| | |

Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper

Pin This Recipe!

Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper has tender ground beef and elbow macaroni in a creamy cheese sauce, all done in the instant pot in 4 minutes. The easiest meal to make that all the kids will love.


I know what it is like to have kids and need to have a quick and easy meal. This homemade version of hamburger helper is delicious. Still, if you have a limited budget, you may like Boxed Hamburger helper, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Boxed Rice a Roni is all easy meals in the instant pot.


 Ingredients for homemade hamburger helper

  • Ground Beef: A lean ground beef 90/10 is what we use, but you can use any ground beef. You can also use ground turkey.
  • American Cheese: For this, we used Land O’Lake from the deli I had them cut it into large chunks and shredded it at home.
  • Cheddar Cheese: I used shredded cheddar, but for a different flavor, you can use a pepper jack or even monetary.
  • Garlic Powder: You can use minced garlic instead of garlic powder.
  • Onion Powder: Replace with half of a white onion chopped.
  • Beef Broth: I use Better than Boullion; however, you can use your favorite broth.
  • Elbow Macaroni: Large elbow macaroni is what we used, but any pasta you have will work in this recipe with the same cooking time.

Step by Step Directions for Homemade Instant Pot Hamburger Helper:

Step 1:

  • Place Instant Pot on Saute.
  • Add Ground Beef and cook until no longer pink and crumbled.
  • Drain excess fat.

Step 2:

  • Add garlic and onion powder to the ground beef.
  • In this order, so you do not get the dreaded burn message.
  • Add pasta over ground beef. Pour the beef broth into the instant pot.
  • Place the instant pot on Manual High Pressure for 4 minutes.

Step 3:

  • Do a Quick Release by pushing the button to release the pressure quickly.
  • Stir in the Milk and Cheeses.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Tips and Tricks for Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

  • Cheese | Reach for deli-style cheese that is quality. I used American cheese. You don’t want to use shredded cheese or pre-sliced as it has a higher oil content, and you won’t get that creamy texture you are looking for. 
  • Toppings | Feel free to add a few toppings to elevate the flavor like some fresh parsley, a dollop of sour cream, green onions, or even more cheese! 
  • Ground Beef | One key is to help break up any meat on the bottom of your Instant Pot since this will help prevent you from getting the burn notice. That being said, Some people skip this and then get a burn notice and think about what happened. Ensuring the bottom of your pot is free of stuck-on beef will help prevent your chances of a burn notice

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to Store leftovers

Store in an air-tight container for 4 days in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Homemade Hamburger Helper 

Yes, you can freeze homemade hamburger helper. One tip I always share is to cook your pasta until it is al dente and then scoop it into containers or freezer bags. However, if you overcook your pasta, you will find it can become mushy when you reheat it. 

How to Reheat

Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or on the stovetop. You can not reheat in the instant pot since you will get a burn notice because you will not have enough liquid.

Can I Double The Homemade Hamburger Helper Instant Pot Recipe

Yes, you can double the instant pot recipe, but you do not need to double the cooking time. You would still cook for 4 minutes on high pressure.


More Recipes

Give this Instant Pot homemade Hamburger Helper a try, and let me know what you all think! 



Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper has tender ground beef and elbow macaroni in a creamy cheese sauce, all done in the instant pot in 4 minutes. The easiest meal to make that all the kids will love.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz American cheese
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz milk or heavy cream


  1. Saute ground beef until brown and crumbled.
  2. Add in seasonings.
  3. Pour in uncooked pasta and broth.
  4. Place pot on manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  5. Do a quick release.
  6. Add milk.
  7. Stir in both kinds of cheese.


Serve. I hope you enjoy this.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 619mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 24g

Did you make this recipe?

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

Pin This Recipe!

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks So Much for Sharing this Recipe for Instant One Pot Hamburger Helper, I Really Appreciate it! I Love Hamburger Helper but I Generally Just Make the Stuff in the Box So it’s Really Nice to Have This Easy but Delicious Recipe on Hand! I have Bad Chronic Pain from a Bad Motorcycle Accident I Was in and Most of the Time I Don’t Feel Like Standing Up to Cook Big Meals So I Love Having a Good Standby Recipe That’s Easy to Make but That Tastes Amazing! Thanks Again for Sharing, Have a Blessed Day! – Jana

  2. Is that 16oz of Cheddar cheese by weight or by volume? I’m assuming weight since you didn’t say “2 cups” but wanted to make sure. I don’t really believe there’s such a thing as too much cheese, but want to make sure I don’t put too little!

      1. I doubled the recipe and it didn’t come to pressure. I switched to my larger 8 qt pot but same thing. Turns out that everything is scalding to the bottom. Any thoughts? Do you stir the ingredients in the pot?

          1. Way old comment, but I’d suspect she added the milk/cheese before cooking causing the burn message.

      2. Too much cheese for my family. 16 oz. including 4 oz of the Velveta was just about 8 oz too much for us. Except for that, it was good. Next time I will cut back on the cheese.

  3. Very easy and yummy, too! I added one diced onion and some garlic. I used a bit more than 2 cups of broth, too. It’s a keeper! Thank you for sharing it.

  4. I made this and the pasta isn’t cooked all the way. What did I do wrong? I added more liquid and I’m cooking it again for 4 minutes at high pressure. I hope it works!

    1. I had the same thing twice now. Alll the noodles on the top were raw and I let it natural release. I think it needs more liquid and time

  5. Pingback: Over 100 Instant Pot Recipes - Classy on a Dime
  6. Going to make this tonight with ground turkey instead of beef so I’m not worried about straining now but just out of curiosity do you strain the beef when it’s done and then put it back in?

  7. i made this tonight, i added a little salt and pepper to it. it was a little thin, but like the box, leave it about 2 min and it thickens. tastes GREAT! thanks!

  8. One site I used for reference for making something similar to this, stated to do a GRADUAL quick release. You definitely want a towel handy for over the release valve and protect your fngers. I hope this additional info is helpful. I sure love my Instant Pot!

      1. I turned off pot after sauté was done. Piled my hamburger to the side and just blotted up the grease with paper towels. Turned out great.

  9. I am having trouble like the other reviewer that doubled the recipe. I had to double to feed my large crowd, and same thing…no pressure and sticking to the bottom. I doubled everything, including liquid.

  10. I wonder if the pot is too full for those that are trying to double the recipe… Pasta needs room to cook and the instant pot needs space to be able to function as well…just a thought. And be sure to stir really well after you put the pasta in the pot?

  11. Wow that was super easy thank you from a fellow RN mamma : ) I made it exactly as the recipe was written minus the American cheese because I didn’t have any. I topped it with salt and pepper and a large dollop of sour cream. My kids ate it too which is rare!

  12. Great quick recipe. I know there are others wondering if it can be done dairy free and/or gluten free. Yes and yes! Subbed almond milk and rice noodles. Only change was I did instant pot for 3 minutes not 4 so the noodles didn’t get mushy. Thank you! Life saver recipe

  13. Have made this three times now. It’s a terrific and really flexible recipe.

    A couple of changes I make are to add some ketchup, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the broth and milk. Instead of the American cheese, I usually add about 4 ounces of cream cheese, which really kicks up the creaminess factor. Tonight, I used some chopped onion instead of the onions powder and some chopped white mushrooms also.

  14. I just got my instant pot and I’m in love with It! This was last night’s dinner and it was a hit! My son was excited to try it and my husband got thirds lol!

  15. This recipe was AWESOME! This is my go to comfort food and it tasted just like the box, but sort of kind of healthier. Kids and hubby agreed!

  16. Is it really one tablespoon of both onion powder and garlic powder? Seems like a lot of both of those.

  17. Made this for dinner tonight with a few minor changes. I knew that the cheeseburger macaroni recipe has dried tomato powder in it so I added about 1T of tomato paste. I also cut the pasta in half but kept the liquids the same. I did 4 minutes with a 10 minute natural release followed by a quick release. It turned out awesome!

    1. American cheese is the yellow cheese cheese that you would use on sandwiches. You could also use Velveeta. I love all these comments, they are so helpful. I haven’t made this, but I plan to. Since we are onion and garlic free in our house. Allergies. I plan to use Italian seasoning and make it with mozzarella and Parmesan. I love these recipes for the instant pot. Thank you!

  18. Thank you! This is one of my new go-to’s ever since finding it half a year ago. I use it for my “helping” meal (helping those who are moving or had a new baby, etc) it’s an easy one and I can’t find a single kid or adult who doesn’t ask for seconds. Thank you!

  19. Very easy and so good!! Husband loved it. Served with a nice green salad with apples and toasted pecans! Will make again!

  20. I’m traveling and was forced to leave my beloved IP at home =( Can this be converted to a slow cooker or regular range recipe?

  21. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I love my instant pot and happened upon your recipe searching for ground beef instant pot recipes. It was a big hit with the kids! My daughter said I should make it every week. It was so easy and fast! Perfect for a crazy busy day!

  22. This recipe sounds amazing and I’m anxious to try it but I thought I read that milk would curdle if used in the IP and shouldn’t be added until afterwards. You haven’t noticed that as being a problem?

  23. I had my Instant Pot for a few weeks, but busy with summer and vacation. Today, I hauled it out and got to reading the instructions and looking up recipes online. I fell on this one and decided to go for it. I added some onions and mushrooms. I set the timer wrong. Had it set for 4 hours! After 4 minutes I released the steam lock. Once it unlocked I opened and everything was done perfectly. We love this. Hubby loves Hamburger Helper. I don’t due to add the added sodium. Thank you for helping me create my first meal in my Instant Pot! Took some of the scary out of it.

  24. What kind of pasta did you use? The regular pasta always cooks in 4 minutes for me. Anything more hardy takes a minute or two longer. Next time if the pasta isn’t quite done, I would just turn on saute and let it cook with the lid off.

  25. I believe I’ve solved some of the issues from the comments above. I have another recipe I use that only calls for 1 1/2 cups of pasta per 16oz water/ broth, 1 cup of milk. It turns out perfectly every time without sticking. There may not be enough liquid to absorb 2 cups of pasta with the recipe on this page. Also, if it looks a little thin after cooking, add in about 1/4 cup of cream or sour cream to help. My recipe calls for an additional 3 tsps of paprika. I put a towel over the top when quick releasing pressure. I think natural release would over cook the pasta. happy eating!

    1. I looked it up online and 16 oz of macaroni noodles equals about 8 cups ?‍♀️ No wonder it wasn’t turning out for me. Should change the recipe to say 2 cups

  26. OMG! This is better than Hamburger Helper. This is my mom’s “casserole.” I think the only one she ever made. Except it doesn’t have nasty cream of mushroom soup and everything is easy to do in just the IP. Thanks for the memories!

  27. This was very dry when all ingredients were combined so I added a few things. 2tbs beef broth, 1/2 cup fat free1/2&1/2, 1/2c skim milk, 1/4 cup sour cream, 4oz cream cheese-I sprinkled fresh parsley on top, fabulous result! Btw-I used heavy cream at the beginning, one of our fav ingredients?

  28. Used this recipe tonight, and followed it very closely, and it turned out very bland with no flavor at all. Thankfully the kids had already eaten because after taking a couple of bites the wife and I decided to just throw it out.

  29. Pingback: 27 Instant Pot Beef Recipes To Try In 2018 | Instant Pothead
  30. I made this recipe a few weeks ago. Husband and daughter loved it. I used lactose-free milk and lactose free cheese (daughter didn’t have to use her lactose pills). Definitely will be making this again. Thanks again.

  31. I made this as my second ever instant pot dish. It was pretty good and easy. The only changes I made was to add salt and pepper to the beef and a dash of worcestershire sauce.

    Start to finish (pulling beef out of fridge to putting in a bowl to eat) was 30 min – not bad at all for a full meal.

    I seem to be in the minority that mine had ZERO liquid left when I finished letting the pressure out, in fact it was starting to brown to the bottom, but hadn’t burned, so I just scraped, added the cheeses and stirred. In hindsight, I probably should of added a bit more stock or milk when I did this as the noodles were already sticky and the cheeses just made it glumpy. It was still delicious just not as loose as the image.

    Next time I might add another 1/2C of stock before cooking or just have extra on hand when stirring in the cheeses, might also drop down to 12oz of cheese. Would also be delicious with some fresh cherry tomatoes stirred in with the cheeses.

  32. Made this the other night – IT’S A KEEPER! Mine also came out with almost no liquid left so I added the cheese and started stirring, then started adding more and more milk and beef broth until it was wet enough. Then reheated each portion in the microwave. (Next time I’ll add more liquid ahead of time). But it was definitely good! We all were fighting over leftovers. Seemed as good as the real deal, but healthier! Thanks for the new “regular rotation” meal!

  33. i absolutely love this recipe! It’s Saturday night and my family and I have decided that it’s just too cold to go out. This cooks up quicker than any of those unhealthy boxed meals. This is the second time that I’m making this and it’s very consistent. This meal will be put into our rotation of quick meals! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  34. We’re making this tonight– I’m interested to see how it will come out! I’m wondering how you were able to add the cheese without it getting all glumpy? I usually have to heat my milk or cream in a separate pot and then add shredded cheese to the milk in order to get the creamy texture you have in the picture.

    1. Me again. 🙂
      I made this and it was a hit! Here are some things from the previous comments that I changed in my recipe:
      * I didn’t use onion or garlic powder. Instead, I sauteed half an onion and a minced clove of garlic with my hamburger.
      * I added a cup of chopped mushrooms, a shot of worchestershire sauce, and tablespoon of tomato paste– just because we like those flavors.
      * I didn’t drain the hamburger after it was done.
      * I followed the listed directions for the liquids: two cups of beef broth, 1 cup of milk.
      * 4 minutes cooked the pasta perfectly!
      * I added two and a half cups of cheddar cheese (cheddar only, I didn’t have American), and it melted surprisingly well– no clumps!

      One thing I would do differently: I used the quick release and it made a HUGE mess! Next time, I’ll use the natural release. I don’t know if this will overcook the pasta, but I’m willing to take the risk in order to avoid the clean up.

      Thanks for this recipe! I’ll definitely make it again!

  35. It would have been helpful if the recipe stipulated what size pot to make it in. I got half way done cooking the beef in my 3 Qt and then decided to half everything. I didn’t try this one because I don’t eat beef, but the feedback I got was that it was a little bland and it lacked vegetables.

  36. I tweaked this recipe for my family. I cooked the beef with an onion. When everything was done I added a package of defrosted frozen peas with the cheese. I also used less cheese as I had a package of cheese ready for my homemade macaroni and cheese (8 oz cheddar, 4 oz Colby Jack) My kids loved it.

  37. I followed the recipe step by step by and it wouldn’t get to pressure and it stuck to the bottom. What went wrong?

  38. I made this last night, but instead of American, I used a Mexican blend, because that’s what I had on hand. The flavor was excellent. The pasta was a little TOO al dente for us (almost crunchy). I think it needed an add’l cup of liquid. When I released pressure, the liquid was mostly gone, so I had to add some milk to smooth out the cheese. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to drain the beef? Either way, I will make it again, because the flavor is great, and dinner was done in roughly 15 minutes. I will just add more liquid next time. Thanks for the quick easy meal idea!

  39. It seemed at first like there wouldn’t be enough liquid bit after it cooked, it was fine. I added some of the Also steak seasoning to the meat while cooking to add some more flavor. It’s so good. I’ve had many dinner recipes from blogs flop so I’m skeptical but thanks for this good one that works!

  40. This is a family favorite that brings back memories of my childhood. So easy even my son conquered his fear of cooking to make it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  41. Has anyone figured out if it’s 16oz of pasta as in a full box or 16oz as in 2 cups? I had to cook the pasta 3 times and add more broth too. I hope it’s a full box or the rest of the recipe is thrown off from too much pasta being used

  42. I’m sorry if this was already asked but did you measure out the two cups of pasta? Or use the 16oz box? I did the box and the pasta didn’t cook all the way, despite adding a little extra water. Other than that, this was good! Might add some extra seasonings.

  43. I noticed in your video that the American cheese was cubed. I don’t know of any store-bought A.C. that doesn’t come in SLICES. Were you using Velveeta?

  44. I got an instant pot recently and wanted to comment that this recipe was awesome. I live in Canada on the west coast and made This tonight with 5 year old cheddar, some cave aged Gouda (it was just lying around waiting to be eaten) and then threw in some marscapone cheese for extra creaminess. OMG. Cleaned out the cheese drawer AND made the hubby SOOOOOOO happy. Thanks for the recipe, this will become a regular at our house!!

  45. Hubby sent this. He was feeling nostalgic for our early married days before I learned to cook. This, plus being UP quick, worked! Turned out great. Simple. I was short on cheese, so used a can of cheddar soup.

  46. My pot arrives on Friday and I’d like to try this. Is there a meat I can just put in the pot with the other ingredients and cook it ll together?

  47. I made this for my family of 6 last night and it was a hit! After reading all of the comments I decided to add a 1/2 cup more broth and I diced the American cheese to speed up the melting process. It was wonderful. Thank you for saving me on one of our many soccer practice nights!!

  48. I made this tonight and it was very thick, kinda like glued together. My pasta also wasn’t cooked all the way, too. Any ideas what I did wrong? I followed the recipe exactly.

  49. A half recipe of this cooked perfectly in my Mini and made for 2 plentiful servings. We thought it was very bland, though, and needed additional seasonings to make it work. Perhaps a tablespon of tomato paste and some Worcestershire sauce would help, I’m just not sure.

  50. While my family liked the taste, I think I’d use at least another half cup of broth. Some of my macaroni was a bit “crunchy”. Just a suggestion! ?

  51. Hi! Thank you for sharing this quick and easy recipe. I made it tonight but made a few changes. I used ground turkey instead of beef and did not drain juices. I added sweet frozen corn after the shredded cheese and added a few dashes of cayenne pepper in addition to the spices in the recipe.

  52. This was a good recipe but it needs far more liquid than two cups of broth for the 16 oz, of pasta, I ended up using a total of 28 oz. of broth (two cans) after the initial 4 minutes revealed pasta that was not cooked and dry and that was barely enough after an additional 2 minutes of pressuring, I also added more milk but it was still quite dry, next time I will use 1 1/2 cups of milk.

  53. Not sure what I did wrong but my pasta wasn’t cooked all the way. I did cut the recipe in half just not sure what went wrong. Is the keep warm supposed to be on when it’s pressure cooking? I did shut the keep warm off so maybe that’s what I did wrong. Getting past the pasta the cheese & ground beef was great 🙂

  54. Question, do you use frozen ground beef or is it already thawed before you put it in the Instant Pot? I’m a new user and not a great cook, so I have no idea!

  55. Pingback: Baby Prep Recipes – Techie Mamma
  56. In the early years before I learned to cook Hamburger Helper was my friend. Hubby loved it! But sooo much sodium and other ‘stuff’. But over the years he developed high blood pressure, and I learned to cook better. Tried this recipe tonight and he liked it! He did however add a bit of red pepper flakes to it for a kick, but I actually thought it tasted just like the boxed stuff. I used only cheddar cheese and low sodium broth. I increased the broth a little and added water to make sure the pasta was well covered. Approx 3 cups liquid. 4 minutes was just right. Gotta say this is a great stretchable meal for people with kids and/or on a tight budget! And if you’re tight on time, get an Instant Pot! I love it! Thank you!

  57. Recipe was pretty good flavor-wise. However, I found that 2 cups of beef broth was not enough to cook the pasta. Will make this again, but will definitely add more beef broth!

  58. Making tonight, I would like to add 16 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables. Do i need to do anything different?

  59. I got started and realized my box of pasta was only about 1/4 full. I substituted 2C of rice and it’s delicious! I had to pull out a serving for my husband without cheese, so next time, I’ll reduce the cheese by about 1/3.

  60. Excellent !
    Thank you so much for your kindness sharing your recipe.
    My picky eater just keep eating and say delicious!
    Even me and my husband love it.
    Thank you so much, God bless you and all your family 🙏

  61. I love this recipe! I’ve made it 5 out of the 8 times I’ve used my new instant pot.


  62. My family loves this recipe and ask for it often. We have made our own personal changes over time. We do 1/2 diced onion and 3 cloves minced garlic and removed the dry seasoning. 1 pound turkey meat and then add 4 oz chopped mushrooms after browning the meat. We then add whole wheat noodles and add the 3 cups broth. To make the sauce a little thinker we some plain Greek yogurt or sour cream rather than milk or heavy cream.
    This times a few more minutes be it let’s add a little more Whole Foods to the meal. But we often do the great recipe above when we are in a hurry. It’s super fast and easy.
    Thanks for the great recipe my family thanks you for the many meals.

  63. VERY GOOD!
    I altered the recipe a little by adding 1/2 cup chopped onion, 5 or 6 slices mushrooms and 1 tsp minced garlic. Sauteed a minute or two in olive oil and then added the ground beef with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp seasoned salt. Did not drain. I then added 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce with the beef broth and the macaroni.
    Added one cup heavy cream after cooking and stirred in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese from a bag.

  64. My sons LOVED this recipe. I had to guard it until my husband got home or they would have eaten it all. The youngest even asked for me to make it every week! Thanks.

  65. This was delicious. Made it with heavy cream. I wasn’t sure the noodles were cooked but once you add the cheese it all melts into cheesy goodness. I love any meal I can make in 4 minutes. Crazy. Thank you for posting this!

  66. I tried this recipe and my husband was impressed because he doesn’t like the real hamburger helper at all. Thumbs up, great recipe

  67. If you grew up in the 80’s eating HH, does this recipe taste similar/same to that?, if you grew up in the mid 90’s on, don’t answer, you only know the tasteless HH now and have no clue how great this stuff used to taste before the recipe change

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *