One Pot Homemade Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

by | Mar 7, 2024

Growing up, we had Hamburger Helper at least once a week it seemed.  My favorite was the cheeseburger hamburger helper.

As a dietitian and mom, I not only wanted my kids to enjoy this tasty comfort meal, but also add more nutritional value so I developed my own homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper recipe.

Experience the nostalgia of your favorite childhood meal with this upgraded homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper.

Ingredients for Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper ingredients

What’s great about making homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper is that it uses one pan and pretty basic ingredients that you may already have lying around. 

Medium pasta shells

Using medium pasta shells gives it the full effect of traditional cheeseburger hamburger helper.  However, you can use any pasta you’d like, you may just have to adjust the cooking time and liquid to ensure the pasta doesn’t get over or under cooked. 

Ground beef

Feel free to swap out the ground beef for ground turkey, chicken, or bison.  You can even eliminate the ground beef, and opt for vegetable stock for a meatless hamburger helper.  

Beef bone broth

Bone broth has more protein than regular broth, therefore I like to use it wherever I can to give my picky eaters a little more protein with each bite.  

You’re welcome to use beef broth instead!

Shredded cheddar cheese

Feel free to purchase pre shredded cheese, but lately I’ve been buying block cheese and shredding it myself.  My kids also like to help out with this part.


Nothing fancy here, just plain old flour. 


Personally, I don’t care what kind of onion you use, but white or yellow onions seem to work well in this dish. 

Tomato sauce

I always make sure I have a few cans of tomato sauce in my pantry because you never know when you’re going to need it. I like to by the smaller 8 oz cans since it seems like most of the recipes I’ve made lately don’t require the full 15 oz can of tomato sauce. 

Olive oil


Garlic powder

Italian seasoning

Heavy whipping cream

Equipment for Hamburger Helper

  • Large sauté pan with lid
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cheese grater, optional
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Making Homemade Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

As I mentioned, this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper is made in one pan – yay for less dishes!

First you’ll start by washing and dicing your onion and sauteing with minced garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes, or until translucent.  

I accidentally forgot to add the onions and minced garlic when I made this dish until after the hamburger was done browning – whoops! Don’t worry if this happens, you can still add the diced onion to the dish up until you add the cream and cheese. 

Once your onions are translucent, you’ll add your ground beef and cook until all meat is browned. 

Remove your beef and onion mixture, but leave the grease!  Here you’ll add the flour and make a roux, whisking the flour and grease together until well combined, 1-2 minutes.

Next add your bone broth, tomato sauce, seasonings, and pasta.  From here you’ll give it a good stir, cover with a lid, and turn down to low to simmer until the pasta is cooked.  Feel free to stir the pasta occasionally.  This process should take 10-15 minutes.

Once your pasta is cooked, you’ll add back the beef and onions and mix in the cream and shredded cheese until it’s completely melted.  

Pasta dishes like this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper taste best after you’ve let it sit for a few minutes to continue to thicken up.  

I always enjoyed hamburger helper growing up with a slice of buttered bread and veggies and today I offer the same to my family. 


You can make a meatless hamburger helper by omitting the beef all together.  

Change up the protein and add ground turkey, chicken, or bison.

Easily turn this into a homemade taco hamburger helper by adding taco seasoning instead of the garlic, paprika, and Italian seasoning.  Give it an Italian flare with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

If you have a picky eater who enjoys homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper, try helping them get used to variety by simply switching up the type of pasta you use. 

Can You Make a Meatless Hamburger Helper? 

You can make this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper a meatless hamburger helper simply by omitting the ground beef, or opting for a meatless ground meat option.

If you’d like to make this homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper vegetarian, swap the beef bone broth for vegetable broth.  

Can You Freeze Hamburger Helper?

There are many foods you can easily freeze, however, homemade pasta dishes are not one of them.  It’s not that you can’t freeze it, but the quality isn’t the best once you freeze it.  Typically the pasta will get mushy and over cooked once you reheat it.  

How to Store and Reheat Hamburger Helper

Homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper makes for great leftovers. I never thought I’d love leftovers as much as I do now that I’m a mom.  Leftovers means a night off from cooking for once.  

To safely store your leftover homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for three to five days.  I love the Rubbermaid Brilliance Air Tight containers.

When reheating leftover homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper, I find it easiest to spread a shallow amount on a plate or in a bowl and reheat in the microwave for a two to three minutes, giving it a stir to make sure it’s cooked through. 

The microwave doesn’t heat foods evenly, leaving hotspots in your leftovers.  Always make sure to cook your leftovers thoroughly to minimize any food safety risk.  And when in doubt, throw it out. 

You can also reheat the leftover hamburger helper in a pot on the stove, but you may want to add more broth or a splash of milk to make it creamy again.

Sides for Hamburger Helper

homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper

My favorite way to enjoy hamburger helper now, and growing up, is with a slice of buttered bread and a side of fresh green beans.  

When I was younger I’d top my buttered bread with hamburger helper and make a kind of hamburger helper sandwich taco.  It was so tasty!

Even though this recipe has a cheeseburger vibe to it, french fries are not one of the first sides for hamburger helper that I think of.  Here’s a few sides for hamburger helper that make sense:

  • Roasted broccoli
  • Fresh green beans
  • Frozen steamer Corn
  • Dinner Roll
  • Buttered Bread
  • Crescent rolls
  • Broccoli tots
  • Fresh fruit
  • Roasted brussel sprouts

Other Recipes You’ll Love

One Pot Chili Mac

Smash Burger Tacos

Pizza Pasta

Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

Sheet Pancakes

Hidden Veggie Mac N Cheese

Peanut Butter Ramen Noodles

The Best English Muffin Pizza Recipe 

Easy Costco Dinner Ideas

Homemade Snack Mix

homemade cheeseburger hamburger helper

Homemade Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American


  • Large nonstick sauté pan with lid
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board


  • 8 oz Pasta shells medium (half a 16 oz box)
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 16 oz Bone broth or beef broth
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 8 oz Tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese shredded


  • In a large sauté pan, add olive oil, minced garlic, and onion and sauté for roughly 2 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Add raw ground beef and brown until thoroughly cooked. Remove ground beef and set aside, keeping the grease in the pan. Add flour to the grease in the pan and whisk until well combined.
  • Add bone broth, tomato sauce, pasta, and seasonings. Mix ingredients together, turn heat to low, and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Mix back in the ground beef and add the cream and shredded cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted.
  • Turn the heat off and let the pasta sit for 5 minutes to cool and settle slightly before enjoying.
Hi! I'm Alex Turnbull. I'm a registered dietitian specializing in introducing solids and picky eating. Most importantly, I'm a mom of two so I get how stressful feeding kids can be.

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