This Easy Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet is a great way to avoid the store and boxed stuff. With real cheese, seasonings, ground beef, and noodles you can create a tasty dish in under 30 minutes.
I have never been a fan of boxed hamburger helpers. I just can't get past the high sodium content, high cost, and that we often have to double it to make enough to feed us. Making it from scratch though, solves all of those problems.
Homemade cheeseburger macaroni is a one-pot wonder that's simple to make and a hit with both kids and adults.
This satisfying and nostalgic dish brings the classic taste of Hamburger Helper to your dinner table with the added comfort of tasting fresh and homemade.
Making large affordable portions, this is a family-friendly recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights or anytime you're craving some comforting, cheesy goodness.
🍯 Why This Recipe Works
- It's quick. In about the same amount of time as the boxed version would have. In under 30 minutes, I can have a pot full of food and feel good knowing exactly what's in it.
- It's easy. Brown the meat, add stuff to the pot, and let it all simmer until ready. This recipe is almost as easy as making a boxed mix.
- It's comforting. Serve this delicious meal up any night of the week or when you just need a good comfort meal to come home to.
Ground Beef- You will need some ground beef. I like to use 80/20, but other percentages will work fine.
Cherry Tomatoes- This is optional, but I love the contrast in flavor and bright color.
Elbow Noodles- Any noodle shape will work, but we prefer elbow noodles with this recipe.
Cheddar Cheese- For that golden color and cheesy taste, use some cheddar cheese. I recommend the cheese you have to shred yourself as it melts more easily. I prefer sharp or medium cheddar.
Cream Cheese- Adding in cream cheese will give us a richer and creamier taste in every bite.
For specific ingredients and measurements, please see the recipe card below.
🔪 Instructions for Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet
Step 1: Combine your ground beef and diced onion in a large pot over med/high heat.
Step 2: Drain the excess grease and then stir in the seasonings.
Step 3: Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted.
Step 4: Turn the heat to high and add in the water and milk.
Step 5: Bring to a rolling boil.
Step 6: Add in the elbow noodles and return to a boil. Cover. Reduce the heat down to medium and let it boil for 5 minutes.
Step 7: Stir, and then place the lid on and continue boiling or another 5 minutes. It's going to look curdled, that's okay.
Step 8: Remove the pot from the heat and top with your cheese. Place the lid back on and wait a minute or two for the cheese to melt. This makes it easier to stir in.
Step 9: Stir until the cheese is fully mixed in. Add in the cherry tomatoes.
Step 10: Gently fold together to combine.
Step 11: Let stand for 5 minutes uncovered and then serve.
🍴 Recipe Tips
When you're making this hamburger mac and cheese recipe, there's a point where it looks ruined because the milk curdles. I just want to make sure that you know this is completely normal and is a result of the milk reaching a boiling point.
If you chose to substitute it for a higher fat like heavy cream it would be less likely to do this, but the dish would have a much higher fat content.
As the liquid gets absorbed by the noodles, the curdle look goes away, and after adding in the cheese it's completely gone and unnoticeable. It has no change in the texture of the dish.
If you want a stronger cheese flavor use sharp cheddar cheese or double up on the cheese if you really want it extra cheesy!
💭 Recipe FAQs
Your leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This should give you plenty of chances to eat it all or it can be a great way to meal prep for the week.
Yes! Just place the cooled meal in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer for up to 6 months. To thaw, place it in the fridge overnight and reheat before eating.
This dish can be served straight from the skillet, and it's perfect for a family-style meal. You can also garnish it with fresh herbs or additional cheese for added flavor.
❤️ More Delicious Dinner Recipes
If you tried this Easy Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and share your feedback in the 📝 comments section below. I would truly appreciate it!
Easy Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet
- 1-2 pounds Ground beef ($7.45)
- ½ cup Onion, diced ($0.45)
- 2 teaspoons Garlic powder ($0.16)
- 2 teaspoons Onion powder ($0.16)
- 1 teaspoon Paprika ($0.08)
- ½ teaspoon Salt ($0.01)
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper ($0.04)
- 1 pinch Cayenne pepper ($0.01)
- 2 ounces Cream cheese ($0.47)
- 2 cups Milk ($0.40)
- 2 cups Water ($0.00)
- 1 box (16oz) Elbow noodles ($0.98)
- 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded ($2.00)
- ½ cup Cherry red tomatoes, quartered ($1.00)
- In a large pot over medium/high heat, combine your ground beef and diced onion.
- Brown the ground beef and drain all excess grease. Add in the seasonings and stir until combined.
- Add in the cream cheese and stir until it's melted and fully incorporated.
- Turn the heat up to high and add in the water and milk. Bring to a boil and add in the elbow noodles.
- Return to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to medium-low. Boil for 5 minutes. Stir, and then boil for another 5 minutes. You may notice the curdle appearance of the liquid at this point. This is normal.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add your cheddar cheese. Place the lid on and wait a minute or two for the cheese to melt. This makes it easier to stir in. Stir the cheese in until it's fully combined.
- Gently fold in the cherry tomatoes. The heat of the noodle dish will warm them up and cook them slightly, but you don't want to crush them.
- Let the pot stand for 5 minutes before serving to help the sauce thicken and cool.