Cheeseburger Macaroni (Homemade Hamburger Helper)

This delicious, cheesy Homemade Hamburger Helper is one of our favorite easy ground beef recipes for dinner. It’s warm, hearty and so easy to make in less than 20 minutes. You only need a few ingredients!

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Why Make Hamburger Helper from Scratch?

I know what you’re thinking… why should I make my own hamburger helper when I can just go buy a box at the store? Well, my version is home cooked, far less processed, just as easy, and complete in 30 minutes. This homemade version of the American classic also makes healthier swaps for some of the original not-so-healthy ingredients, making it something you can feel good about eating, too.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Ingredients

This dish is all about flavor, and that’s where the taco seasoning and chiles come in. The pasta is cooked in the same dish as the meat and spices, allowing all the flavor to soak in. Top it off with the creamy cheese sauce and watch it all disappear!

Here’s what you’ll need for the hamburger pasta:

  • 1 pound of lean hamburger meat
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of elbow macaroni

Skip the powdered cheese packet and make your own with these simple ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

This Homemade Hamburger Helper is one of our favorite hamburger recipes. Start with one pound of lean hamburger meat, browned and drained, and add one package of taco seasoning.

Rotel Tomatoes — Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

Next add one can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles. You can also just use a can of petite diced tomatoes.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

You don’t even have to drain the tomatoes first! Tomatoes are one of our favorite additions to ground beef recipes.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Next add two cups of beef broth. You can also just use water if you don’t have any beef broth.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

And one cup of elbow macaroni. You don’t even have to boil the noodles first.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Stir everything combine and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 12-14 minutes until the macaroni is tender.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Cheese Sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

While that’s simmering, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of flour.

Making the cheese sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

Whisk to combine, and continue to cook, whisking until fragrant and light brown in color, about 5 minutes.

Making the cheese sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

Whisk in 3/4 cup of milk.

Making the cheese sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

And bring the sauce to a boil, and whisk until smooth and thickened.

Making the cheese sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Making the cheese sauce for Homemade Hamburger Helper

Whisk until melted and season with salt and pepper.

Seasoned Salt and Pepper — Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

I like using this seasoned salt and pepper, but you could definitely use regular salt and pepper.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Here’s what our Homemade Hamburger Helper looks like after 12-14 minutes. Don’t worry if all the liquid has not been absorbed yet.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Add the cheese sauce and stir gently to combine.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe — Easy Ground Beef Recipes For Dinner

Tips for the Best Hamburger Helper

  • If you aren’t a fan of red meat you can substitute half or all of the ground beef for ground turkey. Just make sure you taste it while it’s cooking to make sure you don’t want to add any additional spices to it.
  • You can easily customize this meal by adding in some of your favorite chopped veggies, like bell peppers, onions or carrots.
  • If you don’t have any beef broth, you can use water as a substitute. Just keep in mind, the broth will make this meal more flavorful.
  • I like using seasoned salt and pepper to give my meal a little extra bang, but regular salt and pepper will work just fine, too.

What to Eat with Hamburger Helper

This Homemade Hamburger Helper is largely a meal in itself, but you can always serve it with a simple side salad, buttery garlic bread, or these yummy Roasted Carrots to help make your meal complete.

How to Store Leftovers

Once cool, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm it up in a skillet or the microwave when you are ready to enjoy again!

You can even double the recipe and store some in the freezer after it cools to have an even easier meal next time. Just wait for it to cool, pack it in a freezer friendly ziptop bag, or cover with foil and place it on a flat surface in the freezer. When you are ready, thaw the hamburger helper in the refrigerator overnight and heat it up in a skillet or in a microwave safe container!

That’s it!! This Homemade Hamburger Helper is hands down one of our favorite easy ground beef recipes. It’s perfect for quick and easy weeknight dinners!



Cheeseburger Macaroni (Homemade Hamburger Helper)

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Ground Beef


A delicious, easy homemade Hamburger Helper recipe you can make in less than 20 minutes with only a few simple ingredients.



  • 1 pound lean hamburger meat
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups beef broth (or water)
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Brown and drain hamburger meat. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 mins until macaroni is tender.


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown in color. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce.
  3. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.

More Easy Ground Beef Recipes

Taco Cups

Crunchy Taco Cups

Lasagna Recipe Easy

15 Minute Lasagna Recipe

Cheeseburger Sliders

Cheeseburger Sliders

Lasagna Cupcakes

Lasagna Cupcakes

Cheeseburger Gnocchi

Cheeseburger Gnocchi

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240 Responses
    1. Amanda

      Generally a package of taco seasoning is about 2 tablespoons of seasoning. But if you’re using a homemade mix you may want to start with 1 tbsp and add more to taste. Hope this helps!

  1. Anna

    I give this 5 out of 5 stars. I just made it and it looks just like the pictures, and tastes so good! My husband loved it. But be mindful of the salt content of the ingredients you use – it was perfect, but any saltier and it would have been too salty. I highly recommend using low-sodium beef broth and not adding any additional salt until the dish is finished and you’ve tasted it – it may not need it.

    I used half the amount of salt, unsalted butter, and low-sodium taco seasoning. The beef stock and canned tomatoes and green chilis were traditional (salted).

    I’ll be making this again soon for sure.

  2. Lisa

    I tried this recipe for the first time when I didn’t know what to cook for dinner and your recipe included ingredients that I had most of at home. It’s great! My husband and I really enjoy this recipe; it’s delicious and really filling :)

  3. BRITTANy a

    Uhhhmazing!!! So i did everything up to the beef broth/ water part according to your direction except i used a box of velveeta noodles and added the cheese after instead of milk and butter etc. It turned out amazing i cooked on about 5 covered. for almost 20 minutes because i wanted to be sure the shells cooked since it was not elbows. I used diced can tomato since i didn’t have rotel and 2 cups water. It is great! Thanks!!!

  4. Tabanasaher

    We love this recipe! Really easy and my husband loves it. The only changes I make are using 2 cups of macaroni and putting the Rotel in a blender because my family complains about big tomato pieces. Everything else is the same amounts a listed -with the extra macaroni, there is lots left over for lunches or dinner the next day. Have made this many times!

  5. Leigh

    We make this recipe at least once a week! My 4 year old daughters absolute favorite and she loves to help make it! However we use regular diced tomatoes as the Rotel is a bit spicy for her. 

  6. Dina

    I found this recipe through Pinterest and have made it a couple of times now and it’s such a great meal! Tastes delicious and so easy to make. Both me and my husband love this! :)

  7. Bea

    WOW! My daughter came come requesting Cheesy Mac like school and boy am I glad she did! Not only is this meal deee-lish, it’s super easy and super quick!! 2 substitutes, because it’s what i had on hand. 1st , I started boiling the noodles before I read the recipe and they were Penne noodles. Also, I only had shredded Mexican blend cheese. I just added the noodles to the meat mixture after it cooked a few minutes. I was SUPER hesitant about the blond roux… but my oh my!!!! Do not skip this part!!!!!! I have to admit i probably would use only a 1/2 to 3/4 of the the Rotel, just so my kids could enjoy it as well. Thanks again!

  8. Katie

    My husband and I just had this for dinner tonight and we both thought it was too salty, but delicious. The dish has a great flavor and I will definitely make it again, but will not add salt. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Finally a Granny

    This recipe looked very good but I knew I had to modify it to decrease the heat so I exchanged the rotel with canned tomato soup and exchanged the taco seasoning with Fiesta Ranch
    Dip mix. I also threw in a few beef bouillon. It is just right now for me and my husband loves it! A great comfort food post surgery–Thank you!!!

  10. Karen

    Great recipe! I would use an extra sharp cheddar next time. I also did not have beef broth and used water but I think that beef broth would be even better. One child loved it as did my husband. Will definitely make it again.

  11. Sarah C.

    I happened upon this recipe and had everything I needed on hand. Imade this with whole wheat macaroni noodles and added some onions in with the ground beef. The babe asked for seconds for the first time in ages! I’m so glad to have the leftovers to take to work tomorrow too. Delicious, quick, and easy! Fantastic recipe. Will definitely make again.

  12. Donna Sanderson

    I may be a bit late to add my comment, but I want to say that I just made this for my family and it was a big hit! I used my home-made taco seasoning and added some beans for fiber and it was really good. I want to thank you for something waaay better than hamburger helper!!!!
    Nice job!

  13. Dana

    This was so delicious! Goes great with salad & garlic bread. Big hit with our family of six. The only thing I will change next time is the 2c. of beef broth. It was really salty & I didn’t even added the salt at the end. Next time, I will use 1 can of water & 1 can of broth. Thanks for sharing…I will definitely make again!

  14. Linda k

    Omg this dish was awesome
    I happened to have all the ingredients so I tried it exactly… YUMMM
    I went today to get more ingredients I have been thinking about it for days .
    Oh and BTW it’s really good leftover for lunch too
    Thanks for the nice recipe

  15. Teresa

    Hello Amanda, I found your site & boy I’m so happy I did! 1st just had surgery on my foot 1 1/2 wks. In & my guy’s apparently are spoiled but sometimes I run out of ideas so I turn to Pintrest there searching for recipes using ground beef ran across yours ,cheeseburger macaroni & Love it,so quick sort of lol! Followed recipe completely absolutely like this recipe don’t think I’ll be buying that one in the box with the hand lol. Yours Is truly better I think ,again thanks for the recipe. Will definitely be trying others soon! God Bless

  16. Holly

    Making this tonight!! Looks so good! I am wondering if you can or if anyone has tried it with GF flour? Does it still work? New at the whole GF business.. :)

  17. April

    Made it tonight for the hubby. It’s very good! The particular packet of taco seasoning I used was from Aldi. And even he said it was too salty. So next time I will not add the salt since there is salt in the cheese as well. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for all the awesome recipes. Everything you make looks amazing!

  18. Heather

    I’ve made this once before and it was a HUGE hit in my house! I’m making it again tonight, and I’m adding some corn and black beans, jus to take it up another notch. Thanks so much for a delicious and easy recipe!

  19. Clare

    This was delicious! Only thing I would do differently next time is reduce the amount of liquid – I found 2 cups of stock in addition to the tomato liquid to be way too much (Rotel is something I haven’t been able to find where I am in Canada, maybe it has much less liquid than the petite cut tomatoes I bought). I ended up simmering it for longer uncovered to reduce the soupiness and it was fine. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. amenah

    Found this on pintrest and am excited to make it, but wanted to know since the beef is browned beforehand, does it not get overcooked and hard when it is cooked again w the macaroni?

  21. MaraleeS

    Seriously?!? This was AHHH-MAZING! My family loved it. It was rich and creamy…and you really had me at Rotel. Love the flavors that the chilies bring to it. I doubled the recipe and added a Regular and a Mild version of the McCormick Taco Seasoning. Didn’t want to overpower. Used Medium cheddar and at least 3 teaspoons of pepper…we like it. Thank you for the recipe…this hit the spot! I served it with a shredded salad. Nice crunch with the salad with the creaminess and heat of the Cheeseburger Macaroni.

    1. Amanda

      1 cup or 8oz of elbow macaroni per person. 2 oz of pasta is one serving. This is a very hearty meal and will probably be plenty, but feel free to fill in with salad and bread if you have healthy eaters! :) Or you can just double it and have leftovers. It’s even better heated up! Hope this helps! :)

  22. ColleenB. ~ Texas

    Homemade Is Always better and tastes so much better than that stuff you buy in a box.
    Other suggestions:
    Using a can of Nacho cheese, Fiesta Cheese in package or canned , canned cheddar cheese soup or packaged Taco cheese
    Adding a can of Wolf Brand Chili or Hormel (with or without beans) is also good and topped off with crushed tortilla chips

  23. Loren

    Didn’t have the taco seasoning so I used McCormick’s Sloppy Joe seasoning in place of it with the “hot” Rotel because my husband likes it spicy. Added a little extra cheese on top. Absolutely delicious. Will definitely make this again. Very warm and hearty on a cold evening. Thanks for the recipe!!

  24. Anna M

    My god… WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?! This is amazing. I know this is an older post, but I made this last night and my fiancee and neices rejoiced (VERY picky eaters…). A winner in this household!

  25. Jennifer

    No matter what I do, this recipe is way too spicy for my family :(

    I’ve used mild Rotel and mild taco seasoning, and most of my family just can’t handle the heat. It’s a shame too, because there is good flavor there if you can get past the overwhelming spice.

    1. Amanda

      You can use a can of regular diced tomatoes instead of Ro-tel. Most of the heat is in the Ro-tel! Hope this helps! :)

  26. Nikki

    I happened upon this recipe via Pinterest and needed something quick and easy to make for dinner. This was DELICIOUS! I had 2 helpings, as did my 7 yr old (very picky eater), and my 2 yr old ate her entire helping also! So unheard of. Thank you so much for sharing and you have earned a new blog follower!!

  27. Tiffany

    I can’t find the nutritional facts for your recipe. Can you please help me? I look it up on the Calorie Count but a lot of them are Hamburger Helper ones. What is your recipe listed under?

  28. Theresa

    Made this tonight. Super delish and went gluten free very easily. One of my children has an adversion to tomato chunks, so I threw in a cup of frozen peas instead. Worked great and everyone loved it!

  29. Kristin

    My family absolutely LOOOOVES this recipe! Its just so yummy. I used white cheddar straight from Wisconsin once and it was too die for, so very yummy.

  30. sonny

    This is soo delicious, I made this a month ago, definitely a keeper (I used 96 % lean beef ) to make it healthier but it is sooo good!

  31. Scarlet Paolicchi

    Looks way better than some boxed meal! I can’t wait to give this a try!

    I’ve added this page to my StumbleUpon. :)

  32. rick

    I found you using StumbleUpon. Great site, great food, great pics. Thought I might let you know when your site comes up on StumbleUpon it only stays up for a second and then blanks out. I had to cut and paste your URL out of the extended StumbleUpon URL just so I could see your site. Not sure if there is anything you can do about it, just thought you’d want the heads up.

  33. Chastity

    This was delicious! Very Flavorful! We are not fans of hamburger helper at all! This is way better! I was pleasantly surprised! :) It took us a while to get the sauce consistency right, my husband and I ended up using 1 cup of Silk Soy Milk and 1 1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese and it was perfect for us! This is the first recipe I have tried from your blog but it won’t be the last!

  34. felicia

    I made this recipe tonight for my boyfriend and I, and safe to say it will become a regular at our house! We loved it! Comfort food at it’s finest.. and so quick and easy!

  35. Nichole Spencer

    Is the macaroni pre-cooked or thrown straight into the meat and tomatoes uncooked, and then cooked in the broth or water while it all simmers together?

  36. Nichole Spencer

    Whenever I try to make a roux, the butter and flour end up turning into a clump or ball in the bottom of the pan. I always follow the recipes exact and make sure the butter and flour are of even amounts as the other. What am I doing wrong? Is this the reason my roux may be gritty? Should I add more butter or less flour? I’d love to try this recipe but afraid of ruining the roux.

  37. Monica

    I made this again tonight and we just LOVE it! I have passed it on to my sisters and their families love it too! I substituted regular diced tomatoes because that is what I had, homemade taco seasoning, skim milk, and gluten free pasta. It turned out great! Thanks so much for sharing!

    For those still wondering- I used a regular size can of diced tomatoes for this. Probably about 14 ounces?

  38. Sam

    Incidentally, though we live in Southern California, my husband is a die hard Auburn Tigers fan. He just approved of this dish even more!

  39. Sam

    Thank you so much for this recipe. It tastes exactly like my childhood and I was SO HAPPY when I ate it. It was just what my family needed tonight. Bravo!

  40. Anna

    I just made this for my boyfriend and I to eat for supper this week and it’s AMAZING! I tasted the mixture before I added the cheese sauce and was a little worried it would be too spicy, but it had the perfect amount of spice after the cheese sauce was added! Thanks so much for this recipe, I’ve been feeling lately like I recycle the same recipes week after week for super, but this is perfect to change things up!

  41. Jill

    Want a really quick way to make this . . . I use a box of Velvetta Shells & Cheese or the Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese (elbows). I just use that cheese sauce instead of making my own. It is super quick. And I like to make my own “taco seasoning”. Try this with ground pork too. Thanks for the recipe for the homemade cheese sauce!! I am sure it is way more health than Velveeta :)

  42. Aya

    Okay, I am SO GLAD I found this. We made it for dinner, and it was awesome. I used the taco seasoning recipe from Betty Crocker -1 T chili powder, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t garlic powder – it was so good. I will absolutely use this again. Thanks for sharing the love, guys!

  43. Sophia

    OMGz! I am eating it now. i followed your recipe, and it is absolutely delish! i dont like spicy foods, so i can honestly tell you, this is mild enough for the kiddies to enjoy too!! <3<3

  44. Sandy

    I made “Johnny Marzetti” all my life….and this is it WITH cheese. I always melted a slice of cheese onto each serving. I added at touch of brown sugar because I used ketsup and a can of tomatoes before we knew Rotel. That gives it more of a kick. This was everyone’s favorite at my house when the kids were little. Updated now..a new twist…thank you.

  45. Sophia

    I hope you dont mind if i share your blog on my Facebook page. your food looks so yummy, and i cant wait to try this recipe, and a few other recipes for my pasta and Shrimp junkie hubby!

  46. Jess

    Someone asked for Hamburger Helper for a work potluck tomorrow and lo and behold I came across this recipe on Pinterest – Yay! A yummy way to substitute salty, preservative enriched, boxed food for a more fresh substitute. I made it with whole grain pasta and sodium free taco seasoning and low sodium beef broth to add to the healthy factor even more! Thanks for sharing this step-by-step

  47. Carol

    I know you posted this a long time ago, but I still wanted to comment. I made this last night for dinner and it was a huge hit. It was so easy and everyone loved it. I love recipes like this — one skillet and short cooking time. It makes it so much easier to make dinner after work. Thanks for a great recipe!

  48. Whitney at It's Gravy, Baby!

    I’ve tried several homemade cheeseburger macaroni recipes, but this is THE ONE. So easy and so delicious! Thank you for sharing- it will be a regular menu item now.

  49. MamaSully

    OMG!!! I made this today and it is DELICIOUS!!!!! I used to make my family boxed mac and cheese until I read the box as saw the ingredients. I just found your recipe. Thank you so much my family loved it!!!

  50. Budd Margolis

    I just made this today in London, U.K. and it was great! I threw in a small can of corn and served on tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream. YUMMY!!!

  51. Katlyn

    Just made this for dinner and it’s officially going in our recipe binder! So yummy with the perfect balance of spices. Thanks, Amanda!

  52. Kristina

    This is amazing. I am a native Texan and can appreciate the spiciness of this recipe.Even mild Rotel can be a bit spicy if you aren’t use to it. I’d use a can of diced tomatoes to substitute if you don’t like a ton of heat. I would not skip out on making this cheese sauce. So much more delicious than making with gross velveeta and really doesn’t take that long at all. My only change is I add about 1/2 cup more pasta and also throw in some frozen corn for some sweetness. I used wagon wheel pasta to make it fun. This recipe is in heavy rotation and is a huge hit with my husband.

  53. Sheila

    This was absolutely delicious! My family and I have made this many times, and we still can’t get enough of it. So stoked I “StumbledUpon” your website when I did. Your website has been the “go-to” for me whenever I’m stumped on what to make for dinner.

    Thank you and many blessings to you and yours.


  54. Sue

    Great recipe. I didn’t have taco seasoning handy, but found a recipe online. Great comfort food, and I too improved my roux prep with this recipe. Thanks Amanda! and thanks for the nutritional information. I needed that.

  55. Angie

    I stumbled upon your website when I was on Google searching for a cheeseburger macaroni. I am so glad I gave this recipe a try, so delicious. My whole family loved it and I will definitely make it again.

  56. amelia

    This recipe makes me feel so warm and nostalgic. It’s like its straight from my childhood!

    I added this recipe to my blog!

    Thanks again!


  57. Sam

    Made this the night before last and yum. The cheese sauce finally worked for me (and trust me, I’ve been trying for a while to get one right without being gritty), so I’m super excited about that. My bf and I did both have seconds too :)

  58. Samantha Andersen

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. I appreciate you posting this recipe online. I have linked it to my first Menu Plan Monday posting. I can’t wait to make this and prove to my son that Cheeseburgers and Mac belong together. :) He’s not even a picky eater just a PIB 11 year old.

  59. LOVEyoursite

    YUM!! Yer killin’ me. But in a good way, lol! I absolutely love your site, recipes, your sense of humor. A big thank you for sharing your goodies with us! :D

    Man, I just don’t have the willpower to resist your recipes. (How in the world is it that you guys don’t weight 400 lbs?!?!)

  60. Allie

    Soo yummy! I read it and made it right away! I have to agree with some others that it was a bit TOO spicy. IMO it was because of the 1/2 tsp of ground pepper. I thought it seemed a lot when I was adding it, but with all the rave reviews, I went for it. Next time, I will only use 1/8 tsp of the pepper, if any. (Maybe yours is never that spicy because you use the pepper seasoning which may be milder?) Either way, I will be making it again :) Great directions for the roux!

  61. Alicia

    Just wanted to say that i made this for my boyfriend and its now his favorite dish. I look forward to trying out new recipes from your fabulous blog!

  62. Twis

    This was good. If you are cooking for a big family make this dinner stretch by using 3/4 lbs of lean ground beef, double the macaroni to 2 cups and double the liquid to 4 cups (I used half beef broth and half water). You really get more for less! And you won’t even miss the extra meat. Good for your pocketbook–good for your body. Thanks for this recipie.

  63. Lindsey

    I made this last night for dinner and got mixed reviews. The first taste is delicious…then the heat hits you. My husband and my four year old were both gulping down milk to put out the fire :) Maybe next time I will skip the taco seasoning, the rotel, or the pepper. Those three combined were VERY spicy!

  64. Naomi B.

    I thought this was a bit spicy and thought it was much more of a taco macaroni versus cheeseburger macaroni. My family loved it though and it all went in one night!! I agree with one of the posters who thought it was better than Hamburger Helper….I told my husband it was a Hamburger Helper for adults!!

  65. Rebecca

    This looks so yummy! Quick question…Do I have to drain the tomatoes if use a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes instead of the Rotel (which is 10 oz)? I have never had Rotel before and couldn’t find them in mild and I’m afraid it will be too spicy with the regular. Thank you so much!

  66. Bridget

    I made this for my hubby and myself tonight and it was fantastic. Perfect instructions, easy to make, cheap to buy, and great tasting! I think if I were making this for kids I would use diced tomatoes instead of Rotel. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  67. Christina

    All I have to say is delish…..We made this for dinner and it was a huge hit. This is soo much better than hamburger helper. This is definitely going in the “LOVE IT” section of the recipe book. Thank you soo much for sharing. Christina

  68. Bridgette

    Thank you so much for this quick and easy recipe. I thought I had made a mistake when I tried to be smart and use evaporated milk, because my cheese sauce was really thick. When I mixed the sauce in with the beef mixture, it was still perfect. I stopped buying Hamburger Helper a while ago, even though no one seemed to dislike it but me. Now I have a superior substitute!

  69. Clarisa

    Just happened to stumble upon this recipie and oh my gosh it’s amazing!!!! My family loved it! I might try using the original rotel next time, the mild was just a tad much for my toddler, but he ate it anyway! (:

  70. Ambar

    Its funny Amanda that you made this because this is what I often make for my kids. They absolutely love it, only I add Sofrito to the meat which gives it this earthy,delicious flavor.

  71. Corilynn

    Just found this recipe posted on Pinterest and I had to try it. I changed it alittle, since we dont eat alot of red meat, I used chicken instead. I cut up a single chicken breast into small cubes and cooked it with a bit of EVOO and then followed the rest using chicken broth instead of beef broth. It was great although a little bit spicier than I though it would be from previous comments. I wonder what I did to make it that way, maybe the taco seasoning I used. ??? Anyways, I loved it! My daughter is 2 and she’s a picky eater, even through the spicyness she instisted on eating bite after bite with a few sips of milk in between! I’ll definitally be trying this again. TY!

  72. Laura

    Thank you for this recipe! I made this using Daiya cheese. My children have never had hamburger helper due to a food allergy and they LOVED this! I think it is so much better than Hamburger Helper. Thank you again.

  73. Jen

    Thank you for another great recipe! I was apprehensive to make this one, but my husband convinced me it looked good. I am so glad he did! This was soooo good!

  74. Barbara

    I tried this recipe tonight for the first time. Let me say this…..this is not like Hamburger Helper in any way except for maybe how it looks. It’s way more tasty and delicious! I was prepared to be disappointed for like so many recipes I try after reading all the positive reviews, I’m expecting the best. Most of the time they’re not even close to being good at all. This recipe didn’t disappoint. Thanks for sharing!

  75. dandra steber

    everybody lovvvvveeee this…homemade hamburger helper much cheaper tastes better kids fav!! thanks for this great idea!! i just love your site!!!

  76. Leanne

    Yummy! Thanks for helping me continue my quest away from boxed foods heavy with preservatives! This was delicious just as written!
    Thanks again.

  77. April

    I won’t buy hamburger helper so I was really excited to try this recipe. YUMMY…even the kids liked it although they did say like others have commented that it was spicy. I bought original Rotel because I didn’t realize they had a Mild Rotel so that’s probably why, I just assumed original was mild. But it was just the right amount of spice for me and my husband. Thanks for the great recipe!

  78. Sabrina

    I was looking for something new to make for dinner, so I came across your website and asked my husband to pick his dinner for tonight. We happened to have a can of diced tomatoes on hand and some leftover ground beef and shredded cheese, so he chose this recipe. I was skeptical at first because it looked soupy and runny in the picture. I thought it would just be okay. To my surprise, it came out creamy and thick and absolutely delicious! My husband and I had 2 big bowls each and wanted more, but we wanted to save some for leftovers tomorrow! It made my house smell so fragrant and aromatic! Even without the cheese, I could eat it as is… just like a chilli mac! Yumm!!! But my hubby prefers the cheese! I was worried the cheese sauce didn’t turn out right because it came out more like Gak (remember Gak?) or slime, but I added a touch more of milk and mixed with the mac/beef mixture and it turned out perfect! I don’t like spicy, so I used a can of regular plain diced tomatoes. There was still a kick to it from the taco seasoning, but I drank milk with my meal and I was fine! Not only was it easy to make, it was QUICK! Even on a hot summer day, I would eat this drenched in sweat and make it over and over again! =) It was delish! Thanks for the recipe!

  79. Heather

    Literally just made this, and it’s great! I slimmed it down by using turkey meat, skim milk, and 2% cheese and it still tastes delish. I wanted an alternative to Hamburger Helper, and this is MUCH better! Thanks!

  80. Itlitzabete

    I’m new to cooking and I made this tonight for my parents for dinner and I just wanted to let you know that it was a HUGE hit! What a boost to my kitchen confidence :) Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be making this again and again.

  81. Jenn

    I made this, except I used ground turkey, and I LOVED it. So cheesy and amazing. The Rotel adds such a nice flavor too. Great photos.

  82. Tasha B

    I made this lastnight and it was a hit! I did not have the rotel tomatoes (we dont have them here in Vancouver BC) so I used regular diced tomatoes and to get the kick of the chilies I used a couple of tablespoons of salsa. It was so good! next time I will make some side veggies or a big salad to go with it. Thanks for sharing this one.

  83. Jen H

    This recipe is making me so sad I can’t find Rotel in Toronto! I’m sure I can make it work with something I can find here, but Rotel it really the best! Thanks so much for sharing, even if I am drooling and wondering how I can make this :)

    1. Tasha B

      I used a regular can of diced tomatoes and then used a couple of tablespoons of salsa (it was one we got from the farmers market and it was full of fresh peppers, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos with a splash of lime juice) but I’m sure that a good quality salsa from the supermarket would work too … we dont get Rotel here in Vancouver either.

  84. Nick

    Nothing hits the spot like good old comfort food. Love the recipe for this, I’d probably only change it up a little. Maybe add some spicy jack cheese and red pepper. Kick it up a notch and it would be perfect!

  85. Linda @ Lemon Drop

    wow,this looks easy and delicious. What size can of diced tomatoes should I purchase? thx!
    Linda @ Lemon Drop

  86. katrenia.rhoton

    I have had a recipe for cheeseburger macaroni that I have used for years…just threw it away!!! This is absolutely delish!!!

  87. Jennifer

    I’m a brand new wife and was looking for some quick dinner receipts to try. This is the first meal I ever cooked for my husband. He loved it! Thank you!

  88. Keri

    I tried this the other night. I told my husband it was the alternative to Hamburger Helper. He absolutely loved it and has forbid me to make boxed hamburger helper ever again. It was amazing!!

  89. Elizabeth

    I made this last night, it was great! Substituted ground turkey for beef, used whole wheat pasta, and low fat cheese. Thanks for the recipe!

  90. Lozza Mc

    I just whipped this up for me and my boys for lunch, and it was a Huge Success. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

    So gonna add this to our normal meal rotations. Thanks.

  91. Eerie

    I’ve just bought the ingredients needed, except I am using some salsa instead of Rotel as we do not have that in regular supermarkets of Australia.

    I’ll be letting my 8 year old son try this recipe out, it seems simple enough for anyone!

  92. Clinton

    WOWZERS! This recipe looks like the perfect complement for watching the big game on the weekend – With an ice cold brew. :)

  93. Chellie B

    Winner! I have kids with the most sensitive taste buds ever. Even ketchup is spicy for them. They turn their little noses up at home made mac ‘n cheese all the time. But this dish was a total hit! They each downed two helpings and asked for more. Thank you!!

  94. Lisa

    Hi Amanda!

    I stumbled upon this recipe last week and knew I had to make it! :) Made it tonight and it was delish but not cheesy enough! Well, not for us anyway. Was it b/c I should have added more cheese or b/c I used reduced fat cheddar? Plus, we had a ton of beef broth left in the mixture. Was it due to the beef? I used 80% lean. Apologies in advance for the q’s. Newb here. ;)

  95. JJ

    I made this last night and it was SUPER SPICY!! I don’t know why!! I had mild taco seasoning and mild Rotel with green chilies. Next time I might make it a little different but overall we liked it.

  96. Stephanie

    I made this tonight for myself, my husband and my brother and sister-in-law and everyone loved it! Not too hard to make and tasty! Thank you for sharing :)

  97. Leah

    We made this last night and it was awesome!! I have a feeling it will be made plenty of times in the future. :)

    *Also, I was at the grocery store (Publix) on Saturday and I spotted these chocolate filled cookies! Reminded me of a post you had last year around Christmas. The cookies are called Milano Melts, I don’t know if they’ll measure up to your mystery cookies, but I love them!

  98. Nicole

    Okay I made this the other night and OMG sooooo Gooooood! I love your website and I make a few things from it each week…especially the creamy alfredo (except I used grilled chicken), that is by far my favorite. I can’t wait till the next recipe you share!

  99. Sherry

    JUST FINISHED EATING THIS for dinner and it was excellent! I’m not even joking when I say that my husband and myself had thirds (that NEVER happens!). My 2 yr old liked it as did my 10 month old, although it was a tad spicy so he didn’t eat a ton. Thanks so much for posting your recipes (I also made the shrimp pasta last week and it was also great), we are always trying new ones out to add to our monthly rotation.

  100. dom

    Just stumbled upon this page via SU – fantastic I love your step by step graphics for cooking this dish – looks pretty darn tasty

    One to give a go – You may want to think about doing a video for this that would be great. Cheers – nice recipe.

  101. Pamela

    I made a huge batch of this for our family and guests, and it was a huge hit! We used cheddar and colby jack cheeses and it was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

  102. Kim

    This is my new favorite meal!! Love this!!!! I am going to make a double batch and keep some in the freezer for anytime I feel like having some. I used shells and it came out ok, can’t wait to make it again! :) Thanks so much for a yummy easy recipe!!

  103. Sheryl

    I made this recipe the other night and I loved it!! It reminds me of a spicier version of cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, but I like knowing that it didn’t come from a box. It was a little too spicy for my husband’s taste, but it was right up my alley and I’ll definitely be making it again! I also was surprised at how easy it is to make the roux- I’ve never done it before and after learning how I’m excited to use the technique in other dishes. Thanks Amanda!

  104. James

    I was skeptical about parts of this meal. I thought “there’s no way the roux is going to end up that creamy”. Apparently, I’ve never done it right. I admit it, I’ve never made a roux right until now. Now, for the changes I made to the recipe. First, I ended up getting about 1.6lbs of less lean beef, didn’t cook down as much as I’d hoped, so it was a bit more meaty than I imagined, but it worked. Second, our Ro*Tel was well beyond its expiry date (didn’t have a use for it before), so we ended up using plain diced tomatoes. Finally, instead of taco seasoning, I used some grilled steak seasoning, and it came out quite good. I used sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated (I’ve always found that the stuff in bags has issues with any kind of sauce or melting) and that sharpness shines through even in the final product, deliciously so.
    I made this for myself and my parents, so I had to watch the salt, which is why I didn’t use the taco seasoning. One cup of broth and one cup of water drastically reduces the sodium, as well as using a different set of spices. Sadly, I couldn’t just dump in garlic and onion powder, because dad’s not a fan of the onion or the garlic.
    All in all, a fantastic recipe. One of the best I’ve found, and will help me with my roux mixes in the future. Look out, alfredo, I’m fixing my recipe for you next.

    1. cin

      good to know someone has already tried the recipe with plain diced tomatoes as my pantry is lacking the kind with chili.

      thanks for sharing!

  105. Sara Davis

    I made this for my family last night…I have a 6 year old and 3 year old who are both super picky eaters…they loved it!! My 6 year old asked for seconds!! Thank you so much!

  106. Catherine

    JUST finished eating this, it was a HUGE hit with our family :)(one son had 3!helpings!!! I had to mod a bit as I forgot to bring my pregnancy brain with me to the grocery store this morning…I ended up using Burrito mix, Almer’s Accents Chili style diced tomatoes, Roast Beef Au Jus from last night’s roast ;) and Kraft TexMex shredded cheese. Added Keg Cajun Seasoning instead of salt and some dried Chipotle pepper seasoning and a small bit of Frank’s Red Hot on my husband’s 2 servings of it lol
    Thank you SO VERY much for the detailed pics of the Roux, it made it much easier to duplicate than reading a description in a book!!

    SUPERB recipe for a family, great taste, budget-friendly, and a spin on an all time classic favorite for all :) The rich flavour made it easy to hide the fact that I used SMART fiber/whole grain pasta which the kids usually turn up their noses at ;)
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!! For sharing, and all the work you put in this page for us readers ;)

  107. Michele

    Found this recipe on Stumbleupon, and made it last night for dinner. We altered the recipe a bit by using Ground Chicken and Chicken Stock and then we added some chopped garlic and onions and used Rotel Original and Spicy Taco Seasoning. It had a great kick and was really delicious! Thank you!

  108. Lisa

    This was so good! When I was a kid I loved cheeseburger macaroni night. But ours came from a box. This is so much better it’s unbelievable! It got two thumbs up from the hubby too.

  109. Kristen

    Made this last night and LOVED IT! i think I may have gotten the cheese mixture to the wrong consistency, but once I mixed it in it was FABULOUS!
    Thanks for sharing!!! I will definitely be making this again and again!

  110. Shandy

    This was a hit at my house. My husband loved it. I added shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onions and diced pickles on top. It was delicious and very easy to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  111. Beth

    Fantastic recipe! I made it last night and it was filling and tasty. Perfectly seasoned. I used reduced fat cheddar to save some calories and it was great. Only issue I had was there was still quite a lot of broth left even after the noodles were completely tender. Made the cheese sauce thinner, but after it sat for a bit, it thickened up OK. I might use a little less broth next time.

  112. Meghan

    I would just like to say this was… AMAZING. I usually hate anything hamburger helper related but this was excellent. I used less sodium taco seasoning, soy milk and veggie ground. I also added onions to the veggie ground and paprika to the cheese sauce. Soooo good. My husband has put this in is his top five favourite dishes. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  113. Theresa

    This recipe looks great! And my mom will be so happy. She’s tired of reading the recipes I post that contain canned soups. She hates canned soup. I don’t mind it. :)

  114. kelly

    Just made this for dinner! Yummmy!!! It was spicy not perfect! It does remind me of hamburger helper… this is waayyyy better!

  115. Senja

    Hi Amanda,

    I just made this and it is delicious :) My husband also liked it and it was so fast!

    Thanks for sharing this.


  116. Flora

    I’m adding some of the ingredients to my grocery list so I can make this next week. What a great and easy recipe, thanks!

  117. Rhonda

    Made this for supper tonight. Completely missed the big fat “MILD” on your Rotel picture. I’m glad the kids are at their grandparents’ house because it was pretty spicy with regular Rotel. Very good, though!

  118. katie

    Looks delicious! Thank you so much for including the calorie count!! That really helps. I was inspired by YOU to lose some weight in January. I followed your super easy suggestions and have lost 20 pounds!! I too thought I just couldn’t lost the weight, but it was SO simple and really a complete lifestyle change. Thanks again for the inspiration and the fab recipe!!

  119. Teresa Zuehls

    This recipe sounds easy, fast and good. My kind of meal. It reminds me of Hamburger Helper but this one is much healthier.

  120. Laurie

    OK Amanda, please come cook for me and family???? lol! You have the best recipes, thanks for giving me ideas for dinner! Have a great weekend!

  121. Kristin Murdock

    Oh my word Amanda, your recipes are not good for my waistline! :) Happy Weekend to you – thanks for the yummy ideas!

  122. Pamela

    This looks fantastic! I’m going to make a big batch of it for my house guests this week! Thanks you for the printable recipe and the links at the end!!!

  123. Julie

    Yummo!! I have a recipe very similar to this one but I added a can of cheddar cheese soup with a 1/4 cup milk instead of making the cheese sauce. That was back in my “single mom of two boys” day. It has been along time since I have had it! Think I will have to make it this weekend!

  124. Jac

    We are having this for dinner tonight! I already had hamburger out thawing for something else, but as soon as I saw this recipe, I decided on it instead :) Thank you so much!

  125. Chastity

    Thank you SO much for making nutrition facts available for this recipe. It makes it much easier for me to follow the Weight Watchers program when I have that information! I have 5 kids and a husband who LOVE Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper (Ugh!) and so I am gonna surprise them all with this recipe tonight and I’m sure it will be much better (and healthier!) than the box stuff. We also love your Ultimate Baked Beans. I made them for a large gathering last weekend and everyone was talking about them! :)

    1. Chastity

      It was a HIT!! My husband loved it, and so did my 2 year old! Some of the kids thought it was a little too “spicy”, so next time I might just use half the taco seasoning. Total deliciousness!! :)

  126. Kristyn

    Wow, looks delicious, I cannot wait to make it! One question: do you just use regular grated cheddar cheese? Every time I’ve made a sauce with cheddar cheese, it’s come out a little bit gritty. Anyway, I cannot wait to try this, I love your recipes. Thanks so much for sharing them!!

    1. Amanda

      The trick to this is to remove the sauce from the heat before adding the cheddar. Give it a few good stirs to cool it down before adding the cheese – there will still be plenty of residual heat to melt the cheese. It’s when the cheddar gets too hot (to the point of bubbling) that it starts getting gritty.

    2. Chastity

      I am going to use the shredded Velveeta cheese you can buy in the bag. I think that will work best, as it is made to “melt”. I agree about the cheddar.

  127. Urban Wife

    Maybe I will email my husband this recipe so that he can stop buy Hamburger Helper! What a great alternative and probably less caloric than the store bought stuff. Have a great weekend! :)

  128. Jeannette P

    Thanks Amanda. I plan to have my children make this one soon. They are 8, 6, and 4. The two older ones want to make dinner sometimes and having pictures to help them along the way so they feel like they are making the meal by themselves is perfect. Of course they’ll get mom’s help with the stove but I think this one is easy enough for them to do mostly on their own. :) Thanks

  129. Lois

    Mindy – check out the bottom right of the recipe…..viola`!!! A “print recipe” button! Amanda thinks of everything! :)

  130. Mindy

    um… duh! oops. my mistake, just saw it. I am such a doe-doe… let me blame it on: “It’s too early and I haven’t had my coffee yet.” — yeah that’s it :P

  131. Mindy

    Amanda: Here a great idea. A lot of us would love to have a print this recipe click button somewhere after or before the recipe. Then when we click it, the recipe will open in a new window, and we can then just easily print the recipe with title and all. Just a suggestion that I think a lot of us would love! Thanks! –Mindy

    1. Mandy

      Mindy – there is a “Print Recipe” button right below the box around the recipe. Hope this helps!

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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