Hubby has been bugging me to make Hamburger Helper for years. He has fond memories as a child stemming from a box of dry pasta and powdered cheese with a waving oven mitt on the front of the box.
Homemade Hamburger Helper Skillet is a great ground beef recipe with cheddar cheese, seasonings and tomatoes all ready in 20-minutes!
I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the box and low and behold, it actually takes the same amount of time to make it from scratch. Powdered cheese? Please!
For my Hamburger Helper Skillet, I used a low-fat content beef, so I didn’t need to drain it. After all, the objective was to make a one-dish meal that was wholesome and easy.
Pasta boils in the same cast iron skillet with beef broth, infusing an immense amount of flavor into the pasta itself. The residual liquid is what creates the decadent cheese sauce that clings to crumbled ground beef and swirly pasta.
I also used a sharp cheddar cheese with a handful of mixed Italian and petite diced tomatoes… it had to have some vegetables! I am fully aware that boxed Hamburger Helper does not have vegetables, but this is my version and my version has a few.
I didn’t have much to compare my Hamburger Helper Skillet to, as I never had the box mix, but I have to admit, it was pretty good! I paired it with a nice green salad with Creamy Italian Dressing and sprinkled a quality Maldon sea salt over top.
The fanciest Hamburger Helper you’ve eaten!
I used sharp cheddar cheese and elbow macaroni, but feel free to create your own copycat Hamburger Helper and use any type of pasta you’d like and change up the cheese.
You can even use a cheese blend, cleaning out all the odds and ends in your cheese drawer.
You’ll love these other one-dish meals!
Get our FREE 8 Day E-Course on How to Be a Better Home Cook. Sign up HERE!
Copycat Cheeseburger Helper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pounds ground beef , I used 85/15
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 4 1/2 cups beef broth
- 16 ounce elbow macaroni , uncooked
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups cheese , grated (I used sharp cheddar and an Italian blend)
- 16 ounces petite diced tomatoes , drained
- Maldon sea salt
- In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add ground beef, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, breaking ground beef as it cooks. Brown on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Drain any excess fat, if there is just a little, don’t worry about it. Stir in uncooked elbow macaroni and beef broth. Spread evenly in the pan, simmering on low. Stir twice to ensure all of the pasta has had a chance to soak up the broth. Simmer for 7-9 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
- Fold in milk and cheese until fully incorporated and cheesy. Fold in drained tomatoes.
- Serve with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!