Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Meal is a from-scratch version of the classic Hamburger Helper. Beef and macaroni come together in a cheesy and flavorful seasoned sauce. All you need is a single pan and thirty minutes.
Looking for a nostalgic, but homemade meal? If you grew up on hamburger helper, you’ll love this one-pan cheeseburger macaroni. Macaroni and ground beef are coated in a cheesy, creamy, seasoned sauce.
The best part? This skillet meal is ready in 30 minutes or less. Plus, you only need a single saute pan – no extra pans for boiling pasta or cooking meat.
If you’re like me and enjoy cooking from scratch, you may prefer the taste of natural flavors and seasonings to artificial flavors. While this recipe is not exactly like the boxed version, I enjoy it even more.
For this recipe, you’ll need beef broth, milk, canned crushed tomatoes, ground beef, diced onions, spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper), macaroni, and sharp cheddar cheese.
Freshly shredded cheese
For this recipe, and generally all of my skillet meals that have cheesy sauces, I recommend freshly grating your cheese.
Pre-shredded cheese from the grocery store is often coated in a powder to prevent clumping, which in turn can cause your sauce to become grainy.
If this is all you have on hand, it should melt and taste just fine. But, keep in mind there may be a texture to your sauce.
Pasta skillet meal tips
If you’ve never made a homemade skillet meal before, here are a few tips for success.
- Is your food sticking to the pan? Add a bit of liquid and turn the heat down – your stove is too hot. Stoves all run at slightly different temperatures, even if they’re turned to the same setting. Yours may run hot.
- Sauce look thin? If your sauce looks thin when you’re done cooking, allow the pan to sit for 5 minutes, uncovered. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it stands.
- When measuring your broth and water, use a liquid measuring cup – this is different than a dry measuring cup (something you’d use for sugar and flour). Otherwise, you won’t be adding enough liquid to the pan.
- Use fresh shredded cheese (ex: cheese grated from a block) instead of pre-shredded cheese in a bag. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-clumping powder that will make your sauce grainy as it melts.
Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Meal
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 8 ounces macaroni uncooked
- 14 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Crumble ground beef into pan and add onion. Cook until beef is browned. Drain excess grease from pan if needed.
- Add paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, beef broth, milk, crushed tomatoes, and macaroni. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8 minutes, or until macaroni is al dente (refer to macaroni package directions). Stir once halfway through to scrape the bottom and catch any macaroni that may be sticking.
- Remove lid. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Serve and enjoy.
- Freshly shredded cheese is highly recommended for this recipe. Packaged, pre-shredded cheese often contains powder coating the cheese to prevent clumping. This can cause your sauce to become gritty.
- Other pastas can be used instead of macaroni - bow ties and shells are great alternatives. Check package directions and boil to al dente.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator and reheated for 2 days.