This One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta is reminiscent of all of your favorite burger fixings! Tender ground beef, classic vegetables, hearty pasta, and an extra cheesy sauce. It's an easy, one-pot family recipe that's unbelievably tasty!
Easy Cheesy Ground Beef Pasta
This One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta has truly got it all! Ground beef is cooked down with dried spices to keep it flavorful but easy. We load it up with onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomatoes, and garlic for plenty of veggie crunch while also making sure we get a nutritional boost. The sauce is a mix of beef bone broth, jarred tomato sauce, and milk to create an unctuous, creamy, delectable sauce. And the best part? Just throw the pasta in to absorb all the cheeseburger flavors and to keep clean up a cinch.
This cheeseburger skillet pasta is easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner but delicious enough for date night on the weekend. It's a total comfort dish that I love to snuggle with in the fall and winter. And with all those familiar flavors, this recipe is sure to be a hit with the entire family!
Why You'll Love it
- Everything is made in one pot for minimal clean up!
- The cook time takes less than 30 minutes for a great weeknight dinner.
- It has all the familiar flavors of a cheeseburger so even the pickiest eaters will love it.
- It's loaded with veggies so it's as cozy as it is healthy.
- Cooking oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F), plus it's unrefined.
- Ground beef: I used 88/12% lean ground beef but any will work.
- Garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika: Helps create a savory cheeseburger flavor within the beef.
- Onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic: Every dish needs veggies! They add the perfect amount of crunch with a hint of spice.
- Beef bone broth: I cook exclusively with bone broth. It's rich in collagen, supports digestion, and has anti-inflammatory components. I also find it less salty than boxed or canned broth. Bone broth should be in the refrigerated or frozen section.
- Milk: Creates an extra creamy sauce.
- Tomato sauce: Jarred is preferred. It's ok if it's a pasta sauce like marinara or arrabbiata, use whatever you have. If you're using canned sauce, you may have to add a sprinkle of sugar to remove the tinny flavor.
- Pasta: Whole wheat, brown rice, or regular white flour pastas hold up better in one pot pasta dishes. I also recommend using rigatoni, elbows, shells, cavatappi, or penne shape as these work best with meaty, chunky sauces.
- Cheddar cheese: I prefer sharp or extra sharp for more flavor.
- Cherry tomatoes: I like adding the tomatoes last for a hint of freshness in a really rich dish.
- Green onion: for garnish
How To Make It
- Cook the beef. Start by searing the ground beef. If you're using a fattier blend like 85/15% or 80/20%, I would recommend draining some of the excess fat. Add in the spices and sauté until the beef is about 50% cooked with a little pink left.
- Sauté the vegetables. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Let soften for a few minutes, then add garlic.
- Pour in the liquids. Add the beef bone broth, tomato sauce, and milk with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let come to a rolling simmer.
- Cook the pasta. Add the pasta, pushing it down with your wooden spoon to submerge it as much as possible. Depending on the amount of vegetables, type of pasta, and width of the pot you used, you may need more beef broth. Keep it at a high simmer and stir often for even cooking. Use your best judgement and add more liquid if the pasta needs it.
- Finish. Once the pasta is al dente, turn off the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and cheddar cheese until completely melted. Garnish with green onion and, if you have it, pickled jalapenos. I find the tartness helps cut the richness of this dish! Serve hot.
- Use the right pasta for this dish. I've found that white flour pasta, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice pasta holds ups best in one-pot dishes. Chickpea, lentil, black bean, and veggie alternative pastas cook much faster and may end up mushy. If you want to try one of these pastas, reduce the heat to medium and start with ¾ cup beef broth.
- Adjust the beef bone broth as needed. Several factors will determine how much liquid you need in this one-pot recipe. The type of pasta, how much vegetables you add, and the width of your pan will affect the cookery of your pasta. For example, white flour pasta and a lot of vegetables will require more liquid. The wider your pan, the faster the liquid will evaporate so you should lower the heat level and possibly add more broth. Taste the pasta as it's cooking to determine how much time is left and if you need to add more broth or adjust the heat level.
- Turn off the heat before adding the cheese. Cooking cheese over high heat can cause it to become greasy or lumpy. Make sure to keep the heat on the lowest setting or turn it off completely, then keep stirring to allow the cheese to melt evenly into the sauce.
Substitutions & Variations
- Add your favorite hamburger topping to this dish. Try a teaspoon of mustard, relish, or different type of cheese!
- Bacon cheeseburger pasta would be so fun! Crisp up some bacon stove-top or in the oven, crumble, and add on top of this pasta.
- To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta. I love using brown rice pasta like Jovial.
- To make this dairy-free, replace the milk with additional broth and use a vegan cheddar cheese alternative.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: If you have leftover One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta, let it cool completely before storing. Place into an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: This is a great freezer meal! Let cool completely, then place into a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing individual portions for a quick meal and don't forget to write the date!
Reheating: You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop. Microwave for about 1 minute, stirring halfway, or 3 minutes if frozen. Each microwave is different so adjust time accordingly. If you choose to reheat it on the stovetop, heat the pasta, covered, over medium-low for about 10-15 minutes or until warm. Stir occasionally and add 1-2 tablespoon broth if it looks dry. After reheating, it may look oilier due to the beef and cheese - it'll still taste great but you can use a napkin to soak excess oil or drain it.
You can use any type of pasta you'd like but white flour, whole wheat, or brown rice pasta works best. They're sturdier and will hold up better during the cooking process. In terms of shape, rigatoni, penne, elbows, shells, cavatappi, or farfalle would work great with this meaty sauce!
Depends on your definition of health! This recipe is loaded with vegetables and protein. I like using brown rice or whole wheat pasta for more whole grains. And yes, there is a good amount of cheese in this dish, but as I always say - it's all about balance!
Yep! I personally have never had Hamburger Helper but it seems pretty similar. Beefy, cheesy, and super easy. But homemade is always better - less sodium, preservatives, and funky ingredients here!
Looking For More?
This Cheeseburger skillet pasta is one of my all time favorites because it's easy, hearty, cozy, and oh-so-satisfying. If you're looking for more satisfying recipes that will win the family over, try these:
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken Gnocchi
- Instant Pot Healthy Chili
- French Onion Chicken Pasta Bake
- Sausage and Kale Pasta
- One-Pot Chicken, Spinach, and Artichoke Pasta
One-Pot Cheeseburger Pasta
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 lb ground beef I used 88/12%
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ onion chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 bellpepper chopped
- 1 jalapeno ribs and seeds removed and diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1½-2 cups beef bone broth
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 8 oz uncooked pasta (see notes)
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Green onion for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or wide pan like a braiser. Add ground beef and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. When halfway cooked, drain excess fat if needed and add garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, and paprika.
- Add onion, bellpepper, and jalapeno. Sauté to soften for 3-4 minutes. Then add garlic, cooking for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Pour in 1½ cups beef broth, milk, tomato sauce, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it come to a boil, then add pasta. Push pasta below liquid and let simmer on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente.Cook time will depend on type of pasta and pan or pot you use. Use your best judgment, keep tasting the pasta, and add more broth if it needs more time to cook. If using a wide pan, liquid will evaporate faster so cook over medium heat and add more broth as needed. See recipe notes for more information on pasta.
- Once pasta is al dente, turn off the heat. Stir in tomatoes and cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Season to taste.
- Garnish with green onion. I love topping it with pickled jalapenos as well. Serve hot.
- Depending on the type of pasta you use, you may need to adjust the cook time and amount of liquid needed
- White flour pasta: Add 2 cups of broth and cook for 10-15 minutes or until al dente
- Brown rice or whole wheat flour: Start with 1½ cups of broth and adjust as needed. Cook time will be around 8-12 minutes
- Lentil or chickpea pasta: I don't recommend these pasta because they breakdown faster and don't hold up well in one pot recipes. However, if you still choose to use it, start with 1 cup broth and add more as needed. Cook time will be short, around 6-8 minutes.
- Storing: If you have leftovers, let it cool completely before storing. Place into an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: Let cool completely, then place into a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing individual portions for a quick meal and don't forget to write the date.
- Reheating: You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop. Microwave for about 1 minute, stirring halfway, or 3 minutes if frozen. Each microwave is different so adjust time accordingly. If you choose to reheat it on the stovetop, heat the pasta, covered, over medium-low for about 10-15 minutes or until warm. Stir occasionally and add 1-2 tablespoon broth if it looks dry. After reheating, it may look oilier due to the beef and cheese - it'll still taste great but you can use a napkin to soak excess oil or drain it.
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