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Crockpot Homemade Hamburger Helper

You have probably heard of Hamburger Helper, but this is a delicious take on the boxed stuff that is tastier, healthier, and comes together in your slow cooker. This easy slow cooker hamburger helper recipe is perfect for an easy dinner idea on busy weeknights.

Noodle shells with a meat mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top in a white bowl.

Busy moms and housewives are always looking for a hearty meal that can feed the entire family. 

This delicious cheeseburger macaroni will delight the taste buds with its delicious flavor!

Many of the ingredients for this crock pot hamburger helper recipe are probably already in your pantry or easily found at your grocery store.

Try a delicious side dish like a simple side salad, my yummy easy baked sweet potatoes, or bacon wrapped asparagus to accompany this comfort food.

Noodle shells with a meat mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top in a white bowl.

What is Crockpot Hamburger Helper?

This homemade version of hamburger helper is an easy slow cooker recipe that will be a great addition to your favorite crock pot recipes. 

Dinner time will only be a quick prep as this hearty meal uses simple ingredients. 

The ingredients combine to make a great blend of flavors that are much better than the boxed version.

Woman in her kitchen making homemade hamburger helper.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Your picky eaters will love it because the flavors blend together and everyone loves the combination of hamburger, noodles, and cheddar cheese!
  • Everyone loves an easy slow cooker recipe, especially with our busy schedules.
  • This recipe is tasty any time of the year!
Crock pot hamburger helper and shredded cheddar cheese on top in a white bowl.

Tell Me About Crockpot Hamburger Helper

  • Taste- This great weeknight meal is a cozy blend of savory flavors.
  • Texture– A creamy yet nice variety of textures make up this family favorite.
  • Easy– The prep time goes quickly and easily and the rest is just slow cooking!
  • Time– The prep only takes about 10 minutes and cook time is 4 hours.
Woman in her kitchen pouring broth into her crock pot.

Ingredients for Crockpot Hamburger Helper

  • Ground Beef– This is the hearty protein part of the meal.
  • Yellow Onion– Yellow onion adds to the savory flavor of the meal as it caramelizes in the dish.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil– This oil is flavorful and helps to keep the noodles from sticking together.
  • Chili Powder– This spice is mild to moderate in flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika– Smoked paprika is a Spanish spice with a smoky and spicy flavor and adds an extra little zing to the recipe.
  • Garlic Powder– This tastes a little sweeter than fresh garlic and it isn’t caramelized like fresh garlic. However, you can use fresh if you prefer.
  • Ketchup– A sweet, salty, and tomato flavor adds deliciousness to this recipe.
  • Elbow Pasta- These macaroni noodles are the perfect shape and size for this recipe.
  • Beef Broth– The broth adds good savory flavor to the recipe.
  • Whole Milk– Whole milk helps to add thickness to the sauce.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese– The cheese thickens the sauce, as well as adds delicious flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper– Salt helps to bring out the flavor in the other ingredients, and pepper adds spice!
Noodle shells with a meat mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top in a white bowl.

Make Crockpot Hamburger Helper in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Brown the meat– After browning the ground beef with onion, drain it and add it to the slow cooker with the seasonings and ketchup.
  2. Add the liquids– Pour in the beef broth and milk and cook on low for 3 hours.
  3. Add cheese and pasta– Add the cheese and turn on high to cook for one more hour. Then add the al denté pasta and enjoy!

​Variations for Crockpot Hamburger Helper

  • Gluten Free Noodles– You can use gluten free noodles.
  • Ground Turkey or Chicken– These meats can be substituted for ground beef.
  • Different Cheeses– Just be sure to use a cheese that melts easily, such as mozzarella, provolone, gouda. 
  • Spicy Sausage– If you would like to add extra zing, you can use sausage or half sausage and half ground beef.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream– If you don’t have whole milk, you can use heavy whipping cream or half whole milk and half cream. It will be much thicker.

Tips for the Best Crockpot Hamburger Helper

  • If you would like to have a meatier meal, use 2 pounds of ground beef.
  • Shred the cheese or use a thick cut pre-shredded cheese.  They melt better than regular shredded cheese.
  • Use a high quality pasta noodle so that they don’t get mushy.
  • For easy clean-up, you can use a crockpot liner.

Add-Ins for Crockpot Hamburger Helper

  • Sour Cream– A dollop can be added into the recipe or on top of each serving.
  • Crushed Tomatoes– For an extra flavor and nutrition, you can add the tomatoes.
  • Bell Peppers– Bell peppers complement ground beef beautifully.
  • Bacon– Bacon makes everything taste better!
  • Tomato Paste– This adds flavor, thickness, and nutrition.
Noodle shells with a meat mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top in a white bowl.

How to Store Leftover Crockpot Hamburger Helper

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

How to Reheat Crockpot Hamburger Helper

The next time you want to eat it, reheat the leftovers on the stove top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be frozen?

Yes, it can be frozen in an airtight container or in a freezer bag for up to 3-4 months.

Can you use an instant pot instead of the slow cooker to make this homemade hamburger helper?

Yes, you can brown the meat first on the sauté setting. Add all of the other ingredients and stir, making sure the macaroni is covered. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick release and then add the cheese to melt. 

Crockpot Hamburger Helper Recipe

Homemade Hamburger helper in a white bowl with shredded cheese on top.

Crockpot Hamburger Helper

Liz Quick
A delicious take on the boxed version of Hamburger Helper that is tastier, healthier, and comes together in your slow cooker.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
0 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 Crockpot


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked to al denté
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • to taste salt and pepper


  • In a large skillet, brown your onion and ground beef in the olive oil. Drain the grease.
  • Add the meat mixture to your slow cooker. Add the seasonings and ketuchup to the meat and stir.
  • Pour in the beef broth and milk. Cook on low for 3 hours.
  • Add the cheese to the slow cooker and stir. Turn the slow cooker up to high and cook for an additional hour.
  • Once the cheese in melted, add in the al denté pasta and stir. Enjoy!


We use 2 pounds of ground beef because we like it meatier.
Shred the cheese or use a thick cut pre-shredded cheese. They melt better than regular shredded cheese.
Use a high quality pasta noodle so they don’t get mushy.
Keyword crockpot recipe, homemade hamburger helper, slow cooker recipe

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