This homemade hamburger helper recipe is an easy meal ready in under 30 minutes!

Cheeseburger macaroni is a one pot meal with ground beef and elbow macaroni in an easy cheesy sauce!

This hearty dish is filled with tasty pantry staples! No complicated ingredients.

homemade one pot cheeseburger macaroni in a bowl

Homemade Hamburger Helper

This is an easy homemade hamburger helper recipe, perfect for busy weeknights!

  • This homemade casserole is a one-pot wonder. The whole dish is made in one skillet for less mess and less cleanup.
  • This copycat hamburger helper recipe is made from scratch with just a few simple ingredients.
  • Budget-friendly, add extra pasta and sauce to stretch it even further.
  • This dinner is just as quick as the boxed version and it’s on the table in less than 30 minutes.
ingredients assembled to make homemade one pot cheeseburger macaroni, including ground beef, cheddar cheese, heavy cream, chicken broth, onion, macaroni, garlic powder, cornstarch, and sugar

Ingredients for Cheeseburger Macaroni

Ground Beef – Choose lean ground beef and drain off any fat after cooking. Substitute with ground turkey or ground chicken.

Sauce – The pasta is simmered with seasonings in chicken broth and milk until tender. Beef broth can be substituted, but we find chicken broth to give the best flavor.

Cheese – Once the pasta is tender, stir in the cheese. A bold cheese like sharp cheddar cheese adds the most flavor. Try any kind of cheese, but be sure at least one has a sharp, bold flavor.

Seasonings – Salt, paprika, and pepper are the seasonings of choice for this stove-top casserole. For extra flavor add some hamburger helper to the dish or a package of instant soup.


  • Swap the milk for light cream for extra creaminess or stir in a little sour cream or Greek yogurt before serving for a little tang.
  • Change up the seasonings with a tablespoon of tomato paste or 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard.
  • Add fresh vegetables like onion, celery, or tomatoes.

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

There are a variety of flavors of Hamburger Helper; this version is a copycat cheeseburger macaroni recipe.

  1. Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet (as per the recipe below).
  2. Add the uncooked elbow macaroni with the remaining sauce ingredients.
  3. Bring to a simmer until the macaroni is tender, and stir in cheese.

Serve with a simple and colorful side dish to complement the cheesy, meaty richness. Try steamed brussels sprouts, baked butternut squash, or homemade cornbread.

one pot hamburger macaroni in a cast iron pan

Storing Leftovers

  • This macaroni dish will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and for 1 month in the freezer.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or place in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

Easy One Pot Ground Beef Dinners

homemade one pot cheeseburger macaroni in a bowl
4.80 from 95 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade Hamburger Helper

This cheeseburger macaroni recipe is an easy from scratch stovetop casserole made with cheese, macaroni, and ground beef.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings



  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • cup diced yellow onion about 1 medium
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ¾ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded


  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, garlic powder, sugar, salt, paprika, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and onion, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add milk, broth, and elbow macaroni to the beef. Stir the cornstarch and spice mixture. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat, and let simmer, covered, for 9-12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir the mixture occasionally and, if needed, add more broth or water.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Serve hot.


  • Substitute the onion with 1 teaspoon onion powder if desired.
  • Depending on the brand of pasta and the size of the pan, you may need a little bit more or less liquid. Add extra broth or water as needed.
  • Add any kind of cheese but ensure you use bold cheese, it’s needed for flavor.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat before adding the cheese.
  • For a little extra kick, add a dash of hot sauce, or some red pepper flakes.
4.80 from 95 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 636 | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 1304mg | Potassium: 821mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 976IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 533mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Absolutely delicious! I used gluten free elbows, onion powder instead of onions (for my kids), and added half a can of petite diced tomatoes. This was really delicious and my picky boys ate it and liked it!5 stars

  2. Love this. I have made it before following the recipe. Today, I used queso cheese. Wow, my family loved it even more.5 stars

  3. Hollie, this is the first time ever I’ve commented. I subscribe to your recipes and they are definitelyNd consistently the best home cooking which should be within the reach of most home cooks.
    I’ve been cooking since first started making supper at fourteen years of age because my mom had a day job. I’m now 77 yrs hold and have basically cooked every meal, every day, raising a large family on our dairy farm.
    Meanwhile, back to the cheeseburger Mac and cheese. This is a Classic! How can anyone go wrong? Taste and check for seasonings as you go. If it’s too bland , add seasonings. If it’s too dry, add liquid, if it’s too wet add a more pasta or whatever!
    But for heavens sakes folks, please don’t criticize Hollies recipes simply because it’s not seasoned to your liking. Nobody has the same tastes. I do believe she has the patience of a saint considering some of the criticism heaped her way.
    And as for the lady whose son spit it out after tasting a mouthful, I do hope she has left him to his own devices when it comes to meal prep. Shameful way to treat a mom!

    1. Hi Grammie, I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving this homemade hamburger helper recipe! You’ve got plenty of great cooking experience, and it means a lot to me. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Thank you Grammie! So sick of the negative /rude remarks. You are spot on- add something to make it to your liking and hush the remarks!
      I am 60 4 kids- learned what to make it work along the way!!!

      I read the remarks and get so mad sometimes!
      We need to Lighten up world!!! ✌5 stars

  4. I had one pound of ground beef I didn’t know what I wanted to do with. Got this recipe in my e-mail today so I made it. It was so good and easy. Love this.5 stars

  5. Made this for the first time tonight. It was delicious, we did find we had to add just a little salt and pepper, which really brought out the flavor of that sharp cheddar! The kids said it is definitely something I need to make again!4 stars

  6. I’m speaking for my own stove and pans here. This was so good. I did have to add another cup of broth. I did not use sugar. I added probably 2 tablespoons ketchup and 30 dashes (who is counting !!) Worcestershire sauce with the milk and broth. Added green pepper and fresh garlic . It took about 1/2 hour on the stove, stirring occasionally. Topped with the cheese. It was yum yum. Ate too much lol ! Love your recipes and ideas!

      1. I for one am glad you posted your changes because that is one of the reasons, I read the reviews. Gives me ideas and I like what you did so I will be trying it your way.

  7. easy enough recipie but desperately needs more seasoning in the way if garlic powder, more salt, ect…will make again but will definitely adjust the seasonings.3 stars

  8. Did Daly get left out of this recipe?
    Definitely needs some, at least a half teaspoon.
    Good quick dinner for busy evening.4 stars