Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

Make your own version of the comforting Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni meal that we all know and love. This easy dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes and it is more affordable than the boxed variety!

Homemade Hamburger Helper

When you think of Hamburger Helper, do you think of childhood? I do. My mom made it often and I still remember the catchy theme song from the commercials: Hamburger Helper...helper hamburger...heeelllp herrr…make a great meal! (Because apparently men weren’t allowed to cook.) Back then and still today, people love easy. Having a single box that contains most of the ingredients along with a few simple instructions was like a dream come true in the 70s and 80s. But those boxed meals are losing steam during this time when people want to control what goes into their food. When you can find a homemade dinner that is just as easy as a boxed meal and more affordable and tastier…well, that’s called weeknight perfection, people.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

How do you make Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni?

The popular Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni from that magical box is exactly what you see in the photos in this post, minus excessive seasonings and preservatives. This is one of the easiest meals I’ve made in my kitchen, as it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The beef gets cooked in a skillet and then all other ingredients are added. Cook until the pasta is done! That’s it! It’s a comforting, quick and delicious one-pot meal. (See the complete ingredient list and instructions in the below recipe card.)

How do you make Hamburger Helper healthier?

By making this recipe (as opposed to using the box version), you already are making it healthier. If you want to take it a step further, you can do any or all of the following:

  • Reduce the amount of cheese by half.

  • Omit the sour cream.

  • Use a lean ground beef or even ground turkey.

  • Use a low-sodium beef broth or replace half of the broth with water.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I know how valuable one-pot/one-pan meals are. They’re like gold, especially when they are also comforting and can feed the entire family. Here are a few other one-pot options for you on those busy weeknights!
Easy Roasted Chicken and Veggies
One-Pan Rice and Beans Taco Skillet
Chicken Rice Bake
Easy One-Pan Pasta

dinner, beef, pasta
Yield: 6

Homemade Hamburger Helper

prep time: 5 minscook time: 17 minstotal time: 22 mins

Make your own version of the comforting Hamburger Helper that we all know and love. This easy dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes and it is more affordable than the boxed variety!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 cups large elbow macaroni
  • Two 15-oz. cans beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped parsley, for topping


  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return skillet to stovetop. Add the ketchup, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir until combined. Add the macaroni, beef broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is soft and liquids have thickened.
  2. Add the sour cream and cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Top with parsley, if desired.
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