This one-pot Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is cheesy, comforting, and so easy to make! Made with elbow macaroni, ground beef, sour cream, and cheddar cheese, it’s so much better than the boxed version and is ready in just 30 minutes!
Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
Hamburger helper is delicious. It just is.
Today we’re making our own homemade hamburger helper recipe.
Made with simple ingredients, this version is just as easy to make as the store-bought boxed hamburger helper but tastes soooo much better. Ready in right around 30 minutes, clean up is a breeze (you only need one pot!), making it a 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 dinner.
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
1. Brown the ground beef: Using your favorite saucepot 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 to medium heat and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, then add the chili powder and garlic powder (optional seasoning additions 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 cheese.
This one-pot hamburger helper is a fantastic all-in-one dinner. Feel free to sneak in some extra veggies like chopped zucchini, peas, or carrots, or serve it with a salad on the side.
Tips for the Best Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Use ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the ground beef to cut down on the total amount of fat.
- 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 half to one teaspoon of cayenne powder at the same time as the other seasonings for a little kick.
- 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 a little more, about a half cup at a time.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, swap regular pasta for your favorite gluten-free macaroni.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Hamburger Helper
Store your leftover beef pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You may also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. For best results, do not overcook your pasta. When reheating leftover homemade hamburger helper, add a splash of milk or broth – the pasta probably absorbed any remaining liquid as it cooled. To reheat from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator first, and reheat as instructed.
This recipe is best just after cooking. For this reason, I do not recommend making a big pot ahead of time until you’re already familiar with the recipe and cooking process.
Have you tried making this Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
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.)