One Pot Hamburger Helper (Homemade)

This easy one-pot Hamburger Helper takes what we all remember as kids and ramps up the flavor while keeping true to that yummy seasoned beef, pasta, and cheesy goodness.

Homemade one pot hamburger helper in a dark bowl.

Why You Will Love This Dish

There are so many positives about this one-pot meal. First, it tastes great. You will get that seasoned beef, pasta, and a melted cheese sauce that tastes amazing.

The dish comes together in about 30 minutes with minimal prep, and that’s always a win.

It doesn’t call for any odd or hard to find ingredients. You probably already have everything you need.

Plus, the cost of the dish won’t break the wallet while trying to feed your family.

Homemade one pot hamburger helper in a dark bowl.
Doesn’t this look better than that stuff that comes out of a box?

Since it’s homemade, you avoid that processed, boxed meal and can control everything that goes into the dish.

I did a quick check to see what wholesome ingredients were in ‘Hamburger Helper’ in a box.

Boxed stuff, not gonna lie, is really starting to creep me out. I am not sure what most of that was, but the ingredients of this homemade Hamburger Helper recipe are easily recognizable.

Taking one of my childhood favorites and making it from scratch is a total win in my book. The boxed version of this dish no longer needs to grace any shelf.

A good salad goes well with this dish. A cucumber radish salad, arugula fennel salad, or even a kale and bean salad would round off dinner quite well.

Ingredients For This Dish

  • Ground beef – You can’t have Hamburger Helper without ground beef.
  • Seasonings – Yellow onion, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper.
  • Dairy – Cheddar cheese, milk, sour cream.
  • Tomato paste – Adds a touch of umami flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce – another umami flavor that boosts the overall flavor of the dish
  • Beef Stock – Used instead of water to increase the dish’s flavor. Beef broth works too.
  • Pasta noodles – You can use any kind you like. We went with Cavatappi.
Ingredients for homemade one pot hamburger helper.
A delicious dinner with simple ingredients

How To Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

As I previously mentioned, this dish comes together super quick.

Beef and onions cooking in a cast iron skillet.
If you leave the meat alone, you can get some good color on it before breaking it up.

Heat a large skillet (with a lid, or a large pot with a lid, or even a dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, the chopped onions, and all the seasonings (kosher salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder).

Mix together and break up the meat. As it cooks, continue to break the meat down to the size of meat that is your preference. Some enjoy a bigger piece of beef, while others love a mince.

Continue to cook until the ground beef is cooked and no red beef remains. Drain the fat and return to the heat.

Cooked ground beef with spices cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and the tomato paste. Mix together with the beef and onions until well combined.

Uncooked pasta just added to beef stock in a cast iron skillet.

Add the beef stock and uncooked pasta and bring it back to a boil.

Reduce to a low heat (simmer) and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.

Mixing the ingredients for homemade hamburger helper together in a cast iron skillet.

Next, remove the lid and add the sour cream, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese. Increase the heat to medium heat and mix to combine well, about 5 minutes.

Give it a quick taste and add additional salt and pepper to your liking.

Homemade one pot hamburger helper almost done cooking.

The dish is ready when the sauce comes together, and you can’t see any more of the cheese being stringy. It should all be incorporated.

Homemade one pot hamburger helper in a dark bowl.

Remove from the heat and (optionally) garnish with some chopped flat fresh parsley.

Homemade one pot hamburger helper in a dark bowl.

Serve and enjoy this homemade version of classic comfort food from your childhood. The entire family will enjoy it, including those picky eaters, if you have them.

This family favorite can be prepared in under 30 minutes with fresh ingredients, taste better, and does not break the bank. This easy dinner recipe is a slam dunk.

If easy pasta dishes are your thing, check out our Italian Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce, Baked Macaroni And Cheese, and Old Fashioned Goulash (American Goulash)

Tips And Variations

  • Use the pasta that you like, but we do recommend some sort of tubular pasta, such as elbow macaroni.
  • We used 80/20 ground beef. Lean ground beef works just as well.
  • Shred your own cheese. The shredded cheese in a package is coated with cellulose, which prevents sticking, but doesn’t melt as well.
  • For some extra spiciness, add some red pepper flakes to the beef while cooking or finish it with a few dashes of hot sauce.
  • Adding a teaspoon of chili powder or paprika (smoked, sweet, or hot) will give this dish a kick.
  • A pinch or two of some Italian seasoning to the ground meat while cooking will add an additional layer of earthy flavor.
  • If you prefer an al dente bite to your pasta, reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes or test it yourself during the last 5 minutes of the cook.

FAQ

How do I store the Hamburger Helper leftovers?

Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, then store in an air-tight container. It will keep for three days. As there is dairy in this dish, we do not recommend freezing and storing.

Can I use a different ground meat instead of beef?

Using ground turkey and ground chicken are good substitutes for ground beef. If you do this, use chicken broth instead of beef broth (stock). I would not use vegetable broth as it lacks flavor.

Can I use a different cheese instead of sharp cheddar cheese?

You sure can. Feel free to mix up the cheeses. Fontina, Gruyère, and mozzarella are all good, melty cheeses.

Other Delicious One Pan Dishes

Homemade one pot hamburger helper in a dark bowl.

One Pot Hamburger Helper

This homemade one pot Hamburger Helper is an elevated version of a family favorite comfort food that is quick and easy to prepare. Delish!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, Ground beef, pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 578kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 2 cup Pasta Elbow, or your choice
  • 2 1/4 cup Beef stock or broth
  • 1/2 Yellow onion diced, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cup Sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, the chopped onions, and all the seasonings.
    1 lb Ground beef, 1/2 Yellow onion, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp Onion powder, 1 tsp Garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • Mix together and break up the meat. As it cooks, continue to break the meat down to the size of meat that is your preference.
  • Continue to cook until the ground beef is cooked and no red beef remains. Drain the fat and return to the heat.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and the tomato paste. Mix together with the beef and onions until well combined.
    2 tbsp Tomato paste, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Add the beef stock and uncooked pasta and bring it back to a boil.
    2 cup Pasta, 2 1/4 cup Beef stock
  • Reduce to a low heat (simmer) and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Next, remove the lid and add the sour cream, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese. Increase the heat to medium heat and mix to combine well, about 5 minutes.
    2 cup Sharp cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup Milk, 1/4 cup Sour cream
  • Remove from the heat and (optionally) garnish with some chopped flat fresh parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

Storage – Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, then store it in an air-tight container. It will keep for three days. There is dairy in this dish, so we do not recommend freezing and storing it.
Shred your own cheese. The shredded cheese in a package is coated with cellulose, which prevents sticking, but doesn’t melt as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 578kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 1143mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 815IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 473mg | Iron: 3mg

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