This is the Cheesiest Instant Pot Hamburger Helper recipe! All you need is pasta, ground beef, diced tomatoes, cheese and veggies.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – any neutral cooking oil such as canola or avocado oil can be used here.
- Extra-lean ground beef – use ground turkey to make this recipe a bit leaner.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would also work.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic can be used in a pinch.
- Celery stalks – add in some carrots instead for a bit of crunch or leave this out altogether.
- Italian seasoning – make your own using a blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme and garlic powder.
- Thyme – oregano will provide a similar flavour.
- Salt & pepper – dissolve a beef bouillon cube into hot water or use chicken broth instead.
- Can diced tomatoes – you could also try using crushed tomatoes but it may have a different texture.
- Scoobi do pasta – macaroni pasta or another small shaped pasta will also work for this recipe.
- Green pepper – swap out for any colour bell pepper of your choice.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – feel free to use another cheese of your choice like low-fat cheddar.
- Fresh parsley – you can leave this off altogether if you don’t have any on hand.
How to make hamburger helper in the Instant Pot
Assemble your ingredients.
Sauté the beef.
Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
Stir in the bell peppers and cheese.
Let sit with the lid on.
Serve and enjoy!
Why is it called hamburger helper?
The original “Hamburger Helper” is a convenience product that is supposed to help make cooking a delicious meal for dinner fast and easy. It’s called hamburger helper because it’s meant to help people out when they need a quick and easy dinner idea!
The original store-bought package has two components:
- Dried pasta
- Packet of seasonings and powdered cheese sauce
To make it, all you had to do is combine the contents of the package with browned ground beef (the “hamburger”) and some water. This recipe is a healthier version of the original that uses real ingredients instead of powdered cheese and seasonings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Hamburger helper uses real ground beef. I used extra-lean ground beef in this recipe but you could also try swapping it out for ground turkey for an even healthier option.
Hamburger helper is made of ground beef, pasta (typically small noodles like macaroni), a blend of seasonings, a tomato-based sauce and cheese.
Hamburger helper is not the healthiest meal out there, but this recipe is on the healthier side since you’re using whole ingredients. If you want to make this dish even healthier, swap out the ground beef for ground turkey and use low-fat cheese.
Storing and reheating
If you have any leftover hamburger helper, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. To reheat, all you have to do is sprinkle some water over top then microwave for 2-3 minutes and voila! A dish that’s as good as new.
Can you freeze hamburger helper?
You sure can! Freeze this hamburger helper recipe without the cheese in airtight glass containers or freezer-safe Ziploc bags for up to 3 months. You can freeze it in individual serving sizes or one big family-sized portion.
When you’re ready to enjoy, let the hamburger helper defrost in the fridge overnight. You can reheat is on low in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. If you’re in a rush, reheat it in the microwave from frozen for 6-8 minutes – just make sure to sprinkle some water over top before reheating and to stir halfway through.
More Instant Pot pasta recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this recipe into leftovers.
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
Cheesiest Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
- Pressure cooker
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 (796mL) can diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 lb scoobi do or macaroni pasta (about 4 cups dry pasta)
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to Instant Pot and turn to saute mode. Add ground beef, cooking for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.
- Turn off saute mode, then add remaining ingredients to Instant Pot in that order, pushing pasta underneath the liquid as much as possible. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Stir in bell peppers and cheese, then let sit for 5 min with the lid on. Garnish with parsley (optional), then serve and enjoy!