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until noodles are cooked to al dente.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Slowly add the cheddar cheese, stirring continuously to prevent the cheese from clumping together.
- Serve garnished with minced parsley, if desired.
- Use freshly shredded cheese rather than pre-shredded bagged cheese. It tastes better and blends better, too.
- You may need to add a little extra beef broth or water, especially if you use larger noodles like penne or large shells.
- Speaking of pasta, use whatever you have on hand, except for maybe long stringy noodles like angel hair or spaghetti noodles.
- Add some heat. Season with a pinch (or two) or cayenne powder or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. You could also season with a dash or two of hot sauce.
- Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop with a splash of broth or water over low heat, stirring often. Or in the microwave.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Scott Poingdestra says
I grew up in the 80’s eating this and LOVED it, then for whatever reason BC changed the recipe to a tasteless waste of hamburger, if anyone also grew up in the 70’s/80’s and remember how great HH used to taste and made this recipe, how does the taste compare? if you grew up in the mid 90’s on, don’t answer, you only know the bland HH now
I really really really wish I never came across this recipe. I have literally become addicted to it and I make huge portions! This is sooooooooo good! Thank you so much for this recipe. I also swapped for fat free cheese slices and sour cream and still delicious!!
I added a few more of my fav spices and a mix of cheese (mostly cheddar and some left over parm/Asiago mix) and it came out delicious!!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the delicious feedback, Kim 🙂
I agree with Arielle – mine came out really soupy too. 3.5 cups liquid is too much for 1.5 cups pasta, imo. Good recipe otherwise!
Is the mustard dried or prepared?
Jessica Randhawa says
Recipe was delish! Mine came out really soupy though with the 3 1/2 of beef broth. Did I do something wrong?
Jessica Randhawa says
Hi Arielle, it is really hard for me to say what happened without being in your kitchen while you were cooking it to see the entire process and ingredients used from start to finish. But the 3.5 cups of beef broth is correct.
Not at all positive, but did you use dry pasta or already cooked pasta? The way I’m reading the instructions it says to add dry pasta then let it simmer until pasta is la dente which should by rights soak up most of the beef broth.
I also found that 3.5 cups of beef broth was far too much liquid. I used 1.5 cups of uncooked ziti.
Jessica Randhawa says
This recipe calls for 1.5 cups of macaroni 🙂
CC Ziviani says
I just bought some hamburger helper this past week! I’m going to add some of your spices etc to it to make it better 🙂
This came out really good, everyone loved it!