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

Hamburger Helper in a steel skillet on a turquoise napkin

Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

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 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.

An easy weeknight dinner any time of year, this Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe is ready in just about 30 minutes. If you’re not familiar with the Hamburger Helper version, it’s basically like macaroni and cheese with browned ground beef. A cheesy masterpiece we used to make from a box, this homemade version is made with real cheese, milk, onions, garlic and love.

Hamburger helper on a skillet on a wooden table.

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

This easy dinner comes together quickly, easily and inexpensively. This Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet is made in one pan so clean up is a breeze, too!

  1. Brown the ground beef until no longer pink and transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat.
  2. Saute the onion in the pan until softened.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and garlic. 
  5. Return the beef to the pan. 
  6. Stir in the milk, chicken stock and macaroni.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn to low. Simmer.
  8. Cover and cook until the macaroni is tender.
  9. Stir in the cheese and serve immediately.

Note: If you want a creamier consistency, you can swap the milk for heavy cream or Half and Half. This adds so much richness to the recipe.

Homemade Hamburger Helper sprinkled with chopped parsley

What To Serve It With

Even though this is a one pot dinner, we like to serve Cheeseburger Macaroni with a little side dish sometimes.

These are our favorites:

Homemade Hamburger Helper being served with a silver spoon.

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. So, one-pot dishes are king in this house. I’m sure you all agree.

More Easy Weeknight Dinners

Hamburger Helper in a steel skillet on a turquoise napkin

Get the Recipe: Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

The BEST kid friendly dinner around, this Hamburger Helper copy cat Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet is fast, easy and always vanishes in minutes. So good!
4.43 from 7 votes


  • 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


  • 1 skillet


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: 0g, Calories: 435kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 716mg, Potassium: 500mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 460IU, Vitamin C: 2.4mg, Calcium: 412mg, Iron: 2.4mg