One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper

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This creamy, cheesy, one-pot hamburger helper is probably the best homemade hamburger helper recipe on the internet. It’s easy and takes only 30 minutes!

Creamy yellow - orange hamburger helper noodles being scooped with a spoon.

Unlike many, I didn’t grow up eating hamburger helper. I first had the ground beef macaroni dish when I was in my early 20s. My husband loved eating it, when I first tried it, I despised it haha. I’m not above boxed foods at all but, I just knew I could make it better myself.

If you love one-pot meals, this is the recipe for you!

Ingredients for one-pot homemade hamburger helper:

  • Ground beef- For this you can use extra lean ground beef but regular ground beef works as well. You’ll just have to drain some of the grease.
  • Onion – One small yellow onion will do the trick. The onions add a nice almost caramelized flavor to the dish.
  • Tomato paste – Adds acidity and tomato flavor.
  • Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, sazon, salt and pepper really elevate the flavors of this dish.
  • Chicken broth – I prefer to use chicken broth over beef broth because it isn’t as rich in flavor so it doesn’t overpower the dish.
  • Heavy cream – The heavy cream is a MUST for the creamiest cheeseburger hamburger helper.
  • Pasta – Macaroni noodles will work but I love to use cavatappi noodles for this. The cavatappi adheres to the sauce so well!
  • Cornstarch slurry – The mix of cornstarch and water will thicken up the sauce.
  • Cheddar cheese – Mild or sharp will do and add the final cheesy component to this dish.

How to make homemade hamburger helper:

Making this one-pot meal is super easy!

Just brown your ground beef and drain any unwanted grease. Next add in the onions, tomato paste and spices to the same pan, stirring to combine all those flavors. Then add in the chicken broth, heavy cream and pasta. Bring to a boil, cover and let cook covered for 10 minutes so that the past is al dente. Remove the lid, stir in the cornstarch slurry and cheese.

That was super simple right? The full written recipe is below.

Faqs & tips for this recipe:

  • Substitutions – If you only have beef broth on hand, you can definitely use that in place of the chicken broth. Feel free to use macaroni in place of cavatappi as well. Ground turkey also works well in place of the beef in this dish.
  • Storing – Store in an air tight container. This will keep for three days but I will say the sooner you eat it the better.
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Creamy yellow - orange hamburger helper noodles being scooped with a spoon.

One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper

By August DeWindt
A childhood favorite turned into a creamy, cheesy easy dinner.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sazon, optional
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cavatappi
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • Parsley for garnish, optional


  • In a large pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef, season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Break up the ground beef with a spoon while it’s browning. Drain some of the grease if there is too much.
  • In the same pan add the onions, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, sazon and paprika. Stir to combine.
  • Add in the broth, heavy cream and pasta. Stir and make sure the pasta is somewhat submerged in the liquid, it won’t be completely submerged but that’s okay. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  • While that’s simmering, mix together the cornstarch and water in a small ramekin or bowl.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove the lid, stir in the cornstarch mixture and then the cheese for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and give it one last stir.



Calories: 656kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 800mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1109IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 360mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: August DeWindt
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 656
Keyword: Quick and easy
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About August DeWindt

Welcome to There’s Food at Home! I’m so glad you are here on my little corner of the internet. Here you will find easy to follow, mainly small batch recipes with accessible ingredients.

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