One-Pot Hamburger Helper

One-Pot Hamburger Helper

Cue all of the nostalgic feelings because Hamburger Helper is making a comeback! haha! 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. 

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
A cleaner re-make of the classic boxed Hamburger Helper that the whole family will LOVE.
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  1. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, diced finely
  3. 1 lb. ground beef
  4. 1 tsp. kosher salt
  5. 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. paprika
  8. 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  9. 12 oz. dried elbow pasta (I use Jovial Brown Rice Pasta)
  10. 2 cups beef broth
  11. 2 cups milk (if you want this to be dairy free, just do 4 cups of beef broth)
  12. 1 cup shredded cheese (optional-I used Mexican blend, but shredded cheddar is fine)
  13. 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley (optional)
  1. Heat a very large skillet, or a 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.
  2. Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  3. Add the pasta, the beef broth and the milk. Stir to combine and let cook until pasta is tender (I like to cook mine al dente) and the liquid is soaked up, which is usually close to the same time as the box of the pasta says. Mine took about 11 minutes with the Jovial Elbow Pasta.
  4. Remove from heat and add in the cheese, if using, and stir to combine.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
  1. 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.
The Defined Dish https://thedefineddish.com/


  • Reply
    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
    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
      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
    December 14, 2020 at 3:27 am

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

    Or would coconut milk work ?

    • Reply
      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
    November 16, 2020 at 8:28 pm

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

    • Reply
      November 28, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      yes it is

  • Reply
    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
      November 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm

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

  • Reply
    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
      October 30, 2020 at 4:06 pm

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

  • Reply
    November 28, 2017 at 4:54 am

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

    • Reply
      November 28, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Oh good!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    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
      November 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

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

  • Reply
    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
      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
      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
      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
    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
      November 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

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

  • Reply
    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
      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
      November 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Oh Good! I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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