Close up of Cheeseburger Casserole - homemade Hamburger Helper - in a white cast iron skillet, fresh off the stove
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4.77 from 47 votes

Cheeseburger Casserole (Homemade Hamburger Helper)

Recipe video above. It's beefy, cheesy and saucy. If you love Cheeseburgers and Mac and Cheese, then you will LOVE this Cheeseburger Casserole! A homemade version of Hamburger Helper, the boxed pasta. One pot, 30 minutes start to finish!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Mains, One Pot
Cuisine: American, Western
Keyword: Cheeseburger casserole, Hamburger casserole recipe
Servings: 5
Calories: 693kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot * , chopped (optional)
  • 1 celery stalk * , chopped (optional)
  • 500 g/ 1 lb ground beef (mince) , preferably lean
  • 12 oz / 340g dried macaroni , uncooked
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn * , optional
  • 2 cups chicken broth/stock, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce or Sriracha sauce , adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp American chili powder (Note 1)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder , or sub onion powder
  • 800 g / 28 oz crushed tomato
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 - 2 cups (150 - 200g) cheddar or tasty cheese, shredded (Note 3)
  • 1 cup (100g) mozzarella cheese , for topping

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 green onion , sliced


  • Heat oil in a dutch oven or large deep skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onion and garlic, cook 1 minute. 
  • Add celery and carrot, cook 3 minutes until soft.
  • Increase heat to high and add beef. Cook, breaking it up as you go, until no longer pink - 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT cheese. Stir to combine, add macaroni, then turn down to medium or medium low so it's simmering gently.
  • Cover, cook 8 minutes. Pasta should be just about cooked, and still nice and saucy.
  • Add cheddar cheese, stir. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with lid, cook for a further 2 minutes. 
  • Remove from stove. The pasta should now be cooked - tender but firm, not mushy, slick with sauce, not dried out.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with green onions, if using.


* These are optional. Can also add more diced vegetables of choice - or even reduce pasta and add even more veg.
1. American chili powder is a combination of spices, not just chilli. I always bring some back with me! Sub as follows: 1/4 tsp each paprika, cumin, coriander plus pinch of cayenne.
2. Cheese - You can substitute with other cheeses that melt but be sure to use a flavoured cheese, not a mild flavoured cheese like mozzarella. The cheese is required for flavouring in this recipe.
3. Storage - As with all pastas, the sauce tends to get sucked up by the pasta so it's not as saucy. But this reheats very well - I just microwave. Haven't tried freezing but I see no reason why it wouldn't freeze well.
Make ahead idea - make the beef and add all the liquids. Then store until required and on the day of, reheat the beef/liquid, add pasta and cook per recipe.
4. Source: My good friend Jo from Jo Cooks, it's one of many fabulous one pot recipes in her cookbook, 30 Minute One Pot Meals. Ever so slightly amended.
5. Nutrition per serving


Serving: 456g | Calories: 693kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.3g | Protein: 51.5g | Fat: 25.4g | Saturated Fat: 12.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12.9g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 748mg | Fiber: 4.9g | Sugar: 7.7g