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Love that classic childhood boxed favorite, but want to make it all homemade and healthier? This Healthy Hamburger Helper recipe is your solution, and it’s all made in one pot and so delicious!

Healthy hamburger helper in a pan.Healthy Hamburger Helper

We are all about quick and easy dinners, using minimal ingredients and this Homemade Hamburger Helper is definitely a winner. It’s made all in one pot, with items you likely already have in your pantry and will surely be a hit with everyone. It is reminiscent of that version you might remember as a kid, only it uses real ingredients so it tastes so much better! Did I mention it takes about 30 minutes to cook?  Save this recipe and hang it on your fridge for the next time you need dinner fast.

Healthy hamburger helper in a pot.

Ingredients Needed

  • Ground Beef
  • Elbow Macaroni (we use gluten-free!)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spices
  • Canned Diced Tomato
  • Beef Broth
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

What Type of Pasta to Use

We tested this one pot pantry pasta with a different types of gluten-free pasta and with traditional wheat pasta as well. It all worked the same! 

When you are cooking this, the recipe calls for you to cook the pasta as long as the package directions call for so be sure to check for that information on the pasta package.

Two servings of homemade hamburger helper.

How One Pot Pasta Works

If you are new to the concept of cooking pasta all in one pot, let me explain how it works! Typically pasta is cooked separately in lots of boiling water, then drained before being used in whatever dish you are making. But a one pot pasta instead boils the pasta directly in whatever “sauce” you are using. Instead of just filling the pot with water, a precise amount is added to ensure that when the pasta is finished cooking, there is just enough liquid leftover to make your sauce. The resulting sauce is “creamier” because any starch that is leftover in the cooking liquid is left in the pot, instead of being discarded when draining the pasta. Because it’s all cooked in one pot, follow the directions and ingredient amounts precisely to ensure the correct amount of sauce leftover at the end.

Also note that when the pasta is finished cooking, the sauce might look like it is too watery. It will thicken in about 5 minutes to be the perfect amount, so have patience.

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Hamburger helper.


5 from 32 votes
Love that classic childhood boxed favorite, but want to make it all homemade and healthier? This Healthy Hamburger Helper recipe is your solution, and it's all made in one pot and so delicious!
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 15 ounce can diced tomato
  • 3-1/2 cups beef broth
  • 12 ounce gluten-free elbow macaronia
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Parsley for serving


  • Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the beef and cook until no pink remains. Remove any excess fat.
  • Add in the salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, diced tomatos and broth and bring up to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the pasta to the pot and cook for as long as the package instruction states (if package says to cook pasta for 10 minutes, cook for 10 minutes), stirring every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
  • Once the pasta is cooked through, shut off the heat and add the cheese. Stir together, then let the pasta sit for 5 minutes while the sauce continues to thicken up.
  • Garnish with parsley, and serve!


Serving: 1/4 recipeCalories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 34gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 3g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Lexi

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this so many times now, figured I’d leave a review as a thank you! The recipe is wonderful, as it, but I typically add some “magic mushroom” powder or coconut aminos and mixed frozen veggies as an added nutritional boost. Love it, Lexi, thank you!

  2. I’ve made this several times, and followed the recipe as is. It’s so easy and tasty. A great recipe for a one pot meal. The only negative, (hardly any leftovers). lol Thank you for this new, healthier version of an older, unhealthy box favorite. It’s a keeper!

  3. 5 stars
    Weirdly enough, I never had hamburger helper growing up, but I always wanted some! Thank you 90s commercials. Lol. This was soooo yummy. Exactly what I dreamed it would taste like, and it was an easy, one pot, pantry meal. Thanks again, Lexi! Your recipes are always my go-to.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made this before and we had it again tonight. It’s easy to put together with no fuss. Just throw together a salad, heat up some good bread and you have a filling, delicious dinner.

  5. 5 stars
    This was a crowd pleaser at our house! One bite in, my daughter asked to add this to the list of favorite recipes. I accidentally bought tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes, so that’s what I used. A great quick one pot recipe for a busy day!

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this recipe! I have made it many times now, I love how easy it is and that it’s made with simple ingredients that I have on hand. It tastes amazing and is just as good when you take the leftovers for lunch.

  7. I love this recipe! I’m making it tonight and was thinking of adding in some broccoli – trying to get more veggies in every meal. Do you think it would still taste good?

  8. This looks delicious! Do you think I could substitute a can of tomato sauce instead of diced? I have picky eaters who don’t like tomato chunks. Should I adjust the amount of beef broth? Thanks!

  9. Another great recipe! Lexi makes me feel like I don’t suck at cooking! Always so easy and SO good. Love this recipe and had a bunch of leftovers which is awesome! Thank you!!!

  10. So good! This recipe absolutely reminded me of one of my childhood favorites, hamburger helper. Except… this one is healthy and preservative free. Super comforting on a cold winter evening. I did everything by the book other than using bison instead of beef. ( that’s what I had on hand)