Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade hamburger helper is my latest go-to meal for my busy family. It’s a simple creamy, cheesy, and hearty meal that will satisfy any picky eater. It’s the perfect quick dinner idea for when you’re short on time or ingredients.

homemade hamburger helper recipe

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Growing up, it always overjoyed me to stroll into my mom’s kitchen after school and discover a hot skillet of fresh hamburger helper. I always considered it a comfort dish. Now that I’m a mom of three and a half little humans, I want them to experience the same comfort.

However, I would rather not expose them to unnecessary chemicals, artificial flavors, and preservatives that the boxed hamburger helper contains. So I put my brain to work and started creating my recipe for homemade hamburger helper.

The boxed stuff leaves a lot to be desired. It’s high in salt content but it lacks a range of flavors. My hamburger helper recipe has layers of flavors and will leave you wanting more and more.

What Ingredients Do I Need?

This dish is basically macaroni and cheese with ground beef. It’s not just any regular old macaroni and cheese. It is well-seasoned ground beef and macaroni noodles in a creamy cheese sauce that has a burst of delicious flavor that just won’t quit.

  • Lean Ground Beef– I like to cook with lean beef because I don’t like too much grease. Of course, the fat adds flavor but we don’t want the recipe to be too oily.
  • White Onion– Maybe it’s me, but I love starting a meal with a good onion sizzling in the skillet.
  • Minced Garlic– Sauteed garlic and onions go together like two peas in a pod. I rarely cook one without the other.
  • Unbleached Flour– I used a little flour as the base of my cheese sauce. Some recipes don’t create a cheese sauce but I think that’s what makes this recipe a little better.
  • Tomato Sauce– A little tomato sauce goes a long way in this recipe. It adds a sweet and savory layer of flavor.
  • Beef Broth– I found the recipe to be a little dry, so I added broth to loosen the sauce.
  • Seasonings– I used Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and a little black pepper.
  • Pasta– Macaroni shells are my go-to for this recipe
  • Heavy Cream– The recipe called for fat and heavy cream is my go to
  • Cheddar Cheese– I shredded blocks of cheese to avoid the extra preservatives in pre-shredded cheese. Sharp cheddar is my favorite.
homemade hamburger helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

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homemade hamburger helper recipe

Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • Author: Johnniemay McDonald
  • Total Time: 40 minutes


Delicious and creamy homemade hamburger helper recipe complete with lean beef, elbow macaroni pasta, and a flavorful cheese sauce.


Units Scale
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 tbsps of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsps of flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 16oz elbow macaroni (or your favorite pasta)
  • 12oz shredded cheese (I shredded 1 1/2 blocks of 8oz cheese blocks)
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream (added 1/4 cup at a time)


  1. Start by filling a pot with water for the pasta. Heavily salt the water.
  2. Brown the ground beef and use a fork to break apart the chunks. Once the beef is browned, set it aside while leaving about 2 tbsps of oil in the pan. (I normally set the ground beef in a strained over the sink and let the rest of the grease drain).
  3. Add the diced onion to the pan and saute until the onion is tender.
  4. Add the minced garlic to the pan and saute for one minute. Then add the flour. Stir continually and do not the flour or garlic burn. Pour the beef broth into the pan and whisk until a sauce forms. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Gently pour the tomato sauce and seasonings into the pan and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil then cover and lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. If the salted water is boiling, add your pasta and cook according to the directions on the pacckage.
  7. Add shredded cheese to the sauce in 2-3 batches so it has time to melt. Whisk in the heavy cream until the cheese is melted, and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  8. Finally, fold the ground beef and cooked pasta into the sauce. (I transferred everything to a large pot at this stage. The recipe made a large meal)
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, ground beef

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