Classic Comfort: Homemade Hamburger Helper

Posted on

For busy weeknights, Hamburger Helper was a staple in many households. The convenience of a boxed meal with minimal prep time is undeniable. But what if you could recreate that same nostalgic taste with fresh ingredients and at a fraction of the cost? This recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper delivers on both fronts!

This isn’t just a one-pot wonder, it’s a flavor explosion. Ground beef is seasoned to perfection, simmered in a creamy tomato sauce packed with vegetables, and topped with fluffy cheddar cheese noodles. It’s comfort food at its finest, perfect for feeding a hungry family.

Homemade Hamburger Helper
Homemade Hamburger Helper


1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound ground beef (90% lean or lower)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of tomato soup
  • 1 (15-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
    2. Stir in onion and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes until softened.
    3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream of tomato soup, beef broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
    4. While the sauce simmers, cook elbow macaroni noodles according to package directions, draining well.
    5. Stir cooked macaroni noodles into the simmering sauce.
    6. Remove pot from heat and stir in shredded cheddar cheese until melted and combined.
    7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Per serving, based on 8 servings)

    Calories: 450

  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Protein: 30g

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and can vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.


    Homemade Hamburger Helper offers a satisfying and budget-friendly alternative to the boxed version. With fresh ingredients and a little customization, you can create a dish that’s both familiar and delicious. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of knowing exactly what goes into your meal. So ditch the box and whip up a batch of this comforting classic tonight!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use different types of ground meat?

    Absolutely! Ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based alternative can be substituted for the ground beef. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time based on the chosen protein.

    2. What vegetables can I add to this recipe?

    Feel free to get creative! Chopped carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, or even frozen peas would all be delicious additions. Simply sauté them with the onion and garlic in step 2.

    3. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

    Yes, you can! Assemble the dish up to step 5 and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, adding a splash of broth or water if needed to thin the sauce.

    4. How can I make this dish lower in sodium?

    Look for low-sodium versions of the canned ingredients, such as diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth. You can also adjust the amount of added salt to your taste.

    5. What can I serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper?

    A simple side salad, steamed vegetables, or a dinner roll would all be perfect complements to this hearty dish.