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Hamburger Mac and Cheese is like a homemade Hamburger Helper. This quick, one-pot meal combines seasoned ground beef, garlic, and onions with tender macaroni in a creamy, cheesy sauce.Pin this recipe for later!
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Homemade Hamburger Helper
If you still get cravings for classic Hamburger Helper once in a while, but the box just isn’t cutting it, you’ve got to try this homemade version! Hamburger Mac and Cheese is basically a homemade version of the classic boxed meal, except so much better!
You cook the ground beef, add seasonings, milk, broth, and noodles, then simmer it all together until the macaroni is cooked. Melt in the cheese and voila! Homemade Hamburger Helper is ready in about 30 minutes.
Such a simple and comforting meal. Feel free to mix it up and add some veggies, like carrots or mushrooms, or even just a cup of frozen veggies. For a healthier version, use ground turkey instead of beef.
How To Make Hamburger Mac and Cheese
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven and cook ground beef with onions and garlic.
- Stir in warm broth, mustard, milk and macaroni. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cheese – Mix it up and add different cheeses like gruyere, fontina, or white cheddar.
- Meat – Ground turkey or ground chicken work just as well and are a little lower in fat.
- Vegetables – Try sauteeing some mushrooms with the onions, or stir in some steamed broccoli or frozen mixed vegetables at the end.
- Spicy – Add a pinch of cayenne, ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
Refrigerator – Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a splash or two of milk to rehydrate the sauce if needed.
Freezer – Cool completely, then place leftovers in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw completely before reheating.
- Grate Your Own Cheese – Grate cheese fresh off the block. Pre-shredded cheese has a starchy coating that prevents proper melting.
- Room Temp Liquids – Before adding the broth and milk to the ground beef, measure and set them out on the counter so they are at room temperature when they are added to the pot. This helps to prevent any fats from the beef from seizing up and solidifying.
- Chicken Broth vs. Beef Broth – You’ll notice that the recipe used ground beef and chicken broth for a lighter flavor. Beef broth can be used instead if you prefer.
Recipes To Try Next
- Spaghetti Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
- Crab Mac and Cheese
- Simple Chili Mac
Hamburger Mac and Cheese / Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Canola oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups whole milk room temperature
- 3 cups dry macaroni noodles or any short pasta
- 2 ounces cream cheese room temp, cubed
- 1 ½ cups freshly shredded block medium cheddar cheese
- 1 cup freshly shredded block colby jack cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Black pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: Freshly minced parsley or chives
- Measure out milk and broth into a large measuring cup. Set aside.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil, followed by the ground beef. Season with salt, cook and break up the meat with a wooden spoon until most of the pink is cooked out.
- Add in the onions and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the dijon, chicken broth, milk and pasta. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until pasta is al dente, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the pasta is cooked through, remove from heat and stir in the cheeses and black pepper, stirring until the cheese is melted. Stir in the heavy cream. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of milk, the sauce will thicken a lot as it stands.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with more cheese, and fresh parsley or chives if desired.