beef / lunch and dinner / not chicken / recipes / savory

Cheeseburger Mac

Cheeseburger Mac

Cheeseburger Mac is what most people think of when they think Hamburger Helper, right? It is for me.

I didn’t get to try it until I was in my late teens and bought it for myself but it was everything I’d dreamed it’d be from the commercials that ran during Family Matters.

That being said, this does not really taste like the boxed stuff. Similar, but not quite. It’s really good tho, and it’s almost as quick and easy (only one pot needs washing when you’re done).

You can use whatever ground meat or meat substitute you like and chicken broth is fine to use instead of beef broth. You could also use water, but you’ll need to increase the salt.

If you like food visuals there’s a tutorial for this Cheeseburger Mac up on my YouTube channel and more photos on Instagram.

I made this a long time ago and it’s probably the meal I get DM’d about a recipe for most often (it’s featured in the ‘not chicken’ highlight on my Instagram page).

If you have any recipe ideas you’d like to see in the future check out the upcoming tutorial list and submit your own request if it’s not already there.

Keep an eye on my Instagram story every Wednesday to vote on which request gets filled next.

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Cheeseburger Mac

Cheeseburger Mac

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  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


I wish I’d grown up on Hamburger Helper but my gramma wouldn’t buy it. Here’s my version of their most popular offering.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb box elbow macaroni noodles
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp pickled jalapenos, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp parsley, minced
  • 2 cups medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 slices american cheese
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt


  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef. Break it up into small pieces as it browns. 
  2. Add the onions when about half of the meat has cooked and continue to cook together until the meat is completely finished and the onions are translucent. Drain any excess grease off the mixture and add it back to the pan. 
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in your dry seasonings, followed by the ketchup.
  4. Once it’s well combined stir in the milk. Stir in the macaroni noodles, then add as much broth to the pan as you need to submerge everything. You may need to add more liquid as it cooks. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook on for 10-15 minutes, only until the macaroni is almost al dente, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan as it cooks.
  6. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the american cheese. Cover and continue to cook until the noodles are done to your liking.
  7. Uncover and stir in the shredded cheddar, then the parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered, then remove from heat. Dassit.  
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
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