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Best Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Helper {COPYCAT Recipe}

Copycat Cheeseburger Helper

Cheeseburger helper used to be one of my favorite meals as a teen and young adult. However, the boxed version is something I try to avoid feeding my kids on a regular basis.

Instead, I make this simple homemade version of that delicious cheeseburger macaroni. This easy recipe is a one pot dinner solution that even the kids will love and it will be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

homemade cheeseburger helper

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 2 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

I use minced garlic a lot so I always keep a jar of pre-minced garlic in my fridge so I can add it quickly…and not have fingers that smell like garlic.

How to make Cheeseburger Helper at home

1 – Brown the ground beef in a large stock pot. Drain grease and return to the pot.

2 – Add broth, milk, spices, tomato sauce, and pasta (everything except the cheese).

Everything is going to cook together in one pot for a quick meal and easy clean up.

cheeseburger helper ingredients in a pot

3 – Bring everything to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

4 – Simmer uncovered until pasta is as tender as you desire (7-12 minutes). Be sure to leave it uncovered so evaporation can occur which will thicken up the dish.

5 – Turn off the heat and add the in a few batches cheese, stirring to combine. (Do not add cheese to a boiling pot or it may curdle.)

cheeseburger macaroni in one pot

6 – Serve on a bowl or plate, whichever you prefer.

Can I use ground turkey?

Yes. You can easily turn this into a ground turkey hamburger helper. You’ll cook it exactly the same except substitute the beef for turkey.

I actually really like the way it tastes with turkey but my husband does not so I have to always use beef at our house now.

How can I spice it up?

You may find this recipe a bit on the bland side. After all, it’s geared towards being family friendly and hamburger helper isn’t known for being spicy.

If you want to add a kick to your dish you can do what my husband does and add a little hot sauce to your portion.

What should I serve with it

The dish already includes carbs and protein so we generally just serve ours with a vegetable. For us that usually peas since it’s our daughters favorite.

I also like using peas as I can easily just add them into my bowl and eat it all together.

Some crusty french bread is also a great choice if you don’t mind the extra carbs.

homemade cheeseburger helper topped with peas

What should I do with leftovers

Can I freeze cheeseburger helper?

You can definitely freeze this recipe if you need to. Make sure you let it cool completely before sealing it up tightly and sticking it in the freezer. You can microwave it to reheat.

I’ve never frozen this recipe but I have stuck leftovers from my goulash recipe in the freezer.

If you cook the noodles al dente (cooked but still a bit firm) the first time they won’t become mush during reheating.

We usually have some leftovers but not enough that we need to freeze some to prevent waste.

Since this meal cooks so quickly I’d recommend simple making a half batch if you’re worried about having too much.

If you want to speed up the process you can make up batches of the seasonings, label it, and store it in your cupboard so you can just dump and go.

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Yield: 6 servings

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper

copycat cheeseburger helper recipe

A delicious homemade version of cheeseburger helper. You'll love this one pan copycat recipe.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 2 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Brown meat. Drain grease and return to pan
  2. Add broth, milk, spices, tomato sauce, and pasta (everything except the cheese).
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer uncovered.
  4. Simmer until pasta is tender.
  5. Turn off heat and add the cheese.
  6. Enjoy! (Add a splash of hot sauce for those that want a bolder flavor).

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 737mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 32g

Nutrition is a rough estimate. Will vary based on exact products and quantities used.

cheeseburger macaroni

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

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