Homemade Healthy Hamburger Helper

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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
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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



  • 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!



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.


Make it tonight :)!

What’s your favorite “ready in a flash” meal?

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Recipe Rating



  1. 5 stars
    I just have to say I’ve spent SO much time on your blog tonight <3 I am a gluten-free, dairy-free eater and nutritionist and your food looks AMAZING. I came here from Pinterest for the marshmallows and have added three of your meals to my meal plan for next week 😀 So, thanks! Super excited to try this. I'm drooling haha

  2. holy moly! This is one of the best dairy free recipes, I’ve come across and made. This is comfort food to a t!! My whole family is OBSESSED! I do not add the tomato paste because of my sons allergies and it’s still amazing!

  3. 5 stars
    Just wanted to say I LOVE this recipe! I have made it a handful of times and everyone always loves it. The only thing I do differently is half the meat and add mushrooms because I’m not a huge meat fan. I made a double batch tonight so we would have leftovers for the weekend. 🙂

    1. Nice! I’m so glad it worked well for you. We don’t eat a ton of meat either. Great way to make it work for you!

  4. Help! Pinned this to make tonight and the recipe is missing when I am on this page. Anyone have a copy they can send me?

    1. Yikes – sorry I am just seeing this now. I know I have work being done on recipes but I don’t know why this is happening. Getting it fixed for you now.

  5. Made this for the 3rd time tonight and it was once again a hit! The whole family loves this dish! Thank you for sharing!

  6. loved this! Thanks so much for a quick meal I can add to our regular line up! Didn’t use any cheese, worchestershire sauce or tomato but added about 1 tsp nutritional yeast and 1-2tsp coconut aminos. I even got the onion diced fine enough to fool my 4 year old!

  7. This recipe was a real winner tonight… I love hamburger helper but I get frustrated with any meal from a box – there’s always so much extra crap! I made mine with the ordered gluten-free pasta, lean ground chicken, almond milk, low fat cheddar cheese (chef’s discretion! I added an extra cup!!), mine finished up with some kick (sriracha!!) and a real cheese taste that the box stuff seemed to lack! I will definitely make this again…

  8. Great recipe! I am 6 months pregs and was CRAVING hamburger helper… I don’t know why. I never really would eat it before, but anyway… I love, love, love this dish. I did not want to consume the myriad of chemicals that come with the hamburger helper, so this was perfect. I made mine full gluten and with dairy, but I feel so much better that I did not eat that boxed stuff. Thanks!

  9. This looks GREAT. I love one pot meals too, and having a recipe means I could actually make it again instead of “yea. I don’t really remember what I put in there….”


  10. I come from a big family, so my mom always cooked from scratch to save money. Pretty sure the first time I had hamburger helper, I was in college. And of course I thought they were the greatest things ever. That was back when I only spent about $20 on groceries a week! Now, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stomach the things, but a homemade version is kind of fun!

  11. As soon as I saw this I made it for dinner. So good!!! Tastes just like hamburger helper. I did add only half the salt and wow! I cannot wait to make it again.

  12. Hi Tessa,

    This recipe looks amazing! I was raised on box Hamburger Helper. But I would never make that stuff for my family. I’m making this next week for dinner. I try to do one or two pasta dishes each week, but been running out of ideas. Amazing recipe my friend. Thank you!!


  13. I’m a bit concerned about the adding of Worcestershire sauce, Doesn’t it contain corn syrup? I LOVE it, from many years ago, but after going natural and organic, read the ingredient list and almost fainted with horror at all the horribly ‘toxic’ things in it. I guess I’ll have to read it again, in case I’m wrong ( a slim possibility, but to be sure….. ;-)! joking!!!

    1. Hi Carol! Certainly check your ingredient labels…some are are definitely more questionable than others. I use an organic one that has nothing too. Terrifying the ingredient list….but good news is, you can leave the worthiest ire out all together if you like, juts add additional salt if you think it needs it!

  14. I love Tessa’s other skillets meals, I can’t wait to make this one – I’m sure it will be just as good 🙂


  15. This looks fantastic! My family loves chili mac, and this looks like a great variation. I like the idea of a creamier sauce. I’ll have to add this to the meal plan soon!

  16. Thanks Adrienne! Always happy to share a recipe over here….we had this for dinner again last night, yum!