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Homemade Hamburger Helper: Different Varieties and In Bulk

 Hamburger Helper is so stinkin’ convenient. If only it wasn’t so unhealthy. Its chock full of sugar, salt, preservatives and other junk but it sure tastes good and its filling. So I started making my own hamburger helper years ago. My children really like it.

hamburger helper 2






If you make Hamburger Helper you know that you use milk.  I use powdered milk because I can make up the seasoning mix and have it on hand and just have to add water.

Here are a few recipes for the Seasoning Packs you’ll need to make my homemade Hamburger Helper. Feel free to modify for your family.  The original Hamburger Helper has a lot of sugar in it. I prefer to have a more healthy dish so I have left out the sugar, you could add a bit of sugar in if your palate demands it.

Make up the Seasoning Mix and store it in a glass jar in a cool place. Be sure to label it and it wouldn’t hurt to keep the instructions for making the dish with the seasoning.

The first one is the classic Hamburger Cheesy Mac.

First make your Seasoning Mix.

This amount will make 4 different meals of Cheesy Mac.  For each recipe you’ll shake the jar well to combine and distribute the seasonings and use  one half cup of the mix for each recipe of Cheesy Mac.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp. paprika
1 – 1/2  Tablespoon  onion powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons garlic powder
1 – 1/2  Tablespoons  salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

You will need for each recipe of this dish:
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
3 1/3 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot.  Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked macaroni.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for  15-20 minutes.

Once the macaroni is tender and all the water is absorbed, add the shredded cheese, stir.

Taste for salt and pepper.


Next up is Beef Stroganoff.  If you can get sour cream powder, its good in this mix and you’d use 2 – 1/2 cups of it in the big batch of mix, but since most people can’t, I decided to build this recipe using fresh sour cream added at the last minute of cooking.

Seasoning Mix
Remember, this makes 4 different recipes of the Beef Stroganoff dish

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 TBS cornstarch
10 tsp. garlic powder
10 tsp. onion powder
10 tsp. parsley
10 tsp. salt
5 tsp. pepper

  You will also need:  
Remember that the seasoning mix makes 4 recipes of this dish

1 pound ground meat
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups small egg noodles
1 cup sour cream

To Prepare:

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet or pot. Add one half cup of seasoning mix.

Add the water and the uncooked noodles.  Stir well and allow to simmer on low for  15-20 minutes. Add hot water if needed throughout cooking.

Once the noodles are tender and all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Taste for salt and pepper.


The last one is for a Rice Hamburger Dish. Instead of pasta, it uses rice. I cook my rice before hand. In fact, I cook whatever rice I am going to use in my menus during the week and refrigerate it. But for this meal, you can just put the rice on to cook while you are cooking the hamburger and preparing the other ingredients.

I guess this is sort of a Jambalaya type dish. Its as spicy as you want it to be, just add more pepper or seasoning like Tony Chachere’s . This Seasoning Mix Recipe will make 4 different dishes of Rice Hamburger.

1 – 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
5 Tablespoons TBS cornstarch
1\4 cup diced, dried sweet bell peppers (optional)

Spices and Herbs:
1- 1\2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
5 teaspoons onion powder
5 teaspoons garlic powder
5 teaspoons salt

OR, instead of the spices and herbs above, you can use 1\2 cup of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, or Zatarain’s

You will also need:
1 pound ground meat
3 1\2 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small can of stewed tomatoes (about 8 ounces)

Put 1 cup rice and 2 cups water on to cook. While that is simmering, brown the ground beef in a large skillet or pot. When the beef is done, drain it and place it back over the heat.

Add 1\2 cup of the seasoning mix to the beef, add the hot water and tomatoes then stir. Lower heat to a simmer.
Stir in the cooked rice. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
When heated through and thick, add the shredded cheese. Cover and let sit again another 5 minutes. Serve.


  1. MarLou

    Thanks so much for these recipes, Sylvia. I am running out of ideas for what to cook now days. This gives me plenty of options. I have a question, though. I do have the sour cream powder in storage. If I make the mix using it, do I still need the fresh sour cream–which I don’t have and unless someone shops for me, I can’t get?

    • Sylvia

      Hi MarLou
      If you use sour cream powder, you’d use 2 – 1/2 cups of it in the big batch of mix. Then you can leave out the regular sour cream when preparing the recipe using the mix.

  2. Shelly

    Made the cheeseburger mac a couple nights ago and oh my goodness it is a HIT! making it again tonight 🙂 my favorite hh can be enjoyed again! Haven’t had any hh in a long time!!

    • Sylvia

      So glad to hear it! Thank you for letting me know. 😀

  3. anita

    these sound wonderful! i wish you had a pinterest pin so i can save this where i can find it later…..:)

    • Sylvia

      Anita I do have a Pinterest pin at the top of each post.

  4. Jennifer

    Hello, Can you use real milk instead of powdered?

    • Sylvia

      Yes, but I don’t know right now how much of the seasoning mixture you’d use per dish.

  5. Sharon

    Thanks so much, we love HH but my husband is in renal failure, and is very limited as to what pre-packaged items we can use. With this breakdown I can substitute some things from his safe list without giving up the whole experience.

    Also, a moment of caution. If someone has High Blood Pressure, please decrease the sodium (cheese has a lot of salt and you might be able to use less. High Blood Pressure is the number one cause of kidney failure. Small changes can help you avoid major changes later. Have a great day.

    • Sylvia

      That’s a good idea for those who are sodium conscious, thank you!

  6. Heather

    Hello, I was just wondering if you have any conversion or substitution suggestions for the cornstarch? I usually use potato flour or arrowroot in its place, due to the highly refined, nutritionally defunct state of cornstarch. Thanks in advance!

    • Sylvia

      Yes, those are good substitutions for cornstarch, thanks for mentioning them! Most of the time Arrowroot can be used in the same measurements as cornstarch in recipes. I am not sure about potato starch, but I’d start out with the same measurements and see how it goes. I normally use potato starch in some of my cake recipes, and its seems like it would be measured about the same as cornstarch in those recipes. If you try it, I hope you can let me know what you find!

  7. Linda

    These are awesome ~ can’t wait to try them….. wondering if you ever did a Tuna Helper variation?? Thanks again, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia

      No I haven’t done a Tuna Helper but you could easily substitute it I think. I would probably substitute 2 cans of drained tuna for the ground beef.

  8. Ember

    THANK YOU! I can’t wait to put these together.

    • Sylvia

      Ember if you try them, let me know what you think if you can. 😀

  9. Donna Miller

    LOVE THESE! Thanks for sharing them!! I”m excited to have REAL FOOD options for this. I stopped buying them about 15 years ago but every now and then have that ‘hankering’ ya’ know? Probably some child-hood memory of them trapped in my colon 🙂 still. But these are foods I recognize. Never took the time to deconstruct HH but now I’m happy I don’t have to!

    Much love and hugs my sweet friend!!!
    Donna Miller recently posted..Book Bonanza Giveaway #4 – “Prepper’s Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness”

    • Sylvia

      Donna if you try these, please let me know what you thought.

  10. marly67

    Thank you so much, Sylvia. This will be great for Sunday Dinners when preparation needs to be at a minimum. Blessings.

  11. Vicki

    I have bulk cheese powder cuz I am lazy and cheese takes time and I am not very good at it….if I would use that in the mix/jar do you think I would need additional liquid when you make the dish?

    • Sylvia

      You can use cheese powder. I don’t think you’ll need additional water or milk but you can tweak it if needed. I think though, I would add the cheese powder separately and not mix it into the seasoning mix.