Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (2024)

Make Your Own


This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.

Want to learn how to make Hamburger Helper mix from scratch? This simple recipe is easy and totally customizable! There isn’t much better than a quick meal with a delicious cheesy sauce.

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (1)

Table of Contents

How to Make Hamburger Helper Mix

I don’t know about you but I like having all kinds of foods on hand to be able to prepare a quick and simple dish! In addition to canning, I’m all about making mixes to have on my pantry shelf.

Those boxed mixes from the store are so handy but completely scary and even though they seem like a good idea at the time, they are actually costing you more than you think.

So I love to make homemade mixes for so many reasons. Ingredients, cost, the ability to customize, convenience…and much more. I’ll also be sharing cost comparisons on various products from the store and how much the homemade version costs.

Why Not Hamburger Helper from the Store?

How many of you grabbed a box of Hamburger Helper at the grocery store when you were in a panic of not knowing what to make for supper? I know that I have in the past! First, let’s take a peek at what exactly is in the fancy box:

Enriched Pasta (Whole Wheat Flour, Semolina Wheat, Durum Wheat, Vitamin D, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (B Vitamin)), Whey, Salt, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Corn, Soy, Wheat, Calcium Carbonate, Artificial Color, Sugar, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed or Canola Oil, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, Calcium Lactate, Natural Flavor, Nonfat Milk, Onion Powder, Dried Parsley, Mushroom Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Spice, Beef Stock, Mushrooms, Dried Corn Syrup, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Lactose, Garlic Powder, Dried Soy Sauce (Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Egg

Oh my goodness. Artificial colors and flavors. Hydrogenated oils, MSG (Autolyzed Yeast Extract), corn syrup. I don’t even want to look at the nutrition facts to see the levels of sodium. Do I really need to go on?

Boxed Hamburger Helper Cost:

The regular price of this in my local grocery store is $2.29 per box. I know it goes on sale for around $2 per box so we will work off that price.

One jar of homemade Hamburger Helper is the perfect amount to go with one pound of ground beef. Let’s get on to the recipe!

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (2)

How to Make Hamburger Helper Mix

A few notes before we get started….

  • If you have my book, you can find this recipe on page 167. It also contains tips on how to make this gluten and dairy-free as well as how to make a chili cheese version. Plus my book also more than the basic Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe like recipes for Chicken Helper Mix and Beef Stroganoff Mix so you might want to check that out!
  • Be sure and add the pasta to the recipe first and not the spices or they will clump to the bottom.
  • My recipe does not contain cheese powder because I prefer the taste of real cheese but if you’d like to add cheese powder to the recipe, you can find it here.
  • Be sure and use a lean ground beef for this recipe otherwise, it will taste a little fatty and greasy. You can also drain the fat if needed before you add the beef into the mixture.
  • If you have leftovers of the cooked up mixture, just store them in a container in the fridge. They are just as good the next day!
  • Use hot water and warm milk when making the recipe so it takes less cooking time.

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (3)


Homemade Hamburger Helper Mix

How to make your own Hamburger Helper Mix from scratch.

CourseMain Course


KeywordHomemade Hamburger Helper

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Servings 4 people


  • 1teaspooncorn starcharrowroot powder, or flour
  • 2teaspoonpaprika
  • 1teaspoononion powder
  • 1teaspoongarlic powder
  • 1teaspoonsalt
  • 1teaspoonsugar
  • 1 1/2cupselbow macaroni


  1. Mix ingredients together in a bag or jar.

Cooking Directions

  1. When we are ready to make, brown up 1 lb of ground beef in a 10 or 12 inch skillet.

  2. Add in the mix and 1 cup water and 2 cups of milk. Cover the skillet and let the pasta simmer and cook until the pasta is done. Try not to boil the mixture too hard or you may not have enough liquid.

  3. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese before serving. That's it!

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (4)

These mixes are super easy to put together, less than 5 minutes of prep time! They take very little time to make the recipe as well and the kids love it!

Alternative Versions and Add-Ins

  • For a lower cost version, you could use ground turkey in place of the ground beef.
  • If you want to easily make this gluten free, these are our favorite Gluten Free Elbow Noodles. You can get them in bulk!
  • For a quick and easy substitute recipe, add in diced ham in place of the ground beef and you will have ham and cheese macaroni!
  • If you want to add a little more depth of flavor to this basic recipe, add in a little pepper while it’s cooking and top with a dollop of sour cream for serving.
  • Add in a little cooked, chopped bacon for an extra flavorful version.
  • Replace the water with beef broth for a better depth of flavor.

Homemade Hamburger Helper Mix Cost:

The spices in this mix are in such small amounts they really only cost pennies but for the sake of adding it up, we will say $0.25 for all the spices. A bag of elbow pasta costs around $1, a little bit more if you decide to do whole wheat. One bag will make 2 mixes.

So we are at a total of $1.50 for 2 mixes (each mix serves 4) or $0.75 each. That’s 33% of the cost of the on sale box of Cheeseburger Macaroni from the store.

–Find a list of my favorite mixes to make here!

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (5)

Of course, the boxed version has that good old dried cheese already in it and you will have to go through the trouble and cost of adding fresh cheese to your homemade version but I’m thinking that might be a plus??

Want to make this Hamburger Helper mix with me? Here’s a video (sorry for the poor sound!) of me making some of my homemade mixes!

Looking for even more mixes that you can make from scratch? Here are some of my favorites!

  • Homemade Cream of Soup Mix
  • Homemade Chocolate Brownies Mix Recipe
  • Homemade Rice Roni Mix
  • Frugal Dried Bean Soup Mix
  • Homemade Muffin Mix Recipe
  • Find more here on my Mixes Page!

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (6)Looking for more mixesthat you can make quickly and easily? My book,Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self Sufficient Life has over 130 recipes just like this one!

Does your family enjoy Hamburger Helper?

This post on How to Make Hamburger Helper Mix was originally posted on Little House Living in August 2012. It has been updated as of July 2022.

Hamburger Helper Mix Recipe (2024)


What is good to mix with Hamburger Helper? ›

Moreover, you can also combine two kinds of cheese and use them in this dish for extra richness and cheesiness. Spices and herbs: spices and herbs are the best way to improve the flavors of any dish. Add cumin, cayenne, paprika, or Italian herbs to the hamburger helper to make it taste better.

How do you make boxed Hamburger Helper better? ›

Some ideas that you can try in small batches instead of the whole dish:
  1. Mix in some chopped tomatoes (canned and drained or fresh) and maybe sour cream, ricotta or plain yogurt. ...
  2. I love to mix in frozen peas when I cook my hamburger helper.
Jan 14, 2022

What gives Hamburger Helper flavor? ›

Cheese: Medium cheddar cheese gives it that classic hamburger helper taste, but you could substitute other melty cheese like monterey or pepperjack for something different. Cornstarch: This both thickens the sauce slightly and gives it a silky texture. Paprika: Regular or smoked paprika work well in this recipe.

Is Hamburger Helper better with milk or water? ›

Since milk adds a creamy texture to the Hamburger Helper sauce, it or its substitutes are recommended as a major ingredient to flavorful Hamburger Helper meals.

What spices to add to Hamburger Helper? ›

Add in 2 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups hot tap water, or warm chicken or beef broth.. 3. Mix together the spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes, and kosher salt) and cornstarch. Cornstarch will help thicken the sauce for a creamier and more silky cheese sauce.

What happens if you use water instead of milk in Hamburger Helper? ›

Water: If you're looking for a simple substitute, water can be used in place of milk. While it won't provide the same creaminess, it will still work well in the recipe [2]. Shredded Cheese: Adding shredded cheese to your Hamburger Helper can help thicken the sauce and add extra flavor.

What thickens Hamburger Helper? ›

Cheese: Medium cheddar cheese gives it that classic hamburger helper taste, but you could substitute other melty cheese like monterey or pepperjack for something different. Cornstarch: This both thickens the sauce slightly and gives it a silky texture.

How much milk do you put in a box of Hamburger Helper? ›

You will need: 1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Turkey 2 1/3 cups Hot Water 1 cup Milk Cook: Cook ground meat in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes, breaking up and stirring. Drain; return cooked meat to skillet. Stir: Stir in hot water, milk, Sauce Mix and Pasta.

What was the original Hamburger Helper? ›

The brand made its national debut in August 1971. With five flavors – Beef Noodle, Potato Stroganoff, Hash, Rice Oriental and Chili Tomato, it was an instant success. More than one in four – 27 percent – of U.S. households purchased Hamburger Helper in its first year. It was a bit surprising.

Can I use broth instead of water in Hamburger Helper? ›

Hot water: If you want this dish extra savory, go ahead and heat up some beef broth or even chicken broth in place of the water. But I find that with all the spices and cheese, water works just fine.

Do you season ground beef for Hamburger Helper? ›

The best seasonings to use for Hamburger Helper are salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and Italian seasoning.

What can I put in Hamburger Helper instead of milk? ›

Depending on the type of Hamburger Helper, you can use any other liquid, such as almond milk, coconut milk, chicken stock or beef stock.

Why does Hamburger Helper need milk? ›

Milk adds a creamy texure and lends its flavor to the sauce in Hamburger Helper. You may not enjoy the results made with only water.

What can you add to Hamburger Helper instead of milk? ›

10 Best Milk Substitutes For Hamburger Helper
  1. Condiments. • 1 Mayonnaise - blend of mayo.
  2. Dairy. • 1 Buttermilk - blend of buttermilk. • 1 Half-and-half - cup.
  3. Other. • Powdered milk - Reconstitute per package directions and use cup for cup.

What to add into cheeseburger Hamburger Helper? ›

Simply add ground beef or hot dogs, water, and milk to create an irresistible, delectably cheesy meal option for any day of the week. Add your own twist with cooked bacon, shredded cheese or sliced tomatoes for an extra dose of flavor.

What can I add to Hamburger Helper if I don't have milk? ›

Stock: If you can't consume dairy, using stock or broth can add flavor to your Hamburger Helper. Beef or vegetable stock works well [2]. Coconut Milk: Both canned and refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk can be used as a substitute for milk. It adds creaminess and a slight coconut flavor to the dish [2].


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 6328

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.