How to Make Hamburger Helper Better: Simple Tips for a Delicious Meal

pan of cooked hamburger helper

Hamburger Helper is a popular dish for those who prefer quick and convenient food. This dish is made with pasta and a creamy, cheesy sauce that is loaded with flavor.

While it is easy to make Hamburger Helper from scratch, using a box makes things much easier. However, most people complain that the boxed Hamburger Helper is quite bland or the flavors are not up to the mark.

If you are looking for ways to improve the flavors of your Hamburger Helper, there are a few simple ideas that you can try.

In this article, we will discuss how to make Hamburger Helper taste better, as well as provide a recipe for making it from scratch. We will also cover what to do with leftover Hamburger Helper and provide some additional recipes that you might enjoy.

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What is a Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger Helper is a pasta dish that is made from ground beef, pasta, and a creamy, thick, cheesy sauce. The dish is built upon the flavors of a hamburger but is more creamy. It is a simple, one-pot dish that is very quick and convenient to make.

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Although it can be made from scratch at home, the true popularity of this dish lies in the pre-made quick meal boxes that surfaced quite some time ago.

The dish was first introduced in 1971, and after that, different companies and brands launched their versions of Hamburger Helper. These boxes contain all the necessary ingredients that make cooking much easier and quicker.

How to Make Hamburger Helper from Scratch

Making homemade hamburger helper from scratch is a simple and easy process that takes no more than 30 minutes. The three main ingredients required are ground meat, pasta, and sauce.

To begin, cook the ground meat and set it aside. In the same pot, sauté onions and garlic to create a base for the sauce. Add all-purpose flour and broth to create a thick consistent sauce. Then, add tomatoes and pasta to the pot. Let the pasta cook in the broth until it is done.

Finally, add cream, cheese, and cooked meat to the pot. Allow everything to combine and serve. This easy one-pot recipe is perfect for a quick and delicious dinner. With no scary additives, it’s a wholesome and satisfying meal that your whole family will love.

How to Make Hamburger Helper Taste Better

Hamburger Helper is a quick and affordable meal that can be made with ground beef and a few seasonings.

However, the pre-made version might not have enough flavor for some people. Luckily, there are simple ways to improve the taste of Hamburger Helper. Here are a few ideas:

  • Meat: While ground beef is the traditional meat used in Hamburger Helper, you can experiment with other meats like chicken, turkey, or pork. You can even try seafood like tuna or shrimp for a unique flavor.
  • Vegetables: Adding vegetables like carrots, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms can add more color, flavor, and nutrients to your Hamburger Helper.
  • Broth: Beef broth is typically used in Hamburger Helper, but you can also try using chicken or vegetable broth for a lighter taste.
  • Cheese: Cheddar cheese is a popular choice for Hamburger Helper, but you can also try using mozzarella, parmesan, or Monterey Jack cheese. Combining two types of cheese can add extra richness and flavor.
  • Spices and Herbs: Adding spices and herbs like cumin, cayenne, paprika, or Italian herbs can enhance the flavors of your Hamburger Helper.

By using these simple ingredients, you can easily make your Hamburger Helper taste better. You can also experiment with different combinations of these ingredients to find the perfect flavor for you.

Hamburger Helper – the recipe

This Hamburger Helper recipe is a quick and easy dinner idea that can be made in just 35 minutes. It serves four people and requires only one pot or pan to make.

Nutritional Information

NutrientAmount per Serving
Carbohydrates35 g
Protein25 g
Fat23 g
Saturated Fat9 g
Cholesterol80 mg
Sodium900 mg
Potassium500 mg
Fiber3 g
Vitamin A10%
Vitamin C2%


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to the skillet and stir to combine.
  3. Add the hot water, milk, cornstarch, and elbow macaroni to the skillet and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it is melted and well combined.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious one-pan Hamburger Helper recipe.

This recipe is a great option for a quick and easy family dinner that kids will love. It is also a perfect casserole to make ahead of time and store in the pantry for busy weeknights.


The recipe requires 2 cups of pasta, 1 lb of lean beef mince, 2 tbsp of olive oil (divided), 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 chopped medium white onion, 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp of paprika, 1/2 cup of half-and-half, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, black pepper to taste, and salt to taste.


To prepare this dish, begin by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot. Once heated, add ground beef and cook using a wooden spoon for about 10 to 15 minutes or until it turns brown and all the liquid evaporates.

Once done, take it out of the pan onto a plate. In the same pan, add olive oil and chopped onions and cook for about 3 minutes until they are tender. Then, add minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Take the pan off the heat and add all-purpose flour. Saute for a minute. Now, slowly pour beef broth while constantly stirring until everything is unified. Place the pan back on the heat and add tomato sauce. Add paprika, thyme, rosemary, oregano, black pepper, and salt. Mix well.

Add uncooked pasta and mix well. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook at medium to low flame for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Add half-and-half shredded cheese and top with cooked ground beef. Mix well and let it simmer for a minute or two. Garnish as desired.

The dish can also be prepared in a Dutch oven or in a microwave. The total preparation time is approximately 30 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

What to Do with Leftover Hamburger Helper

Leftover Hamburger Helper can be repurposed in a variety of ways. One option is to create a casserole by combining the Hamburger Helper with vegetables and cheese and baking it until it becomes warm and bubbly.

Another option is to use the leftovers as a filling for pocket bread or tortilla sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for soup, mix the Hamburger Helper with broth and vegetables to create a hearty meal.

For a tasty snack, turn your leftover Hamburger Helper into a dip by mixing in some cream cheese and pairing it with crackers or chips. Finally, for a breakfast option, try heating up the leftovers in a skillet alongside scrambled eggs and cheese. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for longer storage.

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