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Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper. Swapping the boxed stuff out and making everyone’s childhood dinner completely homemade, and healthier too. Plus so much tastier! Think of this hamburger helper as the tastier, creamier version of what you’d eat as a kid. It’s made with ground beef, seasonings, pasta, and a little shredded zucchini too (for added veggies). Comfort food at its best, this recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

I didn’t grow up eating hamburger helper, neither did my brothers. But for whatever reason, this has been a recipe I wanted to try and recreate for a while now. Ever since my older brother mentioned the idea to me a year or so ago it’s been on my “to make” list.

Not going to lie, it’s obviously not my usual kind of recipe, as I tend to sway towards recipes with a bit more color. But something about recreating this in a healthier, tastier, way really excited me.

So while it may have taken me over a year to finally test this out and share, the day is here. And I’m excited because this really is that perfect early fall, September dinner.

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

The idea

So as I said, my brother had mentioned creating a recipe for homemade (not boxed) hamburger helper. He said that if I could make it like the boxed stuff, but with a creamier texture, and a little more depth of flavor, that it would be, “SO GOOD”.

I wasn’t excited at first, but then I started to think about the upgrades I could make. I wondered, “could I make it healthier, but still creamy? Could we add a little flavor, but still keep it classic? And could I make it all in one pot just like the box?”.

All of the challenges started to excite me, so I figured if I could get each one checked off, then I would have a great recipe!

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

This is a one pot dinner, so the details are simple

First of all, find yourself a nice big pot or braiser to cook this in. I love this one and think it’s the perfect size for this recipe.

Now, starting cooking! Simply add the beef and onion to your pot and brown it all over, add in some spices, and then the pasta. And next? The ingredient that adds a little health to the recipe…a bit of shredded zucchini.

I love adding shredded zucchini to pasta dishes like this. Not only does the zucchini incorporate a vegetable into the recipe, but it also adds moisture and creates an even creamier sauce.

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

Finish it up

Once the pasta and zucchini are both added, pour over the broth and milk. Add a squeeze of ketchup (sounds weird, but trust me), then cook everything together until that pasta is al dente.

It’s important to stir the pasta frequently to ensure that nothing is sticking. But other than that, everything is EASY.

The final step is to stir in a handful of cheddar cheese. Serve up the hamburger helper topped with fresh parsley (it needs a little color!) and enjoy!

As I always like to say – homemade is best!

Excited to have this recipe in my back pocket for cozy fall and winter dinners to come. And Creighton’s verdict? He loved every bite. He said, “how could someone not love this? It’s basically mac and cheese with meat…and it’s delicious”.

So there ya go! He doesn’t lie.

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

Looking for other easy family dinners? Here are a few ideas: 

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

One Pan Autumn Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin Cheese Stuffed Pasta Bolognese Bake

One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake

Lastly, if you make this Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 675 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. In a large pot set over medium hight heat, add the olive oil, onion and beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder, cook another minute.
    2. Add the pasta and zucchini and toss to coat, then pour in the broth and milk. Add the ketchup and stir to combine. Season with salt.
    3. Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Simmer 5-8 minutes until the pasta is al dente, stirring often.
    4. Stir in the cheese and cook another few minutes until very creamy.
    5. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
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Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper | halfbakeharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight! So delish. I added broccoli instead of zucchini to make it healthy 😉 such a good comfort meal

  2. 5 stars
    I rarely comment but this is easy and delicious 1-pot dinner . I was not one who grew up on hamburger helper but enjoy this I love that the pasta cooks in broth basically (and you dont through out the liquid) Ive made it with pasta I had on had — einkorn farfale and fusilli and also with the vegetables on hand one time chard and then cauliflower. I think there are many other vegetables that would be delicious in this dish thank you!

    1. Hey Claudia,
      Happy Wednesday!! ❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  3. Absolutely delicious! Didn’t have any zucchini so I used green bell pepper instead. My whole family enjoyed it.

    1. Hey Julie,
      Happy Wednesday!! ❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  4. This is a delicious, winter comfort food!! My picky 12-year-old didn’t even notice the zucchini!!! 👍 and super easy to make. Thanks for the recipe!!

    1. Hey Selena,
      Perfect!! I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and thanks so much for trying it out! xx

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe and a regular one now at our home. I actually use more hamburger for extra protein for my meat loving teenager.

    1. Hey Kelly,
      Happy Monday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xT

  6. 4 stars
    I used shredded carrots instead of zucchini since that’s what I have on hand usually. Mine didn’t turn out as creamy as in your photo, but still pretty delicious.