Homemade Hamburger Helper beef pasta is easy to make in minutes and you likely already have the ingredients in your kitchen!
I grew up eating Hamburger Helper on busy weeknights, throwing lawn darts at my siblings, and seeing how many stylish new scars I could get from crashing my bike. Fast forward twenty-five years and lawn darts are illegal, kids can't hop on a bike without first being bubble-wrapped, and my natural health-obsessed mother would probably only confess to feeding us processed food from a box upon being waterboarded with toxin-ridden city tap water.
Times have certainly changed, but let's be honest, Hamburger Helper is still a guilty pleasure our whole family enjoys. Even the picky eaters! However, if my mom has taught me anything, we don't have to reach for the box full of mystery ingredients and artificial flavors when looking for one pot meals. You can make your own homemade Hamburger Helper with REAL ingredients made from pantry staples, and best of all, this quick dinner is dead simple! I think my mom would approve.
What is Hamburger Helper
Produced by General Mills, Hamburger Helper is a popular one-pot meal in a box consisting of pasta, seasonings, and a sauce. The home cook simply needs to brown hamburger in a skillet and add the boxed ingredients for a hassle-free family dinner.
You'll find many flavors of Hamburger Helper at the grocery store, but my recipe is inspired by the Beef Pasta Hamburger Helper. I did not attempt to replicate the flavor exactly, but rather create a better-tasting meal, using simple ingredients that is just as easy. So grab a fork and get ready to enjoy classic comfort food you can feel good about.
Ingredients Needed for Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta
- Ground Beef - I recommend using lean ground beef. If your ground hamburger is too fatty, be sure to drain off excess grease.
- Yellow Onion
- Beef broth - Beef stock can also be used, otherwise chicken broth can be substituted.
- Worcestershire sauce - Soy sauce can be substituted or used with Worcestershire.
- Egg Noodles - Wide egg noodles or regular are both fine. Otherwise, elbow macaroni noodles can also be substituted.
- Seasonings: Salt, Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Mustard Powder
My Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe uses ingredients that are of much higher quality than the box mix version. I use fresh onions and garlic rather than dehydrated, and beef broth instead of hot water for a much richer flavor. A seasoning mixture of paprika, black pepper, mustard, garlic, and onion powder adds a lot of flavor to the sauce while corn starch is used as a thickening agent.
Customizing the Ingredients
Feel free to customize the ingredients with your own twist to fit your tastes. You can swap out the meat for leaner proteins like ground turkey or chicken. The seasonings can also be tweaked with chili powder or Italian seasonings. This can also be transformed into a beef stroganoff style meal with the addition of sour cream and mushrooms!
How to Make Hamburger Helper
Hamburger Helper recipes are made by browning meat in a skillet (I find a saute pan works best), then adding a seasoning packet, noodles, and liquid to the pan and simmering until the sauce has thickened and the noodles are tender.
My homemade version begins the same way by properly browning ground beef in a large skillet. However, unlike the instructions on the box of Hamburger Helper, I recommend saute chopped onions with the beef as it cooks over medium heat. Once the onions are tender and beef is browned your minced garlic will also be added and cooked for an additional minute.
Similar to the boxed version, once the beef is browned all of the liquid and seasonings get added to the skillet to simmer together. Be sure to give it a good stir to mix well. You don't want the seasonings clumping up.
Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for ten minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and is no longer runny.
Any leftover Hamburger Helper should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and enjoyed within three days for the freshest flavor. The leftovers can be reheated in the microwave in individual servings. You will notice the noodles will be a bit mushier when reheated because they will continue to soak up liquid from the creamy sauce while sitting in the fridge.
What to Make with Hamburger Meat for Dinner
If you are looking for easy dinner ideas, this homemade hamburger helper is not the only easy recipe you can whip up for your family. Try making homemade sloppy joes or these easy meatball subs as well. Otherwise, making the world's best meatloaf recipe or simply classic homemade hamburgers will always be crowd-pleasers as well!
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Homemade Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta
- 1 lb lean Ground Beef
- ½ medium Onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups uncooked Egg Noodles
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground Mustard Powder
- Place ground beef and chopped onion in a saute pan on medium heat and cook until beef is browned and onion is tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, until garlic is fragrant.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender.
- Serve immediately.
This recipe was originally published July 25, 2018 on FoxValleyFoodie.com.