This Healthy Hamburger Helper Beef Skillet is a one pan meal that is so easy to make and satisfying. It's dairy-free & gluten-free and is a much healthier alternative to the popular boxed mixes.
As a mom, I absolutely ADORE one pot (or skillet) meals! They are convenient and super easy to clean up.
As a child, I loved all the variations of Hamburger Helper ...but if you examine the label, truly the frightening ingredient list means that even withOUT allergies, I would not choose to feed the contents of those boxes to my family.
Seriously--just look at this ingredient list in Hamburger Helper's Beef Pasta "meal"!!
Enriched Pasta (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Corn Starch, Salt, Wheat Flour, Modified Whey, Onion*, Color (caramel color, annatto extract), Yeast Extract, Potassium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Vegetable Oil (canola, soybean and/or sunflower oil), Spice, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Monoglycerides, Sugar, Beef Stock, Beef Fat, Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent).*Dried
I'm not wanting things like monoglycerides, hydrolyzed corn protein, GMO canola and soybean oil in my dinner!
However, the convenience is oh so tempting. I mean--dinner in a flash? I need that so much of the time.
So the question is--how to make this a REAL FOOD meal?
Answer--it can be done and here's how.
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Come with me, and I will show you an easy way to make every kiddo happy with a yummy dinner that is also healthy.
Instead of the packets of who knows what in an overpriced box in the store, you can pull together whole food ingredients from your kitchen to easily make up this homemade hamburger helper that is super nutritious and fits almost any special diet.
You can even use grain-free noodles or spiralized noodles to make this a grain-free, low carb meal.
So save money and keep your family healthy with this fabulous option for an easy meal that's sure to please both kids and adults alike.
Besides this Healthy Hamburger Helper, you may also want to check out a couple of other healthy one pan meals:
- Arroz con Pollo (chicken & rice)
- Pakistani Kima
- Or try some of my other super fast meals that I shared here on Whole New Mom awhile ago.
Special Diet Options
- THM: For those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, use a low-carb option for the noodles to make this recipe qualify as an "S." Otherwise it will be a crossover.
- Low-Carb Option: Either omit or use “zoodles” or "Miracle Noodles." This also makes this hamburger helper keto and Paleo approved, and makes it an "S" on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Otherwise, this is a THM crossover. If you use either no noodles, other veggie noodles, or use "Miracle Noodles," the liquids will need to be reduced as there are no dry noodles to absorb the liquid.Cook the remaining ingredients separate from the noodles, reducing the liquid to 1/2 cup EACH milk and beef broth. Then use 1 Tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 2 Tbsp water mixed into the simmering mix to thicken. Serve atop low-carb noodles or "zoodles," or sauteed veggies. Other great options are spaghetti squash and even eggplant noodles as seen in this Dairy-free Eggplant Noodle Primavera.
Recipe Notes and Substitutions
- Noodles: For noodles, I personally use and love Trader Joe's Brown Rice Pasta or Tinkyada.
- Milk: Coconut and almond are my favorite options for milk. Here are Easiest Homemade Coconut Milk, Easy Homemade Almond Milk, and Homemade Rice Milk.
- Broth: I use my own homemade beef bone broth for added nutrition benefits. See How to Make Bone Broth. You can also buy it here, or get that same brand on Amazon. If you are in a pinch, use this Homemade Vegetable Broth.
- Cheddar: For an allowed cheddar, I used Daiya Cheddar Shreds.
- Note that I make this recipe often in the cast iron skillet that you see in the photos. Another skillet can be used as well, but I love this skillet.
Homemade Gluten-free Hamburger Helper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional - for extra umami and flavor; my husband and I added hot chili sauce as well)
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free or regular milk (use unsweetened if using a DF version)
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 1/3 cups gluten-free noodles
- 1 cup allowed cheddar cheese (use regular or DF option)
- 1-2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat a 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
- Add in your ground beef and diced onion, brown.
- Add in all the spices.
- Stir in the liquids and noodles.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, and turn the heat to low.
- Simmer about 10-15 minutes until the noodles are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat, vent the lid, and let rest to absorb the remaining liquid for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese and Worcestershire, taste, add more salt if necessary, enjoy!
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
There it is.
Dinner in a flash.
Make it tonight :)!
What's your favorite "ready in a flash" meal?