Homemade Hamburger Helper

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5 from 2 reviews

This one-pot hamburger helper is a cozy comfort food filled with al dente macaroni noodles and crumbled ground beef in a creamy, cheesy sauce. It's the perfect 30-minute meal for a busy weeknight and is something that the whole family will love!


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  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 small diced onion along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 6 cloves grated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add 1 pound ground beef and brown, crumbling with a spatula, until cooked through.
  5. Add 12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni noodles, 32 ounces beef broth, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Mix until well combined and the noodles are submerged.
  6. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the noodles are cooked al dente.
  8. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in 4 ounces shredded cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
  9. If you loved this recipe, leave a 5-star rating and review below!



  • Every pan and stove are different which is why I like to cook this hamburger helper with the lid off for the first 5 minutes, and then finish it with the lid on. This allows the noodles to cook in the broth and cream for the first half of the cooking process, and then covering it traps the steam to cook the noodles the rest of the way. This means you'll end up with perfectly al dente noodles in a deliciously creamy sauce.
  • If it seems like you're noodles aren't cooked yet and there's not much liquid left, add a couple splashes of broth/water/cream.
  • I like a noodle-heavy hamburger pasta. If you prefer to have more beef and fewer noodles, reduce the amount of broth to 3 cups and the amount of pasta to 8 oz. Then just cook as instructed.
  • You can skip the cheese if you want! I love the extra flavor that mild cheddar or sharp cheddar adds, but this homemade hamburger helper actually tastes really great without it too! I tested this recipe a couple times without the cheese and while I do like it more with the cheese (hello, I was born in Wisconsin!) the flavors are really delicious without it as well.