Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe is an awesome almost effortless, homemade hamburger helper.
It’s one kid approved recipe that we make all the time.
The taste of this quick and easy meal makes it seem like you slaved over this meal all day. And I myself, being that I am often dramatic would pretend to have spent hours on it.
If your family likes hamburger helper in the box then you will love this homemade version. You will never go back to that boxed stuff!
And, I love to switch it up a bit. Take away half the garlic powder and sub in onion powder snd even add some salt and pepper to taste.
My family loved this recipe, I promise it is way better than the Hamburger Helper boxed version.
Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
Amazon has this cool little ground beef chopper that crumbled the meat perfectly for this meal.
I actually bought it a few months back and never used it, but it crumbled the meat just right.
I wish I would have found this handy gadget a lot sooner. Because it is something I now use every single time I am cooking ground meat.
How do you make homemade cheeseburger macaroni from scratch (see stovetop instructions in the notes)
I can not tell you enough how amazing this Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper was.
The hot sauce added tremendously to the flavors without making it too spicy. My youngest doesn't really like spicy foods, but she loved this.
And although I like the flavor the chicken broth gives, you can also switch it out for beef broth, you can even switch the ground beef out for ground turkey or chicken. The recipe is the recipe of all ground beef recipes, trust me.
What Do You Eat With Instant POt CHeeseburger Macaroni?
To clarify, Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni is the perfect stand-alone recipe. But, in short, you can pair it with garlic bread if you want to have a little something more with it.
This was one of my favorite childhood comfort foods and has become a fast adult favorite. We would eat the Cheeseburger Mac style that had a lot of flavoring to it. And then we would sprinkle with grated cheese.
Hamburger Helper was a staple in our home, and I get it. Being a busy parent you don't always have time to cook. And Instant Pot Hamburger helper is fast to make and easy, so I totally get it now being a mom and realizing how hard parenting can be.
So, creating a homemade version just fit my lifestyle when I was introduced to the Instant Pot. It tastes very similar to the box, only it is better because I know exactly what goes into the recipe!
Sometimes boxed mixes give you that over-processed flavors, and with this, you get fresh ingredient tastes. And I can assure you, that you will never want to touch that boxed stuff again.
Firstly, the Instant Pot does all the work. So, no more standing over the stove watching and waiting for it to bring to a boil like directed on the back of the box.
Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
We really don't know how we got through life before the Instant Pot. It has been a lifesaver on many occasions, no more standing over a large skillet over medium high heat for 30 minutes or more, having to reduce heat for it to simmer. Just a few steps and this dish is ready to go.
I rarely have time to cook, but with this thing, I am cooking daily and sometimes more than 1 meal in a single day.
If you want more kid-approved recipes, check out 21 Kid Approved Instant Pot Recipes.
I know for me my kids always were a little on the pickey side, so having a little help with approved recipes your kids won't turn their noses up to, is a must try.
You will look and be tempted to double the recipe. DON'T! This recipe makes a ton, I have also seen comments on the amount of cheddar cheese, it is not so much that it is overbearing.
Meanwhile, you are welcome to cut down on the cheese if you prefer. You can add about half and do a quick taste test and add more if you think your family can handle more, in the home we love cheese. I find it is the perfect amount of cheese, but you can always do less and add more after if you feel it isn't cheesy enough.
How do you make Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni?
So, if you know of someone who loves hamburger helper, but hates to bring to a boil on water for the pasta, then this homemade version is just for them. The Instant Pot does the work for you pretty much, with minimal steps on your end.
To me it is just as easy, if not easier than the boxed Hamburger helper out on the market, and it tastes a lot better.
Some of my favorites instant pot recipes are the ground beef recipes because that is what our family likes the most.
Need more great recipes? Check out these, Instant Pot Crack Chicken Broccoli Carrots, Copycat Air Fryer Chick-fil-A Nuggets, Copycat TGI Fridays Mashed Potatoes in The Instant Pot.
More Great Recipes For Your Instant Pot.
Helpful tools for this recipe:
Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper Meat Chopper
Gotta say....this is the second thing that I've made in my shiny new IP-DUO80, and I was crazySKEPTICAL that it could be that quick and simple. YOU ROCK! This cooked up PERFECT and my peeps are chowing with GUSTO--thanks for sharing with the rest of the class 😉 I can't wait to try something new tomorrow night!
Awesome! So glad you liked it, it is really simple but delicious!
I would love to make this but don’t have any canned diced tomatoes. Can I sub it with Jared tomato sauce? If so how much?
The liquid in the diced tomatoes is important. I would say try adding a jar of sauce, and a jar of water... Let me know how it works out. Are you in our group?
I made this, didn't have the diced tomatoes so I used the whole 32oz of chicken broth.....otherwise I followed the recipe (except I omitted the hot sauce....yuck, don't like that)......it came out wonderful!!
Re: tomato paste. What does tomato paste do that sauce does not? I hate to buy a can of paste for two spoonfuls and waste the rest. I have the diced tomatoes and small cans of tomato sauce on hand.
Tomato paste is thicker than sauce
You can buy tomato paste in a tube about the size of a toothpaste tube. That way you can just use what you need and not waste the rest.
You can buy tomato paste in a tube
I love the tube of tomato paste, so convenient and no waste.
When I open a can of tomato paste and only use a small amount like that, I scoop the rest of in can in one tablespoon portions on to baking sheet which is either greased or cover in parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Put the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze until rock hard. Then remove the one tablespoon portions from the baking sheet and throw them into a ziplock bag and put the bag in the freezer. The next time you need a small portion of tomato paste, you’ll have it all measured out and no waste! I used to put a partially used can of paste back in the fridge after opening and there it would sit until it dried up and got all disgusting. Then I saw this tip somewhere and it is the best thing!
Can I make this with frozen ground beef? Obviously I would have to skip the browning/crumbling step. Would it turn out Ok?
I'm not sure, I have not tried it this way. You would have to figure out how to crumble the beef after it's done.
How many does this feed? Two pounds of macaroni and a pound of cheese would make a big bunch.
There are 4 of us, I don't know the exact serving size but we definitely have leftovers for the next day.
Made this tonight with Velveeta because that’s what I had and extra Franks (no kids). Loved it!
Do you immediately release the pressure or wait?
Drain grease after sautéing hamburger?
I never do.
How long does it take for it to get to pressure?
Maybe 5 mins or so.
2 8 oz cans of dixed tomatoes? or 28 oz of diced tomatoes?
This looks like something my family would love. Can you please tell me if it can be doubled in the ultra? I have 7 hungry boys to feed. If it can, do I cook the same amount of time? Thanks.
Idk about the ultra. But there is plenty for 7, there are 4 of us and we always have leftovers.
Just verifying if 16 oz. of cheddar is correct, as that is two bag full s.
Yes it is correct, we love cheese here, you can use less if you like.
Any adjustments when using whole grain elbow pasta? Want to make this tonight:)
I'm not sure, but I don't think so.
I used whole grain elbows and cooked as directed…loved by all.
Awesome! Glad it turned out well.
Made this last night and we all loved it! Thanks for sharing!
I’ll keep it simple, like this dish.
Easy to make, easy to eat!
everybody loved it!!
I like this recipe, thanks! But I think your measurments for the macaroni and cheese are in “fluid ounces”, not “ounces”. 16 oz of dry macaroni is a LOT! Close to 5 cups, when I measured it! I assumed that what you meant was 16 fluid ounces, i.e. 2 cups. That worked well!
I use a 16 ounce box.
We'll definitely try it again - I'll add some more macaroni next time and see how it turns out! We found that two cups worked well. Thanks again!
Thank you for trying it out.
Duuuuuude, we made this last night and this was spectacular and so easy! This is going in regular rotation in our home. I loved a bit of extra Frank’s ref hot dashed on the top. Comforting and delicious!
We made this tonight came out so good. Only tweek I added more hot sauce at the table. Thank you for the recipe. Mmmmm
Curious if you think leftovers would freeze well? Even after adding all the cheese? Thanks
I'm sure it would but I haven't tried.
Made this tonight - I am new to instant pot. I followed the recipe exactly, but half the cheese. It was yummy and I loved the little bit of heat from the hot sauce. The only problem I had was that the little browned bits that stuck to the bottom of the pot got a little burned, but not enough to ruin anything. Very good!
Sara, anytime you brown meat you need to deglaze, or at least scrape the bottom to loosen up all those stuck on bits. This will prevent the burning and also adds flavor to the dish. A simple straight edge wooden spatula is perfect and should be a required accessory for the Instant Pot.
Accidentally drained my tomatoes because it doesn’t say not too. I noticed after I read your comments. It’s cooking now I hope it turns out good!
Wife and I loved it, however, the kiddos picked out the tomatoes and said "this doesn't look or taste like the real hamburger helper". I'll have to figure out a way to substitute the can of diced tomatoes.
Blend them...this way you get the flavor but not the bits
That's a perfect idea, I will try this next time. Thanks Gerry.
That’s an awesome idea!
It keeps failing to come to pressure.?! I've followed the recipe exactly, bizarre. I added an additional 1c water after the first failure and complete burn to the bottom, same result. Pasta was cooked and meal was perfect anyway!
Weird. I have never had it burn and we have it all the time.
Could be that your seal was not totally in place. Sometimes it helps to push down on the lid. It will almost always pop the pin up when you do that. You probably got the burn because you didn't scrape/deglaze the pot after you browned the meat. The stuck on bit will burn. You always need to deglaze when you brown meat. Prevents the BURN and adds lots of flavor to the dish.
Great recipe. The family loved it and said it was a keeper. Next time I will double the hot sauce.
Awesome! Yeah we add extra hot sauce, my 17 year old and I.
I make this all the time but it always seems to burn on the bottom. What am I doing wrong ?
Sometimes different altitudes make a difference, try adding more liquid. Or if you don’t already as soon as it beeps turn off warming. I never have an issue with burn.
You must deglaze the pot after you brown the meat so that no meat bits are stuck to the bottom. Scrape it with a wooden spoon or spatula while the bottom has a little liquid in it. No need to drain it then. The scraped bits add flavor but will burn if you do not scrape them loose.
I do, I should add that to the recipe, I apologize. No I don’t drain, usually just buy extra lean meat also.
I have made this several times minus the hot sauce, she my family loves it! I have 3 BIG eaters in my family and it all gets eaten. Nothing left! Thank you for this recipe! I do deglaze the pot but don't stir the macaroni and it never sticks. I pour the macaroni in, cover it with the chicken stock and gently push the macaroni down to cover with the liquid.
I'm not sure how the quantities in the recipe could work. I used 8 oz of macaroni, 2 cups of broth and the can of tomatoes. I can't see how there's enough liquid to cook 16 oz of pasta. In fact my pasta was a little too all dente. Flavours are good though. I'd make it again with another minute of cooking time. Family liked it.
I can't do diced tomatoes but can do puree or sauce. Something in them still being chunky makes them bother me but I don't have problems, or much less, if it's blended smooth like sauce. Any suggestions for how I can substitute? My kids and I used to love the box version but I can't handle the over processed taste it seems to have now.
Purée should be fine, just make sure it’s the right amount.
I have made this several times with the only difference being that I have browned the ground beef separately on the stove, drained it, then followed the directions. The first few times it turned out great. The last two times I have made it the instant pot gave me the dreaded "burn" on the display and it turned out a mess. The only difference I can think of is that I have been trying to use up some beef from our freezer that is getting close to expiring and it is very high quality/low fat. where the first few batches was 80/20 from the store. Would this make a difference? I noticed that most don't seem to drain the fat when sauteeing the beef directly in the instant pot so maybe that added liquid makes a difference? Thanks.
I always buy lean and never drain, lower than 80 is usually high in fat, so the extra oil from the fat is possibly causing the burn notice.
Jon, it sounds like you are not deglazing the pot after you brown the meat. The stick on bits will cause the Burn Notice. After you have browned the meat on sauté, deglaze the pot buy pouring in just a little liquid. (A handy, opened beer works great but even a little water or broth will work.) Then scrape the stuck on bits with a wooden spoon or wooden spatula. No need to rinse this out. Those deglaze bits add a lot of flavor to the dish. I don’t even remove the ground beef when deglazing. I just move it over and scrape around it.
Anytime you brown any meat in the pot (roast, chicken, etc) be sure to deglaze to avoid the Burn Notice.
He said he is browning on the stovetop separately.
Oh, Missed that detail. There’s no way he should be getting a Burn then IF he has the proper amount of THIN liquid. Cheese should NOT be mixed in.
Heavy sauces can be poured on top but should never be used as the pressurizing liquid.
I think it may be the fat from the meat, but not totally sure.
Fat or no fat shouldn’t matter s bit if there’s enough thin liquid in there.
Tried making this but, how do you prevent this from burning? My noodles started sticking to the bottom of the pot 🙁
Oh no, I don’t get a burn, maybe you can add a little oil to the bottom or add everything and don’t mix till done, with beef on the bottom. Just make sure you have enough water
OMG, made this for dinner, and it was delish!!! My hubby had been on snow cleanup outside at work all day on a Saturday during a snowstorm. We had this, and it was the best comfort food, ever!
So awesome! I’m glad you liked it.
I made this tonight using green lentil elbow pasta (21 g of ptotein) from Sprouts and ground chicken. I used beef broth. It was DELICIOUS! And took about 15 min total. Thank you!
You’re very welcome!
What size instant pot are you using? I have the mini and am thinking I need to half the recipe...thoughts???
Yes half the recipe, mine is a 6qt
So after making this once, I think next time I would get smaller noodles (went with large this time), and I would try oregano leaves instead of the ground oregano.
It was one of those days where I had intended to go to the grocery store but next thing I know, it 4pm and I just don't want to leave. So I checked my freezer to see what meat I had to work with and decided on ground beef. Decided I wanted to do something in the IP so I went looking for recipe ideas. I actually found another Cheeseburger Helper recipe first and saved it, but kept looking (thank goodness) and came across your recipe. The tomato is what caught my eye in this recipe so that's what I went with. But......when I started pulling the ingredients, I realized I didn't have everything....mainly the diced tomatoes. So i made this with a 15oz can of tomato sauce (no paste) and added more chicken broth (4 cups). I probably could have used a little less broth but I opened a Qt size container & didn't want to throw away the last 1/2 a cup so I dumped it all in. I judged the amount by adding it last and making sure all the macaroni was covered. I also opted to skip the hot sauce because I don't like it. THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!!! Thoughts for next time......I'll probably cut the recipe in half since it makes a lot (usually cooking for 2) And I want to try it with left over chuck roast instead of ground beef.....Yum
Does anyone get the “burn” memo? I did and followed exactly the instructions and when I released it to scrap the bottom the noodles were already done and my instant pot said burn before the count down
I love it when my husband says "I liked that." I don't use ground beef because of his gout I use pork sausage in my meals like this. I found the hint about freezing tomato paste in tbsp size gobs. I grate all my own cheese and was not sure if you wanted 16 oz block grated or 2 cups anyway went with 2 cups of sharp cheddar and it was perfect. This is definitely a keeper I will do again.
I’ve cooked this a few times in my 6Qt and it’s a family favorite! Two things...I add 2 large chopped pickles after the cheese is in and melts. It is DIVINE!!! Second, the last two times I tried this in my 6Qt it wouldn’t pressurize and gave me a burn notice. I guess I need to upgrade to the 8Qt because it fills my 6Qt too much (I’ve gone through trouble shooting everything else and it works fine otherwise). Thanks for this awesome recipe. We’ve used it now for almost 2 years and is my daughters favorite dish!!
Can this be doubled...
It makes a huge batch, almost fills a 6qt Instant pot.
So good!!! Thank you for this! I had some half and half to use up so I added about 1/4-1/2c with the cheese (also reduced amount of cheese). Oh my goodness it was absolutely delicious! Perfect comfort food.