Soul Food Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper

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This soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is a comfort food lover’s DREAM! 

 

Soul Food Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

What is Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger Helper. You know the meal! It’s the stuff of family dinners, especially back in the day when mom couldn’t be bothered to cook a time-consuming meal. 

Hamburger Helper is a mom’s dream! An easy and all-time favorite box meal of pasta and seasoning for you to just add ground beef for a quick and easy meal in under 15 minutes! 

Some of the recipes were so good that I still crave them today! 

My mom was a working mom and almost always had a box on hand when she didn’t have time to make a home-cooked meal from scratch on busy nights.

 

Have you ever tried a boxed Hamburger Helper?

Like Cheeseburger Macaroni with the macaroni noodles? Or Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles?

As an adult, I’ve learned to make nostalgic Hamburger Helper the homemade way. No box mix needed!

 

 

How do you make Hamburger Helper from scratch?

This is my soul food Southern Hamburger Helper recipe. Loaded with tender pasta and juicy, lean ground beef in a heavy whipping cream and shredded cheddar cheese sauce, sautéed with herbs and seasonings like oregano, parsley, and paprika. Along with onions and garlic to make it an official soul food Southern dinner. 

This soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is similar to the box mix “Cheesy Italian Shells” or “Cheesy Beef Pasta.” 

You can serve it alone or with a vegetable and bread. Either way, you’ve got a nostalgic, delicious, and tasty meal for your family!

 

Why make it homemade?

But have you ever tried Hamburger Helper homemade? 

We all know that boxed commercial stuff is a childhood favorite. But this super-easy homemade version takes it to another level!

Kick your organic ground beef up a notch by adding various veggies and other seasonings. Making this Instant Pot soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe from scratch is also a great way to use extra veggies in your fridge.

Homemade Hamburger Helper is easy to make, tastes way better, and uses fresh ingredients to create a healthier version of the boxed stuff we grew up eating.

 

What’s the difference between a store-bought Hamburger Helper and this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe?

 

What do you need to make a homemade Hamburger Helper?

Homemade Hamburger Helper is very easy to make, and it can be prepared in a matter of minutes. However, you’ll need the following ingredients readily available:

  • Cheddar cheese – It takes plenty of shredded cheese to make it a cheesy, comforting, and soulful meal! This recipe calls for sharp cheddar. But depending on your taste, you can try mozzarella, Colby, cheddar, or any other melting cheese.
  • Uncooked pasta shells – Elbow pasta may also be used instead of shells.
  • Olive oil – Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t have olive oil on hand, you can use vegetable oil!
  • Ground beef – Lean ground beef is highly recommended for this recipe as it compliments pasta very well. However, you can always have the option to substitute with ground turkey or ground chicken if you like.
  • Yellow onions – Yellow chopped onion perfectly balances the savory flavors of this dish. If you’re in a rush, you can also use onion powder.
  • Garlic – Fresh minced garlic should be your first choice for soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper. Again, feel free to use garlic powder if fresh isn’t handy.
  • Italian seasoning – An Italian seasoning blend goes a long way toward flavoring this dish!
  • Beef stock – Beef Stock adds a savory flavor to your pasta as it cooks. Alternatively, you could use chicken stock as well.
  • Tomato sauce – The tomato sauce can either be plain or strained. You can also use pasta sauce. It adds a delicious texture to the dish.
  • Heavy cream – Heavy cream gives this homemade hamburger recipe its creamy texture.
  • Salt and pepper – ½ a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper is what you’ll need.
  • Chopped parsley – Chopped fresh parsley serves as an ideal garnish that shines beautifully on your dish.

 

Kitchen equipment for soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper 

 

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What do you need to make a homemade Hamburger Helper?

 

Ingredients for Southern homemade Hamburger Helper 

  • 12 oz. small uncooked pasta shells
  • 4 cups of water
  • ½ a cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • ½ a cup of yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • 15 oz. of tomato sauce
  • ½ a cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of all-purpose seasoning (for the ground beef)
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 ¼ cup of fresh chopped parsley to garnish

 

How do you make Hamburger Helper from scratch?

 

Instructions for Southern homemade Hamburger Helper 

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of boiling water with a splash of olive oil and drain well. If using the Instant Pot for cooking the pasta shells, open the Instant Pot and keep the lid off. Then turn on the sauté setting for 20 minutes to boil the pasta. (You may not need this entire sauté time, but I like to allow extra time for the sauté to heat up).
  2. Fill the stainless-steel inner pot with 4 cups of water and a splash of olive oil. 
  3. Once the water starts to simmer, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to make sure the noodles don’t clump & stick. 
  4. Use a colander to drain the pasta shells and set them aside.
  5. Mix the tomato sauce and the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Add ½ a cup of water to the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot and turn on the sauté setting for 15 minutes. (Again, you may not need this entire time, I like to allow extra time for the sauté to heat up).
  7. Season the ground beef with your favorite all-purpose seasoning and cook the meat until browned, breaking it with a large spoon. 
  8. Then use a colander to drain the excess fat and set aside the cooked ground beef.
  9. Turn on the Instant Pot to the sauté setting for 5 minutes. 
  10. After a couple of minutes, add the tablespoon of olive oil, the diced onion, and garlic, sautéing for about 2 minutes with the lid off the pot, frequently stirring until the onions soften.
  11. Whisk in the flour for about 30 seconds or until lightly browned.
  12. Add the beef stock, stirring to combine. 
  13. Then add the set-aside tomato sauce and stir in the seasonings (Italian seasoning, dried parsley, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper).
  14. Cancel the Instant Pot sauté setting, so the pot enters the ‘keep warm’ mode.
  15. Stir in the cooked pasta and seasoned ground beef.
  16. Next, stir in the heavy cream and sour cream until thoroughly combined.
  17. Fold in the cheddar cheese until melted and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  18. Serve this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe right away and enjoy! 

 

Southern Soul Food Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

What should you serve with a homemade Hamburger Helper?

Homemade hamburger helper as a main dish is an incredibly filling and wholesome one-pot meal with carbs and proteins in abundance. 

You don’t have to worry about a side dish with this dinner meal. But still, if you want to impress your guests, you can brighten it up with some veggies, on the side or right on top, such as:

For a spicy soul food kick, some folks garnish this homemade recipe with hot sauce, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, or red pepper flakes!

 

Soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper FAQs

How healthy is a Hamburger Helper?

The Hamburger Helper box mixes lack healthy additions, such as fresh vegetables or whole grains. These mixes also contain preservatives and additives, unlike homemade fresh ingredients. But of course, with anything, you’d eat the original box mix in moderation.

 

What’s the difference between a store-bought Hamburger Helper and this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe?

There are a lot of differences between store-bought and homemade Hamburger Helper:

  1. This homemade hamburger helper recipe is healthier as it’s made with real cheese and fresh ingredients.
  2. Store-bought Hamburger Helper is full of preservatives, while this homemade Hamburger Helper recipe is full of fresh, natural ingredients that are nutritious and delicious.
  3. Store-bought Hamburger Helper doesn’t taste as good because of the artificial flavors compared to this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper version. 
  4. Any novice cook can easily prepare a store-bought Hamburger Helper. But this homemade Hamburger Helper recipe requires some skill, making you proud to serve this made from scratch dish!

 So, if you want to enjoy Hamburger Helper to the fullest of flavors, always opt for the homemade version.

 

Hamburger Helper Copycat Recipe

 

What is the original Hamburger Helper flavor?

The original Hamburger Helper flavor is Beef Noodle. It was introduced to the American public in August 1971. With five flavors – Beef Noodle, Potato Stroganoff, Hash, Rice Oriental, and Chili Tomato.

 

What veggies can be added to Hamburger Helper?

You can add any vegetables to this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe – but some work better than others. 

For example, green bell pepper is a popular addition. The best thing to do would be to mix in diced onions and bell pepper. 

 

How do you add flavor to Hamburger Helper?

If flavor is what you’re looking for – look no further than this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe!

 

Can you make a Hamburger Helper in a saucepan?

How do you make Hamburger Helper from the stove?

Yes, in a saucepan on the stovetop is how the store-bought version is traditionally cooked. Simply follow the directions on the box to cook it in a saucepan or skillet. 

 

Can you make Hamburger Helper in the microwave?

This can be done only if you’re experienced cooking pasta with a microwave. Otherwise, the stovetop or Instant Pot methods will get the job done quickly and easily!

 

Soul Food Homemade Hamburger Helper

 

Can you make a Hamburger Helper by itself?

You can make Hamburger Helper without meat in just a few minutes for a vegetarian version. The ingredients and consistency will be the same, except you’re simply omitting the hamburger meat.

 

How much ground beef do you need for Hamburger Helper?

One pound of ground beef (or other ground meat) is all you need.

 

Can you use ground pork for Hamburger Helper?

Yes, just swap out a type of ground meat for the one you prefer.

 

What other meat can you use for Hamburger Helper?

It’s possible to substitute ground chicken, ground turkey, or even ground pork for ground beef. Simply swap out a type of ground meat for the one you prefer.

 

Why make Hamburger Helper homemade?

 

Do you have to drain ground beef for Hamburger Helper?

Ground beef should be drained after cooking. The fat in the beef can make the meat tough and rubbery. 

One exception to this rule is when you’re making meatloaf. The extra fat from the ground beef is essential to the loaf’s proper cooking.

 

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What kind of pasta is best to use in homemade Hamburger Helper?

The best choice will be either small shell pasta or elbow macaroni. These two kinds of pasta are similar in size and hold up in creamy dishes. 

The pasta makes the dish cook evenly and remains firm. If the pasta isn’t strong enough, the dish may turn out a little soggy. Shell and elbow pasta hold up well and are excellent for homemade burger Helper.

 

Do you boil the pasta for soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper?

Yes, boil the pasta on either the stovetop or the Instant Pot on the sauté setting.

 

Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

 

When you did it in the pressure cooker, did you cook the hamburger first in the skillet before using the pot?

You can make the entire recipe for soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot. Use the sauté setting to cook the hamburger meat in the inner pot. 

 

When you used the pressure cooker, did you brown your meat first?

For this recipe, you boil the pasta first using the Instant Pot sauté setting, drain the pasta, and brown the gound beef using sauté.

 

Can you use chicken broth instead of beef broth?

Chicken broth is a perfectly acceptable substitute or water with a chicken or beef bouillon powder.

Or vegetable broth if you’re not including meat, making this a Southern soul food flavorful vegetarian dish!

 

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Would spaghetti sauce work as a replacement for tomato sauce?

Yes, this is another substitute that will work well. Or tomato paste.

 

What veggies can be added to Hamburger Helper?

 

What seasonings go well in Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger helper is a delicious dish, but it tastes pretty bland if you don’t add some flavor. This soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe uses seasoning, herbs, and spices to create a leveled-up dish with zest and savory flavors.

The Italian seasoning is key because it contains a mix of dried basil, oregano, garlic, marjoram, and thyme seasonings, contributing to the delicious flavor.

 

Does Hamburger Helper have eggs in it?

This soul food Southern Hamburger Helper recipe is free of eggs. 

However, there are several recipes for Hamburger Helper. So it’s hard to answer this without explicitly looking at the box variety if that’s what you’re using. 

To be safe, you should check the ingredients on the box to see if it contains eggs.

 

Why is your Hamburger Helper so runny?

Make sure you’re using heavy whipping cream instead of milk for this recipe so the sauce will thicken.

 

How do you reheat an easy homemade Hamburger Helper?

If you’re looking to reheat a single serving of leftover Hamburger Helper, the best way to reheat is by using the microwave.

If you’re reheating a larger portion, you can use the Instant Pot on the ‘keep warm’ setting.

 

How do you store healthy homemade Hamburger Helper?

After you’ve cooked your Hamburger Helper, you can store it for up to 5 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator. 

Southern homemade Hamburger Helper is a great dish to make and then freeze for the next time you want a quick and easy meal.

 

Southern Hamburger Helper Recipe

 

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What do you think of this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe?

Did you enjoy this soul food Southern Hamburger Helper recipe?

Have you had Hamburger Helper?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

 

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Soul Food Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper

Soul Food Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper

If you want to enjoy Hamburger Helper to the fullest of flavors, always opt for this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: Hamburger Helper copycat recipe, Hamburger Helper recipe, Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe, Instant Pot ground beef recipes, soul food Hamburger Helper, Soul food Southern Hamburger Helper recipe, Southern Hamburger Helper
Servings: 6
Calories: 525kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. pasta uncooked small pasta shells
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon oregano dried
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning your favorite all-purpose seasoning salt for the ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 ¼ cup parsley fresh & chopped to garnish

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of boiling water with a splash of olive oil and drain well. If using the Instant Pot for cooking the pasta shells, open the Instant Pot and keep the lid off. Then turn on the sauté setting for 20 minutes to boil the pasta. (You may not need this entire sauté time, but I like to allow extra time for the sauté to heat up).
  • Fill the stainless-steel inner pot with 4 cups of water and a splash of olive oil.
  • Once the water starts to simmer, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to make sure the noodles don’t clump & stick.
  • Use a colander to drain the pasta shells and set them aside.
  • Mix the tomato sauce and the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add ½ a cup of water to the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot and turn on the sauté setting for 15 minutes. (Again, you may not need this entire time, I like to allow extra time for the sauté to heat up).
  • Season the ground beef with your favorite all-purpose seasoning and cook the meat until browned, breaking it with a large spoon.
  • Then use a colander to drain the excess fat and set aside the cooked ground beef.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot to the sauté setting for 5 minutes.
  • After a couple of minutes, add the tablespoon of olive oil, the diced onion, and garlic, sautéing for about 2 minutes with the lid off the pot, frequently stirring until the onions soften.
  • Whisk in the flour for about 30 seconds or until lightly browned.
  • Add the beef stock, stirring to combine.
  • Then add the set-aside tomato sauce and stir in the seasonings (Italian seasoning, dried parsley, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper).
  • Cancel the Instant Pot sauté setting, so the pot enters the ‘keep warm’ mode.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta and seasoned ground beef.
  • Next, stir in the heavy cream and sour cream until thoroughly combined.
  • Fold in the cheddar cheese until melted and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Serve this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe right away and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 1201mg | Potassium: 853mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2468IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 399mg | Iron: 5mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Soul Food Southern Homemade Hamburger Helper
Amount per Serving
Calories
525
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
40
g
62
%
Saturated Fat
 
19
g
119
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
14
g
Cholesterol
 
119
mg
40
%
Sodium
 
1201
mg
52
%
Potassium
 
853
mg
24
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
26
g
52
%
Vitamin A
 
2468
IU
49
%
Vitamin C
 
27
mg
33
%
Calcium
 
399
mg
40
%
Iron
 
5
mg
28
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Cyrene
    June 5, 2022 / 3:32 pm

    5 stars
    Never heard of this recipe before. Almost similar to my version of Spaghetti recipe.

    • June 5, 2022 / 4:46 pm

      5 stars
      I hope you’ll give this soul food Southern homemade Hamburger Helper recipe a try!

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