Best Beefaroni Recipe – Homemade beefaroni is similar to the classic canned version you know and love, but is WAY better! This one-pot recipe is easy to make in only 30 minutes with tender noodles, zesty tomato sauce, and of course, plenty of meaty, savory ground beef.

Three bowls of beefaroni topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.

Why We Love One-Pot Beefaroni

What is Beefaroni? Well if you’re asking this, you most likely did not grow up in the 80s or 90s… Beefaroni is an American premade meal in a can, consisting of pasta with beef and tomato sauce. Kids in my generation often grew up making it as an afterschool snack. 

It’s macaroni in mild meaty sauce, with just a touch of sweetness. Although the classic Chef Boyardee Beefaroni is nostalgic, beef Roni is easy to make at home, with a much fresher flavor! We also made it in one pot in 30 minutes, so there’s no need to cook the pasta ahead or dirty up extra pans.

PS, we also have a homemade hamburger helper recipe here on the site which is a similar concept, yet with more spices, cream, and cheese mixed into the sauce. We also have an American Chop Suey a.k.a. American goulash recipe on the site… Which is a similar concept but with bell peppers, hot sauce, and a stronger beefy flavor. These are all great dishes that are easy to make and huge crowd-pleasers. I suggest making all three to decide which one you like best!

Three bowls of beefaroni topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.

Easy Beefaroni Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter – unsalted
  • Onion – peeled and diced
  • Garlic – minced
  • Ground beef – 80/20 or 90/10 lean ground beef for a slightly lighter dish
  • Canned tomato sauce – I like low sodium, so you can adjust the salt to your liking
  • Dried macaroni – or other small-shaped pasta (see Beefaroni Recipe Variations below for suggestions)
  • Sugar – granulated white
  • SpicesItalian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt and pepper
  • Garnishes – shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion
Bowl of beefaroni topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions. A fork is digging into the bowl to take a bite.

How to Make Homemade Beefaroni

Set a large 6 to 8-quart sauté pot (or large skillet) over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot. Once melted, add the onions and garlic. Stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add the ground beef to the pot and break it into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir and break up the ground beef for 5-10 minutes until fully cooked through. Make sure all the meat pieces are smaller than the macaroni.

Crumbled ground beef in a cooking pot.

Add the canned tomato sauce, plus 30 ounces of water to the pot. Stir in the dried macaroni noodles, sugar, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well. Partially cover the pot to help it come to a boil quickly.

Get the Complete (Printable) Easy Homemade Beefaroni Recipe + Video Below. Enjoy!

Adding canned tomato sauce to a pot with elbow macaroni.

Simmer the pasta for 6-7 minutes until fully cooked. Be sure to stir well every 1-2 minutes so the meat and pasta do not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Pro Tip: When cooking pasta in a thick sauce like this, it’s more likely to stick to the bottom. Don’t forget to stir regularly!

Top down view of homemade beefaroni in a large cooking pot.

Once the pasta is fully cooked through, and the sauce has tightened up, turn off the heat. Taste and salt and pepper as needed.

Serve homemade beefaroni warm with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and chopped scallions.

Large metal spoonful of homemade beefaroni showing to camera.

Recipe Variations

  • Protein – You can opt for leaner ground turkey or chicken. Or sub entirely with plant-based meatless crumbles for a beef-less vegetarian beefaroni recipe.
  • Tomato sauce – In a pinch, the sauce can be swapped with two cans of more concentrated tomato paste, plus the additional water noted in the recipe card below.
  • Noodles – Elbow macaroni noodles are classic (hence the ‘roni name). However, these can be swapped with other small pasta shapes like shells, cavatappi, or gemelli.
  • Gluten-free – Use your preferred GF noodles.
  • Cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese is a classic choice for topping the dish. But you can use other shredded cheeses you like, such as mozzarella or spicy pepper jack.
Three bowls of beefaroni topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make beefaroni taste better?

The simple but bold combo of Italian seasoning with paprika and minced garlic will make your dish absolutely delicious! And an extra big helping of shredded cheese on top never hurt. :))

Is goulash the same as beefaroni?

They are very similar, but there are some slight differences between the two dishes. The main one being that, in goulash, the cheese is typically incorporated into the sauce while warm. Goulash also includes diced tomatoes and/or bell peppers and tomato sauce, while in this beefaroni recipe we just use tomato sauce.

How long do leftovers last?

My family loooves leftover Beef Roni! The flavors are meld even more as the dish sits longer. Let the meat and noodles cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bowl of beefaroni topped with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.

Looking for More Easy One-Pot Recipes? Be Sure to Try:

Homemade Beefaroni Recipe + Video

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Homemade beefaroni is similar to the classic canned version you know and love, but is WAY better! This one-pot recipe is easy to make in only 30 minutes with tender noodles, zesty tomato sauce, and of course, plenty of meaty, savory ground beef.
Servings: 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set a large 6 to 8 quart sauté pot over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot. Once melted, add the onions and garlic. Stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add the ground beef to the pot and break it into small piece with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir and break up the ground beef for 5-10 minutes until fully cooked through. Make sure all the meat pieces are smaller than the macaroni.
  • Add the canned tomato sauce, plus 30 ounces of water to the pot. Stir in the dried macaroni noodles, sugar, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well. Partially cover the pot to help it come to a boil quickly.
  • Simmer the pasta for 6-7 minutes until fully cooked. Be sure to stir well every 1-2 minutes so the meat and pasta do not stick to the bottom of the pot. *When cooking pasta in thick sauce like this, it's more likely to stick to the bottom. Don't forget to stir regularly!
  • Once the pasta is fully cooked through, and the sauce has tightened up, turn off the heat. Taste and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and chopped scallions.

Video

Notes

Let the meat and noodles cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5c, Calories: 989kcal, Carbohydrates: 104g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 42g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 136mg, Sodium: 1176mg, Potassium: 1437mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 1356IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 114mg, Iron: 7mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Sommer Collier
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