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Healthy Hamburger Helper served with a fresh garden salad.

Homemade Hamburger Helper


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.


  • 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


  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.



  • 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.
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Hamburger Helper, Cheesy Taco Pasta, Cheeseburger Casserole