Homemade Hamburger Helper is a hearty meal that’s ready in only 20 minutes! Great for busy weeknights and perfect for feeding growing kids!
Calling all busy families (and really anyone who loves a fast, delicious, homemade meal)! I have the absolute BEST recipe for you! It’s one of my favorite 20-minute dinners to make (check these other recipes out if you need more dinner ideas).
If you’ve found yourself with a bunch of hangry kids breathing down your neck and need a hearty dinner FAST, then Homemade Hamburger Helper is definitely the recipe you’re looking for. It’s cheesy, packed with flavorful meat, and all held together by tender elbow macaroni. Your kids will be licking their plates clean after this yummy dinner.
HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER
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It’s no secret around here that I am a HUGE fan of easy weeknight dinners. It seems like my kids get busier and busier by the day and my time to spend creating exciting recipes just vanishes out the door with their dirty cleats. So, when I find a meal that is not only SUPER easy, but kid-approved flavor, it becomes a regular in our weekly dinner rotation. The absolute star of our current rotation is definitely homemade hamburger helper.
Homemade Hamburger Helper is the ULTIMATE busy mom’s meal. The hamburger helper boxed stuff you buy at the grocery store is too salty for my taste and the ingredients list is way too long for such a simple dinner. So instead, we make this homemade hamburger recipe that tastes even better but is still just as easy as the store-bought classic.
The thing I love best about this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper is that it’s quick and easy, but it’s also super budget-friendly. So if you’ve got a constant rotation of sweaty teenagers (who seem to eat their weight in hamburger meat…) running through your kitchen like I do, you won’t be breaking the bank by making homemade hamburger helper on a weekly basis!
Like I mentioned earlier, this homemade hamburger helper recipe is super friendly on your wallet and it’s got classic ingredients that anyone (yes, even a picky toddler!) will enjoy. To get you started you’ll need some:
Pasta – I personally have a soft spot for elbow macaroni in hamburger helper. To me, it just seems like a classic noodle that holds onto the sauce and ground beef perfectly. You could absolutely use another type of pasta if you prefer it though.
Ground beef – to make this cheesy, meaty, deliciousness you’ll need 2 pounds of lean ground beef. I’ve also used ground turkey and ground chicken in a pinch. That being said, I find that using ground beef gives the dish that classic, comfort food flavor!
Cheese – I would never claim that this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper is necessarily healthy food. You’ll want a solid 3 cups of cheddar shredded to give the dish that gooey, savory, delicious flavor you’re looking for. Trust me, it’s worth it.
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
If you’ve got 20 minutes, a couple of pounds of ground beef, and a hearty appetite, then you’re ready to make what’s sure to be your family’s new favorite meal. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by boiling some water and cooking your macaroni pasta. You don’t want to overcook it because it’ll become too mushy in the sauce. Instead, cook until it’s al dente. Drain it, and set it aside.
- Next, grab your large skillet and brown the ground beef.
- Now it’s time to season that beef! Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute until the garlic is fragrant and your mouth is watering.
- Drain the excess fat before adding the milk to the skillet. Bring this to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Next, reduce the heat and add the cooked elbow macaroni and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. You’ll want to add the cheese a little bit at a time and stir as you do. This way it doesn’t clump up and all of your noodles become coated in cheesy deliciousness!
- Top your homemade hamburger helper with the remaining cheese and cover with a lid, allowing it to simmer for another minute or two until the cheese on top has melted and begun to bubble.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
In our house, bowls, plates, spoons, and even the skillet are practically licked clean after we eat homemade hamburger helper. But, if you do happen to have any leftovers, go ahead and pop them in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 5-7 days. The hamburger helper reheats perfectly in the microwave. Go ahead… top it off with a little more shredded cheese, I won’t tell 🙂
How much ground beef do you need for Hamburger Helper?
A typical box of hamburger helper calls for you to add in one pound of ground beef. While that works, I find that it makes the pasta more of the centerpiece of the dish rather than the meat. Since I live in a house full of kids that would empty the entire refrigerator for a simple snack. Let’s just say they can EAT.
So, when I’m making homemade hamburger helper, I like to make it with double the meat so that it’s a more protein-packed, hearty meal. By using 2 pounds of ground beef, you’re guaranteed to get a bite of hamburger in every forkful!
Need more family-friendly dinners?
- Slow Cooker Chicken Taquitos
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Orange Chicken
- Bacon Ranch Chicken
- Sloppy Joes
- more DINNER recipes…
Tools used to make this Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe
Large pot: from boiling a box of pasta to making the most delicious soup, this saucepan is the perfect pot to have!
Large skillet (with lid): I use this skillet with a lid on almost a daily basis!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped (for garnish)
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot and cook the elbow macaroni for about 7-8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta as set it aside.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat while the pasta cooks.
- Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to the beef and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute until the garlic is fragrant.
- Drain any grease in the skillet. Then add the milk to the skillet. Bring this to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat and add the cooked macaroni and half of the shredded cheddar cheese a little bit at a time, stirring to combine until you have a cheesy sauce.
- Top the mixture with the remaining cheese and cover with a lid Allow the hamburger helper to simmer for another minute or two until the cheese on top has melted and begun to bubble.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.