This Velveeta Hamburger Helper is going to become an easy family favorite! Meat and tender pasta are simmered (in ONE pot!) with tomato sauce with flavorful spices and finished off with lots of creamy Velveeta cheese! The best part is– there is minimal chopping/prep AND it comes together in less than 30 minutes!
I ate Hamburger Helper quite often growing up and in my 20s and I have to admit…I LOVE IT!!! A pound of meat and that little box was all you needed for a satisfying meal!
This homemade version of hamburger helper (or Velveeta Cheese Burger Mac) comes together just as quickly as the boxed version, but tastes SO MUCH BETTER!
This easy dinner recipe is definitely one the entire family can get on board with! Whip up a simple salad while the pasta is cooking and you have a full meal in less than 30 minutes. #boom
If you need more one-pot pasta dishes, try this One Pot Spaghetti with Sausage, this One Pot Tuna Mac and Cheese, this cheesy Hamburger Casserole, or this nice, light One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this homemade cheeseburger macaroni:
Velveeta Cheese: The store-brand processed cheese is just fine, too.
Ground Beef: Lean ground beef works best since you don’t have to drain it! I use 90% lean.
Shell Macaroni: Elbow macaroni is also a great option.
HOW TO MAKE VELVEETA HAMBURGER HELPER: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Brown ground beef. Add onion and cook 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: Season with spices, then add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce.
Step 3: Add pasta and beef broth. Give everything a big stir. Then cover and simmer for 14-16 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
Step 4: Stir in Velveeta and cook 2-3 more minutes until melted.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Make sure to give the pasta a few big stirs a couple of times as it cooks to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- If pasta doesn’t seem done at the end of the cooking time, simply add a splash of beef broth a let it simmer for a few minutes more.
Don’t stress if the sauce seems a bit thin/watery at the end…it will thicken up if you let it stand for a few minutes.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Leftovers are delish the next day! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat leftovers in a pan over the stove. Add a splash of beef broth to help loosen up the pasta and sauce a bit. Reheating leftovers in the microwave is also quick and easy.
- Meat: Ground turkey and chicken are also great in place of ground beef.
- Chopped Bell Peppers: Add in some veggies like chopped bell peppers when you cook the onions.
- Heat: Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes will kick it up a bit.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Oh heck yes! Unlike the boxed stuff that contains ingredients like Maltodextrin, Monoglycerides, and other long words, this homemade version uses fresh, simple ingredients…and a little Velveeta to keep it interesting 🙂
Yes, you can use real cheese! Stir in 2-3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or your fave cheese) in place of the Velveeta.
TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
TRY THESE DELICIOUS RECIPES NEXT…
Velveeta Hamburger Helper
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped about 1 cup
- 1 heaping tsp tomato paste
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 1/2 cups uncooked medium shells or small elbow macaroni
- 4 cups beef broth
- 8 oz. Velveeta, at room temperature, cut into cubes
- Prep: Pull the Velveeta out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Brown Meat: In a large skillet or stockpot with a lid, over medium-high heat, add beef. Cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spoon as you go. Pro tip: Use a potato masher to get your meat broken up nice and fine.Add onion and cook 2-3 minutes more until onion is slightly soft.
- Season: Season meat with garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine all spices. Then, add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Add & Simmer: Add pasta and broth. Give everything a big stir. Bring to a boil, COVER, then turn to medium-low heat and simmer for 14-16 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir the pasta a few times during cooking to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Note: Every pasta has a slightly different cooking time. At the end of 14-16 minutes, if the pasta isn't quite done, just add a bit more beef broth and cook a couple minutes longer.
- Add Cheese: Uncover, and stir in Velveeta. Cook another 2-3 minutes until cheese is fully melted into the pasta. The sauce will thicken a bit after a few minutes, so if the dish seems too liquidy, just let it stand for a few minutes. If the pasta seems too dry, just add a little water or a splash of beef broth to thin it out a bit.Spoon into bowls and serve!