Homemade Hamburger Helper


Hamburger helper recipe made from scratch will be a huge crowd-pleaser for the whole family. I make this more often than any other meal at my house.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe - cheeseburger macaroni

This is the easiest and by far one of my FAVORITE dinners I’ve made so far this entire year.  Maybe I have the taste buds of a kid, but I promise there’s no way you won’t like this, children and adults alike 🙂  It came out fantastically delicious.

Quick (ready in about 20 minutes!), easy, and tastes a million times better that the box stuff.  What more could you ask for?  Homemade versions of hamburger helper are so much better than the boxed version. And really they do not take any longer to make.

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest for more inspiration! 

The real beauty of this meal is that it is also quite inexpensive to make – it uses mostly ingredients that you probably already have on hand, with maybe the exception of the hamburger to “help” bring the meal together .  Also,  it’s made in ONE skillet!  You know what that means – clean up is quick and painless!  Obviously you can see that I can’t say enough good things about this meal.  Just go ahead and make it already…

A similar recipe on my site that you might also love is this Sloppy Joe Macaroni & Cheese. It’s also made all in one skillet and super quick to make! We also love this Cheesy Chicken Sausage Pasta Skillet which is the same idea! That’s another favorite in my family. You can see all of my skillet pasta dinner recipes that take less than a half hour to make.

By the way, I think it tasted even better (if that were possible) as a leftover the next day!  Enjoy your week!

Check out my step-by-step video on how to make this Homemade Hamburger Helper!

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe - cheeseburger macaroni
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Hamburger helper recipe made from scratch will be a huge crowd-pleaser for the whole family. I make this more often than any other meal at my house!
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • cooking spray
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat a large skilletover medium-high heat.
  2. Spray with cooking spray and add the ground beef. Brown until cooked through and no longer pink. Discard any fat.
  3. Add the pasta, milk, water and spices and stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
  6. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Serve immediately!

Recipe source: adapted from farmgirlgourmet.com

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

52 Responses to “Homemade Hamburger Helper”

  1. November 6, 2013 at 2:51 AM #

    Hey there, I´m a big fan of paprika and I see it on the list of ingredients 🙂 I love the fact that it took so quick to make, got to try it 😉 Xx

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM #

      Definitely try it!!

  2. November 6, 2013 at 4:20 AM #

    This sounds like my husband’s ideal dinner! I swear he would be so happy to have pasta, meat and sauce every night. 🙂 Obviously I’m pinning this to make next week, because that’s the kind of good wife I am. Thanks Ashley!

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM #

      I have to say I feel the same as far as pasta, meat and sauce every night! That’s the only kind of meal I never get sick of 🙂

  3. Wanda
    November 6, 2013 at 5:35 AM #

    I can’t wait to try this. My husband likes hamburger helper but I always feel guilty making it for him due to the sodium and being so processed. Thanks.

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:04 PM #

      This is way more guilt-free! 🙂

  4. November 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM #

    I know my boys would love this and especially since it is a little spicy too. I would hope there would be leftovers for lunch the next day, but maybe not with my 2 hungry boys!

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:04 PM #

      Leftovers were even better!

  5. November 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM #

    The hubby has been begging me to buy hamburger helper but I simply couldn’t shake the idea of using the canned stuff (not that there is anything wrong with it…just never grew up on it so it doesn’t call out to me). He will go bonkers over this recipe. Pinned and making asap!

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:04 PM #

      This is way better than the box stuff!

  6. November 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM #

    I obviously don’t eat meat, but I love the concept of this. It is nice to see homemade versions instead of meals from a box that contain a ton of preservatives and artificial ingredients…gross!

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

      Thanks, Hannah!

  7. November 6, 2013 at 2:42 PM #

    Oooh I might have the tastebuds of a kid too, but this looks spectacular to me 😀

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

      I’m glad we’re on the same page 😉

  8. November 6, 2013 at 2:51 PM #

    Such a fun and fast dinner! And classic flavor! This is inspired – thanks.

  9. November 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM #

    My husband says thank you for this 😉 He has missed his Hamburger Helper since we “got healthy” a few years back!

    • November 6, 2013 at 5:01 PM #

      This is way less bad for you! 🙂

  10. November 6, 2013 at 5:36 PM #

    Homemade hamburger helper?! I bet this is a 1000 times better than the box version, which I used to love until I became a food snob…LOL Thanks so much for sharing!

    • November 7, 2013 at 12:45 AM #

      It sure is!! Thank YOU!!

  11. November 6, 2013 at 11:04 PM #

    We use to eat Hamburger Helper growing up, but I don’t like using it now because of all the overly processed ingredients. I can’t wait to give this homemade version a try! Thank you for sharing it!

    • November 6, 2013 at 11:27 PM #

      Same here – ate it growing up but could never justify eating it now that I know what really is in it!

  12. November 7, 2013 at 11:21 AM #

    You are reading my mind! I thought about this a few nights ago when I needed a quick dinner, thanks for doing the work for me! Btw, I still love Hamburger Helper, even today. 🙂

    • November 7, 2013 at 11:56 AM #

      It’s good stuff!!

  13. November 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM #

    I’ve never had hamburger helper, but homemade is always better. This looks like creamy, comforting goodness. I need it for dinner!

    • November 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM #

      You’ll love this even if you’ve never had the box stuff!

  14. November 7, 2013 at 3:55 PM #

    I want to try this for sure. My husband and son would love it (me too). There’s something about elbow macaroni that is so nostalgic. Thanks for the homemade recipe!

    • November 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM #

      AWww thanks for this nice comment, Monica!

  15. November 7, 2013 at 9:18 PM #

    Can’t beat a quick and easy meal! And when it involves cheese, meat, and pasta- count me in!

  16. November 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM #

    See, this is what I mean when I say on my blog that people are afraid to even try to cook; they have no idea that they CAN do it and it CAN be so easy! Great job, Ashley!

    • November 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM #

      Thank you so much!

  17. November 15, 2013 at 4:55 PM #

    Never have I seen a Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe! But, maybe I was never really looking. My guess is that the cornstarch plays the magic roll in making everything thick and creamy. It looks delish! Comfort food is sometimes the order of the day. Thank you for sharing, Ashley!

  18. Wanda
    November 16, 2013 at 7:14 AM #

    I made this and it was a big hit with my guys.

    • November 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM #

      Wanda, thank you so much for coming back to let me know!!

  19. Barbara
    November 22, 2013 at 1:44 PM #

    What would be the number of servings for this recipe?

  20. momof2cubs
    November 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM #

    I haven’t made homemade hamburger helper before. Sounds better than the boxed stuff. Thank you for the recipe! ☺

  21. Dreama
    December 3, 2013 at 5:42 PM #

    Does it have to have cornstarch? Im out at the moment

  22. Micah
    December 11, 2013 at 9:03 PM #

    Ashley, you would be so proud!!! Nick made this dish for me the other night and it was amazing. Nick always like Hamburger Helper but I’ve never been a fan. Nick knew that I would try any recipe off of your blog so he made it and it did not disappoint. LOVED IT! Next stop for you… COOKING SHOW on TV. I will co-host!

    • December 12, 2013 at 1:02 AM #

      Now this comment just made my day!!! You’re the best!

  23. Denise
    February 19, 2014 at 5:29 PM #

    Made this for dinner tonight and eating it as we speak! This was so fast and easy, and tastes so good! I’m not feeling guilty at all eating this, since it’s so much better for you than the processed junk. I think that a dollop of sour cream will work well with this too….sort of like stroganoff. This is definitely going to be one of my go to quickie recipes! Next batch I’m going to make using ground venison or bison for an even healthier version. Thank you Ashley!!

    • February 19, 2014 at 5:46 PM #

      Wow this comment made my day!! Thank you so much for letting me know you loved it! Great idea to use sour cream as an addition. I love stroganoff 🙂

  24. March 13, 2014 at 3:18 AM #

    thanks for this nice information.I like to eat Hamburger.

  25. Jenn
    May 20, 2014 at 6:47 PM #

    I am out of cornstarch do you thonk it would work with maybe some flour instead?

    • May 21, 2014 at 1:36 AM #

      I don’t see why not! 🙂

  26. Melissa
    September 17, 2015 at 6:51 PM #

    Tried this tonight as I just so happened to have some ground turkey defrosting. I needed to put together something fast for dinner as I was pressed for time and boy was this delish! Love that it’s really only a few ingredients which I usually have on hand. I will be adding this to my dinner rotation. Kids loved it so I can officially say “Kid tested, mother approved!” and hubby too 😉 Thanks for another yummy recipe!

    • September 17, 2015 at 7:00 PM #

      Aww thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! This is one of our favorite dinners of all time!


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