11.04.17

One-Pot Hamburger Helper

Cue all of the nostalgic feelings because Hamburger Helper is making a comeback โ€” and this One-Pot Hamburger Helper is still just as simple.

One-Pot Hamburger Helper

Raise your hands if you grew up on Hamburger Helper? My momma made it all the time and I mean, we can all agree that stuff is freaking delicious and pretty genius! But good grief, if I only knew then what I knew now I would have NEVER put that stuff in my body. It is just packed full of fake and horrible ingredients! So let’s clean it up with this One-Pot Hamburger Helper.

But, Hamburger Helper is freaking delicious, easy, and saves a Mom’s life for dinner when she doesn’t have time to think or cook dinner! So Amen to that. However, I made this clean version for my kiddos the other day, and WOW, its delicious. Plus, it doesn’t take any longer than the toxic filled boxed version! So you momma’s out there with picky kids and husbands,  rejoice! This is the answer to your prayers. 

One-Pot Hamburger Helper

I’ve told you many times that my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta I use in my house is Jovial Brown Rice Pasta. It only has two ingredients (organic rice flour + water) and the taste and texture is outstanding. I buy mine at Whole Foods and I use it in this dish to keep it gluten-free and clean. Also, if you are a dairy-free family– you’ll see that the dairy I included in the dish is optional. 

So here we have it: a one-pot, easy, delicious Hamburger Helper that your kids will say DANGGGG GIRRRL.. haha, maybe they won’t say that but they will definitely say positive things and you only have to dirty up one skillet to make it. I just LOVE it. 

If you enjoyed this One-Pot Hamburger Helper, try my other one-pot meals!

One-Pot Hamburger Helper

One-Pot Hamburger Helper
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5 from 1 vote
A cleaner re-make of the classic boxed Hamburger Helper that the whole family will LOVE.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 12 oz. dried elbow pasta (I use Jovial Brown Rice Pasta for Gluten-Free) *regular pasta or even chickpea pasta works here
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups milk *for dairy-free, sub 2 cups almond milk or just do 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese optional, omit for dairy-free
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onions, and ground beef. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Saute, breaking up the ground beef with the back of a spoon, until the beef is cooked through, no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off excess fat if necessary (I like to keep at least 2 tbsp in there for added flavor).
  • Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Add the pasta, the beef broth and the milk and Stir to combine. Bring contents in the pot to a boil and once boiling, reduce the heat to a very subtle simmer and let cook until pasta is tender, stirring very often, until most of the liquid has absorbed and the pasta is al dente, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and fold in the cheese. Garnish with parsley, if using.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

For reheating: Heat in a skillet over medium heat and add beef broth to rehydrate the noodles. I splash it in about 1/4 cup at a time (depending on how much I am reheating) until it reaches the consistency I want and the noodles are tender again.

Photography by Eat Love Eats.

55 Comments

  • Reply
    Steph
    August 2, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    5 stars
    This is a family favorite with kids and adults! DF/GF: we add chopped kale, use gluten free noodles, used almond milk or Ripple, and finish with Violife cheddar — its still creamy and delish.

  • Reply
    Susan
    July 22, 2021 at 2:22 am

    This was delicious! Even the picky eaters loved it! My husband grew up eating hamburger helper and always wanted me to replicate and I could never get it right. This hit the nail on the head and much healthier! This is now my go to!!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    July 9, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    This is definitely a family favorite! Can this be frozen for a make-ahead meal? I’m prepping for baby #3 and was wondering if your’re reheating instructions would work from frozen as well as refrigerated?

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 27, 2021 at 8:47 pm

      Hi Jessica! congrats on the baby!!! I honestly have never tried freezing this recipe– but don’t think it will freeze very well (since it has milk in it).

  • Reply
    Alanna
    June 17, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Our family loves this recipe! It is so nostalgic and reminds me of eating Hamburger Helper growing up but I feel much better about serving this cleaned up version to my family! We make it with oat milk and it turns out beautifully every time! Thank you so much Alex!

  • Reply
    Amy S.
    June 3, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    This looks so good! Do you have a recommendation for the fat content of the beef used (80/20 or 90/10) and do you drain the beef after browning, before putting the other ingredients in?

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 3, 2021 at 11:37 pm

      I usually grab 80/20– but any works! I honestly don’t drain unless it’s excessive fat! I will make a note sorry I forgot to include in the recipe.

  • Reply
    Reese
    April 29, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Hello, do you know the serving size?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 30, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      This serves 4 people.

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 19, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Alex! Love this recipe, itโ€™s part of our dinner rotation! If we want to make double is it safe to double the recipe? Worried it would be too much liquid?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 20, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      It does work to double!

  • Reply
    Allie Babb
    March 24, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    I love this recipe and am looking for freezer meals to make before baby #2 arrives- have you tried freezing this?
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Brittany Flora
      April 28, 2021 at 5:27 pm

      I have the same question about this one and her one pot stroganoff! Did you end up freezing it?

  • Reply
    Katie
    February 28, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Mm this was so good, and brought back childhood memories. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I made a vegetarian version by using Impossible ground “beef” and vegan beef broth. Turned out great!

  • Reply
    Carina
    February 17, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Any tips for using ground chicken instead? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Erika
    February 12, 2021 at 1:17 am

    I love the pan you used to cook this in. Could you share the brand? Iโ€™ve been looking for a ceramic pan to cook these type of one pot meals in! Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 1, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      This one is a Le Creuset.

    • Reply
      B.s.
      May 22, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Can you use almond milk instead of regular milk?

      • Reply
        Alex
        May 23, 2021 at 1:48 pm

        You can! It alters the flavor a bit, but it definitely works!

  • Reply
    Melody
    February 11, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    So good – was a hit with both husband and toddler. Thank you! Due to multiple allergies I used oatly for the milk, ground turkey, chicken broth, and violife epic mature cheddar for the cheese and still delicious!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    February 11, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Ok, so we LOVED this when I made it (for the first time) tonight! The only question I have is…why did it feel like something had very lightly curdled? Should I have drained the meat? Not put the lid on when it was boiling?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 1, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      So I never put the lid on, I cook this uncovered. Also– just make sure your mixture isn’t at a hard boil- it just needs to simmer while you cook, stirring often.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    February 8, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    This might be an odd question but do you think it would taste good if we subbed out ground beef for ground turkey? Or is that too much of a stretch?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 1, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      It would still be good! Beef definitely gives it some more hearty flavors– but turkey would work just fine.

  • Reply
    Sydney
    February 3, 2021 at 12:33 am

    This hits the nostalgia spot, pasta spot, cheesy spot, delicious spot! SPOT ON, Alex!

  • Reply
    Leslie
    January 12, 2021 at 12:56 am

    This was delicious and quick and easy to put together – perfect for weeknight meal. I added mushrooms and spinach and turned out great!

  • Reply
    Lizzie
    January 1, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Alex,
    I feel like a chump even having to ask, but do you have any idea where I might have gone wrong if my dish never cooked down? It was pretty liquid-y after it was all said and done. Still tasted good but nothing like the photos above or in the book. Thanks in advance! I’m going to keep trying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Alex
      January 2, 2021 at 2:31 pm

      What kind of pasta did you use? I think that would be the only reason for error here

  • Reply
    Sheri G
    December 29, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Finally commenting on this gem. I have made it so many times I have lost count. Easy, fast, made with ingredients I have on hand and delish!! I use coconut milk and it is perfection. Kid and adult friendly. Thanks for another go-to DD recipe! XOXO

  • Reply
    Megan
    December 14, 2020 at 3:27 am

    Will it be as creamy if you replace milk with broth?

    Or would coconut milk work ?

    • Reply
      Alex
      December 15, 2020 at 1:39 am

      coconut milk works (it might just shift the flavor a bit) but also broth alone works too as the starch from the pasta give it some creaminess.

  • Reply
    Kirstin James
    December 13, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Made this tonight and it was SO good! Made me feel like a kid again. Thanks so much for such consistently amazing recipes!

  • Reply
    Emily
    November 16, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    If Iโ€™m using regular pasta, is the cooking time and amount of liquid the same?

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 28, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      yes it is

  • Reply
    Ashley
    November 15, 2020 at 6:05 am

    Made this for my parents tonight as my mom is home newly home recovering from spinal surgery. I took the risk and made this for them โ€” growing up my mom hated hamburger helper. It was a huge hit with both parents and my dad who loves the original stuff is so excited to have it back on the menu. Youโ€™ve converted my mother and won my Dadโ€™s stamp of approval.

    So easy to make! Thank you

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      Glad you enjoyed and hope your dad has a speedy recovery!!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    October 29, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Do you have instructions to do this in the instant pot? It is so delicious but Iโ€™d love to do it in my IP.๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 30, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      I haven’t yet tried it in my instant pot, im sorry!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    November 28, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Made this for Sunday night dinner. Huge hit, it was delish! Thanks for the inspo.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 28, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Oh good!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Cassidy
    November 16, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Made this tonight and it was a WINNER!! Thanks for a healthier, chemical free, and delicious option.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Oh good!! I am so glad you loved it!!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    November 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Made this last night and it was delish!! I think next time I will add a can of diced tomatos and some cajun seasoning to spice it up a little.

  • Reply
    Kelsey Ray
    November 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Hello! I was wanting to make this this week. Probably a dumb question but… do you cook the pasta separate then add it in?

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      No, the pasta cooks in the liquid directly in the pot with the other ingredients.

  • Reply
    Jaclyn Pinkham
    November 8, 2017 at 12:18 am

    I made this tonight and it was INCREDIBLE! Thank you for sharing!
    I subbed regular milk for unsweetened almond milk and it worked!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Oh good!! I am glad the almond milk was a success!! ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Julie Ragains
    November 6, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    My husband happened to be looking over my shoulder as I was watching your Instagram story about this and he freaked! He used to love Hamburger Helper as a kid. I had no idea. But I’ve never seen him get so excited about something food related. I cannot wait to make this for him. I’m thinking of stirring in a box of spinach to give it a bit more of a nutritional punch!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      haha, i love it!! hubby’s seem to be going crazy for this recipe here,which is always a win! and yes, adding any sort of veggie you want is a great idea!! love the idea of adding spinach ๐Ÿ™‚ ENJOY!

  • Reply
    Jenna
    November 6, 2017 at 1:57 am

    This was dynamite! Totally reminded me of eating hamburger helper back in the day but don’t have to worry about what’s in it this way. So delicious! Whole family loved it!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Oh, yay!! I am so glad! Thank you, Jenna!

  • Reply
    Haley
    November 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Canโ€™t wait to try this soon! Thanks for posting! Iโ€™m assuming for the dairy free version you use 4 TOTAL cups of beef broth – not 4 cups (ilo milk) + the other 2 cups of broth already called for?

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      yes, you are correct. I will clarify that on the recipe thanks for pointing that out! 4 cups total of beef broth if you go dairy free ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Tiffany Nickle
    November 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. DELISH! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Oh Good! I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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