Hamburger Helper Recipe

Deliciously Homemade: Hamburger Helper Recipe

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Are you craving the comforting flavors of a classic Hamburger Helper but want to skip the boxed version? Look no further! Our Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is here to satisfy your nostalgia with its rich and creamy sauce, hearty ground beef, and tender macaroni noodles. Plus, it’s made with simple pantry ingredients and comes together in just one pot, making it the perfect quick and easy meal for busy weeknights. Let’s dive into this homemade twist on a beloved classic!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup dry macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated


1. Brown the Ground Beef:

  • In a large skillet or pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain any excess fat if necessary.

2. Add the Macaroni Noodles:

  • To the skillet with the cooked ground beef, add the dry macaroni noodles.

3. Prepare the Sauce:

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the hot water, milk, cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper until well combined.

4. Combine and Simmer:

  • Pour the sauce mixture over the ground beef and macaroni noodles in the skillet. Stir to combine.

5. Cook Until Tender:

  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until the macaroni noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.

6. Add Cheese:

  • Once the noodles are tender, stir in the grated cheddar cheese until melted and creamy.

7. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. Serve the Homemade Hamburger Helper hot, garnished with additional cheese if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Customize the Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. You can add more or less paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or mustard powder depending on your preference for flavor intensity.
  • Add Vegetables: Boost the nutritional content of your Homemade Hamburger Helper by adding diced vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, or peas. Simply sauté them along with the ground beef until tender before adding the noodles and sauce.
  • Use Different Cheese: While cheddar cheese adds a classic flavor to this dish, you can experiment with other cheese varieties such as mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack for a different flavor profile.
  • Make it Creamier: For an extra creamy texture, stir in a dollop of cream cheese or sour cream along with the grated cheddar cheese.

Keto and Low-Carb Version:

For a keto-friendly or low-carb version of Homemade Hamburger Helper, you can make a few simple substitutions:

  • Swap the Noodles: Instead of using traditional macaroni noodles, use low-carb alternatives such as spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles) or shirataki noodles.
  • Use Heavy Cream: Replace the milk with heavy cream to reduce the carb content and increase the creaminess of the sauce.
  • Omit the Cornstarch: Skip the cornstarch or use a small amount of xanthan gum as a thickening agent to keep the sauce low-carb.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef? A: Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for the ground beef if you prefer a leaner option. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time as needed, as ground turkey may cook faster than beef.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can prepare the Homemade Hamburger Helper in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze any leftover Homemade Hamburger Helper for future meals. Let it cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and warm it in a skillet or microwave until heated through.

Q: What can I serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper? A: This dish pairs well with a variety of side dishes such as steamed vegetables, a simple green salad, garlic bread, or dinner rolls. You can also serve it with a side of pickles or a dollop of sour cream for added flavor.

In conclusion, our Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe offers a delicious and convenient alternative to the classic boxed version, with its rich and creamy sauce, tender macaroni noodles, and savory ground beef. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or enjoying a cozy meal at home, this homemade twist on a beloved classic is sure to become a family favorite. With its customizable ingredients and simple preparation, it’s a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit any taste preferences. So, gather your ingredients and whip up a batch of Homemade Hamburger Helper for a comforting and satisfying meal that’s sure to please everyone at the table!

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