Cheeseburger macaroni is an easy-to-throw-together family meal that is inspired by the iconic flavors of the classic cheeseburger. This easy recipe is sure to please the entire family, including the picky eaters!
If you are hungry for the comforting taste of a cheeseburger but are looking for something a little different on busy weeknights, look no further than my homemade cheeseburger macaroni! This easy family favorite combines the classic flavors of a cheeseburger with the creamy, cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese. Plus, it is a great way to use up that extra hamburger you have sitting in the fridge!
What is it?
Cheeseburger macaroni is a classic Midwestern one-pot dish that typically features ground beef and macaroni noodles in a generic cheese-based sauce. Most commonly this meal is associated with Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni. However, my homemade cheeseburger macaroni recipe takes the flavor a step further by incorporating real ingredients found in a classic cheeseburger such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onion.
Not only do these additional ingredients give this great recipe a lot more depth, but it also tastes way better than the boxed stuff! You can also customize this homemade version to fit your own tastes better, but more on that later.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Lean ground beef - Feel free to substitute other meats like ground turkey or venison.
- Garlic powder - You can substitute 4 fresh garlic cloves.
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Beef broth - Some people use water, but broth adds a lot more flavor. Chicken broth can be substituted for beef.
- Ketchup - You can substitute a little tomato sauce, but it won't have as much flavor.
- Dijon mustard - Yellow mustard is a good substitute.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Elbow macaroni noodles - Elbow noodles are recommended, but any small pasta will work.
- Shredded Cheddar cheese - You can substitute your favorite real cheese, although classic burger cheeses are best. Mild cheddar melts the best, but sharp Cheddar has the strongest flavor. Either is great to use.
- Dill pickles
- Yellow onion - The crisp crunch of a white onion is a great substitute when using raw onion.
I customized the ingredients of traditional cheeseburger macaroni by adding dill pickles and raw onions to replicate a cheeseburger. However, you can leave these out if you wish. You can even saute the chopped onion with the beef if you don't want to have the raw crunch in your dish.
Another flavorful addition to any burger is bacon! Cook up a half-pound of thick-cut bacon and chop it into 1" pieces, and stir it into the dish with the pickles and onions.
How to Make Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
I created this recipe to be a one-skillet dish to match the simplicity of the Hamburger Helper. Everything fits perfectly in a standard saute pan or a large skillet.
Begin by first browning the beef in your skillet set over medium heat. Crumble the beef as it browns, then add all seasonings, liquid, and uncooked pasta noodles. Mix everything well to ensure it fully incorporates.
Next, cover the pan and bring everything to a simmer. Simmer the pasta mixture for about 12 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the noodles are al dente. You will want to stir everything periodically with a wooden spoon so the noodles don't stick to the bottom of the skillet.
Tip: If the sauce reduces too much and the noodles aren't tender yet, you can add in additional beef broth or even water. Alternatively, if there is too much liquid, just simmer it longer and the liquid will thicken.
Finally, stir in half of your shredded Cheddar cheese, along with the pickles and diced onion. Top with the remaining cheese and serve in a small bowl along with a simple side salad.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
This easy family meal is best served fresh. However, leftover cheeseburger macaroni does reheat well in the microwave. I recommend reheating this meal in separate individual servings and storing any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. The leftovers should be eaten in five days or less.
More One-Pot Dinner Recipes
My cheeseburger macaroni was inspired by the Hamburger Helper meal of the same name. If you are looking for more made-from-scratch easy recipes, check out my Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe as well as my Beefaroni recipe. Finally, my Homemade Sloppy Joes are another made-from-scratch recreation your whole family will love!
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Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ¼ cup beef broth
- 2 cup milk
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups elbow macaroni noodles uncooked
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (divided)
- 1 cup dill pickles (chopped or sliced)
- ½ medium onion (chopped)
- Add ground beef into a saute pan and cook over medium heat until the beef is browned. Break it apart to crumble it while cooking.
- Add corn starch to the pan along with all seasonings, and mix with the beef. Then add beef broth, milk, ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to the saute pan and mix further to ensure the seasonings are incorporated.
- Stir in macaroni noodles with a large spoon, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in half of the cheese with the beef and noodles, until melted. Then add pickles and onions. Top the dish with the remaining cheese and serve.
This recipe was originally published on August 7, 2019, on FoxValleyFoodie.com.