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This cheesy homemade hamburger helper is a cozy meal you can make from scratch with simple pantry ingredients, one pot, and only 30 minutes. This big-batch weeknight pasta is enough to feed a small army, and leftovers are perfect for tomorrow’s lunch!

My husband loves hamburger helper. What’s not to love about it, right? Cheesy, satisfying comfort food that takes minutes to make.

Well, good news! No more boxed hamburger helper, because it’s just as easy but soooo much tastier to make it from scratch! 

This cheesy homemade hamburger helper recipe calls for simple pantry ingredients and requires the same easy cooking method as the boxed stuff. Dinner in 30 minutes tops!!!

How to make homemade hamburger helper

  • Step 1. Brown ground beef and drain excess fat, if needed.
  • Step 2. Stir in flour, and then pasta and liquid. Cover and simmer until pasta is done.
  • Step 3. Add cheeses and serve!

That simple!

Step by step photo directions to make deliciously easy homemade hamburger helper in less than 30 minutes! #hamburgerhelper #groundbeefdinner

Tips for making cheesy homemade hamburger helper:

  • If you do not have macaroni pasta on hand, then penne rigate, ziti, rigatoni are great alternatives. Did you know each pasta shape serves a purpose? Take a look at these great guidelines in our Pasta 101 Guide.
  • Consider using wholewheat pasta instead of white pasta. Why? Whole wheat pasta is less processed, so it has added nutrients. 
  • When preparing a big-batch weeknight pasta, it’s great to have a Dutch oven. The best part is you’ll have only one pot to wash up!
  • Adjust the salt according to your taste buds, but if it is too salty just add a little bit of water to reduce the saltiness. 

Here are some optional additions for your hamburger helper:

The hamburger helper recipe is so versatile you can add or substitute additional items.


  • Replace the water with milk if you prefer a creamier texture.


  • Add in vegetables like celery and carrots or carrots, peas and celery. Try some of your favorite veggies. This is a  great recipe to sneak them in if you have children who do not like veggies!


  • To change the recipe up why not try different seasonings like parsley, oregano, chives or rosemary
Simple pantry ingredients, one pot and only 30 minutes to make this cozy cheesy homemade hamburger helper from scratch.

Can you freeze homemade hamburger helper?

As mentioned earlier, this recipe makes a huge batch of hamburger pasta. The leftovers are great the next day, but I don’t recommend freezing it.

And here is why?

To properly reheat frozen pasta, you need to add enough liquid and heat it thoroughly. In that process, the pasta gets too mushy. 

What’s the solution? 

If you plan on freezing hamburger helper, cook the pasta al dente, take the portion out before adding cheese and freeze that. And proceed with the remaining batch.

This hamburger helper recipe is also very forgiving. Use the recipe as a guideline and adjust it to your taste. Try it now and add your own flavor.

Serve it with a crunchy cucumber salad

Simple pantry ingredients, one pot and only 30 minutes to make this cozy cheesy homemade hamburger helper from scratch.

Cheesy Homemade Hamburger Helper

This cheesy homemade hamburger helper is a cozy meal you can make from scratch with simple pantry ingredients, one pot and only 30 minutes.


  • 1 lb lean ground beef, Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, Note 2
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese


  • Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat
  • Add ground beef and salt. Cook the beef until mostly brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Drain excess fat, if needed.
  • Add flour and stir well.
  • Then stir in macaroni, broth and water. Cover.
  • Simmer over medium low heat until macaroni is soft, 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and add the cheeses. (Experiment with different cheeses that suit your palate). Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir well and serve.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To rehear, add a splash of milk and microwave until nice and hot, about 2 minutes.


Note 1: Substitute ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken.
Note 2: This may sound like a lot of salt. But remember we’re cooking a lot of pasta here.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 490kcal, Carbohydrates: 47.6g, Protein: 33.1g, Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 80.6mg, Sodium: 1325.3mg
All images and text ©. Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimate only. Read full disclosure here.

This post was originally published on March 8, 2019, and last updated on January 30, 2020.

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