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Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

This easy recipe for Homemade Instant Pot Hamburger Helper will be your new favorite weeknight dinner. It’s made all in one pot and much healthier than traditional boxed hamburger helper or cheeseburger macaroni. It can also easily be made gluten free. Make this one pot pasta dinner today!

instant pot hamburger helper

💭How do you make boxed hamburger helper better or more healthy?

Well, you could add some veggies like broccoli, spinach or bell peppers but my suggestion is to throw the box away and make it from scratch. It’s a lot easier than you think and it has such a better taste. 

💗Why You’ll Love Cooking Hamburger Helper In The Instant Pot

  • You’ll make an entire dinner that feeds 4-6 people in 30 minutes.
  • The only dish besides a spatula you’ll use is the inner instant pot sleeve making cleaning up a breeze. 
  • It tastes JUST like hamburger helper except way better.
  • It’s much healthier than a boxed hamburger helper because you are controlling the ingredients.
  • It’s great for meal prep or leftovers the next day.
  • Kids absolutely love it.

🍔Ingredients To Make Homemade Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

Lean Ground Beef: In my opinion, this is the best meat to use for hamburger helper as it cuts down on the grease naturally. You can also use ground turkey or ground bison.

Onion, Garlic, Bell Pepper: Onion and garlic flavor this dish but the bell pepper adds some crunch, volume and nutrition.

Tomato Paste: Helps give this hamburger helper a tomato flavor.

Worcestershire or Coconut Aminos: Pairs well with any beef dish and gives it a deeper layer of umami flavor. 

Yellow Mustard or Mustard Powder: Helps give it a hamburger flavor.

Beef Broth: Instead of boring pasta water, the macaroni cooks right in flavorful beef broth. 

Dill Pickle Juice: This is my secret ingredient to making this instant pot dinner taste just like a cheeseburger.

Onion Powder: This brings out the burger flavors in a good way!

Shredded Cheddar: Gives this one pot pasta meal a creamy texture and taste.

Elbow Macaroni: This classic pasta goes hand and hand with cheeseburger macaroni. Feel free to use whatever pasta shape you like or even a gluten free pasta.

Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot: You can use any electric pressure cooker to make this dinner however my favorite one is the Ninja Foodi all-in-one

📖How To Cook Hamburger Helper In An Instant Pot From Scratch

1️⃣ Set instant pot to Saute mode and add oil. Add in chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. 

2️⃣ When vegetables are soft, add in tomato paste Worcestershire (or coconut aminos), mustard or mustard powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

3️⃣ Quickly add ground beef, break up, stir with vegetables and cook until ground beef is no longer pink.

4️⃣ Add in beef broth and pickle juice and scrape the bottom with your spatula being sure to get the flavorful cooked bits off the bottom. Stir everything together.

5️⃣ Add pasta and make sure it is completely submerged in the mixture to make sure it cooks fully.

6️⃣ Cook on manual high pressure for 8 minutes. Once it’s finished cooking, do a quick or manual release. Stir in shredded cheese until fully melted and serve hot. 

instant pot hamburger helper

🍳Using Sauté Mode When Cooking Ground Beef In Instant Pot

This recipe requires you to cook the onion, garlic and pepper mixture along with the ground beef using the saute mode of your pressure cooker.

Even though the meat will be fully cooked by the pressure cooker, it’s important that you break up the ground beef and cook it most of the way to ensure the best texture and flavor. 

📦Can You Make Boxed Hamburger Helper In An Instant Pot?

I highly recommend making hamburger helper from scratch, however you can make boxed hamburger helper in your instant pot using these instructions:

  1. Saute your ground beef in the instant pot on saute setting.
  2. Add in water and pasta and stir.
  3. Add in milk and seasoning packet and stir again.
  4. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes and use a quick release. 

🌾Gluten Free Hamburger Helper

In this recipe I used gluten free elbow macaroni and it turned out great! Feel free to use any gluten free pasta you like to make this recipe celiac friendly. 

👩🏻‍🍳Chef’s Tips & Reader Questions

What’s the difference between hamburger helper and cheeseburger macaroni? Essentially they are the same thing however hamburger helper is a branded product by General Mills. It can also be called cheeseburger stroganoff. 

Are Instant Pot’s safe? I believe that an electric pressure cooker is much safer to use than a manual one. With an electric instant pot, the time and temperature are controlled whereas the manual ones are controlled by you and take some getting used to.

Is Hamburger Helper Unhealthy? If you are using boxed hamburger helper, it may contain preservatives and ingredients that are considered unhealthy. This is why it’s highly recommended to make it from scratch. 

How Do You Avoid The Burn Notice On The Instant Pot? The burn notice comes up usually when there isn’t enough liquid to cook the contents in the pot. It is highly unlikely that this recipe will garner the burn notice as there is plenty of liquid coming from the beef broth.

What To Serve With Hamburger Helper

While hamburger helper is a meal in itself, it would also go great with:

More Easy Instant Pot Dinners

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instant pot hamburger helper

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

This easy recipe for homemade instant pot hamburger helper will be your new favorite weeknight dinner. It’s made all in one pot and much healthier than traditional boxed hamburger helper or cheeseburger macaroni. It can also easily be made gluten free. Make this one pot pasta dinner today!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 Servings
Calories: 397kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 tsp Avocado or Olive Oil
  • 1 cup White Onion diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper diced
  • 2 tsp Fresh Garlic minced
  • ¼ cup Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire or Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tbsp Yellow Mustard or Mustard Powder
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • ¼ cup Dill Pickle Juice
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 lb Elbow Macaroni Can Be Gluten Free
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  • Set instant pot to Saute mode and add oil. Add in chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. 
  • When vegetables are soft, add in tomato paste worcestershire (or coconut aminos), mustard or mustard powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • Quickly add ground beef, break up, stir with vegetables and cook until ground beef is no longer pink.
  • Add in beef broth and pickle juice and scrape the bottom with your spatula being sure to get the flavorful cooked bits off the bottom. Stir everything together.
  • Add pasta and make sure it is completely submerged in the liquid mixture to make sure it cooks fully.
  • Cook on manual high pressure for 8 minutes. Once it’s finished cooking, do a quick or manual release.
  • Stir in shredded cheese until fully melted and serve hot.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1271mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g

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11 Comments

  1. My whole family loved this recipe and it was so easy to make. I will be making it again! Thank you!

  2. Genius! I love this homemade version of hamburger helper – and it’s just as easy! Also there isn’t a lot better than one pot meals!

  3. I never make hamburger helper because it isn’t very good for you… and I’m SO grateful you made this recipe because now I can make it all the time and not feel bad about eating it! It came out so good, thanks for the recipe!

  4. This looks fantastic! Another instant pot win! I’ve never made my own hamburger helper but I love the sound of the spices and flavors at play. This is such a great family meal!

  5. Homemade is always better than ready made on so many levels, most of all knowing and controlling what goes into a dish. Your instant pot hamburger helper looks delish. Definitely want to try it!

  6. I haven’t had hamburger helper in years! Im so glad you created this homemade version of hamburger helper! I’m excited to give this a try!

  7. I haven’t had hamburger helper in years! Im so glad you created this homemade version of hamburger helper! I’m excited to give this a try!

  8. IP is great for any recipes and this hamburger helper looks so good. Cosy and delicious dish anyone would love to have on a cold night.

  9. 5 stars
    Very simple and easy. I was concerned about the 8 minute pressure cook time for the noodles, as I usually do 3-5 minutes for pasta, but it came out perfect. Two things I did different: 1. Didn’t use peppers because we are not pepper fans and 2. Used chicken broth because that is what we hand in the pantry.

    1. Good to know it turned out with those variations. Thank you, Deanna! -Krista (Team Thyme & JOY)

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