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Homemade Hamburger Helper

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Homemade Hamburger Helper is a childhood favorite! A fad in the 1970s, this throwback recipe is full of nostalgia. The original cheeseburger casserole, boxed pasta with a seasoning packet, is a simple one pot meal. Still quick and easy to make, assemble this healthier version in 30 minutes!

A single serving of Homemade Hamburger Helper served in a white bowl.

HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER INGREDIENTS

This cheeseburger casserole captures iconic Hamburger Helper flavors with common spices from your pantry. This popular dish is then elevated with the use of fresh ingredients that replace the powdered spice packet. It’s a healthier one-pot meal you’ll feel good about serving to your family!

  • 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

MORE PASTA RECIPES TO MAKE ASAP: Yummy JALAPENO POPPER MAC AND CHEESE, our favorite LEMON PASTA WITH CRISPY SALAMI and THIS NOODLE SOUP recipe that went viral on Pinterest!

Ingredients for making a one-pot cheeseburger casserole.

HAMBURGER HELPER RECIPE

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

  • STEP 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.
  • 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 recipe images showing how to make homemade Hamburger Helper step by step with fresh ingredients.

ONE POT CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions for making this delicious 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 recipe images for making cheeseburger casserole, an easy 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 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.

An easy one pot meal: healthy Hamburger Helper shown in a blue Staub universal pan.

EXPERT TIPS FOR THIS ONE-POT MEAL

There’s something very satisfying about making and serving a delicious home-cooked meal. This Homemade Hamburger Helper is warm, tasty and comforting. Here are some 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.
  • WANT A CRUNCHY TEXTURE? Sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs and/or Parmesan cheese over the top. Slide your oven-safe skillet under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
  • READY FOR 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!
  • CRAVE A CHEESY ONE-POT MEAL? Garnish your Hamburger Helper with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top. Try Monterey Jack!
  • CAN 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.
  • WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE: A fresh garden salad with homemade Italian dressing. Serve steamed veggies like brussel sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower. Try sauteed green beans, or roasted asparagus with a delightful squeeze of lemon juice.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS ONE-POT MEAL >> New Orleans Jambalaya!

An individual serving of cheeseburger casserole served in a white bowl with a gold fork.

I WANT WHAT SHE HAS

Beautiful high-quality kitchen tools bring so much happiness to the kitchen! I’ve been slowly replacing old kitchen items with new tools that are a joy to use. Here’s what I used to make this easy Hamburger Helper one-pot meal:

Healthy Hamburger Helper served with a fresh garden salad.

RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you enjoy this homemade Hamburger Helper recipe? It’s a convenient classic! Rate it in the comments below.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

Print
Healthy Hamburger Helper served with a fresh garden salad.

Homemade Hamburger Helper


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 5 Servings 1x

Description

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


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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 8-ounce 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

EXPERT TIPS FOR THIS ONE-POT MEAL

  • PREVENT A GREASY TEXTURE: After cooking the beef, drain off the fat! This is also an easy way to make one-pot meals healthier.
  • WANT A CRUNCHY TEXTURE? Sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs and/or Parmesan cheese over the top. Slide your oven-safe skillet under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
  • READY FOR 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!
  • CRAVE A CHEESY ONE-POT MEAL? Garnish your Hamburger Helper with a generous sprinkling of of cheese on top. Try Monterey Jack!
  • CAN 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.
  • WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE: A fresh garden salad with homemade Italian dressing. Serve steamed veggies like brussel sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower. Try sauteed green beans, or roasted asparagus with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Hamburger Helper, One Pot, One Pot Meals, Homemade Hamburger Helper, Cheeseburger Casserole

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

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

14 thoughts on “Homemade Hamburger Helper”

  1. I love this fresh and natural alternative to “the helper”! And love the extra tip about making it crunch – everything is better with a little crunch ;)

  2. wow, hamburger helper reminds me so much of my childhood! I cannot wait to try and make this homemade version!

    Kasey Ma

  3. 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!

  4. I have no idea what the classic box version was like (maybe a good thing?), but your version is wonderful.

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

  6. 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!

  7. Such a delicious recipe; brings back many childhood memories! Looking forward to enjoying this for dinner tonight!

  8. 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!

  9. I love healthier homemade versions of convenient classics like these! sounds like pure comfort in a bowl!

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