This Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is a quick and easy one pan meal you can make in just 10 minutes!! Families and picky eaters love it! Serve as-is or with a salad or a vegetable! Our family loves it with broccoli!
I found that nothing helps more in the kitchen than quick easy meals like this one pan Homemade Hamburger Helper. It’s easy to make and easy to clean up. Everyone will love to eat this dish on busy weeknights and they won’t even realize you’ve made it because it saves you time. ;-)
Keep the ingredients for this simple and quick meal on hand for those nights when you don’t have time to make anything the slightest bit complicated.
You’ll find this easy family dinner recipe and a bunch of other super easy weeknight meal recipes in our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks!
The Best Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
The store-bought box mix for this kind of meal doesn’t actually save you any money. Make your own DIY Hamburger Helper at home and save time and money. This easy recipe is the best homemade hamburger helper recipe ever.
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it pulls together ingredients I pretty much always have in my pantry or freezer. It’s so quick and easy and the kids absolutely adore it, so I’m always tempted to make it if I’ve had a rough day — And they always thank me for it!
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
Making this homemade hamburger helper recipe is a breeze. First, you brown the ground beef and drain the fat. Then you add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer it on your stovetop until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is your desired thickness. It’s that simple!
Ingredients for the DIY Hamburger Helper
- Ground Beef. I use 70/30 ground beef (Yes, 70/30 IS the most cost effective ground beef) and then drain it really well.
- Elbow Macaroni Noodles. Uncooked regular pasta. You can cook other shapes of pasta and it will work fine, so use what you have on hand!
- Onion Powder.
- Garlic Powder. If you don’t have garlic powder, substitute with jarred minced garlic.
- Chili Powder.
- Tomato Paste.
- Beef Bouillion Cubes. I keep these and the chicken version on hand to add a deeper flavor to a variety of different dishes.
- Salt and Pepper. To taste. The bouillion also has salt content so taste test.
- Grated Cheese. Optional.
- Parsley. Optional for garnish.
More Homemade Hamburger Helper Ideas
Need to mix things up? Try each of these different variations! Making the dish a little different each week will keep your family from dinner-time rebellion while helping keep your evenings stress-free.
- Instead of chili powder, use taco seasoning and serve with a dollop of sour cream. If you also use a different kind of pasta, this is a quick and easy change that makes it seem like a completely different meal.
- Use leftover rotisserie chicken and chicken bouillon. Everything else stays the same.
- Add a little heavy cream at the end.
- Try bow tie pasta, shells, or rotini.
- Add drained, canned black beans to make the recipe go further and up the protein content.
- If you don’t have bouillion cubes on hand, use broth instead of water. Mix in a tablespoon or so of cornstarch into the water before adding it to the skillet.
Tips for the Best Homemade Hamburger Helper Possible
- Don’t overcook the pasta. If you have trouble with the pasta getting too mushy, try adding a little less water to the recipe.
- Purchase your ground beef in larger quantities. Cook and drain the ground beef. Freeze it in freezer bags in the amounts you need for your favorite recipes. I like to make the bags flat as they freeze so that they are easy to stack. If you want precise quantities, use a kitchen scale. To make thawing the ground beef easier, you can run under warm water for 30 seconds and it will release from the baggie. Then throw it in the skillet with everything else.
- If you are using pre-cooked frozen meat for the homemade hamburger helper recipe, you can literally throw all of these ingredients in your Instant Pot, set it for ten minutes on high pressure, and go read a book.
Other Fast Easy Meal Ideas to make with Hamburger
Be sure to get our Dining On a Dime Cookbooks for more recipes like this one.
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One Pan Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
1/2 lb. ground beef
4 cups water
1 cup regular elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes
salt and pepper (to taste)
cheese, grated (optional)
- Brown ground beef in a skillet.
- Drain off the fat, and add the remaining ingredients to the skillet.
- Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until it reaches desired thickness.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with cheese and parsley, if desired.