Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet // Video

This easy, one-pot dinner is a copy of the popular Hamburger Helper version.  Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet uses “from scratch” ingredients to recreate this classic comfort dish in minutes.  Flavorful and kid-approved, this is clean eating at it’s finest. 

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet | The Suburban Soapbox #cheeseburgermacaroni #skillet

Cheesburger Macaroni….those two words were my favorite to hear when I would ask my mom “what’s for dinner.”  I absolutely LOVED Hamburger Helper’s Cheeseburger Macaroni.  It was so simple and cheesy and filled with carbs.  And browned ground beef….which I could easily just eat out of the pan and be really, really happy.  Simple can be cool.  And nostalgic and just in case you were wondering, mom….I used to eat about half the beef out of the skillet when you weren’t looking.  Sorry….I have no self-control.

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet | The Suburban Soapbox #cheeseburgermacaroni #skillet

When I moved out on my own and was living the single life….with a three-year old in tow (not so single, single), I made Hamburger Helper almost every single week.  It was inexpensive and quick….and if I ate all the ground beef before I whipped up the macaroni and cheese part, Katie didn’t even know.  (or miss it for that matter, hence her love for boxed mac and cheese today.) It was glorious….until I sat down to eat dinner and I, too, was eating boxed mac and cheese.  Over the years, I realized I was just sabotaging myself at this point so I stopped gorging myself on the ground beef.

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet | The Suburban Soapbox #cheeseburgermacaroni #skillet

As I started learning my way around the kitchen, I dabbled with ditching some convenience foods and making them from scratch.  It was pretty amusing at times….you learn things like cornstarch (or flour) must never, ever, ever be added at the end of cooking to an already hot dish (clump city, friends) and sometimes you don’t even need cornstarch as a thickener…or flour.  If you’re cooking with pasta, the starch itself will thicken up the sauce making things super creamy and the perfect consistency.  Also, you learn a lot of convenience foods are not that convenient anyway.  I made this Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet in just about the same amount of time it takes to make the Hamburger Helper version.  Plus…a bonus….there’s no flour in the sauce, so if you’re gluten-free you can switch out the regular semolina pasta for your favorite gluten-free version.

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet | The Suburban Soapbox #cheeseburgermacaroni #skillet

If you don’t count salt, pepper and water….this Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet recipe doesn’t require more then 7 ingredients.  You probably already have everything you need to make it right now….and the one-pot deal keeps things clean in the kitchen.  I hate dishes more than anyone I know, in fact, I have a sink full 80% of the time.  I hate it, I try to keep up but this blogging thing kinda makes it difficult.  So, one-pot dishes are king in this house.  I’m sure you all agree.

And if you’re looking for more skillet recipes (Just like this Hamburger Helper copycat….Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet), check out these family favorites!

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet

The BEST kid friendly dinner around, this Hamburger Helper copy cat Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet is fast, easy and always vanishes in minutes. So good!
4.6 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 435 kcal


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 vidalia onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (or broth
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 5 slices american cheese cut into small pieces


  • In a large skillet over med-high heat, brown the ground beef until completely cooked and no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat.
  • Add the onion to the pan and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Return the beef to the pan. Stir in the milk, chicken stock and macaroni. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn to heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Serve immediately.


Serving: 0gCalories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 29gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 716mgPotassium: 500mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 460IUVitamin C: 2.4mgCalcium: 412mgIron: 2.4mg
Keyword cheeseburger, macaroni, skillet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

55 comments on “Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet // Video”

  1. I need to make this for dinner sometime!

  2. I know a certain grown up boy in my family who would be all over this! Can’t wait to try it!

  3. I want to reach through the screen and grab a fork full of this

  4. So much better than packaged and store bought! Looks super creamy with all that awesome cheese!

  5. I know my grandsons would LOVE this!!!

  6. I have a version of hamburger helper I make at home and it’s honestly one of my favorite meals of all time. I need to try your version!

  7. Ah, yes! Hamburger helper. 🙂 Your skillet dinner isn’t even comparable. It looks fantastic!

  8. Oh yes, I had many of those “learning experiences” when I first started cooking. They didn’t always turn out so well. 🙂 This macaroni looks like the ultimate comfort food!

  9. This sounds absolutely fantastic; Hamburger Helper was my go to food as well when I first lived on my own. Easy and quick but your skillet sounds so much better and yes, I have not eaten hamburger helper in a very, very long time 🙂

  10. Aaaah yes, older and wiser… 😉 It is pretty amazing once you learn that from scratch doesn’t only taste better, it’s also just as quick. I love your from scratch version of Cheeseburger Mac, and so would my kids!

  11. We use to eat a lot of Hamburger Helper before I learned how to cook. But this looks like a much better version! I love that it’s one pot too! Awesome a winner in my book!

  12. This looks great! I am totally guilty of eating a lot of hamburger helper growing up. It was just so easy! However, this look about a million times better 🙂

  13. This is just amazing. We ate a lot of hamburger helper when I was a teenager. My mom passed away when I was 15, and none of the rest of us knew how to cook, let alone how to do anything else. Mom was like a superhero, she did everything and we never realized it. I was left with my dad, 2 brothers, then 2 of my brothers’ friends moved in, and my cousin. So I lived with 6 dudes. They hated to cook so we ate hamburger helper all the time. What is funny is I still crave it now, and I’m 46. You never grow out of it. I love making my own too. I’m going to give your version a whirl. Sending it to my son too. He’s been really enjoying cooking lately, so I think he’s going to really dig this recipe.

    ps I still eat all the hamburger out of the pan. lol

  14. We never had HH growing up however almost every week my day would put the bug square electric frying pan on our huge wood kitchen table and make macaroni and beef….I dreaded it….truly. Blech! It was just macaroni, beef and red sauce added in – if he had thought to do this…the cheese alone would have made it a whole different story…YUMMM!

  15. Would you believe that I’ve never actually has hamburger helper? I know, right! This looks really good though. I could totally eat this any night.

  16. I definitely made some of the same mistakes when I first started making things from scratch. It’s kind of funny, though, looking back now! Clump city — LOL!! Your cheeseburger macaroni skillet looks terrific. I love the list of ingredients, too. Extra – yum 🙂

  17. Pingback: One-Pot Spaghetti and Meatball Stew - The Suburban Soapbox

  18. Looks yummy, I’m going to whip some up soon. How about a homemade version of the HH Tuna Tettrazini? My family loves that? Anyone?

  19. Omg this is a fave among my kids these days… i am making it at least twice a week on demand! Soo good even i pig out on it!!

  20. I made this for Dinner tonight and my family loved it ! So much better than Hamburger Helper ..

    • I’m so glad your family loved it! It’s one of our favorite dinners. Thank you so much for coming back to share you experience. 🙂

  21. Made this tonight. Very delecious! I added in a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce just because I have an opened can in the fridge I’m trying to use up. I also added shredded carrots just to sneak in some veggies. My sauce didn’t thicken, it may have been because my pan was too small. I did a quick corn starch slirry, problem solved. This was a very delecious recipe, and I will be making it again. Thank you!

  22. It’s like Salisbury steak meets hamburger helper…of course ai use yellow onion, so vidalia would taste the same only sweeter. Not bad.

  23. This was so AWESOME everyone loved it. I usually don’t leave reviews but after making this for dinner tonight I had to thank you for this simple one pot dinner. I never follow a recipe exact, i usually add something, however fir your creation nothing needed to be added this was Amazing as is☺ thanks so much for this is one pot easy dinner please post more one pot wonders your Awesome

    • Thank you so much for coming back! I love to hear what my readers think of the recipe and I’m thrilled that you loved it. It’s a favorite of mine and I have a lot more one pot dinners coming soon!

  24. Pinterest is pretty much a hit or miss with recipes. I’ve found some good and bad. But had to comment here because this is one of the best recipes I have ever made. I was hesitant because nothing tastes like hamburger helper (and you know its just so unhealthy!). But went out on a limb and tried this. WOW! Don’t be afraid to use LOTS of onions and LOTS of garlic. I browned mine until it was almost a goo. You want the base to be really flavorful because it has to flavor the entire dish. This recipe makes a lot but I doubled it because I was feeding 2 of my son’s friends. Needless to say there was barely anything left. And one of my son’s friends said I really hit it out of the park this time. 🙂 GREAT recipe that everyone needs to try! I made it with everything exactly as stated and it came out perfect (but maybe used a little more onions and garlic!)!.

    • Oh and I have to add that my son is gluten intolerant so I used Ronzoni gluten free elbow noodles. Ronzoni makes THE best gluten free noodles. This was just so tasty… thank you!

  25. I just made this and it is fantastic!! My super picky daughter is eating it and my son already told me that i better have made more because he’s coming back for seconds!

    • I’m so glad they love it! My kids are picky too so it’s always a great night when they eat whatever it is I made. This is definitely a favorite of our’s too. 🙂 Have a great night!

  26. I don’t really eat pasta but I am now craving this!

  27. Love the addition of 2 cheeses! This looks wonderful!

  28. Gorgeous photos! I can’t believe you made this look so good! (I mean, I know it TASTES good but it’s not generally an attractive dish. ;))

  29. I have to confess that, although I have a 4 and a 6 year old, I made this with me in mind! I grew up on hamburger helper and was so happy to find a copycat recipe made from scratch. My 6 year old, who is typically a very picky eater, asked for THIRDS!!!! This is definitely going in the rotation:) thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

    • I totally made this one for myself, too! I’m so glad your little ones enjoyed it as much as I do! :-). Thank you so much for the lovely comment!!!

  30. This looks amazing! I have no chicken broth. Can I use vegetable broth? You think it would ruin it?

  31. Oh my! This is wonderful. Made this on a cold New England night with predicted snow. Very tasty and cheesy …… oh stop me now!

  32. Can’t go wrong with hamburger, cheese and pasta!

  33. This was so good,easy and a hit with the family. I used ground turkey instead of beef and protein plus elbow noodles. Yum! Also doubled the recipie so there was plenty for 5 people.

  34. This was amazing! Highly reccomend! Way better than hamburger helper!!

  35. Turned out a little watery and needed more salt maybe some cayanne next time 

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