Homemade Hamburger Helper (Cheeseburger Macaroni!)
Hey dudes! Do you remember those commercials with the high-fiving cartoon glove?
If you were born in a certain generation, you most likely can recall the latch-key kid meal of the eighties and nineties, Hamburger Helper. This boxed pantry staple includes macaroni noodles and a pouch of powdered… Stuff. Just add ground beef and milk and BOOM you’ve got dinner ready in 20 minutes!
Now, as an adult, you may even look back on those meals with nostalgic longing.
Although the classic prepackaged cheeseburger mac and cheese meal is pretty good, this quick Homemade Hamburger Helper version is SO much better! Our cheesy, rich, savory cheeseburger macaroni recipe is just as easy to make as the original, without any questionable ingredients.
Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper
This cheeseburger mac and cheese recipe is a much more wholesome version of boxed Hamburger Helper, and is still made with simple pantry staples! It is super kid-friendly, with familiar comfort food ingredients that will make the whole family happy.
Start to finish Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper takes only 20 minutes to make, and is a perfect dinner for busy weeknights.
Plus, it is a classic one-pot meal, so cleanup is a breeze. Yay!
If you still sometimes crave the old standby, or are obsessed with all things 80’s and 90’s, you’ve got to have this Homemade Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese Hamburger Helper recipe on your regular meal planning menu!
What Ingredients You Need
Homemade Hamburger Helper includes only a few simple ingredients, with no prepackaged scientific ingredients.
Here is everything needed to make the easiest, cheesiest one pot Cheeseburger Macaroni from scratch:
- Ground beef – 85% fat or leaner
- Tomato paste – for perfect zesty flavor
- Dijon mustard – adds a bit of bite
- Seasonings – garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper
- Macaroni pasta – or other small pasta shape, like small pasta shells
- Beef broth – or water combined with beef bouillon
- Half & half – to create the richest, creamiest base
- Shredded cheese – we used sharp cheddar
For an extra kick, try using shredded spicy cheddar jack cheese!
How to Make the Best Cheeseburger Macaroni
You only need 20 minutes and one pot with a lid to make crave-worthy Homemade Hamburger Helper from scratch!
First, place a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it browns. Mix in the tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and seasonings as you cook the beef.
Once the ground beef is fully cooked, add the macaroni noodles and beef broth.
Stir well, and then cover the pan and simmer until the pasta is cooked to al dente. There is no need to stir while the pasta is covered and cooks!
After the pasta is done, carefully remove the lid and stir in the half & half and shredded cheese.
Continue to simmer and stir for another few minutes, uncovered, until the sauce is cheesy thick and creamy smooth.
Get the Complete (Printable) Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Serve one pot cheeseburger macaroni and cheese warm with a bit more shredded cheese and a generous sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, if you like.
This is a terrific dish for making ahead and enjoying as leftovers for several days. Homemade Hamburger Helper will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and the flavors get even better as it sits!
I love to enjoy a hearty, heavy meal like this with a fresh and veggie-packed salad. Our Healthy Rainbow Chopped Salad and Lieutenant Dan’s Steakhouse Salad are super quick to put together as an easy and healthy side!
Can I Make Hamburger Helper Without Beef?
Yes, you can! Feel free to substitute the ground beef in this recipe with ground turkey for a leaner meal.
Or, you can use ground pork sausage to create a richer, even more savory mac and cheese dish.
You could certainly try this recipe with plant-based ground “meat” for a vegetarian version. Let me know in the comments if you give it a try!
However you choose to make Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni, I hope you and your family love it as much as we do.
Looking for More Easy and Delicious One Pot Dinner Recipes?
- Rustic Hungarian Goulash
- Parmesan Lemon Chicken and Rice Skillet
- Easy Jambalaya
- Skillet Taco Calzone Pie
- One-Pot Sloppy Joe Casserole
Homemade Hamburger Helper (Cheeseburger Macaroni!)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 ounces dried macaroni noodles
- 4 cups beef broth or 4 cups water + 4 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Place a large sauté pan (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef. Break the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. As it's browning, mix in the tomato paste, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Once the beef is fully cooked, add the macaroni noodles, and beef broth. Stir well. Then cover the pan and simmer for 7-10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
- Remove the lid and stir in the half & half and shredded cheese. Simmer and stir another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve warm.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!