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Homemade Hamburger Helper

This Homemade Hamburger Helper has a classic combination of beef and macaroni in a cheeseburger sauce with simple seasonings. It’s easy to make and has the best homemade flavor!

Be sure to try my Korean Beef bowl recipe next, for another 30-minute meal idea!

A skillet of homemade Hamburger Helper with a wooden spoon.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I’ll be the first to admit it. I have a serious craving for Hamburger Helper now and then. Unfortunately, the box just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. This homemade version is so much better, (and it’s my 6-year old daughter’s all-time favorite, she likes it more than chicken nuggets)! 

This creamy cheeseburger sauce has the best combination of ingredients and seasonings, and it comes together in just 30 minutes, it’s a life saver!

Make sure you check out my PRO tips below. I can’t wait for you to try this!

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Brown ground beef in a skillet and set aside. Melt butter and add flour. Add sauce mixture (Beef broth, chicken broth, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings) in small splashes, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. In a separate pot, boil macaroni to al dente.

A skillet of ground beef next to a skillet with a sauce being made for Hamburger Helper.

Add cheese over low heat and stir to combine. Add the ground beef. 

Adding shredded cheese and ground beef to a skillet of sauce to make Hamburger Helper.

Add the macaroni and stir to combine and heat through. The macaroni will continue to absorb the sauce and it will thicken upon standing. Serve!

Adding macaroni to a meat sauce to make Hamburger helper.

Pro Tips

  • Bouillon: A little beef bouillon adds depth of flavor, I use 1/2 tsp Better than BouillonThis is optional, 1/4 tsp. salt can be used if omitting.
  • Cheese: Shred the cheese from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese. It will melt and taste much better than pre-shredded. I use Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Yellow.
  • Make sure the base of the soup isn’t too hot when you add the cheese, otherwise the dairy will separate and create a grainy consistency.
  • Broth: This recipe uses a combination of beef and chicken broth for depth of flavor. All beef broth can be used if preferred. 
  • Pasta: Medium pasta shells, rotini, and bowtie pasta are all great options for this recipe. If you like extra-extra saucy pasta, use just under 1/2 lb.
  • Be sure to set a timer when cooking your pasta to avoid overcooking it. Macaroni in particular cooks fast. 
  • For a twist on this recipe with a hint of tomato sauce, try my Beefaroni recipe!

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. This does freeze/reheat very well. It saves my life every week.
  • I store leftovers in these containers for the freezer and use these food labels.
  • To reheat, I just thaw it out from frozen in the microwave and transfer to a serving bowl. 

A white bowl of Hamburger Helper in a cheeseburger sauce.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • 12-inch cast iron skillet– This is the one I used for this recipe.
  • Large Measuring Cup with a Spout -This is what I use to combine the sauce ingredients at the beginning. The spout makes it easy to add it to the roux in small splashes. 
  • Cheese Grater– Always shred your cheese from a block for soups and sauces, it melts and tastes much better than packaged shredded cheese. 
  • Better Than Bouillon This is what I always use for broth in my recipes. It takes very little space and makes it easy to measure out customized amounts of broth.
  • Measuring Spoons I have these magnetic ones which stay nice and organized in my utensil drawer.
  • Pasta Strainer– I have this one and love it.

Try These Next

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Homemade Hamburger Helper in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

5 from 23 ratings
This Homemade Hamburger Helper has a classic combination of beef and macaroni in a cheeseburger sauce with simple seasonings.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup half and half, (half milk/half light cream)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ beef bouillon cube, see notes
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • ½ lb. macaroni, equal to 2 cups

Seasonings

  • ½ teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, mustard powder, parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon Smoked paprika

Instructions

Prep Work

  • In a large measuring cup with a spout, combine the beef broth, chicken broth, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. (This is the “Sauce mixture”.) Set it aside. Measure out remaining ingredients before beginning.
  • Begin boiling salted water to cook the macaroni. Proceed with steps below while the water heats up.

Cook the Beef

  • Season the ground beef lightly with salt and pepper. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the beef. Cook and crumble until brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain grease and set the ground beef aside.

Make the Sauce

  • Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat and add the flour. Stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes, or until it begins to turn toasty brown.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sauce mixture in small splashes, stirring continuously. Doing this slowly ensures that the roux doesn’t “break” and that the sauce has a uniform consistency. Stir in the beef bouillon.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered while you boil the pasta.

Boil the Pasta

  • Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until just al dente, set a timer to avoid overcooking. Drain once cooked.

Finish the Recipe

  • Reduce the heat of the sauce to low and gradually sprinkle in the shredded cheese, stirring continuously until combined. Add the ground beef back and stir to combine.
  • Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. The consistency may seem thin at first, but the macaroni will continue to absorb the sauce and it will thicken upon standing. Remove from heat and serve!

Notes

Pro Tips
  • Bouillon: A little beef bouillon adds depth of flavor, I use 1/2 tsp Better than BouillonThis is optional, 1/4 tsp. salt can be used if omitting.
  • Cheese: Shred the cheese from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese. It will melt and taste much better than pre-shredded. I use Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Yellow.
  • Make sure the base of the soup isn’t too hot when you add the cheese, otherwise the dairy will separate and create a grainy consistency.
  • Broth: This recipe uses a combination of beef and chicken broth for depth of flavor. All beef broth can be used if preferred. 
  • Pasta: Medium pasta shells, rotini, and bowtie pasta are all great options for this recipe. If you like extra-extra saucy pasta, use just under 1/2 lb.
  • Be sure to set a timer when cooking your pasta to avoid overcooking it. Macaroni in particular cooks fast. 
  • For a twist on this recipe with a hint of tomato sauce, try my Beefaroni recipe!

Storage
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. This does freeze/reheat very well. It saves my life every week.
  • I store leftovers in these containers for the freezer and use these food labels.
  • To reheat, I just thaw it out from frozen in the microwave and transfer to a serving bowl. 

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per serving. This recipe makes 4 servings. 

Nutrition

Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 981mg, Potassium: 548mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 775IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 374mg, Iron: 3mg
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!

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66 comments on “Homemade Hamburger Helper”

  1. Delicious, and came together in 30 minutes as promised, and missing all the preservatives, coloring etc. will def make again.

  2. Excellent recipe for that craving! Only modification was to add onion with beef, and parsley at the finish. I used capatappi pasta, which was perfect.

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