Homemade Healthy Hamburger Helper

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.

gluten-free hamburger helper in a skillet with a wooden spoon

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.

Healthy Hamburger Helper in a white bowl with cast iron skillet and wooden spoon in background

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:

Healthy Gluten-free Hamburger Helper in cast iron skillet

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 tablespoon tapioca starch mixed with 2 tablespoons 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

healthy hamburger helper in a white bowl and cast iron skillet
One-pot meals are super convenient and easy to make, but not always healthy – except this one is! This healthy take on "Hamburger Helper" is gluten-free and dairy-free, full of real-food ingredients with a taste kids love!

Homemade Gluten-free Hamburger Helper

One-pot meals are super convenient and easy to make, but not always healthy – except this one is! This healthy Gluten-free Hamburger Helper is also dairy-free, full of real-food ingredients with a taste kids love!
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S
Keyword: gluten-free Hamburger Helper
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 655kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 655kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 835mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 237mg | Iron: 2mg | Net Carbs: 78g

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.

No chemicals.

Au naturel.

Yum.

Make it tonight :)!

What's your favorite "ready in a flash" meal?

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64 Comments

    1. Gluten free pasta tends to absorb more water than regular, but I see other non gluten free chili mac recipes that use even less liquid than this one so I'm puzzled.
      Maybe just try it as written and see how it goes and please do let me know how it turns out! Hope you like it!

    2. Hi again. I just remembered that I made this once with regular pasta and it turned out just fine. I'm sure the texture was a bit different, but we loved it. So I think you're fine either way! Enoy!

  1. 5 stars
    This has been in our bi-weekly dinner rotation for the past year and is the only one-pot meal my 4 year old actually likes--thank you! I usually use traditional elbow pasta but am trying to get family on less gluten, so I'm wondering if anyone has had success using chickpea/lentil pasta with this recipe. None of us care for gf rice noodles, but the Banza pasta has been "approved" by husband and child, lol. I'm nervous it won't behave and absorb the liquid similarly enough as other grains.

    1. Hi there - I think that would work great......are the directions different on the label? You could always add more liquid if needed, but I would think if the directions are the same it should be OK. So glad you like it!

  2. I have made this before and love it! Do you think I can meal prep it on Sunday and reheat on Wednesday or Thursday? Thank you!

  3. My son has such digestive problems and there are many foods he cannot eat. I made some minor adjustments, such as just using butternut squash (it's all I had), no tomatoes, onions or chili poweder, used ground turkey and this turned out great! My whole family will eat it! Thank you for this simple recipe. I also froze about 4 more dinners so I can pull them out when needed. Yeay!

  4. Made this tonight and it was such a perfect weeknight meal. Both my kids loved it (5 and 2) and my husband asked for thirds. Thanks!

  5. Thanks Adrienne. I'm making it now as is....sauce is VERY YUMMY. Perfect seasoning. I'll try adding cauliflower for the next batch. Will definitely make this again!

  6. We love this meal! Do you think if I doubled the recipe, that it would freeze/thaw well? Have you ever tried it? With a third baby coming soon I am trying to find some GF/DF recipes to freeze ahead of time!

  7. I love one pot meals, I make them when I have stuff to use up. This recipe looks tasty though it's lacking in veggies so I would add a bunch of them. Some of the best dishes I've made have been non-recipe dinners! Experiment and have fun in the kitchen.
    Namaste

    1. Yes to all the veggies. Or a big side of them! Hope you enjoy it! (You will want to add seasonings if you add veggies to the recipe.....)

  8. 2 stars
    Adding the noodles into the beef mixture is a huge no-no. The noodles did not fully cook because the beef absorbed all the broth, and they ended up stuck to the bottom of the pot as I tried to finish them up. Wasted about two pounds of fresh ground beef.

    1. Bummer Alex! I have made this more times than I can count, and I always follow this method. Meat should not absorb a lot of liquid, so I am not sure what happened in your case. Extra liquid could have remedied your problem, but that doesn't help you now, I know. Sorry!

  9. 5 stars
    This was SO good. My picky husband rated it an "8 out of 10," and my equally picky 4-year old had 3 helpings! It was quick and easy to make, and the flavor was great. My sauce / liquid came out grainy though. The dried spices didn't absorb with the liquid, and the sauce ended up clumpy instead of smooth/creamy. How can I fix this?

    1. I am glad you liked it. Hmmm...I don't know. Hasn't happened to me but perhaps blend the spice w/ the liquid first before cooking?

  10. 5 stars
    Love it! I'm usually not a huge fan of Daiya but this tastes great. I made it yesterday so it's been in the fridge overnight and reheated and doesn't taste like there are modifications.