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Wooden spoon with cheesy hamburger helper over a dutch oven
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4.85 from 71 votes

Hamburger Helper

A delicious one pot meal full of hamburger, cheese and more! This homemade version of Hamburger Helper is amazing!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 648kcal
Author: Julie Evink


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. yellow onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 c. low sodium beef broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni dry


  • In a large skillet or dutch oven brown ground beef and onions over medium high heat. During the last minute of cooking add garlic. Drain off grease.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
  • Add in broth, water and elbow macaroni. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer 12-15 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Cover and let melt.



Recipe Variations
  • Add some canned diced tomatoes. Add them when you add the broth and pasta!
  • Chopped bell peppers add a nice flavor, too! Cook them with the onions and ground beef. If you like a kick of heat add some chopped jalapeno, too.
  • You can also add mushrooms - any kind will work! Cook them with the onions and beef.
  • Substitute the beef for ground turkey, pork or chicken.
  • Change up the seasonings! Add some dried Italian seasoning or other dried herbs like parsley or thyme when you cook the beef. A few pinches of red pepper flakes add a nice spicy bite, too.
  • You can also add some fresh herbs - chopped parsley or cilantro work well! Just wait to add them until the end so they stay nice and fresh.
Can you make it without meat?
Yes! Cook the onions until they've softened and then follow the recipe as written. You could also add mushrooms to get a meaty texture without meat - just cook the mushrooms with onions until they have released their moisture and have turned a nice golden brown. This usually takes about 10 minutes.
Another thing I love is that the leftovers keep really well! Just stick them in a container and reheat in the microwave for easy lunches. Jason always loves to get his second helping for lunch the next day! The leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Or make a big batch and freeze it for easy dinners on those crazy busy nights - you know what I'm talking about, right? When everyone's going in ten directions and there's no time to cook? I've been there! When you make it let it cool and then keep it in a freezer-safe container. It will be good for two to three months. For best results, thaw it before you rewarm on the stove or in the microwave.


Calories: 648kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 323mg | Iron: 3mg