Homemade Hamburger Helper: A Delicious Twist on a Classic Comfort Food

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

If you’re a fan of the classic Hamburger Helper but prefer to skip the boxed version with its artificial flavors and preservatives, you’re in luck! This Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is not only easy to make but also incredibly flavorful and satisfying. With simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, you can whip up a delicious and comforting meal in no time. Let’s dive into the recipe and learn how to make this homemade version of everyone’s favorite comfort food.


healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal


  • 1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey for a leaner option)
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni or pasta of your choice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Cook the Pasta: In a large skillet or pot, cook the macaroni or pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Brown the Ground Beef: In the same skillet or pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add Aromatics: Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet with the cooked ground beef. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and fragrant.
  4. Add Remaining Ingredients: Stir in the beef broth, milk, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  5. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Add Cheese: Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted and well combined.
  7. Combine with Pasta: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the beef and sauce mixture. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
  8. Garnish and Serve: If desired, garnish the Homemade Hamburger Helper with chopped fresh parsley before serving. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground beef with plant-based ground beef crumbles or chopped mushrooms for a vegetarian-friendly version of this dish.
  • Creamier Texture: For a creamier sauce, you can use half-and-half or heavy cream instead of milk.
  • Customize the Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Add more chili powder for extra heat or sprinkle in some Italian seasoning for a different flavor profile.
  • Add Veggies: Boost the nutritional content of this dish by adding diced bell peppers, carrots, or spinach to the sauce.

Keto Versions and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • To make this recipe keto-friendly, omit the pasta and replace it with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. You can also use heavy cream instead of milk for a creamier texture.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Substitute the pasta with low-carb alternatives such as shirataki noodles or spaghetti squash. Adjust the amount of tomato paste and diced tomatoes to reduce the carb content further.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can I use other types of pasta?

Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer in this recipe. Elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini are all great options.

2. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the Homemade Hamburger Helper ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

3. Can I freeze leftovers?

Absolutely! Allow the dish to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

This Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is a game-changer for busy weeknights when you want a comforting and satisfying meal without the hassle of complicated ingredients or lengthy cooking times. With its savory beef, creamy sauce, and tender pasta, this dish is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re following a keto diet, looking for a low-carb option, or simply craving a delicious homemade meal, this recipe has you covered. Give it a try and enjoy a taste of nostalgia with a homemade twist!


healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Bacon and Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Parmesan

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Apple Pie Filling Coffee Cake