Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper

This Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper is better than the store bought boxed version. This easy recipe that is packed with flavor, is perfect for busy weeknights.

If you are looking for crockpot meals to add to your rotation, this one pot hamburger helper is where its at. This recipe is budget-friendly and perfect for families.

food, with Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper

Crock Pot Hamburger Helper

I tried boxed hamburger helper just one time, and truthfully, I wasn’t a fan of the taste. Yet it is an iconic and popular convenient meal, so I get the appeal.

I always thought it had potential. So with a few tweaks – most would absolutely love it.

Our Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is better than anything store bought. It doesn’t have all the processed ingredients, so the taste is fresh.

There are many recipes for hamburger helper, yet many of them resemble Beef Stroganoff too much, in my opinion.

The taste of our slow cooker homemade hamburger helper is savory, with a slight sweetness. The texture is creamy and cheesy, and the pasta is tender. 

Plus, I love to toss it all in the slow cooker to mimic the simplicity that the meal is so known for.

With seasoned ground beef, tender pasta, and gooey cheese; the whole family will be reaching for a bowl of seconds.

Isn’t that one of the best things about easy meals that are also dinner time favourites?


  • AFFORDABLE – This budget-friendly ground beef recipe uses simple ingredients to make a hearty and filling meal.
  • HEALTHY – Homemade hamburger helper is much healthier than the boxed stuff.
  • EASY TO MAKE – With little prep time and the convenience of the slow cooker, this is such a simple dinner idea.
food, with Slow Cooker Hamburger Helper

Ingredients Required

This delicious cheeseburger macaroni in the slow cooker is made with simple ingredients, most you probably already have in your pantry.

You might not even need a trip to the grocery store to make our homemade version of hamburger helper.

As always the full printable recipe for this easy dinner idea, is on the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Ground Beef – Any type will do yet if you use lean ground beef, you won’t need to drain the fat or excess grease.
  • Diced Onion – Use fresh onion for this recipe.
  • Bell Pepper – any works, yet green will give you a nice pop of color
  • Fresh Garlic – Fresh is best in this recipe yet you can use garlic powder if you must.
  • Pasta – Any short pasta will do (shells, bowtie), yet traditionally this is made with elbow macaroni noodles
  • Salt and Black Pepper – for taste
  • Dried Oregano and Dried Parsley – spices used for flavor
  • Granulated Sugar – to add a bit of sweetness.
  • Soy Sauce – Worcestershire sauce can also be used instead.
  • Milk – any type
  • Beef Broth
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Fresh Parsley – For garnish, yet optional
ingredients on a table, for Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper

How to Make Hamburger Helper

  1. In a skillet, add the ground beef and cook (brown beef) for 5 minutes.

    Add the onion, pepper, and garlic; and continue cooking until the meat is browned.

  2. Add the beef mixture, macaroni, spices, sugar, soy sauce, milk, beef broth, and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker.

  3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.

    The time may change depending on your slow cooker and the way you like your pasta to be cooked, al dente or tender.

    PRO TIP: If it’ll be helpful for your day, utilize the timer on your slow cooker to start and end cooking.

  4. After the cooking time is over, stir in the shredded cheese. Mix until everything is well combined.


  5. Serve this comfort food hot, in a bowl. Sprinkle crockpot hamburger helper with fresh parsley for a nice touch.

Serving Suggestion:

This hamburger helper cheeseburger macaroni is most often served alone, much like Slow Cooker Baked Ziti.

It’s a hearty meal with all food groups and a delicious flavor. It’s absolutely great on its own.

Yet if you want sides for hamburger helper, more vegetables would be a great addition.

A simple side salad, or green beans are a great choice for hamburger helper dinner ideas.

When serving homemade hamburger helper to the masses, it’s a great choice to include topping options along with this dish.

So if it’s a potluck or game day, have the following toppings on hand so everyone can make their bowl their own: additional shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, jalapeno peppers, green onion.

food, with Slow Cooker Hamburger Helper

Variations

Whether it’s personal preference or picky eaters, there’s plenty of ways to adjust this one pot hamburger helper, to make it a family favorite.

  • Meat: Use any ground meat (ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork) in place of ground beef. If using ground chicken, swap the beef broth with chicken broth.

  • Broth: Skip the browning step by using leftover taco meat. You’ll have a Tex-Mex version

  • Make it Spicy: Add some heat to this dish by stirring in a diced jalapeño pepper with the beef mixture. 

  • Vegetables: Add more veggies to the meat mixture if you’d like. Suggestions are: diced carrots, peas, mushrooms, or celery.

  • Cheese: Use your own favorite cheese in this recipe. I like using cheddar cheese, yet any will do.

    Use colby jack, pepper jack cheese, mozzarella, or Velveeta cheese if you’d like. Plus, and add more of it, if you’d prefer!

food, with crockpot Hamburger Helper

How to Store:

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. How long does hamburger helper last in the fridge? It’ll be good for up to 3 to 4 days!

To reheat slow cooker hamburger helper, use the microwave or stove top until hot and bubbly.

food, with Slow Cooker Hamburger Helper

Can you Freeze Hamburger Helper?

Absolutely you can, it’s so handy for having individual servings on hand.

Yet know that reheated pasta will change texture. One way around this is to not include the pasta and adding cooked pasta in when it’s time to enjoy.

To freeze, place in a freezer safe container (or freezer bags) and freeze this up to 3 to 4 months.

Can I make this Recipe Ahead of Time? 

Yes you can! This recipe can easily be made ahead of time and then frozen for later.

Just make sure to thaw it completely before adding it to the slow cooker. You can keep this dish for up to 3 months in the freezer.

food, with Slow Cooker Hamburger Helper

Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

This Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper is better than the store bought boxed version. This easy recipe that is packed with flavor, is perfect for busy weeknights.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups dry uncooked macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes, add the onion, pepper, and garlic and continue cooking until the meat is browned.
  2. Add the beef mixture, macaroni, spices, sugar, soy sauce, milk, beef broth, and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours (The time may change depending on your slow cooker and the way you like your pasta to be cooked, al dente or tender.
  4. After the cooking time is over, stir in cheese. Mix until everything is well combined.
  5. Serve hot in a bowl, sprinkling with fresh parsley.

Notes

      • This recipe can easily be doubled if you are feeding a larger crowd. Simply use a larger slow cooker and cook for the same amount of time. 
      • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stove until it's hot and bubbly. 
      • Can be frozen for 3-4 months.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 848mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g

Did you make this recipe?

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food, with Slow Cooker Homemade Hamburger Helper

Created by Tammi Roy

Tammi Roy is the founder of My Organized Chaos, a Canadian food and lifestyle blog. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is the mom of three beautiful teenage girls. Tammi’s passions are her family, creating and sharing delicious recipes, travelling and photography. Learn more about Tammi.

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