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This Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is a delicious one-dish 30-minute comfort meal! Cheesy Hamburger Skillet is packed full of simple ingredients you will likely already have on hand. It’s rich, cheesy, and a family favorite perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!

A cast iron skillet full of cheesy hamburger skillet.

As much as I love to cook, some nights, I want to put something quick on the table without sacrificing that homemade taste that my family loves. Cheesy Hamburger Skillet will not disappoint.

It is reminiscent of that boxed stuff your mom may have made, but much more delicious and so much better for you. I know this isn’t “health food,” but it is minus the “stuff” in the box we can’t pronounce, much less want to put in the bellies of our beloved family.  What it is – is comfort food that is tasty, hearty, and filling!  And one of our childhood favorites too!

Everything is made in one glorious skillet- a big win for busy weeknights!

Ingredient Notes

  • Lean Ground Beef: It’s a good choice as it has less fat and great hamburger flavor.
  • Yellow Onion: I use a mild onion for this recipe. If I don’t have them on hand or want another option (say you have someone that doesn’t want to see onions), you can substitute onion powder instead of the fresh onion.
  • Spices or Seasonings: Paprika, Garlic Powder, Cayin Pepper, and Dried Parsley are the perfect blend for that familiar boxed hamburger helper flavor without all the preservatives.
  • Salt to Taste: Salt enhances the flavors of the dish. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your preference. Keep in mind that other ingredients like beef broth and Worcestershire sauce may contain salt, so be mindful of the overall saltiness.
  • Beef Broth: Use a low-sodium if you want to control the sodium content better.
  • Milk: I use whole milk, but 2% milk is commonly used in Hamburger Helper recipes.
  • Uncooked Macaroni Noodles: Any type of macaroni noodles will work, such as elbow macaroni or small shells. This will cook right in the pan- no need to precook the noodles.
  • Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce provides a rich and tangy flavor to the dish. You can use a store-bought tomato sauce or make your own by simmering crushed tomatoes with some seasonings like oregano and basil.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce adds a savory and slightly tangy flavor to the dish.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar cheese is a classic choice for Hamburger Helper. Use sharp cheddar for a more pronounced cheese flavor, or mild cheddar if you prefer a milder taste.
A labeled image of ingredients needed for homemade hamburger helper.

How To Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Brown Ground Beef and Season

Let’s whip up some delicious homemade Hamburger Helper together! First, grab a large skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Once it’s nice and hot, add your lean ground beef and diced yellow onion.

Let them cook until the beef is nicely browned, then drain any excess grease on some paper towels.

A collage image showing sautéing ground beef and onions and then draining on paper towels.

Now, return the beef and onion back into the skillet and sprinkle in some garlic powder, paprika, parsley, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.

A collage image showing sautéd ground beef and onions and then spices added to the pan.

Step 2 | Create Hamburger Helper Sauce

Time to add some flavor! Pour in the beef broth, milk, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir everything together well.

A collage image showing adding the tomato sauce and spices and stirring together.

Step 3 | Cook Pasta in Sauce

Add the macaroni noodles to the pan.

Keep an eye on it and give it an occasional stir as it cooks. Let it simmer away for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the macaroni is cooked to your desired tenderness.

A collage image showing adding pasta and stirring together.

Step 4 | Stir in Cheese

And now, for the grand finale, it’s cheese time! Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it melts beautifully into the mixture, creating a luscious and cheesy sauce.

A collage image of a pan of cooked cheesy hamburger skillet and then adding the shredded cheese to the pan.

Once the cheese has melted completely, your homemade Hamburger Helper is just about ready to be enjoyed. Let it hang out in the pan for 5 minutes to thicken and get saucy!

Then serve it up hot and savor every creamy, cheesy bite. I love to garnish with fresh parsley for a pop of color.

Bon appétit- your family is going to love this nostalgic meal!

A collage image showing hamburger helper finished in the skillet and an up close image of the dish.

Tips

  • Let it rest before serving: After the Hamburger Helper is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to develop further and the sauce to thicken slightly.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Meat Variations: You can adjust the recipe and use ground chicken, ground turkey, or even ground sausage. Remember, when using ground chicken or turkey, you may need to add some oil when cooking. The classic ground beef flavor will be different, but these are options to change things up.
  • Beef Broth Adaptions: You can use water or other broths instead of the beef broth if desired. I love using the beef broth for that classic hamburger helper cheeseburger flavor.
  • Extra Creaminess: Want to add a little extra creamy texture? Stir in a little heavy cream or tangy sour cream when you add in the cheddar cheese. This will lend a slight beef stroganoff taste or consistency.
  • Spice it up: Add a dash of hot sauce on top when serving to spice this dish up a bit! You can also add more cayenne or some red pepper flakes when cooking if your family loves it a little spicy.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely! While traditional Hamburger Helper recipes often use macaroni noodles, you can use different types of pasta based on your preference. Some popular alternatives include cavatappi pasta, penne, rotini, or even egg noodles. Just adjust the cooking time according to the pasta shape you choose.

Can I use different types of cheese?

Yes! While cheddar cheese is a classic choice for Hamburger Helper, you can experiment with other cheese varieties. Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a blend of different cheeses can be used to suit your taste preferences. Just keep in mind that different cheeses may result in slightly different flavors and textures.

How to make Hamburger Helper without Milk?

You can swap milk for cream, half & half, or evaporated milk, additional water, or broth- for another dairy swap. If you want a non-dairy option, you can use a plant-based milk substitute like coconut milk or almond milk or a vegan sour cream. You can also change out the cheese for a plant-based cheese option. These swaps may change the taste, but if you are using them in your current diet you may not notice the difference.

Can you make Hamburger Helper in the Crock Pot?

Yes. With a few adjustments, you can make this in the slow cooker. Complete step 1 and then pour into the crock-pot. Add all the other ingredients except cheese and pasta and cook covered on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. You will want to cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente and hold it until almost ready to serve. About 15-30 minutes before serving, stir in cheese and cooked pasta and cover to melt and thicken.

Storage

Storage: Cover with foil or plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat.

Freeze: Place completely cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

A fork removing a bite of hamburger helper from the plate.

What to serve with hamburger helper?

This cheesy hamburger skillet is a complete ground beef dinner on its own! With its starchy sauce, pasta, and cheesy ground beef- it is super filling.

If you want to add in something green, it goes well with green beans, a nice green salad. Then round out the meal with some crusty bread– like, a dinner roll, cheesy green chile bread, or air fryer Texas Toast.

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A cast iron skillet full of cheesy hamburger skillet.
Recipe
5 from 8 votes

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Cheesy Hamburger Skillet (Homemade Hamburger Helper)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Nikki Lee
This Cheesy Hamburger Skillet is all that and makes for a happy family as well!
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced (or 1 teaspoon on onion powder)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 8 ounce tomato sauce
  • 3 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown ground beef and onion, drain on paper towels.
  • Return to the skillet. Add garlic powder, paprika, parsley, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.
  • Stir in the beef broth, milk, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir it.
  • Add in the macaroni noodles or your favorite small pasta and stir. Stirring occasionally, cook until macaroni is done, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Once done, stir in the cheese until completely melted. Let it set for at least 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and enjoy!

Notes

Storage: Cover with foil or plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat.
Freeze: Place completely cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 11 serving Calories: 463kcal (23%) Carbohydrates: 16g (5%) Protein: 43g (86%) Fat: 24g (37%) Saturated Fat: 11g (69%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 133mg (44%) Sodium: 697mg (30%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 2g (2%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Your Cheesy Hamburger Skillet recipe is a game changer; the perfect fusion of comfort and culinary creativity. The blend of flavors is like a symphony for the taste buds, elevating a humble dish into something truly exceptional.

  2. 5 stars
    This sounds like a perfect dinner for my family. I have three hungry boys and they love burgers and pasta, what a combo!! Cooking it this week. Thank you so much for the recipe!