Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

This is a quick and kid-friendly recipe for homemade hamburger helper. This is a healthier version of the beloved classic.

Let’s talk about comfort food.

What’s your all-time fave?

For me, it’s chips and salsa. It just makes me happy and I feel like I could eat this at any time, anywhere.

I’m also a huge fan of pretty much anything that can be wrapped in a tortilla.

(Random side note: the Pilot ordered me a blanket that was supposed to look like a tortilla so I could be a real-life burrito. Sadly, it was an Amazon fail, but when he told me he ordered it, I felt real, true love. I guess buying me any type of tortilla is my love language?)

I was chatting with my friend Betsy about comfort food and how much the kiddos tend to prefer meals that are casserole-y or rice-y, or something that just shrouds your soul in a carby blanket. She mentioned that she had been making a homemade version of Hamburger Helper for her boys and they go crazy for it, and instantly my ears perked up. I’m ALWAYS looking for easy and delicious meals that the girls will love, so it was something I definitely wanted to try out.

Hamburger Helper was a fairly common meal in our household growing up. Madre could cook it extremely fast in between baseball practices and dance class, and my brothers and I all went crazy for it – it was certainly a family favorite. The idea is pretty genius: sauté some meat, add some spices and noodles, and boom. This great recipe is served in less than 30 minutes.

Homemade hamburger helper 3

I thought I’d experiment with my own version of Healthy Hamburger Helper and was so excited when dinner was done in less than 20 minutes… and the girls cleaned their plates… and asked for seconds. We all love this family friendly recipe!

Homemade hamburger helper 4

Here’s the super easy recipe if you’d like to give it a try, or pin it when you need a quick, kid-friendly dinner option!

Ingredients in Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • ground beef
  • worcestershire sauce
  • canned fire-roasted tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • paprika (could add a little chili powder for heat)
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • almond milk
  • water (more as needed)
  • elbow pasta noodles (can use gluten-free pasta)
  • shredded cheese (cheddar cheese is always a favorite)


Healthy homemade hamburger helper recipe

A delicious and easy recipe for weeknights. This is a version of the beloved classic, with simple ingredients.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 14.5 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water (more as needed)
  • 2 1/2 cups elbow pasta noodles
  • Shredded cheese for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, add the ground beef with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Brown well, and add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Remove the beef and allow to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. In the saucepan, add the milk, water, tomatoes, and seasonings. Season well with salt and pepper and bring up to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the noodles and beef, and cover.
  5. Cook according to package directions for the pasta, but keep in mind that it may take a little bit longer. You might need to add a little more water if the sauce gets too thick. Our noodles said they’d take 15 minutes but it took closer to 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend) and top with extra cheese to serve.


  • Feel free to switch it up with ground turkey and add extra veggies.


  • Serving Size: 6

What was one of your family’s staple recipes growing up?

Madre often made amaaaaazing enchiladas, and at my dad’s house, he made “yellow chicken” (a delicious curry grilled chicken) once a week.



Another comforting kid-friendly dinner recipe: this cheesy chicken casserole.

Post Navigation:


  1. Julia on July 16, 2019 at 9:31 am

    This was our comfort food growing up: Lebanese rice (Riz a Jej) which we called Arroz con Almendras because we’re Colombian too. – I don’t make it because I live by my mom, but I’m thinking now I’ll try it and leave the meat/chicken/almond goodness out for me and my husband and do the full on dish for the kids.

  2. Josie on July 16, 2019 at 10:15 am

    We make a dish with the same basic ingredients, but call it ‘Stuff’. My mom always made it growing up and when we asked what it was, she always said ‘Stuff’. So the name stuck! It’s one of our favorite quick meals! Chicken and dumplings was a big favorite too.

  3. Shel on July 16, 2019 at 11:15 am

    My mom made what she called goulash. Don’t know if this is something passed down or something she winged.

    She sauteed ground beef with a green pepper and onion, then added stewed tomatoes and threw it over elbow macaroni. Salt and pepper were the only seasonings. We loved it as kids. I still make it occasionally.

    • Trina on July 16, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      My mom made the same thing as your mom and called it goulash too. Sometimes she added a can of drained kidney beans, red pepper flakes, and topped it with cheddar cheese. Delish.

  4. Reenie on July 16, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Goulash 🙂

  5. V on July 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    What do you eat when you make this for your kids?

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      The pasta is gluten free. I just added some into a bowl for myself before adding the cheese to the rest 🙂 loved it!

  6. Tracy on July 16, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    My mom also made a recipe like this and also called it goulash like the other comments. We all loved it. Spaghetti & meatballs and “Spaghetti casserole” were other favorites.

    My kids will love this recipe! I’ll definitely make it soon!

  7. Amy on July 17, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    My mom made a cheesy, noodle, ground beef combination that was finished off in the oven. Probably equivalent to a poor man’s lasagna. We lived on a budget, but whenever someone passed away she always made this same casserole to take to the family’s house as a way to send her condolences and would make an extra dish for us to have for dinner. So when we came home from school and that was our dinner, we knew someone has passed on. Well the casserole became known as “death casserole” in our house over 30 years ago and the name has stuck. My own two boys will often request “death casserole” for dinner!

  8. Nichole on July 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Loved this! Made it last night exactly how the instructions read! I think my mom used to make something similar that had mixed veggies in it and now cheese! Thank you for this quick dinner idea when I had NO CLUE what to make last night!

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2019 at 11:36 am

      so happy you liked it!! 🙂

  9. Rosamonde Simone @ KetoBotyToneAvis on August 6, 2019 at 6:14 am

    Your healthy homemade hamburger recipe is great in taste. I love it. Thank you.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.