A classic comfort dish that your entire family will love is this homemade hamburger helper! Cheesy noodles, meat, and delicious flavor make this recipe a go-to for any family with picky eaters!

If you are looking for more family-friendly meals then you have come to the right place! Some more of my favorites are American goulash, this easy instant pot spaghetti, or this delicious Olive Garden chicken!

The top view of homemade hambuger helperin a pan, cooked and ready to eat. There is a wooden spoon scooping some out.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

Hamburger helper was a staple in our house as a kid and I loved it!! My favorite was the cheeseburger one. I mean, you can’t go wrong with macaroni noodles that are made with cheesy meat a delightful flavors! But making it from scratch is so much better. And if you are still buying hamburger helper, you never will buy it again after making this recipe. Plus, this is quick and easy to make so it doesn’t get much better than that!

This version of hamburger helper is so cheesy and creamy and my kiddos love it! We call it cheeseburger casserole at our house but whatever you call it, it tastes delicious! Whip it up on a busy night and serve it with some asparagus, a wedge salad and some dinner rolls and you’ve got yourself a hearty and delicious meal! Oh, and keep in mind that this is a one-pot meal so then cleanup is a breeze!

What Ingredients are Needed for Hamburger Helper?

To make this homemade hamburger helper, you will need some ground beef, cheese, and noodles to start off as the base of the dish. Then, everything is cooked together with spices and seasonings and it creates a delicious taste that blends together seamlessly! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Olive Oil: You can use vegetable oil instead if that’s all that you have on hand!
  • Ground Beef: Lean ground beef works best in this recipe. Or, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken instead!
  • Onion: Dice up your onion into small pieces.
  • Tomato Paste: This blends together with the sauce and adds a delicious texture.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: I love the deep flavor that this brings!
  • Seasonings: I used garlic powder, chili powder, ground mustard and salt and pepper to achieve this delicious flavoring. Add in some red pepper flakes for additional heat!
  • Elbow Macaroni: You can use any type of noodles that you have on hand! Try rotini if you don’t have any elbow noodles on hand.
  • Beef Broth: This will add flavor to your noodles as they cook.
  • Cheddar Cheese: If you shred cheese from the block, it will melt and mix in better.
  • Heavy Cream: You can also use half and half.
  • Parsley: You will use the parsley as a garnish on top!

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

This budget-friendly, family meal only takes a few minutes to put together. Plus, it’s all made in one pot so that means that clean-up is a breeze!

  1. Cook Ground Beef: In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and ground beef. Cook the ground beef until no longer pink for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Soften the Onions: Add the diced onions, and cook until softened and translucent. 
  3. Add Sauce and Paste: Add the Worcestershire sauce and the tomato paste and stir until well-combined.
  4. Mix Seasonings: Add the garlic powder, chili powder, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Simmer: Stir in the beef broth and the uncooked macaroni. Bring to a gentle simmer (it doesn’t need to come to a full boil) over medium or medium/low.
  6. Cook: Cover the pot and heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir briefly, replace the cover, and heat for 5 more minutes, or until just al dente.
  7. Add Cream: Once the noodles are cooked then stir in the heavy cream.
  8. Stir in the Cheese: Sprinkle in 1½ cups of the shredded cheddar, stirring as you do so.
  9. Melt: Top with the remaining ½ cup cheese, replace the lid, and heat for an additional 2-3 minutes (until the cheese is melted).
  10. Garnish: Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with parsley and serve!
4 pictures showing how to add ingredients to the pan and mix them all together.

Helpful Tips

I’ve come up with a few helpful tips and variations so that you can make this homemade hamburger helper the best that it can be!

  • Cheese: Pre-shredded cheese from the store has a coating on it to help preserve it and not stick to the bag that it comes in. This coating makes it harder for it to melt in and mix well so i like to make sure that I shred my cheese straight from the block!
  • Serve it fresh: If you aren’t going to freeze this right away, then I recommend serving it fresh! It’s so cheesy and rish and delicious and best the first day or two!
  • Noodles: I like to use elbow noodles to make it classic but you could also use penne or even bowtie pasta if that’s what you have on hand!
  • Veggies: Add in some vegetables if you want to take this to the next level! Try some zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers or cauliflower!

Hamburger helper being scooped out of a pan with a wooden spoon.

How to Store Leftovers

  • In the Refrigerator: Once your homemade hamburger helper has cooled then you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for 2-3 days.
  • In the Freezer: Store your cooked hamburger helper in a disposable tin pan and cover it tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. Label it with the date! This will last in your freezer for about 3 months.
  • To Reheat: To reheat your leftovers, you can het them up on the stove on medium heat until they are warmed through. You can also just heat them up in the microwave. Whichever is easiest for you.If your leftovers are frozen, let them thaw in your fridge overnight before reheating them!

Hamburger helper in a bowl with a silver fork.

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