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Homemade Hamburger Helper Lasagna

Homemade hamburger helper lasagna recipe tastes just like the boxed brand version, but with pantry staple ingredients, and it's still a one-pan quick and easy dinner in 30 minutes or less.

cast iron pan of homemade hamburger helper lasagna

This homemade Hamburger Helper recipe, is just as easy as the boxed dinner.

Making it homemade means that you get to avoid a lot of unwanted ingredients. 


1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet on medium high heat.

This hamburger helper recipe calls for one pound of ground beef. (You can use half a pound, or increase it to a pound and a half, depending on your family's needs, doing so doesn't affect the sauce consistency.) 

Ground beef browning in a skillet

2. Add the chicken stock, spices and tomato paste.

Stir to combine and bring to a very high simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 5-10 minutes.

Seasonings and chicken stock in a skillet with ground beef and tomato paste.

3. Reduce heat to low, and add the milk and pasta.

Remove the skillet from the direct heat before you add in the milk and pasta, so that the sudden heat doesn't curdle the milk.

Stir to combine, and return to the burner.

Mafalda pasta in a tomato sauce in a skillet.

Simmer on low heat, covered, for about 7-8 minutes, until noodles are al dente.

Don't overcook them, as they can get mushy in the sauce.

Homemade Hamburger helper copycat lasagna flavor in a skillet.

4. Stir in cheese.

Once they've reached al dente, remove the pan from the heat.

Sprinkle in the shredded cheese and gently stir throughout, letting it melt completely. 

Shredded cheese in a tomato sauce with lasagna shaped pasta and hamburger.

Enjoy this classic comfort food for dinner, knowing you're using real, whole ingredients. 

Recipe Notes

  • Mafalda pasta is the kind that resembles the original boxed brand. 
  • If you can't find Mafalda, you can use regular lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces.
  • If you've used broken lasagna noodles, they'll take a bit longer to cook; refer to the box instructions for al dente time.)

Other copycat inspired recipes you might like to try are below.

📖 Recipe

cast iron pan of homemade hamburger helper lasagna

Hamburger Helper Lasagna

Mafalda pasta with ground beef, in a tomato cheese sauce, cooked in one convenient skillet- just like the boxed brand you grew up with! Recipe can be doubled for a large family size dish.
4.93 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hamburger helper lasagna, homemade hamburger helper
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 569kcal
Author: Erin
Cost: $3.10


  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups dry uncooked mafalda pasta or broken up lasagna pasta pieces
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese shredded off block, not pre shredded
  • ¼ cup Parmesan, Monterey jack, or mozzarella cheese shredded off block, not pre shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste see recipe notes below on salt


  • In a deep skillet: sauté ground beef (½ lb.) on medium high heat until browned. Drain grease if necessary.
  • To the same pan, still on medium high heat: pour in the chicken stock (2 cups), tomato paste (3 oz. or half of a small can), onion powder (1 tsp.), garlic powder (½ tsp.), dried oregano (1 tsp.), dried basil (1 tsp.) sugar (½ tsp.), and salt (½ tsp.-see note on salt) and pinch of pepper to taste.
  • Stir broth, tomato paste and seasonings until well blended and increase heat to high for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  • Reduce heat to low, and temporarily remove the pan from the burner to stop the simmer. Add the dry, uncooked Mafalda pasta (2 ½ cups), give a slight stir, followed by 2 cups milk. Do not overcook it, and do not use higher than medium low heat, as this can curdle the milk.
  • Once the milk has been added, give a quick stir and return the skillet to the burner.
  • Simmer, covered, on low heat about 6-7 minutes for al dente, or according to pasta package time. (See note on pasta cooking time.)
  • When the pasta is done, remove lid and skillet from heat. Stir in shredded cheese (½ cup total- a blend of cheddar and Parmesan, mozzarella or Monterey jack) until melted.
  • Serve immediately, and enjoy.


For Pasta:
  • Any pasta shape can be used, but Mafalda is the pasta that the boxed Hamburger Helper Lasagna uses.
  • Breaking regular lasagna sheets into 1 inch pieces resembles the pasta also, but note that the cooking time might longer. Refer to package to determine the cooking time for your pasta of choice.
  • Aim for al dente, as pasta will continue to soften in the sauce due to residual heat and moisture. 
For the Salt:
  • Chicken stock often has much less (if any) salt/sodium than chicken broth. They can be used interchangeably, but taste test before adding salt, especially if you are using broth- you may not need any, or not as much. 
Other Notes: 
  • Ground beef can be adjusted from anywhere between one half pound to 1 pound.
  • Recipe can be doubled.  
  • While boiling the stock, tomato paste and spices on medium-high/high heat, the liquid level will reduce and condense; this is normal and necessary to concentrate the flavors. 
  • Use any blend of cheddar, Monterrey Jack, mozzarella, or like cheese to a combined total of ½ cup shredded cheese. 
  • Before adding milk and uncooked pasta, remove the pan from the burner surface to avoid instantly boiling the milk. Stir in the pasta first (this automatically reduces the temperature), then stir in the milk. This way, the milk gradually comes to a simmer as you return the skillet to burner to simmer on medium low until pasta is al dente. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 579mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 647IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 305mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

So good! My husband loves hamburger helper so always looking for a good homemade version. Easy one pot meal!

Denise Portugaise

Monday 21st of November 2022

This recipe was fantastic. What a delicious comfort meal. Kids will love it.


Wednesday 7th of July 2021

This was extremely tasty and MUCH better than a box. Even takes about the same amount of time!

Norma M

Sunday 12th of June 2022

Total disclosure, I was looking for something different for dinner and had already bought the hamburger helper four cheese lasagna. After reading the reviews I was looking for a way to kick it up. I used your recipe for liquids and spices but on used half the spices. It was definitely a winner. Thanks for saving what would have been a bland dinner. Next time I will skip the box and use your recipe. Look forward to trying other recipes as well.


Friday 18th of March 2022

This recipe is so good and very easy I am officially replacing it with my weekly spaghetti! And by you putting the measurements in the directions made it SO much easier.


Saturday 27th of February 2021

Looks fabulous and I will be making it later this week. However, I am sad that there is no retailer in the whole state who carries Mafalda. I really want to try that shape! I love one-pot meals that makes a fair amount. Leftovers are great and I also love throwing some in the freezer for a quick lunch.

Thomas hudson

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

I am in canada but if you have access to a bulk barn that is where we get the pasta.


Saturday 27th of February 2021

Hi! That's a bummer you can't find Mafalda, but the next best thing is to buy regular lasagna pasta (with the wavy edges) and break them into pieces. They'll likely need to cook a little bit longer, as they are thicker :)


Saturday 5th of December 2020

Thanks for sharing this recipe. It was really good. Definitely better than the box hamburger helper lasagna. Might add mushrooms to it next time. I like that it was a one pan meal. Will be making it again.


Saturday 5th of December 2020

Ann, I'm glad you liked it! Mushrooms would be good. I also love that it's one pan, especially on busy nights. Thank you for posting!