Homemade Hamburger Helper

This homemade Hamburger Helper is sure to give you a blast from the past! Better than the store-bought box version you remember from childhood, this delicious and comforting Hamburger Helper recipe can be ready in 30 minutes or less.

Looking for more easy weeknight dinner recipes? Try my 20 Minute Cashew Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie Pasta or my Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas!

Cooked beef and macaroni pasta in skillet with wooden spoon.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

We all went through that box-food phase as a kid. You know, the blue Macaroni box and all the wonderful different variations of Hamburger Helper. For many of us, these box meals were the first “recipes” we cooked. Personally, I never stopped enjoying these quick and easy meal solutions, but as I got older, I definitely wanted a better flavor profile.

So I finally decided it was time to make my very own, all grown up, homemade Hamburger Helper recipe. It tastes just as good (if not better) than the original version, comes together in one skillet, and takes just half an hour! Filled with lean ground beef, tender macaroni noodles, and delicious melty cheese, this traditional family dinner is just as comforting now as it was years ago. Now, it’s just a little healthier and easier to customize!

Speaking of customizing — there are so many ways to enjoy this cheeseburger pasta. Change up the noodles, change up the protein, mix and match your add-ins. However you choose to enjoy your homemade hamburger helper, you’ll quickly be reminded of why it was a childhood favorite.

Homemade hamburger helper in white bowl with spoon.

Ingredients

  • Ground beef: I usually opt for lean ground beef, but you can also substitute ground turkey or chicken if desired.
  • Noodles: I prefer to use macaroni noodles, but any will do! Get creative and use your favorite for an extra personal touch.
  • Tomato paste: This will help to thicken your homemade Hamburger Helper while also adding a nice, meaty flavor.
  • Cheese: I used shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus parmesan for serving. You can leave the cheese out to keep the dish dairy free or dairy light.
  • Other ingredients: You will also need onion, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, sour cream, salt and pepper, and hot sauce for his homemade Hamburger Helper recipe.

Cooked beef and macaroni pasta in skillet with wooden spoon.

How to make homemade Hamburger Helper

  1. Sauté onions and beef: First add ground beef and onions to a large skillet. Then cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onions start to get tender and caramelized, for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Combine sauce and noodles: Next stir in the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, macaroni, beef broth, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Then bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then cover. Now cook for 12-14 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
  3. Final seasonings: After that, take off of the heat and stir in sour cream and cheddar cheese. Next let the pasta stand for 5-10 minutes to cool (this will also help to thicken it up a bit). Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish and serve: Serve immediately with chopped parsley, hot sauce and grated parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.

Homemade hamburger helper in white bowl with spoon.

Tips for making the perfect homemade Hamburger Helper

  • Cook the beef well: The ground beef is the base of the entire recipe, so you want to make sure you’re correctly browning it. Brown the beef with a good amount of oil and a really hot pan, but be careful not to overcook. When properly browned, your beef should be nice and juicy.
  • Change up the flavors: You may recall that there are many different hamburger helper flavors — the original hamburger macaroni, a lasagna version, and tons of others. This homemade hamburger helper recipe is easy to change up depending on the flavor profile you’re going for.
  • Customize your ingredients: Consider adding diced tomatoes, minced garlic, or even some diced jalapeños for a nice spicy kick. Wanting a more Mexican-style dinner? Add in corn, black beans, and a little bit of salsa. The options really are endless!

Storage Instructions

Homemade Hamburger Helper is a great leftover lunch. Simply store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I recommend reheating in a skillet.

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ready in 30 minutes or less, this delicious and comforting homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • cups macaroni
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Instructions

Images:
  • Add ground beef and onions to a large skillet and cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onions start to get tender and caramelized, 4-5 minutes.
    Top shot of ground beef and diced onions cooking in skillet with wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, macaroni, beef broth, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer then cover. Cook for 12-14 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
    Top shot of macaroni noodles and ground beef cooking in skillet with wooden spoon.
  • Take off of the heat and stir in sour cream and cheddar cheese. Let pasta stand for 5-10 minutes to cool (this will also help to thicken it up a bit). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Top shot of macaroni noodles and ground beef cooking in skillet with wooden spoon.
  • Serve immediately with chopped parsley, hot sauce and grated parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.
    Cooked beef and macaroni pasta in skillet with wooden spoon.

Recipe Notes

  • Cook the beef well: The ground beef is the base of the entire recipe, so you want to make sure you're correctly browning it. Brown the beef with a good amount of oil and a really hot pan, but be careful not to overcook. When properly browned, your beef should be nice a juicy.
  • Change up the flavors: You may recall that there are many different hamburger helper flavors -- the original hamburger macaroni, a lasagna version, and tons of others. This homemade hamburger helper recipe is easy to change up depending on the flavor profile you're going for.
  • Customize your ingredients: Consider adding diced tomatoes, minced garlic, or even some diced jalapeños for a nice spicy kick. Wanting a more Mexican-style dinner? Add in corn, black beans, and a little bit of salsa. The options really are endless!
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Amount Per Serving
Calories 731 Calories from Fat 414
% Daily Value*
Fat 46g71%
Saturated Fat 23g144%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 147mg49%
Sodium 1483mg64%
Potassium 770mg22%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 43g86%
Vitamin A 1030IU21%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 484mg48%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef, hamburger, hamburger helper, homemade hamburger helper, macaroni, noodles, Pasta

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