Homemade Hamburger Helper – Cheeseburger Casserole

Jump to Recipe

If you’re craving a comforting and delicious meal that’s super easy to make, I’ve got just the thing for you – homemade hamburger helper! It’s quick, easy, and so much better than the boxed version.

a wooden spoon removing one portion from the hamburger pasta in the skillet

This homemade hamburger helper recipe is the perfect solution for those busy weeknights when you want something tasty without spending hours in the kitchen.

Imagine a cheesy, hearty pasta dish that brings together the classic flavors of a juicy cheeseburger and the convenience of a one-pot meal. Yep, you guessed it—it’s the cheeseburger pasta skillet! 

Just like my Homemade Stovetop Mac and Cheese and this Cheesy Tuna Casserole, once you take that first bite you’ll wonder why you ever settled for the boxed version.

a serving of the completed homemade hamburger helper in a white bowl

Now, let’s talk about the magic that happens in this skillet. Picture perfectly cooked pasta, ground beef browned to perfection, all smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce that’ll make your taste buds dance. The best part? You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge!

Want even more easy one-pan meals that are sure to satisfy? Be sure to check out this Walking Taco Casserole and my hearty John Wayne Casserole. #easydinnersforthewin

Want to save this Recipe?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox. Along with recipes & tips every week!

Save Recipe

Why Make This Recipe

  • Budget-Friendly – Eating well shouldn’t break the bank, and this recipe proves just that. It uses simple, affordable ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, making it a budget-friendly option for feeding your family or hosting friends.
  • Family-Friendly – This dish is a hit with all ages. Kids and adults alike will devour the cheesy goodness of the cheeseburger pasta skillet. It’s a crowd-pleaser that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
  • Versatility – This recipe is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your preferences. Whether you want to add extra veggies, experiment with different spices, or even swap out ingredients, you have the freedom to make it uniquely yours.
a fork removing one bite from a serving of hamburger helper in a white bowl

If you love this recipe and have an Instant Pot, try my Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese. It’s another quick and simple meaty pasta dish your kids will love.

Ingredient Notes

  • Olive Oil – Used to sauté the ground beef and onions, olive oil provides flavor and preventing sticking. Substitute with vegetable oil or any other neutral oil.
  • Ground Beef – Substitute with ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based ground meat alternatives.
  • Minced Onion – Adds savory flavor and texture. Substitute with onion powder or finely chopped onion.
  • Minced Garlic – Enhances the dish with a delicious garlicky taste. You can add garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, but the flavor will not be the same. 
  • Tomato Paste – Adds depth, richness, and color to the sauce. Substitute with tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes (adjust quantity for desired consistency).
  • Chili Powder – Adds warmth and spice. Adjust the amount based on preferred flavor.
  • Beef Broth – Provides moisture, and flavor, and helps cook the pasta. Substitute with vegetable broth or chicken broth for a different flavor profile.
  • Pasta – Elbow macaroni is the pasta of choice, but you can substitute other pasta shapes. Substitute with gluten-free elbow macaroni or any other gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free option.
  • Cheese – Freshly grated cheddar cheese adds creaminess and richness to the dish. Experiment with different types of cheese according to your taste and preference.
the ingredients needed to make this homemade hamburger helper recipe

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

top down view of ground beef in a skillet
the second step of the recipe, making the tomato broth mixture

Step 1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add beef and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. As it browns, stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until beef has browned—about 7 minutes.

Step 2. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, and beef broth to the meat mixture. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the pasta.

top down view of the pasta being added to the hamburger mixture
top down view of the finished recipe inside the skillet

Step 3. Cook the pasta uncovered for about 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pasta should be cooked and the liquid mostly evaporated. 

Step 4. Remove the pasta from the heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until melted. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Cheeseburger Casserole Pro Tips

  • Use ground beef with a slightly higher fat content, such as 80/20 or 85/15 to keep the dish moist and flavorful. Alternately, use lean ground beef or ground chicken for less fat but increase the beef stock as needed. 
  • When browning the ground beef, break it up into small crumbles for even cooking. 
  • Sauté the meat and onions until the beef is browned and the onions are translucent. This step adds depth of flavor to the dish.
  • After browning the ground beef, drain off any excess fat to prevent the dish from becoming greasy. 
  • Enhance the flavor profile by adding spices and seasonings. Common additions include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, or Italian seasoning. Adjust the amounts to suit your taste preferences.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer slowly. This allows the flavors to meld together, and the pasta to cook and absorb the delicious sauce.
  • For added nutrition and flavor, feel free to incorporate vegetables into your hamburger helper. Options like diced bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, or peas work well. Add them during the simmering stage to ensure they cook through.
  • Adjust the amount of cheese or liquid to achieve your desired level of creaminess. If you prefer a thicker sauce, use less broth or add more cheese. If you want a saucier consistency, increase the amount of broth.
  • Garnish your homemade hamburger helper with fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a pop of color and added freshness. 
close up view of the completed hamburger helper in the skillet

Delicious Variations

  • Taco Hamburger Helper: Add a Tex-Mex flair by incorporating spices like cumin, paprika, and oregano. Substitute the cheddar cheese with a Mexican cheese blend, and top it off with some fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Philly Cheesesteak Hamburger Helper: Give your dish a Philly Cheesesteak twist by adding thinly sliced bell peppers and onions to the skillet along with the ground beef. Use provolone or Swiss cheese instead of cheddar, and serve it on toasted hoagie rolls for a mouthwatering sandwich-inspired meal.
  • Italian Hamburger Helper: Infuse the dish with Italian flavors by adding Italian seasoning, dried basil, and crushed red pepper flakes. Use a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and garnish with fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley for a delightful Italian twist.
  • Bacon and Mushroom Hamburger Helper: Cook some bacon until crispy, then crumble it into the skillet along with sliced mushrooms. The bacon adds a smoky flavor, while the mushrooms bring earthy notes to the dish. Top it off with a sprinkle of grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese for a delicious combination.
  • Spicy Hamburger Helper: Add chopped jalapeno, a few dashes of hot sauce, and use pepper jack cheese for a spicy version.
a wooden spoon removing a portion of the hamburger helper

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Chop the onions and garlic in advance. You can also brown the meat in advance. 
  • Store – Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and store them for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze – Transfer the cooled hamburger helper to freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags. Ensure there is enough space for expansion to prevent containers from cracking. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat – Thaw frozen hamburger helper in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, you can use the stovetop or microwave.
the finished recipe inside the skillet

FAQs

Can I Make Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe Gluten Free?

You can make a gluten-free version using gluten-free pasta, such as elbow macaroni made from rice or corn. Ensure that all other ingredients, including spices and broths, are gluten-free or certified gluten-free.

Can I Add Vegetables to Hamburger Helper?

Definitely! Adding vegetables is a great way to make your homemade hamburger helper more nutritious and flavorful. Consider adding diced bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, peas, or any other vegetables you enjoy. Sauté them with ground beef and onions or add them during the simmering stage.

Can I Make With Different Types of Pasta?

Elbow macaroni is traditionally used, but you can experiment with other pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or shells. Adjust the cooking times accordingly.

a white bowl filled with the completed hamburger helper

Similar Recipes

Serve With

Thank you for reading my homemade hamburger helper recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

Get The Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet Recipe:

Don’t forget to tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or Twitter if you try Homemade Hamburger Helper! It is really, really awesome for me when you make one of my recipes and I’d love to see it. You can also share it on my Facebook page. Please pin this recipe to Pinterest too! Thank you for reading Recipes from a Pantry.

a serving of the completed homemade hamburger helper in a white bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Tasty pasta and beef in a cheesy sauce.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Western
Servings: 5
Calories: 544kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound (453g) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cups (750 ml) beef broth
  • 1 cup (150g) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups (225g) freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped parsley for garnsih

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add beef and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. As it browns, stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until beef has browned—about 7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, chili powder and beef broth to the meat mixture. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta uncovered for about 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pasta should be cooked and the liquid mostly evaporated.
  • Remove the pasta from the heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until melted. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
**EASY AIR FRYER RECIPE EBOOK**Get the easy Air Fryer Recipe Binder which includes 40 quick and easy recipes all under 30 minutes cook time.
** INSTANT POT DUMP AND DASH RECIPE EBOOK**Get the Instant Pot Dump And Dash Recipes Ebook with easy recipes for busy lives.

Video

Notes

  • Use ground beef with a slightly higher fat content, such as 80/20 or 85/15 to keep the dish moist and flavorful. Alternately, use lean beef for less fat but increase the beef broth as needed. 
  • When browning the ground beef, break it up into small crumbles for even cooking. 
  • Sauté the meat and onions until the beef is browned and the onions are translucent. This step adds depth of flavor to the dish.
  • After browning the ground beef, drain off any excess fat to prevent the dish from becoming greasy. 
  • Enhance the flavor profile by adding spices and seasonings. Common additions include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, or Italian seasoning. Adjust the amounts to suit your taste preferences.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer slowly. This allows the flavors to meld together, and the pasta to cook and absorb the delicious sauce.
  • For added nutrition and flavor, feel free to incorporate vegetables into your hamburger helper. Options like diced bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, or peas work well. Add them during the simmering stage to ensure they cook through.
  • Adjust the amount of cheese or liquid to achieve your desired level of creaminess. If you prefer a thicker sauce, use less broth or add more cheese. If you want a saucier consistency, increase the amount of broth.
  • Garnish your homemade hamburger helper with fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a pop of color and added freshness. 
  • Storage – keep leftovers in an airtight container inside the fridge for 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 948mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 3mg

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. That’s awesome! If you’re into cooking magic and gaming adventures, you’ll love this homemade hamburger helper recipe. Check it out for a tasty break between gaming sessions:https://gangstarapk.net/ ✨ #GamingDelights #CookingMagic

  2. pico park is a cooperative local/online multiplay action puzzle game for two to eight players. While the overall idea is simple—”get all the keys and get to the goal and clear”—each of the 48 levels has its own special multiplayer gimmicks. New tricks will usually appear as you go, so you’ll need to talk to your peers and come up with new ways to work together. So let’s play with me right now

  3. Becoming an aviator is not a journey for the faint-hearted. It requires rigorous training, dedication, and a commitment to https://aviator.co.za/hollywoodbets-aviator/ lifelong learning. Aviators undergo extensive education to master the principles of aerodynamics, navigation, and aviation regulations. The pursuit of expertise is not a destination; it’s a continuous journey for those who choose to soar above the clouds.