Velveeta hamburger helper is a classic comfort meal that your entire family will love! Cheesy pasta, hearty meat, and lots of delicious flavors make this homemade hamburger helper recipe a go-to for a quick weeknight dinner and any family with picky eaters.
What is Velveeta hamburger helper?
Velveeta hamburger helper is a one-pot dish with ground beef, noodles, ketchup, and Velveeta cheese. It may not be fancy, but it’s an easy, satisfying meal and a family favorite.
I never had hamburger helper growing up because it wasn’t something my mom would ever make. My husband Patrick, however, is somewhat of a burger fanatic, and this is one of his favorite dishes.
When my mother-in-law made this for us one night, I discovered how incredibly delicious homemade hamburger helper is.
I mean, who could say no to this meaty, cheesy pasta feast of noodles in a creamy, rich sauce with browned beef in it?! It’s so comforting, kid-friendly, and tastes miles better than the boxed stuff.
Now, it’s one of my favorite pasta dishes to cook for my family. It’s such a lifesaver on those busy nights when I haven’t planned ahead.
Velveeta cheeseburger mac is ready from start to finish in about 20 minutes since you don’t have to prep or chop any ingredients. And one-pot means clean-up will be minimal. That’s always a plus, right?
One pot-pasta is always a winner, especially on busy weeknights! For more tasty ideas, try our Velveeta beef stroganoff, 4-ingredient mac and cheese, chicken and rice, and this delicious salmon pasta.
To whip up Velveeta hamburger helper, you’ll need ground beef, noodles, and Velveeta cheese to start off the base of the dish. Then everything is cooked in one pot with seasonings, creating a delicious and hearty flavor. See the recipe card at the end of the post for exact measurements.
- Pasta: I like to use elbow macaroni or cavatappi noodles for this. Other small pasta like penne, rotini, or bow tie pasta would be great choices, too, so use what you have on hand.
- Ground beef: Lean ground beef works well here.
- Velveeta cheese melts into the sauce, making it wonderfully rich and luscious.
- Beef broth adds so much depth and infuses the noodles with flavor as they cook. Chicken broth or veggie stock can be substituted.
- Ketchup gives that classic hamburger taste. It adds a touch of sweetness and balances the other flavors. Feel free to use tomato paste if preferred.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are all you need to create amazing flavor.
- Cornstarch helps to thicken the sauce and creates a silky texture.
How to make Velveeta hamburger helper
Homemade hamburger helper with Velveeta only takes a few minutes to throw together, and your family will love it. Plus, it’s all cooked in one pot, which means clean-up will be a breeze!
#1: Fry ground beef
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the ground beef and break it up. Stir and cook the meat until it’s no longer pink, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the ketchup or tomato paste until well combined. Sprinkle the cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, and black pepper over the browned meat. Stir well to evenly distribute the spices.
#3: Cook pasta
Add the uncooked pasta and beef broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
#4: Melt in cheese
Stir in the cubed Velveeta cheese until melted into the sauce. Remove from the stove and let sit for a few minutes until the sauce thickens a little.
If needed, season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with freshly chopped parsley, if desired, and serve warm. Enjoy!
Hamburger helper hacks
As simple as it is, cheeseburger mac and cheese never fails to make everyone happy. I’ve come up with a few handy tips and tricks so that you can make this homemade Velveeta hamburger helper the best it can be!
- Pasta cooking time: I like to cook the pasta al dente for this cheeseburger macaroni recipe. Since the pasta will sit in the sauce, you don’t want it to get too soft or mushy. Just check the package instructions for the cooking time for al dente.
- Add more broth or water as needed. If you stove cooks hot, you may need to add a more beef broth or water to cook the noodles.
- Let the pot stand for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken up and makes it even yummier.
Wondering how you can customize this recipe? Let’s talk about some crave-worthy ingredient swaps and mix-ins you can add to your Velveeta hamburger helper!
- Meat options: You can choose ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground sausage to change up the flavor.
- Seasonings: Sprinkle in red pepper flakes or chili powder for a little heat. I also like to add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for some zing.
- Cheese: If you really don’t like to use Velveeta, you could try 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, Colby jack, Monterey jack, or any combination.
- Onion + garlic: You can certainly use fresh onion and garlic in this dish. Swap the onion powder for 1 white onion and replace the garlic powder with 3 finely minced garlic cloves.
- Veggies: Feel free to add vegetables to this Velveeta hamburger mac and cheese. Zucchini, mushrooms, peas, carrots, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower are all good options. Just add them when browning the meat.
- Creamed corn: A can of cream-style corn introduces great texture and makes the dish more nourishing.
What sides go with hamburger helpers
Velveeta hamburger mac and cheese is a full meal all in itself, and you don’t really need a side dish. But if you want, you can serve your hamburger helper with anything that typically goes well with hamburgers. The best sides for this dish include:
- Roasted vegetables
- Green salad or this tasty spinach caprese salad
- Garlic bread like olive oil garlic bread or hamburger bun garlic bread
How to store Velveeta hamburger helper
After your homemade hamburger helper has cooled, transfer it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It will be good for 2 to 3 days.
Freeze homemade hamburger helper with Velveeta
Put leftover hamburger helper in a freezer-friendly container, cover tightly, and label with the date. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat Velveeta cheeseburger mac
You can reheat Velveeta hamburger helper on the stove on medium heat until warmed through. Alternately, heat the pasta up in the microwave – whichever works best for you. If reheating frozen hamburger helper, let it defrost in the fridge first.
- 1 lb / 450 g ground beef
- 1/3 cup / 75 g / 2.6 oz ketchup (or tomato paste)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 lb / 450 g dry pasta (e.g., elbow macaroni or cavatappi noodles)
- 5 cups / 1200 ml / 40 fl oz beef broth
- 8 oz / 225 g Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
- Fry ground beef. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the ground beef and break it up. Stir and cook the meat until it’s no longer pink, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any fat remaining in the pot.
- Season. Stir in the ketchup or tomato paste until well combined. Sprinkle the cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, and black pepper over the browned meat. Stir well to evenly distribute the spices.
- Cook pasta. Add the uncooked pasta and beef broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
- Melt in cheese. Stir in the cubed Velveeta cheese until melted into the sauce. Remove from the stove and let sit for a few minutes until the sauce thickens a little.
- Serve. If needed, season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with freshly chopped parsley, if desired, and serve warm. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 633Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 2073mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 39g
Why use Velveeta for hamburger helpers?
Velveeta is a type of processed cheese product, similar to American cheese. It’s made with whey, milk, and other dairy products.
Velveeta is amazing in hamburger helper because it melts into the silkiest texture and makes the sauce incredibly smooth and creamy.
If you add regular cheddar to this type of dish, you might experience separation where the cheese splits into protein and fat.
Velveeta contains emulsifiers that ensure it never splits. Instead, it holds everything together and creates a wonderfully luscious sauce.
Of course, if you love the taste of sharp cheddar, you’re welcome to add a cup. Personally, I think there is no such thing as too much cheese in a dish.
Reasons to love homemade hamburger helper with Velveeta
- Classic hamburger flavors: This Velveeta cheeseburger mac delivers all the hamburger flavors you know and love. You’re going to enjoy the hearty flavor and gooey, cheesy goodness!
- Simple ingredients: The ingredients in this Velveeta cheeseburger macaroni recipe are super basic. It’s full of yummy products you probably have in your fridge on any given day.
- Quick + easy: One-pot pasta recipes make everyone’s life easier. This one requires minimal prep and is ready in 20-ish minutes. A complete meal in one dish!
More family dinner ideas
Are you on the look for easy and delicious recipes for your family? I know how important it is to find tried-and-true meals that everyone will like. That’s no easy task, so I’ve gathered a few of our favorites for you to help you save time finding the perfect ones!