★★★★★

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

The childhood meal you remember is so much better made from scratch! Seasoned ground beef with cheese and macaroni comes together in a cinch when you make Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot.

Kid friendly dinners are the true heroes. For instance, this easy Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs gets two thumbs up from everyone. Or, try this reader favorite Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo recipe!

Hamburger helper in the pressure cooker with wooden spoon.

Why this Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is Best

Hamburger Helper used to be THE quick go-to meal for busy moms back in the day. A box of that stuff plus a pound of ground beef and you’d have a kid friendly meal on the table in no time.

As a kid I loved the taste of Hamburger Helper but as an adult I don’t love all the sodium and preservatives in the boxed stuff (at least not to eat on a regular basis).

Using my Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe as the base, this dinner came together in minutes!

It’s like classic Hamburger Helper with ten times more flavor and the perfect creamy texture.

I use REAL heavy cream and freshly shredded cheese in this dish along with classic Hamburger Helping ingredients like macaroni, ground beef and garlic powder.

Even with using fresh ingredients, this recipe is so inexpensive to make! If you keep ground beef and pasta on hand, you’re never more than a couple steps away from a delicious dinner.

Me being me, I naturally had to make it in the Instant Pot to make it even easier for a weeknight. Best of all, my family ate up every bite and clean up was a breeze.

No Instant Pot? No problem. You can make it on the stove top too! Either way, this recipe comes together in record time!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for hamburger helper in the pressure cooker.
  • Ground beef – Swap the meat with ground turkey or ground chicken for a lighter meal.
  • Cheese – Use a block of good cheese and shred it yourself with a box grater. It will melt better and taste better than packaged shredded cheese.
  • Macaroni – Elbow macaroni gives this a familiar Hamburger Helper look, but any pasta shape works!
  • Beef broth – Not needed if you make the stove top version!

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make hamburger helper in the Instant Pot.

STEP 1. Saute the beef

Select the saute setting on your Instant Pot and cook the ground beef until no pink remains. Turn off the pot and drain any excess grease.

STEP 2. Deglaze

Add the broth the the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape off any pieces of meat stuck to the bottom or sides. This is important and helps prevent a burn notice!

STEP 3. Add macaroni

Add the uncooked noodles to the broth in the pot along with the butter, garlic powder, mustard powder and other seasonings.

STEP 4. Pressure cook

Place the lid on the pot and set the valve to seal. Cook on manual or select High Pressure for a cook time of 5 minutes.

Turn the valve to vent once the cook time ends and do a quick release of the pressure.

STEP 5. Serve

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to give the pasta and meet a stir, then mix in the heavy cream and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and serve warm!

Two white bowls with hamburger helper with parsley and Instant Pot in background.

Recipe FAQs

What size Instant Pot do you need to make this hamburger helper recipe?

This recipe was tested in a 6 quart Instant Pot.

Can hamburger helper be made on the stove top?

YES! To make hamburger helper on the stove, cook the pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, brown the beef in a large pot. Drain the grease, add the seasonings, then the cooked pasta along with the cream and cheese. No broth needed!

How do you store leftover Hamburger Helper?

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 2 days.

What to serve with Hamburger helper?

Today’s dinner recipe is *almost* a complete meal. In our house we like to serve this with a fresh Italian dinner salad.

To add more vegetables to your meal, whip up some Roasted Zucchini or make some Sheet Pan Vegetables!

If your family loves carbs like mine does, add some garlic bread or dinner rolls on the side, so soak up all that cheesy goodness left in the bowl!

More Easy Dinner Recipes

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: 8 servings

Hamburger Helper

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

The childhood meal you remember is so much better made from scratch! Seasoned ground beef with cheese and macaroni comes together in a cinch when you make Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on "SAUTE" and add the ground beef. Cook until no pink remains, crumbling as you brown the meat.
  2. Once browned, turn the Pot off and drain any excess grease out of the pot.
  3. Add beef broth and with a wooden spoon DEGLAZE the bottom of the pot. Scrape up any bits of browned meat to reduce the chance of a BURN notice.
  4. Add the uncooked macaroni, butter, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and garlic powder. Stir once.
  5. Close and lock the lid in place, making sure the valve on top is set to "SEALING".
  6. Press MANUAL or HIGH PRESSURE COOK for a cook time of 5 minutes.
  7. Once the cook time ends, do a quick release of the pressure, turning the valve to VENTING.
  8. Use a wooden spoon to stir the pasta with the meat. Add in the heavy cream and shredded cheese, stirring until melted. Serve and enjoy.

Notes

  • Recipe tested in a 6qt Instant Pot.
  • Use good cheese and shred it yourself from the block. It melts smoother and has better flavor than prepackaged shredded cheese.
  • Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken to lighten up the meal.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 1036mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 34g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is the answer to that 5 P.M. question, “What’s for dinner?” Made with easy to find ingredients, this kid approved meal satisfies everyone in the family, without breaking the bank.

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 14, 2020

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