Growing up, Hamburger Helper was a staple in my house. Both my parents worked full time, and with two hungry teenage boys to feed, Hamburger Helper was quick and cheap (I can’t lie…sometimes Mom had to make a double batch). Now that I’m feeding my own family, I understand the need to get food on the table quickly without spending a ton of money, so I came up with my own version of Hamburger Helper that doesn’t include powdered cheese.
1 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 tsp each of paprika and Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 cups of beef broth
2 cups of marinara
1/2 cup of heavy cream
8 oz of pasta
1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
How To Make
I always start with a diced onion and some olive oil in the skillet before I brown my beef. When the onion is soft I add the beef and season it with about half a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Always season meat with salt and pepper before cooking because the salt and pepper really bring out the flavor of the meat. Once you’ve drained the grease from your beef, add in the paprika, italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Don’t add the spices before draining the grease or you’ll lose a lot of the spice flavor to the grease. You can add more salt and pepper if you like at this point as well.
Next, add everything but the cheese! Add in the minced garlic, beef broth, marinara, heavy cream, and 8 ounces of pasta to the skillet and stir well. Too much pasta will lead to not enough sauce, so make sure you measure the pasta (I learned this the hard way). Simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes until the pasta is tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally.
Once the pasta is cooked, top with mozzarella cheese and place the lid back on the skillet until the mozzarella cheese is melted. Top with parmesan and enjoy!
The hardest part of this entire dish is dicing the onion! This homemade version of Hamburger Helper takes no more time than the boxed stuff (even with the box you still have to brown the beef), and is tastier and healthier!
I serve it with a side of broccoli or green beans and we have a healthy, balanced meal in under 30 minutes. This is such a popular dish in my family that we eat it almost weekly, which I love because it is so fast and easy to make. I know that you and your family will love this just as much as we do!
Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Use an oven-safe skillet so you are able to put it in the oven to melt the cheese.
Chopped spinach would be a great addition to add into this meal to add some extra veggies. If adding the spinach, add it in after the jar of marinara sauce.
I used freshly shredded mozzarella cheese for this recipe, but store bought shredded cheese would work too!
Shredding your own blocks of cheese creates a creamier consistency and the cheese melts easier.
Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes if you don’t want any spice in the meat.
I like using spiral pasta for this recipe, but really any pasta would work.
If you like this cheesy lasagna hamburger helper recipe, check out some of my other similar recipes!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp each of paprika and Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 2 cups of marinara
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 8 oz of pasta
- 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Brown your ground beef in a skillet with a chopped onion over medium heat
- Drain any extra grease once beef is browned and season the meat with salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes
- Add in minced garlic, beef broth, marinara, heavy cream, and pasta
- Stir well, cover that up with the lid, and simmer on medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes (stirring a couple times throughout)
- Once the pasta is cooked add mozzarella cheese over the top and let it sit covered until it melts or pop it in the oven under broil (if using an oven safe skillet)
- Top it with Parmesan cheese and serve