Cheeseburger Macaroni (A Hamburger Helper Make-Over!)

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you forever!!! It’s really become one of my favorites because it tastes so good and is SO easy to make. When I threw out the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge, a few of you mentioned Hamburger Helper make-overs. Isn’t there one that’s like a “Lasagna Skillet” or something like that?? You might want to try Lasagna Casserole as a very tasty alternative.  And now…this Cheeseburger Macaroni!

Here’s the background information (that you may or may not care about) for my Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe:

Back in my good ol’ Coupon Queen days, I used to buy oodles of boxes of Hamburger Helper anytime they went on sale for 99¢ and I had a coupon to get them for less than that. Sometimes I’d have cabinets full of them that I’d found for just a few pennies each. I’d enjoy them for a quick and easy meal (and I’d drink a Pepsi or two with it, you can be sure).

My favorite variety of Hamburger Helper was Cheeseburger Macaroni. I LOVED it. I’d save it for special nights. Yes, special nights with Hamburger Helper, Cheeseburger Macaroni style. Wow.

Gone are the days of having a stockpile of Hamburger Helper (and my beloved Pepsi)…and I’ve gotta say that now that I’m used to eating more whole foods, the idea of either one makes me feel a little bit woozie in the tummy. But I still crave that hamburger-cheesy-noodly taste, you know?

So one day, I had some leftover taco meat and just for fun, I stirred it into the Creamy Mac and Cheese I was making for lunch. Wowza!!! My Cheeseburger Macaroni days were back…only better! Here’s how I make it:

Cheeseburger Macaroni

1 Pound (give or take) Ground Beef or Turkey
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
1 Recipe of Creamy Mac and Cheese (pasta, milk, cheese)
Sea Salt to taste

The directions are super complicated…are you ready? Make the Creamy Mac and Cheese. Meanwhile, brown the meat. Once the meat is fully cooked, sprinkle in the taco seasoning. Stir the seasoned meat into the Creamy Mac and Cheese. Done.

If you feel like it, you can mix in about 4 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sour cream, or 3/4 cup of tomato sauce…this recipe is very flexible. It’s super kid friendly, and very easy to throw together on a busy night.

Now, it’s been several years before I’ve made a “convenient” box of Hamburger Helper, but I’m going to venture to say that this healthier variety of Cheeseburger Macaroni doesn’t take any longer to fix than making a box of Hamburger Helper. How ’bout that?

Were you (are you?) a Hamburger Helper lover? If you currently are…is there anything more I can say that will help you stay away from the pretty little box?

P.S. I have a Tater Tot recipe almost ready to share with you!! :)

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  1. says

    I made this last night, and both my husband and I thought it was delicious. I didn’t have any of my homemade taco seasoning on hand, so I just used 2 tsp good quality chili powder and 1 tsp cumin. I have no idea if it tastes like Hamburger Helper, as I ate it only a few times as a kid (my dad hated HH). But I’ll make it again for sure! Next time, I’ll cut the beef in half, just because I like a bigger pasta to meat ratio. Thanks for the awesome comfort food recipe!


  2. Tammy F says

    Deeeeeeelllliiiisssshhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Just made this tonight and it was devoured! Thank you for sharing your hard work with us!


  3. Penny says

    Fantastic recipe, easily prepared and a hit for the whole family – including picky eaters! There are plenty of leftovers. I plan to add extra pasta to the leftovers and get at least 2 more dinners from the batch. Thanks so much for your wonderful recipes!


  4. Angela says

    I can’t wait to try this! I’m always looking for easy recipes to make for the kids and I to eat when my husband isn’t around. I find it hard to cook for 2 little boys and myself. I will be making this for dinner tomorrow night while my husband is at Bible study.


  5. ashley says

    Wow! This was so good! I was craving hamburger helper but didn’t have.any handy so I made this. My sister actually thought it was hamburger helper(: you have to try it.


  6. Nikki says

    I had a box of cheeseburger macaroni HH and I was looking for ways to dress it up and I came across this. I cooked a diced onion and a little garlic in with the ground beef, then I added the taco seasoning with the seasoning packet in the box, then for an even more Mexican flare…I stirred in some fresh cilantro right before serving! OMG it was absolutely delish!!!!! Thanks so much for posting this great recipe!


  7. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe, it did double duty for us tonight! My hubby doesn’t eat much so I gave him the plain macaroni and cheese and then added the meat, taco seasoning and some peas for my son and myself, we all had a dinner we enjoyed and I didn’t have to cook twice!


  8. Mandy says

    mwah hah hah!!!! That’s how I feel every time I find a great recipe that is healthy and DELICIOUS that my family gobbles up like crazy! ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS!!!!


  9. says

    Super tasty! Thanks! I stopped buying Hamburger Helper trying to move away from processed foods but definitely missed the simplicity/taste! This is definitely going to become a staple meal in this house!


  10. Ashley says

    This was great! I made it for dinner tonight! It is a great base recipe that I think you could take many ways! Make sure you us block cheese that you shred your self and NOT cheese in a bag! The flavor will not be good if you do that! I had tried the Mac and Cheese recipe and didn’t care for it before, but that was because I used the wrong kind of cheese! Also make sure you put the macaroni in a bowl then add the cheese to melt! Yum!


  11. Cindy says

    One suggestion – READ the recipe! My husband made this for dinner tonight. In looking at the mac/cheese part, he didn’t see to wait to put the cheese in until AFTER it was off the heat. Our “sauce” ended up not being a sauce – VERY thick. Still a good taste, so we will definitely try it again.


  12. says

    Okay…I’m ashamed to admit I have that box of Hamburger Helper in the pantry. And as I was buying it, I thought “You don’t need the box to make this.” And now I don’t…thanks! Debbie @


  13. Cindy says

    The first time we made this, everyone seemed to love. But then we kept making it, using white-cheddar cheese we had shredded ourselves, and it keeps turning out grainy, not smooth/creamy and now my husband doesn’t want to do it anymore. Hrmph! I haven’t bought any more Velveeta (how we were making it, maybe the TINIEST bit healthier than “the box”) so we’ve just been going without for several weeks. *sigh*


  14. Angela says

    Yum!! This was a fantastic meal the other night. It was one of those nights when I looked over at the clock and was like, “please tell me it is NOT 6:00pm already!” Laura to the rescue, lol!! :)


  15. Kim says

    Do you think this would freeze well?


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Probably not. I think it would get mushy if you reheated it.


  16. Dee says

    I have made a version of this for years and I always add fresh mushrooms. We are a mushroom loving family so it’s not a stretch for us. Sometimes, I will some diced tomatoes and beans, either chilli beans, black beans or dark red kidney beans. Soooo many variations, only seven days in a week…! Thanks for posting the recipe.


  17. Sue O says

    Great recipe. I made this for my very fussy 15yr old and he really liked it. To the point he had seconds. Yah, it is a keeper. We are still working on the veggies.


  18. Denise says

    OH MY GOSH!! This was so good. I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t too many years ago that my poor little family lived off HH. I thought I wouldn’t remember the taste to compare, but it did and it was pretty spot on. I made this last night and everyone loved it!! Unfortunately I do have ADD (truly…but a a whole foods diet helps a LOT) and I didn’t follow directions well on the mac part. I cooked the pasta first. Then I saw I had messed up and decided “I can still make this work.” I added the pasta in with the meat and then added the milk (a lot less milk obviously) and cheese. Fortunately it still turned out amazing. Nice and creamy! This one is definitely a keeper!! Thank you so much!!


  19. Deborah says

    You are a genious. Thank you for sharing this. It was so freaking easy and my whole family of picky eaters loves it. Raves about it. Still. I made it last week and they’re still talking about it. The cheesy mac and cheese is also genious.


  20. Linda Knutson says

    I have volunteered to be in charge of meal planning and prep for our church. We offer a free community meal on our youth program night. We live out in the country so all of our previous meals are firmly rooted in good old country cooking. Very delicious but not always very healthy. We have no financial support from the church but we live lists of items needed for the meal out in church for members to pick up and bring in for the meal. My question about your Cheeseburger Mac is how many does this feed. We prepare for 100. Usually not that many come but we have some members who need to take home the leftovers because they may not have a lot for the rest of the week. Love your healthier recipes because they are easy, adaptable for crowds with small teams (2-3 ) to prepare and kid friendly (ages pre-school through high school). Thanks for all you do. Sincerely, Linda


    Laura Reply:

    I’m so thankful to hear that you are taking part in this much needed ministry! I would say this recipe feeds 6-8 people. :)


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