Homemade Hamburger Helper – cheesy, beefy, quick and easy comfort food that is ready in just 30 minutes. This homemade version tastes just way better than the boxed ones. A one-pot meal that the whole family would approve!
If you’ve been eyeing on some boxed meals during your recent grocery trips, then this might appeal to you.
Most of us have probably stocked up on quick and easy handy meals during these times. But let me tell you that making your favorite boxed meals from scratch is easier than you think it is. Yes, it sure is!
Ever since I’ve made this Southern Baked Mac and Cheese from scratch, we’ve finally said goodbye to my son’s favorite boxed mac and cheese. And we couldn’t be happier than that. I’ve started recreating his favorite meals from scratch and now my husband and I have come to enjoy it as well. One of our recent favorites is this Hamburger Helper.
What is Hamburger Helper?
For those who aren’t familiar with this, Hamburger Helper is an American packaged product with boxed dried pasta and seasonings in a packet. These ingredients are then cooked by adding browned ground beef, water, and other varieties, like milk for instance, to make a flash-like-a-lightning one-pot hamburger mac and cheese dinner.
Homemade Hamburger Helper Ingredients
Today, I’m here to show how you can make your own best hamburger helper from scratch using pantry staple ingredients. And if you’re trying to sneak in more veggies into your meals, feel free to throw in some bell peppers, spinach, mushroom, carrots or zucchini.
Here are the ingredients for this easy yummy cheeseburger macaroni.
- ground beef
- onion, garlic, thyme
- tomato paste
- paprika, chili powder
- all-purpose flour
- whole milk
- beef broth or water
- dried elbow macaroni pasta
- cheese (strictly optional though)
- salt and pepper
Simple, right? I bet you have all of these in your pantry now. And if you don’t, you can easily buy them in grocery stores on your next grocery trip. And as with any recipe, feel free to tweak the seasonings to suit your tastebuds.
Can You Make Hamburger Helper without Milk?
Yes, you can. With the starches released by the pasta as it cooks, it makes this dish creamy enough even without the milk. But it sure does taste and feels better if you pour in some milk into the mix.
Can You Freeze Homemade Hamburger Helper?
Although there’s nothing quite the same with a freshly cooked pasta dish, however, if you want to bulk up your freezer meals especially during this global crisis, you may add this DIY hamburger helper to your list. What I do is double the recipe, serve half of it and the other half goes into my freezer.
To freeze homemade hamburger helper, transfer it to a baking dish once it’s completely cool. Make sure that your pasta is cooked al dente so it won’t get too mushy when reheated. Cover the container first with a plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and then wrap it with foil. Freeze for about 2-3 months. Don’t forget to put a label!
Note: If it’s too dry when reheating, you may add about 1/4 cup of water or broth to make it moist.
What Goes with Hamburger Helper?
Honestly, this one pot Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is already a complete meal on its own. You don’t need any sides to serve along with it, but if you feel like you want to, here are just some of my favorites to go with this.
- Homemade Garlic Bread or simply white bread (homemade recipe soon.)
- simple green salad
- corn on the cob
- broccoli florets, peas or carrots
- Flaky Homemade Biscuits
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Southern Style Cornbread
- Chicken Parmesan Recipe
More Quick and Easy Comforting Dinner
Enjoy and keep safe, everyone! ❤️
How To Make Hamburger Helper
Heat oil in a large skillet or cast iron over medium-high heat. Once heated add ground beef, breaking it up and stirring for about a minute or so. Next, add onions and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add flour, thyme, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, and chili powder over browned meat and stir well to fully incorporate all the spices; cook for about 1-2 minutes.
Pour beef broth or water, milk, pasta, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for about 8-11 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the pasta is al dente or to desired doneness. It might take more or less minutes, depending on the pasta used.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. The sauce will thicken as it cools down. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired, then serve.
Watch How To Make It
Homemade Hamburger Helper
- 1 pound (453.59g) ground beef
- 1 tablespoon (14ml) oil
- 1 medium onion , finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons (30g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (1.6g) minced thyme
- 2 teaspoons (10g) minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons (48g) tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons (4g) paprika
- ½ teaspoon (1.36g) chili powder
- 2 ½ cup (625ml) beef broth or water
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
- 2 cups (200g) dried elbow macaroni pasta
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup (50g) grated cheese (strictly optional)
- Heat oil a large skillet or cast iron over medium high heat. Once heated add ground beef, breaking it up and stirring for about a minute or so.
- Next, add onions and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, or until onions are soft.
- Add flour, thyme, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, and chili powder over browned meat and stir well to fully incorporate all the spices; cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour beef broth or water, milk, pasta, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for about 8-11 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the pasta is al dente or to desired doneness. It might take more or less minutes, depending on the pasta use.
- Remove from the heat, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Sauce will thicken as it cools down.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired, then serve.
Tips & Notes:
- When using grated cheese, make sure to use freshly grated cheese for better results.
- Feel free to add a bit more of water - starting with 1/4 cup - if you think your skillet is running out of liquid with still a lot of cooking time left.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.