This cheesesteak pasta skillet meal comes together in a single pan in 30 minutes, making weeknight dinner a breeze. Ground beef, pasta, bell peppers, and onions are coated in a creamy sour cream and cheese sauce.
This one pan dinner makes the perfect weeknight comfort meal. If you grew up on hamburger helper, cheesesteak pasta may feel a little nostalgic!
Elbow macaroni, crumbled ground beef, onions, and bell pepper are coated in a flavorful sauce made with sour cream and shredded monterey jack cheese. This recipe has similar flavors to my recipe for cheesesteak style sloppy joes.
The best part is that this recipe comes together in a single sauté pan in about 30 minutes. All you need are some simple pantry ingredients to get started.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - can be substituted with olive oil.
- Bell pepper - any color of bell pepper will work in this recipe. Substitute with 2-3 chopped jalapenos for a hotter flavor.
- Ground beef - 85/15 ground beef works well in this recipe. If using a fattier ground beef, some grease may want to be drained from the pan after cooking and before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you have fresh garlic on hand, substitute the garlic powder with two cloves of minced garlic.
- Worcestershire sauce - can be substituted with soy sauce or steak sauce if needed. This adds a savory, umami flavor to your skillet meal.
- Beef broth - can be substituted with chicken or vegetable broth if needed, but beef broth will add the most complementary flavor.
- Macaroni - can be substituted with your favorite medium sized pasta, like cavatappi, penne, or farfalle. Remember to follow your pasta's package directions for al dente pasta.
- Sour cream - can be substituted with heavy cream.
- Monterey jack cheese - can be substituted with any freshly shredded melty cheese, like cheddar, pepper jack, or American cheese.
Skillet meal tips
If you've never made a homemade pasta skillet before, here are a few of my favorite 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.
- 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.
- It is important to properly measure your liquids and pasta for this recipe. Everything is cooked in a single pan, so you'll need an exact amount of liquid to cook your pasta. Improper measuring can lead to a runny sauce.
- Use freshly shredded cheese (cheese grated from a block) instead of pre-shredded cheese in a bag. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-clumping powder that makes your sauce grainy as it melts.
Variations and mix-ins
- A true cheesesteak from Philadelphia is not made with bell peppers (or ground beef, for that matter!). You're welcome to omit the bell peppers if you prefer. This recipe is similar to hamburger helper, not the sandwich.
- Try adding mushrooms along with the onions and peppers (this will give it a similar flavor to a ground beef stroganoff).
- Elbow macaroni can be substituted with cavatappi, penne, bow tie, or any medium sized pasta you have on hand.
- Ground beef can be substituted with cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken or thin sliced steak. If cooking steak or chicken in the pan, I recommend removing it from the pan before cooking your pasta, then stirring it back in at the end. This will ensure your meat doesn't dry out.
- For a richer, creamier sauce, double the amount of sour cream listed, or substitute with heavy cream.
I originally published this recipe in March 2019, and have since made some updates in January 2022. If you enjoyed the original recipe, here are the changes I made and why:
- Original recipe: half beef broth, half water. New recipe: all beef broth, more flavor.
- Original recipe: cavatappi pasta. New recipe: elbow macaroni. The smaller size better incorporates with the other ingredients.
- Original recipe: heavy cream. New recipe: sour cream, for a thicker, tangier, and lighter sauce. However, heavy cream can still be used in the new recipe.
- Original recipe: 8 ounces shredded cheese. New recipe: 4 ounces shredded cheese. The original recipe turned out very heavy - half the cheese does the job!
Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet Meal
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 16 ounces ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 20 ounces beef broth
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
- ½ cup sour cream, *
- 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, freshly shredded
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter. When melted, add diced onion and pepper to pan. Cook until veggies begin to turn brown around the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Crumble ground beef into the pan and use a spatula to break beef into small pieces. Allow to cook, undisturbed, until you see brown, crisp edges on the ground beef. Flip over and redistribute, allowing the other side to brown. (Optionally, drain any excess grease from the pan at this time).
- Add salt, garlic powder, pepper, worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and pasta to pan. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook your pasta to "al dente" according to your pasta's package directions.
- Remove lid. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Add sour cream and shredded cheese to pan. Stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and allow to set for five minutes to allow sauce to thicken (pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it stands).
- *Sour cream can be doubled, or substituted with heavy cream, for a richer sauce.
- Cheese should be freshly grated. Bagged, pre-shredded cheese is coated in a powder to prevent clumping, which can cause your sauce to be grainy.
- 20 ounces beef broth = 2.5 liquid cups
- It is important to accurately measure your broth and pasta for this recipe. As written, you'll have just enough liquid to cook your pasta, without leaving excess liquid in the pan.