This hamburger mac and cheese recipe combines juicy ground beef with tender macaroni noodles, all simmered in a rich tomato and cheese sauce. It's basically like hamburger helper, only ten times better since it's made fresh from scratch! Plus, it's super quick and easy to put together. In fact, just 5 simple steps are all you have to follow to make it and it'll all come together in under 30 minutes.
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WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
The perfect weeknight dinner. I love a dish that doesn't require too much time to make, especially on hectic weeknights. And that's exactly where this hamburger mac and cheese recipe comes in. It's tough to beat a dinner recipe that comes together in under a half hour. Plus, the process is effortless!
Comfort food at its finest. There's nothing more comforting than creamy mac and cheese mixed with hearty cheeseburger meat. Serve it as is or with some cathead biscuits to soak up the extra cheese sauce.
Crowd favorite. Everyone who tries this cheeseburger macaroni absolutely loves it. I'm always getting compliments when I serve it to guests, and it's a widely beloved recipe in the Cunningham household.
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
- Macaroni noodles- for the homemade Hamburger Helper vibe, though any type of short pasta noodles will work, like bowtie pasta or mini shells.
- Ground beef- I used 80/20 lean ground beef, but you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, or a combination of any ground meat.
- Onion- preferably white or yellow onion, diced.
- Garlic- freshly minced.
- Shredded cheddar cheese- shredded mozzarella cheese or any type of shredded cheese will work too.
- Tomato sauce- for adding extra flavor to the cheese sauce.
- Heavy cream- for a creamy texture. You can swap this with milk if you prefer.
- Olive oil- for cooking the ground beef and onion.
- Butter- also for cooking the meat and onions. I prefer unsalted butter.
- Salt and black pepper- to taste.
- Fresh parsley- for garnish.
Pretty simple stuff, right?!
HOW TO MAKE HAMBURGER MAC AND CHEESE
1. Cook the pasta. Set a pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
2. Cook the ground beef. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and ground beef. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.
3. Build the sauce. To the skillet, add the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the beef mixture to a low simmer for 10 minutes, just until all the flavors combine and the sauce begins to thicken.
4. Combine ingredients. Add the cooked pasta to the meat mixture and mix to combine. Stir in the cheese in batches, stirring until the cheese completely melts.
5. Serve. Serve the cheese hamburger mac warm with extra cheese on top and a garnish of freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Side Dishes To Serve With This Recipe
This cheeseburger mac and cheese is perfect as is, but if you're feeding a big group, then you probably want some extra sides to serve with it. Some of my go-to sides are sour cream biscuits, crack green beans, Martha White cornbread, or baked bean casserole.
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST RECIPE
- If you want to add more flavor, add a teaspoon of onion powder or garlic powder. This will amplify the flavor of the fresh onion and garlic without being overpowering.
- Use sour cream instead of heavy cream for an even thicker, creamier sauce.
- Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for an extra concentrated, tangy tomato flavor.
- To make a healthier dish, add extra veggies. Some of my favorites to add are diced bell pepper, spinach, or even a bag of frozen peas.
- Swap the pasta noodles for cooked rice or potato chunks to switch up the texture and flavor.
- Transfer the cheeseburger macaroni to a baking dish, top it with extra cheese, and broil it for 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden brown crust on top.
- I like to let the dish rest for 5 minutes or so, that way the sauce has time to thicken.
- Boil the pasta in chicken broth or add 1-2 cubes of chicken bouillon to the meat mixture to add a secret layer of flavor. Trust me, everyone will notice but no one will be able to tell why it's so much better than Hamburger Helper!
HOW I RECOMMEND STORING AND REHEATING LEFTOVERS
In the fridge: Store any leftover hamburger mac and cheese in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
In the freezer: Allow leftovers to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: My go-to method for reheating leftover cheeseburger macaroni is in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add a splash of heavy cream or milk and stir continuously until it reaches your desired temperature. You can also microwave leftovers in 30-second intervals until they're fully reheated.
MORE RECIPES TO TRY NEXT
- Hamburger hashbrown casserole
- Hamburger potato casserole
- One pot hamburger macaroni soup
- Amish hamburger casserole
- Hamburger rice casserole
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Cook the macaroni to package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
- Heat the large skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add chopped onion and beef, and cook until the beef is no longer pink.
- Add the tomato sauce and heavy cream, and season with the salt and pepper. Bring beef to a low simmer for 10 minutes, until all the flavors combine.
- Add the cooked macaroni and stir everything well.
- Stir in the cheese a little at a time until everything combines and the cheese melts.
- Serve with additional cheese on the top and add chopped parsley.
Serving Size:2.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g