Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe (2024)



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Cassie W.

This 4-serving gutbuster clocks in at over 1,100 calories per serving. I lightened it up by omitting the bacon, using half-and-half and 93% ground beef. I easily divided it into 6 servings with a salad on the side.


Made as directed, following others' suggestions to cut down on the hot sauce. Delicious! And worked very well using gluten-free macaroni.Although after spending a good hour and a half in the kitchen -- on a recipe inspired by a convenience product, of all things -- my teen son and I decided it would more accurately be titled "Hamburger Complicater."


I got drunk and made this when my fiancee wasn't home and got all these stains on my undershirt when I ate it (I spilled on myself) and it was so good and I don't even care.

Andrea V.

I used 1/4 cup of mild buffalo wing sauce (Noble Made) and subbed a head of steamed cauliflower cut to 1/2 inch florets instead of the macaroni. Leave out most of the broth (used about a TBSP), combine the cream, hot sauce, cheeses and broth, then mix in the already steamed florets. Makes an amazing lower carb option.


Why couldn’t you just cook the bacon first? There’s no need for 1/4 c of oil if you use the FIVE STRIPS of bacon and drippings to cook the onions and garlic, and then the ground beef. I cannot see throwing away added oil when you have the bacon drippings?!


I honestly don't know why anyone would make a cheese, cream, pasta, bacon and beef dish and then try to reduce carbs and fat. I followed the directions exactly and not only drained the fat off but dumped all the beef etc onto a paper towel in step 4 and then continued. 1/4 c. of hot sauce sounded like a lot to me too so I waited until all the ingredients were together and added some sriracha and red chili flakes a little at a time to taste. This homemade version is SO. GOOD.


yes, the american cheese from the *deli* is what is meant to be used here due to its amazing ability to melt like a dream. the recipe isn't calling for Kraft American "Cheese" slices. it makes all the difference, trust me :)


To those who don’t have to count calories/fat/etc., I salute you!—but I just couldn’t face my trainer if I’d made as written. (1/4 c oil to sauté a single onion?) So: 1 T oil, lean turkey instead of beef, no bacon, low-fat milk instead of cream, 3 slices of Gouda instead of 5 slices of American (bc American cheese gives me flashbacks to the elementary school lunchroom). I’m sure it wasn’t as good as the recipe as written—but it was delicious nonetheless!


Made this strictly by recipe tonight for dinner. Yeah, time consuming. Yeah, plenty of stage cooking. Yeah, heavy meal. But what a payoff. Absolutely delicious! Kept all ingredients as written and... I dunno what all these comments about “too spicy” are about. Used Franks Original RetHot and it was perfect! A lot of white folk Wonder Bread palates up in here. This is perfect winter comfort food, and I thank you for the recipe!


On the basis of your recommendations (including nix the hot sauce for small kids thank you) I’m going to put together the cooked components for my harried daughter to keep on her freezer. For one of the days the toddler is hiding things in the trash can, the 5 year old just got busted at school for kissing a girl, and the tween is annoyed by it all. Mom will only have to nuke the parts, cook pasta and serve. Thank you nyt you’ve never steered me wrong.


Am cheese is often used because the additives that give it its rubbery texture also make it melt without getting stringy and will help the cheddar in this dish remain creamy too.I worked in a deli in college; the Am cheese sliced off a 5 lb loaf is exactly the same as the individual slices in a cello pack. Either will work, and it depends on how much you want left over after making this recipe, but you really shouldn't skip it.


We don’t love spice so we didn’t use hot sauce. I used 1/2 paprika and 1/2 ancho chili powder instead and it was delicious!


We are fans of spice but wish I had reduced hot sauce by a 1/3 so that folks could adjust to taste when served. (I used just a touch more than 1/4 cup of Frank's) Made this primarily for our elementary school aged family members and it was a bit too spicy for them. Adults loved this elevated comfort food recipe.


I used 1/4 c of Tapatio and it was a bit too spicy even for spice-lovers. Very, very tasty comfort food, but would cut that hot sauce in half to avoid the inferno.

Rachel S

Whew! Heavy duty! Delicious, but whoa. Heavy and a lot of work, so it might be a one-time dish for us. Subbed GF pasta, pancetta for the bacon, and added 2 tablespoons of Cholula based on reviews that 1/4 cup was too spicy. The Cholula made this, though - yum! We also don't love American cheese, so we just used shredded cheddar and it was PLENTY cheesy.


This is a keeper. I omitted the canola oil. Instead I browned the bacon, drained it on paper towel, then used the rendered fat to sauté the onion. Used 1/4 c Texas Pete and it was just the right amount of heat for us.


I had leftover porcupine meatballs which cut down on cooking time, used some old red wine, skipped the bacon, and used sour cream since I didn’t have cream. Yum

Amanda B.

1/4 c hot sauce is too much, it robs the flavor. Couldn’t taste the beef or the bacon. Disappointing. Would make again with only 1 T hot sauce. I used Tobasco. Might have been passable with Chiloula.


My 3 year old has proclaimed this the best ever Mac n cheese. High praise!


I’m not usually one to suggest changing recipes and making them healthier, I love a rich dish. But this recipe might be the exception. It was like a brick in my stomach, and after the work of making it, I didn’t wanna feel gross like that. I’d make some of the changes people have suggested and swap out the heavy cream, use rendered bacon fat instead of adding more oil, maybe even add some peas or something. It will still be very delicious and indulgent but won’t make you feel straight up ill.


If you’re on a diet skip this. If you think you can make it taste good by cutting corners, don’t bother. I double it up, using a full pack of bacon, a 2lb bag of cavatappi pasta. Sometimes i buy the 1/2 pork and 1/2 beef from the store and that’s great as well. Cook the bacon with the onions and you can get a better brown on the beef. Get the pan screaming hot before you add the wine. Also I’ve found Valentina is the best for this hot sauce wise. Makes for a richer consistency

E. Lee

Fantastic! I kept to the instructions the first three times, and it was delicious. The fourth time, (so I could pretend it was slightly nutritious) I added a 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes after browning the bacon and before adding the beef. Even better!!


Quick caramelized the onions with 1 Tb butter and substituted ground pork as it was hanging out in the fridge. Used only 1/2c. wine since that was all that was left in the bottle. Omitted the hot sauce, and ended up with about 1c. of grated cheese after combining the odds and ends in the cheese drawer. Followed the recipe as written otherwise, and had an excellent lunch on the table in about 30 minutes. Next time I think I’ll add in a couple of shredded zucchini, and cut back the cream…

Mary Alice M.

Would make again but pull way back on the hot sauce and smoked paprika. I was also confused by the instruction to "dice" the onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Dicing is cutting into 1/4 inch squares. Well, it didn't affect the final product too much.


Fantastic revamp of comfort food


Really tasty - i would put this in the “comfort “ food category. I would not add any salt at all until the very end - it’s pretty salty already!


I’m a huge Louisiana or Texas Pete hot sauce fan, love spice and love this recipe. I may still be partial to the other NYTC fancy hamburger helper recipe with the Italian sausage mostly because it adds greens… maybe some of you who didn’t look at the ingredients and realize this isn’t the “healthiest” recipe should try that one!


It’s delicious. My trick to cut some calories is to use a can of evaporated milk instead of cream, you won’t notice the difference, it’s just as creamy. Also, precook the bacon and no need to add oil, even when you drain most of the fat.


You could modify this recipe multiple ways to make it healthy, but honestly if you want to do that maybe look for something different - healthy - to cook. A little bit of decadence here and there isn't going to kill you.


I hate wine, so I skipped step 5. Added a few tablespoons of tomato paste at that time for a bit of richness. My grocery order came with half & half instead of heavy cream, so I used that. I only added a few good splashes of hot sauce, knowing folks could add more at the end if they wanted it. I cooked the bacon first and added the onions to that, omitting the oil entirely. Perhaps should have removed the cooked bacon until later and just used the fat. Still turned out great!

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Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe (2024)


What makes Hamburger Helper taste better? ›

Moreover, you can also combine two kinds of cheese and use them in this dish for extra richness and cheesiness. Spices and herbs: spices and herbs are the best way to improve the flavors of any dish. Add cumin, cayenne, paprika, or Italian herbs to the hamburger helper to make it taste better.

What does Hamburger Helper have in it? ›

As boxed, it consists of a dried carbohydrate (often pasta or rice), with powdered seasonings contained in a packet. The consumer is meant to combine the contents of the box with browned ground beef ("hamburger"), water, and, with some varieties, milk to create a complete one-dish meal.

What was the original Hamburger Helper? ›

The brand made its national debut in August 1971. With five flavors – Beef Noodle, Potato Stroganoff, Hash, Rice Oriental and Chili Tomato, it was an instant success. More than one in four – 27 percent – of U.S. households purchased Hamburger Helper in its first year.

How to make a hamburger in 5 steps? ›

  1. Heat the grill. Heat an outdoor grill to high heat (about 450°F), or until you can hold your hand an inch over the grates for only one second. ...
  2. Season the beef. Place the ground beef on a baking sheet and gently pat it into a log about 2 feet long. ...
  3. Shape the patties. ...
  4. Grill the burgers. ...
  5. Assemble the burgers.

Do you absolutely need milk for Hamburger Helper? ›

Absolutely. Since milk adds a creamy texture to the Hamburger Helper sauce, it or its substitutes are recommended as a major ingredient to flavorful Hamburger Helper meals. For best results, choose plant milk or a milk substitute that is sweet or savory, depending on the meal type.

What thickens Hamburger Helper? ›

Cornstarch will help thicken the sauce for a creamier and more silky cheese sauce.

What can I add to Hamburger Helper to give it more flavor? ›

Colby jack, Monetary Jack, or mozzarella will give you a mild flavor. For a spicy Hamburger Helper, try pepper jack. Hot Sauce. A dash of hot sauce adds the perfect amount of dimension and interest.

What makes Hamburger Helper unhealthy? ›

Hamburger Helper contains a ridiculous amount of sodium

But when you dive into what the ingredients provided in the box actually are, you may end up consuming close to your daily recommended amount of sodium.

Can I use mayo instead of milk in Hamburger Helper? ›

Mayonnaise: Surprisingly, mayonnaise can be used as a substitute for milk. It adds tanginess and blends well with the other flavors in the dish [2]. Stock: If you can't consume dairy, using stock or broth can add flavor to your Hamburger Helper. Beef or vegetable stock works well [2].

Can you use evaporated milk in Hamburger Helper? ›

Milk adds a creamy texure and lends its flavor to the sauce in Hamburger Helper. You may not enjoy the results made with only water. Betty's Emrgency Substitutions page suggests a substitution for a cup of milk: 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water; or nonfat dry milk prepared as directed on package.

Why does Hamburger Helper not taste the same? ›

The manufacturer conducted taste tests and concluded that American consumers prefer milder flavors than they used to, and it changed the recipe accordingly. If this is the case, it is unlikely that the recipe will be changed back. As we get older, our senses of taste and smell fade.

Why did they change Hamburger Helper? ›

In 2022, Eagle Foods took charge of Hamburger Helper from General Mills and they've just updated the meals. There are 30 different kinds of Hamburger Helper that have been improved to make dinner time even easier. Preparing these one-pan meals is faster than before, with cooking times reduced by about 15%.

Can you eat old Hamburger Helper? ›

Unopened Hamburger Helper can typically remain safe to consume for about 12 months past the "best by" date if stored in a cool, dry place. The package's expiration date provides a reliable estimate of how long the product will maintain its best quality.

Why did Hamburger Helper change? ›

Hamburger Helper Reformulates Its Box Meals

But faster cooking time isn't the only big change in Hamburger Helper. The company also adjusted sauces, pasta, and flavor ingredients based on consumer feedback. You can expect robust herbs, spices, and flavors in the entire product lineup.

How much milk and water for Hamburger Helper? ›

  1. 1 5.8-ounce package of Hamburger Helper (contains sauce mix and dry pasta)
  2. 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (at least 80% lean)
  3. 2 1/4 cups milk.
  4. 2 2/3 cups hot water.
May 13, 2022

How to make Hamburger Helper with water? ›

  1. 1 (6 ounce) box Hamburger Helper double cheeseburger macaroni (including macaroni and cheese sauce packets)
  2. 12 1/2 lb ground beef or 1/2 lb pork sausage.
  3. 3 cups water.
  4. 1 12 cups half-and-half.
  5. 12 cup water.

Do you double ingredients for 2 boxes of Hamburger Helper? ›

To make two boxes, follow the range top directions, but use double the amount of added ingredients listed in the directions for one box (margarine and water, for example). Use the sauce mix and pasta from both of the boxes.

Do you cook the noodles before Hamburger Helper? ›

One-Pan Dinner.

The secret to keeping this recipe easy AND achieving maximum creaminess is to cook the noodles in the pan with the other ingredients (just like my Chili Mac and Cheese).


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