Healthier Hamburger Helper – a healthy, homemade version of the classic one pot Hamburger Helper dinner! So easy and full of flavor!
Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper
On busy weeknights when I was growing up it was pretty common for my mom to cook up a box of hamburger helper on the stove. It was an easy one pot meal that the whole family would eat. We wanted to make a homemade version that gave us those classic comfort food vibes but is also healthy. This recipe can easily be made dairy-free or gluten-free, if you want it to be. Give it a try!! So easy and so good!
What You Will Need
- ghee or olive oil – stick with olive oil if you want it to be dairy-free.
- sweet yellow onion & garlic – classic flavors to mix in as you brown the ground beef.
- kosher salt & pepper – a dash of each to season the dish.
- ground beef – you could also use ground turkey, if you want.
- tomato paste – provides a good tomato base to the dish.
- soy sauce – you can sub tamari for the soy sauce if you want the dish to be gluten-free.
- onion powder, garlic powder, & paprika – the delicious blend of spices that really bring the dish to life!
- chicken broth – we highly recommend using chicken broth! Vegetable broth might work too but when we tested beef broth it just didn’t have the right taste.
- unsweetened almond milk – option to use regular milk too!
- macaroni noodles – feel free to use regular macaroni noodles or grab some that are gluten-free.
- lemon juice – a little helps to bring out all of the great flavors.
- shredded cheese – any type of cheese will do but we definitely recommend sharp cheddar!
What Can I Use In Hamburger Helper Instead Of Hamburger?
In this recipe we used a lean ground beef but you could also use ground turkey, ground chicken or even a plant-based meat substitute!
You can easily store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. It is one of those meals that might actually taste even better after the flavors have had time to hangout together in the fridge! This is a great option for meal prep!!
How To Make Healthy Hamburger Helper
Step one – brown the ground beef in a dutch oven with the onion and garlic.
Step two – add the tomato paste, soy sauce, and spices.
Step three – gradually add the almond milk
Step four – and the broth.
Step five – and the noodles. Bring to a boil.
Step six – let it simmer about 10 minutes and then add the lemon juice.
Step seven – remove from the heat and add the cheese.
Step eight – enjoy!
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
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Healthy Hamburger Helper
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner/Entree
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Healthy Hamburger Helper – a healthy, homemade version of the classic one pot Hamburger Helper dinner! So easy and full of flavor!
- 1–2 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil)
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt (divided, more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 1/2 cups macaroni noodles
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1–2 cups shredded cheese
- Bring a Dutch Oven to medium-high heat.
- Add ghee (or olive oil) and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add garlic and move around the pan until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add onion and let cook down a little, about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Add ground beef and move around pan until fully cooked.
- Add tomato paste, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir to combine.
- Add chicken broth, unsweetened almondmilk and macaroni noodles.
- Bring to a simmer and watch closely to ensure it doesn’t boil. Stir occasionally.
- Let simmer 10-12 minutes or until noodles are soft, but firm.
- Stir in lemon juice.
- Taste and add additional kosher salt or other seasonings, as-needed.
- Remove from heat and add in shredded cheese. Stir continuously as cheese melts.
- Once cheese is fully melted, serve and enjoy!
- Dairy-Free: to keep this dairy-free simply use olive oil instead of ghee and dairy-free cheese.
- Gluten-Free: use tamari instead of soy sauce and you can use gluten-free macaroni noodles if you want – the cook time might be a little different but just keep an eye on them!
- Cheese: I recommend a sharp cheddar cheese for more flavor, but really any kind will do!
- Thin out: if you need to thin simply add in another splash of chicken broth and stir.
- Broth: we tested this with both beef broth and chicken broth – the chicken broth had a better flavor, but beef broth works too.
Keywords: healthy hamburger helper
I’ve made this again and again and again. It’s so delicious and tastes exactly like I remember Hamburger Helper as a child – except better!
So happy to hear that, Nancy!
The whole family loved this! So tasty and made us think of our childhood a bit 🙂
So glad to hear that, Lisa!! Thanks for coming back to leave a review – I so appreciate it!
Wow this really did taste like hamburger helper! I used lactose free skim milk and ground turkey and worked perfectly!
So happy to hear that, Jessica!
Not something I would usually choose but was in a dinner rut. It was easy to make and even my picky 2 year old said it was delicious!
Yay! So glad you enjoyed it, Cara!
So easy and delicious. We used shells because we didn’t have macaroni, and used sharp cheddar, and it turned out great!
So happy to hear that, Jessie! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!
Can I use regular 2% milk instead of almond milk?
Yup, that should be just fine!
This meal comes together really quickly and easily. It gives you that nostalgic comfort of Hamburger Helper without some of the less than amazing ingredients. It was cheesy and delicious – my.husband devoured it
So happy to hear that! And thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review – I so appreciate it!