Homemade Hamburger Helper

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Homemade Hamburger Helper (cheesy taco pasta) is a savory childhood favorite. The original cheeseburger casserole, boxed pasta with seasoning packet, is a simple 1-pot meal. Make this healthier version in 30 minutes!

📌 PIN HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER

A single serving of Homemade Hamburger Helper. This cheesy taco pasta is served in a bowl.

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🍽 ABOUT HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER

A 1970’s fad, Hamburger Helper is nostalgic throwback dish. It helped busy families get dinner on the table fast. This homemade version of the cheeseburger casserole captures all the iconic flavors you love.

This popular taco pasta uses healthy fresh ingredients like lean ground beef and real cheddar cheese. We use a mix of pantry spices to imitate the flavors of the powdered spice packed from the boxed version.

Ours is a healthier one-pot meal you’ll feel good about enjoying and serving your family. It’s rich, flavorful and delicious.

🛒 INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • Lean ground beef
  • Small onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Paprika
  • OPTIONAL: chili powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Dried oregano
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Granulated sugar
  • Beef broth
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cellentani pasta or elbow macaroni
  • Sour cream
  • Medium cheddar cheese
  • Fresh Italian parsley
Ingredients for making Homemade Hamburger Helper, an easy one-pot cheeseburger casserole.

🥘 HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER RECIPE

Turn a pound of ground beef into a one-pot meal for five with this easy taco pasta recipe! Here’s how to do it:

  • STEP 1: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and garlic to the pan. Sauté these ingredients for 1 minute.
  • STEP 2: Add ground beef to the skillet. With a wooden spoon break up the meat as it cooks. Once there is no more pink, drain off the fat.
  • STEP 3: Sprinkle in cornstarch, sugar and spices. Stir to incorporate.
  • STEP 4: Pour in the beef broth. Add the tomato sauce. Stir to mix.
Four Hamburger Helper images showing how to make cheesy taco pasta with fresh ingredients.

ONE POT CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions for making this delicious taco pasta cheeseburger casserole. Homemade Hamburger Helper might just become one of your favorite one-pot meals!

  • STEP 1: Add pasta to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  • STEP 2: Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Allow it to simmer uncovered for 15-18 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • STEP 3: Turn off the heat. Fold in sour cream and shredded cheese. Briefly cover skillet with a lid until the cheese melts.
  • STEP 4: Just before serving, sprinkle the top of your Hamburger Helper with freshly-chopped Italian parsley.
Four step-by-step images for making cheeseburger casserole, an easy taco pasta one-pot meal.

👩🏻‍🍳 HOW TO MAKE HAMBURGER HELPER HEALTHIER

Want a leaner spin on this homemade Hamburger Helper recipe? Try these healthy tips:

  • Instead of ground beef use ground chicken or ground turkey.
  • Use fresh ingredients like onion, garlic and celery.
  • Add in veggies: cubed carrots, zucchini, mushrooms or broccoli. When using add-ins, you may need to increase the liquid (broth or water).
  • Use whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta.
  • Use reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat cheese.
  • Stir in chopped kale or spinach before you add in the cheese.
Taco pasta, a one-pot meal, shown in a blue Staub universal pan.

🧑🏼‍🍳 EXPERT TIPS FOR TACO PASTA

There’s something very satisfying about making and serving a delicious home-cooked meal. This homemade Hamburger Helper is warm and tasty. Here are helpful tips to make this cheeseburger casserole the best it can be.

  • Prevent a greasy texture: After cooking the beef, drain off the fat! This is also an easy way to make one-pot meals healthier.
  • For a crunchy texture: Sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs and/or Parmesan cheese over the top of the cheesy taco pasta. Slide your oven-safe skillet under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
  • Try new flavor combinations: Add a teaspoon of basil or Italian seasoning. Ramp up the heat with a few sprinklings of chipotle pepper. Stir in fire-roasted green chiles!
  • Make it cheesier: Garnish your Hamburger Helper with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top. Try Monterey Jack on this taco pasta!

👉🏻 ANOTHER DELICIOUS 1-POT MEAL: New Orleans Jambalaya

📖 RECIPE FAQ

Can homemade hamburger helper be frozen?

This is not recommended. The cooked pasta in this dish does not hold up well when frozen. When reheated the texture of the pasta may be soft and mushy.

How long will leftover hamburger helper last?

When transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge, homemade hamburger helper can stay fresh for up to 3 days.

What to serve with cheeseburger casserole?

A crisp green salad with Italian dressing, or veggies like sautéed mushrooms, roasted asparagus, or air fryer Brussels sprouts. For another yummy side, try these cheesy breadsticks.

An individual serving of cheeseburger casserole. This taco pasta is served in a white bowl with a gold fork.

MORE CHILDHOOD FAVORITES

Healthy Hamburger Helper served with a fresh garden salad.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers rated this the BEST homemade Hamburger Helper recipe. They loved the savory flavor and delicious texture. They said it was better than the original boxed version from the market.

If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with a friend. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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Healthy Hamburger Helper served with a fresh garden salad.

Homemade Hamburger Helper


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5 from 15 reviews

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Description

Homemade Hamburger Helper is a warm and inviting comfort food. This convenient taco pasta is an American classic. It’s a favorite one-pot meal! Get dinner on the table fast with this easy cheeseburger casserole.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 8ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups Cellentani pasta (or elbow macaroni)
  • 34 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Garnish: fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and minced garlic to the pan. Saute these fresh ingredients for one minute.
  2. Add ground beef to the skillet. Break up the meat as it cooks. Once there’s no more pink, drain off the fat.
  3. Sprinkle in cornstarch, sugar and spices. Stir to incorporate. Add beef broth, tomato sauce and pasta to the skillet. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens as desired. Stir occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking to the pan.
  4. Turn off the heat. Fold in sour cream and shredded cheese. Briefly cover skillet with a lid until the cheese melts. Sprinkle the top of this one-pot meal with chopped Italian parsley.

Notes

Prevent a greasy texture: After cooking the beef, drain off the fat. This is also an easy way to make one-pot meals healthier.

For a crunchy texture: Sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs or Parmesan over the top. Slide your oven-safe skillet under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Try new flavor combinations: Add a teaspoon of dried basil or Italian seasoning. Ramp up the heat with a sprinkling of chipotle pepper. Stir in some fire-roasted green chiles.

  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Do you enjoy making and serving one pot meals like cheesy taco pasta? What do you think about this Hamburger Helper recipe? Share your thoughts on cheeseburger casserole the comments below!

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20 Comments

  1. Oh man that is a killer recipe! I came back to make it again. Hopefully this time around there will be leftovers for lunch.






  2. I love this fresh and natural alternative to “the helper”! I made it and it was so dang good. And the extra tip about making it crunch was great – everything is better with a little crunch ;)

  3. This is a super easy crowd pleaser! The whole family was aching for more. Which says a lot in my household. Added it to the monthly meal plan. Thanks so much for this yummy recipe.

  4. When I first saw this on Pinterest I said wow, hamburger helper reminds me so much of my childhood! I cannot wait to try and make this homemade version! Welp, I just made it and it does not disappoint. It is beyond delicious and so much healthier than the boxed version. I’m over here thinking I might lick my plate.

    Kasey Ma






  5. Blast from the past! I haven’t eaten hamburger helper since I was a child. I didn’t know it still existed! I really like that you have the nutrition info and provide healthier options and the extra tips at the end. Very thorough and well thought out. Brava!

  6. So yummy. I made it yesterday and it looks and tastes just as good as the images on this page. This recipe’s a keeper!






  7. I love all the ways you’ve listed to switch up this recipe. With a little crunch on top sounds divine to me.






  8. Sooo confession time… I’ve never had Hamburger Helper but I can see now that I clearly missed out big time!! I can’t wait to make your homemade version :) It’s looks great and FULL of flavor!

  9. Hamburger Helper is one of my family’s guilty pleasures, so I can’t wait to make this homemade version! Thanks so much for sharing!