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Close up photo of Homemade Hamburger Helper - macaroni and ground beef in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

This Homemade Hamburger Helper is a delicious rendition of the boxed Cheeseburger Macaroni that we all know and love, but healthier! Easy to make, requiring only one pan. Guaranteed to be loved by kids and adults!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Cheeseburger Pasta, Easy Pasta Dishes, Ground Beef Recipe, Hamburger Helper, Hamburger Recipe, Homemade Hamburger Helper, Homemade Italian Bread Bowls, Pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 537kcal
Author Samantha Buckner


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock, low-sodium or unsalted
  • 1 cup half and half, sub with milk or heavy cream
  • 2 cups elbow pasta
  • 2 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt


  • Place a soup pot (or deep pan) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the ground beef and onions. Brown 7-9 minutes, breaking the beef apart as it cooks.
    If using a beef with higher fat content, omit the olive oil and drain excess fat prior to seasoning.
  • Season beef with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and dijon mustard. Stir in tomato paste.
  • Pour in the beef stock and half and half. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and stir.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low to control the boil. Cover and allow it to simmer as the pasta cooks (12-14 minutes or as directed on the box), stirring every few minutes to prevent pasta from sticking.
  • While the pasta cooks, grate the cheddar cheese and set aside.
  • Once pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Then stir in the greek yogurt.
  • Sauce may be thin. Let the pasta sit for the sauce to thicken. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.
    If sauce is too thin, add a splash or two of half-and-half and stir. Add until desired creaminess is met.


  • Can swap the extra-sharp cheddar cheese for regular cheddar or mixed cheeses.
  • Add in peas or broccoli to enhance this meal with veggies.
  • Sautéed mushrooms are a great addition, too!
  • Swap lean ground beef for ground chicken, ground turkey or ground turkey sausage for a leaner, high protein meat option!
  • Any pasta will do.
  • Enjoy a little heat? Add some hot sauce, to taste.
  • Highly recommend freshly grated cheese as it will melt better, creating the ultra creamy sauce that the dish deserves!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 537kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 817mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 856IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 361mg | Iron: 3mg