Homemade Hamburger Helper

Everyone knows about hamburger helper but do you know that it’s just as easy to make without the box? It’s a quick, cheap, and hearty meal for the whole family.

Ever since Madeline starting looooving any meal that includes noodles, I’ve been cooking pasta way more than usual. Enter this homemade hamburger helper!!

hamburger helper with broccoli

Looking at boxed dinners is how I get a lot of my weeknight dinner inspiration because it’s marketed as “easier than everything else,” but is it really?

I don’t think so. I think it’s the EXACT same if you already have all of the ingredients.

Making this homemade hamburger helper is a breeze. Brown your ground beef, mix in the seasonings, add water and milk and bring it to a boil. And then you can cook your noodles in the same pot! Once the noodles have cooked, you just need to mix in the cheese. Your family will thank you!!

homemade hamburger helper

Some quick tips –

  1. Use either high quality shredded cheese or shred it yourself (my preference). I think it makes a big difference in texture and taste.
  2. Resist the urge to overcook your pasta. Once the noodles are truly al dente (not super soft), cut off the fire and mix in the cheese. The pasta will continue to cook slightly when the cheese is melting and you don’t want to send up with mushy pasta.
  3. Don’t forget to balance this dish with some veggies! Veggies don’t have to be gross, here are some of my favorites to serve with this pasta – roasted broccoli, roasted asparagus, or a simple Greek slaw
hamburger helper with broccoli

Homemade Hamburger Helper

A quick, easy, and hearty meal for the whole family
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Cost: $10


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 pound macaroni noodles 1 pound
  • 1 cup medium cheddar cheese


  • In a 6 quart sauté pan (or Dutch oven) brown a pound of ground beef, crumbling as the ground beef cooks.
  • Drain any grease and then add in cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix in with the ground beef.
  • Turn heat up to high and add in water and milk, bring to boil.
  • Once boiling, add in macaroni noodles, stir, and reduce fire to medium, keeping the mixture boiling.
  • Cover the lid completely and let boil for 3 minutes, stir and then cover again for another 3 minutes. Continue this for 10 minutes boiling time total or until noodles are al dente (soft but not overdone)
  • Turn off fire and then add in shredded cheese and let melt.
  • Let the pasta sit covered for at least 5 minutes before serving to your hungry (and very cute) family!

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