Homemade Hamburger Helper

Elevate Your Comfort Food Game: Homemade Hamburger Helper

Say goodbye to the boxed versions and hello to the homemade goodness of Hamburger Helper! In this recipe, we’ll show you how to recreate this classic comfort food dish from scratch, using simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Whether you’re craving a nostalgic meal from your childhood or looking for a quick and easy dinner option, Homemade Hamburger Helper is sure to hit the spot. Join us as we dive into the world of homemade comfort food and discover how easy it is to make this delicious dish in your own kitchen.


Let’s gather all the ingredients needed to create this homemade version of Hamburger Helper:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup dry macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated


Now, let’s get cooking! Follow these simple steps to make your very own Homemade Hamburger Helper:

  1. Brown the Ground Beef: In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the ground beef over medium heat until it’s browned and cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  2. Add the Noodles: Once the ground beef is cooked, add the dry macaroni noodles directly to the skillet with the beef. Stir to combine, ensuring that the noodles are evenly distributed throughout the skillet.
  3. Prepare the Sauce: In a separate bowl, whisk together the hot water, milk, cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined. Pour the sauce mixture over the ground beef and noodles in the skillet.
  4. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet with a lid and let the mixture simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add Cheese: Once the noodles are cooked and the sauce has thickened, remove the skillet from the heat. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the top of the mixture and stir until the cheese is melted and evenly distributed throughout the dish.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Serve your Homemade Hamburger Helper hot, straight from the skillet. Garnish with additional grated cheese, if desired, and enjoy the cheesy, comforting goodness!

Cook Notes and Variations

Here are some tips and variations to help you customize your Homemade Hamburger Helper to your liking:

  • Vegetable Additions: Add extra veggies to boost the nutritional content of your Hamburger Helper. Diced onions, bell peppers, carrots, and peas are all great options to consider. Simply sauté them with the ground beef before adding the noodles and sauce.
  • Spice It Up: Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. If you like your Hamburger Helper on the spicier side, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the sauce mixture for a kick of heat.
  • Cheese Options: While cheddar cheese is a classic choice for Hamburger Helper, feel free to experiment with different cheese varieties to change up the flavor. Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or even Swiss cheese would all be delicious alternatives.
  • Creamy Variation: For an extra creamy version of Hamburger Helper, stir in a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese at the end of cooking. This will add richness and creaminess to the dish without overpowering the other flavors.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here’s how to make a keto-friendly version of Homemade Hamburger Helper:

  • Replace Noodles: Swap out the macaroni noodles for low-carb alternatives such as zucchini noodles (zoodles), spaghetti squash, or shirataki noodles. These options are lower in carbs and keto-friendly.
  • Thicken with Xanthan Gum: Instead of using cornstarch to thicken the sauce, use xanthan gum as a keto-friendly thickening agent. Simply sprinkle a small amount of xanthan gum over the sauce mixture and whisk until thickened.
  • Use Heavy Cream: Replace the milk with heavy cream to add richness and creaminess to the dish while keeping it keto-friendly. Heavy cream is high in fat and low in carbs, making it an excellent choice for keto cooking.
  • Reduce Onion and Garlic: While onion powder and garlic powder are keto-friendly in moderation, they do contain some carbs. If you’re closely monitoring your carb intake, you can reduce the amount of onion powder and garlic powder used in the recipe.

In conclusion, Homemade Hamburger Helper is a delicious and comforting meal that’s easy to make and customizable to suit your taste preferences. With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, you can recreate this classic dish from scratch in your own kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family, or a crowd, Homemade Hamburger Helper is sure to be a hit. So why settle for the boxed version when you can enjoy the homemade goodness of Hamburger Helper? Give this recipe a try and elevate your comfort food game to new heights!

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