homemade healthier hamburger helper recipe

Healthier Homemade Hamburger Helper

(Last Updated On: April 28, 2020)

Healthier Homemade Hamburger Helper

This Healthier Homemade Hamburger Helper, is a perfect comforting dinner. It’s great for busy weeknights or a lazy weekend night in. Anybody else feeling extra nostalgic because of all that’s going on these days? I know I am. As a result I updated this childhood favorite of mine. To me, nothing makes me feel like a kid again, like eating a big bowl of a classic.

Current Updates

Like I said above, I’ve been feeling very nostalgic these past few days. I don’t know if it’s because I miss my family, or miss the simple things like being able to just go to the food store. But I am definitely starting to miss the way things were. Hopefully, we’ll go back to some sort of normal soon! There really isn’t much else to report these days. Happy Saturday, everybody!

healthier homemade hamburger helper in pan closeup

Ain’t That a Mouthful

A four word alliteration, Healthier Homemade Hamburger Helper. Quite the mouthful, you know what else is a mouthful some of the ingredients in the list on the box, disodium gynenalte, maltodextrain, monosodium gultunmate cream. Gross, right? Who wants to eat that, Not me! So this recipe has all the flavor you love minus all the nasties. Win-win!

close up of cheesey hamburger helper

To keep this recipe gluten-free, we used gluten-free pasta, and our simple spice blend instead of a pre-made spice packet that often contain gluten. This recipe can be made dairy-free by omitting the cheese at the end, and it’s still just as good 🙂 If you double batch you can let it get to room temperature, store in an airtight container, date and freeze for up to three months. Because let’s be honest, you are going to want more!

Tips, Recs, Subs

  • If you are not familiar with Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch, it’s excellent for GF cooking. It’s very handy to have in the pantry because it’s a great way to thicken up most sauces. Just make sure when you are using it as a thickening agent that you dissolve in water first, only a few tablespoons to make a slurry. Because, if you don’t, it will clump in your food and ruin your dish.
  • Almond milk – You can sub in another dairy-free milk alternative, or use regular milk if not dairy-free. Just make sure it’s plain unsweetened once I vanilla flavor because that’s all I had, and you could taste it a little bit, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Bone Broth – You can use store bought, my favorite is Bare Bones. However, if you can use homemade. Here is an Instantpot Bone Broth recipe. Set and forget in the instantpot, and it’s done in two hours. Make sure it’s heated up in the microwave along with the sauce first.
  • Cheese – If not dairy-free, add the shredded cheddar at the end, right after you remove from the heat.
ingredients for healthier homemade hamburger helper

You can have all the ingredients delivered to you directly from Whole Foods with FREE DELIVERY in 2 hours or less, through Amazon Prime. Use this link for a free 30-day trial. If you are low income and receive EBT or other government benefits, you may qualify for a reduced rate of $5.99/month.

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homemade healthier hamburger helper recipe

Healthier Homemade Hamburger Helper

A healthier homemade version of a boxed favorite
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Copy Cat
Servings 4 people


  • Cast Iron or Skillet


  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Teaspoon Onion powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 2 Cups Almond Milk (can sub regular milk if not dairy free)
  • 1 Cup Broth (heated* See not below)
  • 1 Cup Tomato Sauce (heated* see note below)
  • 6 Oz GF Shells or Elbows (about half of a typical 12 oz sized box)
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar cheese


  • Heat the skillet on med-high heat, cook the ground beef until it is browned. If there is any extra fat, discard.
  • Add spice blend, salt and pepper beef. Pour milk, sauce and broth (make sure they are hot) over beef. Stir well, bring to boil.
  • Once mixture is boiling, in a separate small bowl add arrowroot powder and 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix until dissolved. Once dissolved, add to the beef and stir well. Then add the pasta. Stir well and let boil for about a minute.
  • Lower heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to make sure pasta is not stuck to the bottom of the pan. After 10 minutes, remove lid and cook on medium until thickens about 5-7 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add shredded cheese. Serve and enjoy!


*To heat can microwave for 1:30-2 minutes until hot just before pouring into the mixture. 
Keyword beef, gluten free, hamburger helper, Pasta

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  1. Back in the day I used to like Hamburger Helper. Probably explains why I cook ground meat all the time and just add whatever to it. Looks yummy! (PS 4 tsp Paprika or . . . . . ?)

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