No need to buy store bought hamburger helper when you can make delicious Crock pot Hamburger helper in your slow cooker. Get dinner on the table fast with this toss and go recipe that taste amazing and everyone will enjoy.
Crock Pot Hamburger Helper
Does your family love the boxed version of Hamburger Helper? We sure do and now we have a Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe that is better than anything store bought.
This delicious recipe has everything you love but without all the processed ingredients in the box kits. Plus, everything gets tossed into the slow cooker for a meal that can’t get any simpler.
Take the stress out of dinner.
We love to throw everything into the crock when we are starting our day and dinner is waiting for us that evening. It seems we spend so much time running from place to place and easy meals like this sure make life easier.
I love knowing I don’t have to worry about dinner or the stress of getting take out and spending tons of money. The kids also love this meal making it an all around hit.
This delicious cheeseburger macaroni in the slow cooker is the best hamburger helper recipe. You will love this homemade version that makes dinner time quick and easy.
Let’s get started.
- ground beef
- red bell pepper
- minced garlic
- salt and pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- crushed tomatoes
- beef broth
- dry uncooked macaroni
- shredded cheddar cheese
How to make Crockpot hamburger helper:
- First, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the ground beef until it is brown.
- Then, put the cooked ground beef into the slow cooker.
- Next, add the diced onion, bell pepper, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, tomatoes, milk and broth. Give it a good stir and make sure everything is well combined.
- Finally, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4.
- The last step is to add the pasta. About 15 minutes to 30 minutes before serving add the pasta to the crock pot. I recommend cooking it al dente because it will continue to cook in the slow cooker.
It will look very watery but don’t worry the pasta will soak it up so you need all that liquid. Place the lid back on and allow this to cook for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender.
- Right before serving, stir in the cheese until melted. Serve immediately.
We often just serve this alone. Everyone loves it and it is truly comfort food at its best.
But if you want to get some veggies in there, a simple side salad goes great with it and only takes a few minutes to prepare. Green Beans are also really tasty too with it.
Another idea is to let everyone choose toppings. Some ideas include: shredded cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, green onion and hot sauce. If we have a topping bar, I usually don’t serve any side dishes with it.
This idea is perfect for Game day or parties. Everyone always seems to really enjoy a topping bar.
- Ground turkey. Substitute ground turkey for the ground beef. I doubt anyone will notice since ground turkey takes on the flavor around it so easily.
- Ground chicken. Lighten this dish up by using ground chicken instead of ground beef. It blends nicely with the seasonings and vegetables.
- Bell peppers. You really aren’t limited to just red peppers. Try using green or yellow bell peppers. I have even used a mix of all 3.
- Vegetable broth. Try using this instead of beef broth. You can use chicken broth if you decide to substitute the meat with ground chicken.
- Pasta. You can use type of pasta you have on hand or prefer. Some ideas include, shells, elbow macaroni, bowtie, macaroni noodles and really any type of pasta.
- Cheese. We used cheddar but any type of shredded cheese would be delicious. Colby jack, pepper jack or mozzarella all sound amazing. I would grate the cheese by hand though because it melts so much smoother.
You can use Velveeta cheese to make this creamier. Make sure to cube the cheese so it melts faster and then stir until it is well combined.
Tips and tricks:
- I like to use this programmable crock pot for when I am am not at home all day. I love coming home to a nice meal ready and waiting.
- Crock pot liners make clean up a breeze. These are worth every penny and save a ton of time cleaning up.
- Freeze cooked ground beef. Save time and freeze ground beef after you brown it. You can save a step and use it for recipes like this one.
- I use a small food chopper or processor to quickly and easily chop onions and green peppers. If you do not have one of these, I highly recommend them as they are such a time saver.
- Learn how to freeze peppers and how to freeze onions and you will save so much time in the kitchen. You can just get what you need from the freezer and toss them in your recipe.
- This recipe is very easy to adapt. Feel free to use what you have in the pantry.
It will turn out great and save money using what you have. I have made this numerous different ways and it was always a hit.
How to store leftovers:
- Store leftovers inside an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 to 4 days.
- To reheat, use the microwave or stove top until heated through.
Can you freeze hamburger helper?
Absolutely. You can freeze this up to 3 to 4 months. Just make sure to use an airtight freezer container.
You can also freeze this using freezer bags. I actually prefer this method because it saves space. The bags can lay flat and you can stack them saving precious freezer space.
I also like to freeze a few individual portions for quick lunches or when dinner isn’t the entire family.
Keep in mind that pasta will soften overtime in the freezer. The texture will change but it still tastes very good.
Can you use the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can. Feel free to use the pressure cooker to make Instant Pot Hamburger Helper if you don’t have time to slow cook this meal.
- Cook the ground beef on the saute setting until it is no longer pink.
- Then add the bell pepper, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, tomatoes, milk, broth, and pasta. Make sure everything is well combined and the pasta is covered.
- Place the lid on and set it to the sealing position. The pressure needs to be set for 5 minutes
- Finally, do a quick release and stir the homemade hamburger helper to make sure it is not stuck to the bottom. Add the cheese and stir until it is all melted and blended really good.
Print this Slow cooker hamburger helper recipe:
Crock Pot Hamburger Helper Recipe
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 cups dry uncooked macaroni
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until it is brown. (Or use your Ninja)
- Add to a 6 quart slow cooker.
- Add in the onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, tomatoes, milk and broth. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4.
- 15 minutes before serving stir in the pasta. It will look very watery but don’t worry the pasta will soak it up. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the desired tenderness is reached.
- Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Serve immediately.
Pin This Now to Remember It LaterPin Recipe
My kids would go crazy for this! I love that it’s done in the slow cooker!
Love your slow cooker version!
I love making this in my slow cooker!
This is so darn easy! Perfect family dinner!
So delicious. Really easy to make too!
So much better than hamburger helper.
This is so delish! My family really loved it! So yummy!
It doesn’t bet any better than this when it comes to comfort food!
100% better than the box! My family loves this one.
I am behind this recipe 100%!
I need to make it immediately too.
This was literally heaven in a crock pot!!! Real cheese, milk, no fake hydrogenated unknown ingredients… super simple and I did add another cup of cheese just for good measure. My son hates everything…he yelled from the table, MOM…I NEED MORE!! Thank you for this great recipe!!
I’m glad you loved it!
did I miss something? What happened to the onion after you chopped it?
I have updated the recipe. I add it in the crock pot with the peppers. Thank you.
This recipe is so easy, and so delicious! 100% better than the boxed Hamburger Helper, yet just as easy! Oh, and healthier too. I used ground venison in this because I wanted a leaner meat and also, I have a bunch in the freezer. I also used 1% milk and reduced fat sharp cheddar with wonderful results! No one knew the difference! So creamy, perfectly cooked noodles, lots of flavor. Oh my… so good!
This was so easy and good! I used ground turkey and almond milk instead. My boyfriend loved it! Since it’s just 2 of us, there’s TONS of leftovers for lunches this week.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it – Thank you for sharing!
Wow this is such a great dish! I don’t have a crock pot so I just cooked on low on the stove for 8 hours and still so good. Question, since I am only cooking for 2 people and want leftovers, I will cook only enough pasta for tonight and refrigerate the rest of the sauce. Should I still add cheese to the remaining sauce?
I would wait to add the cheese to the remaining sauce when you’re ready to use that sauce. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
When does the garlic go in?
We add that to the crock pot when the ground beef is adding at the beginning. I have updated the recipe to be more clear. Thank you.
I made this today it is excellent!
Cooking this first time. Do I drain the beef after browning the beef??
yes, I would drain after browning. Thank you