This is the cheesiest, most delicious Instant Pot Hamburger Helper copycat recipe! All you need are pasta, ground beef, diced tomatoes, cheese and veggies.
This is a tasty and simple dinner that the entire family will love. It’s super cheesy, filling, and it’s total comfort food for a chilly night!
Plus, cooking this popular cheesy macaroni dish in your pressure cooker makes it quick and easy, with only one pot to clean!
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.
The store bought package has two components:
- dried pasta
- a packet of seasonings and powdered cheese sauce
To make it, all you have to do is combine the contents of the package with browned ground beef (the “hamburger”) and some water. As a result, you have dinner ready in a snap!
Ingredients for this hamburger helper recipe:
- Olive oil
- Extra-lean ground beef
- Veggies: yellow onion, bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, and celery. Also, some minced garlic.
- Spices and herbs: Italian seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper, and fresh parsley
- Scoobi Do or elbow macaroni
- Shredded cheddar cheese
Ingredient substitutions to make this recipe healthier
Do you love hamburger helper but want to make it healthier? Here are some substitutions that might help:
- Replace the ground beef with ground turkey to make it leaner
- Low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth
- Gluten-free or whole wheat pasta
- Low-fat cheddar cheese
- Add in more vegetables – you can make this recipe healthier by adding in more diced vegetables, like red or orange bell peppers, zucchini and carrots
How to make hamburger helper in the Instant Pot
- Gather up all your ingredients.
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot and sauté the ground beef until lightly browned.
- Turn off sauté mode and add the onion, garlic, celery, Italian seasoning mix, thyme, salt, pepper, beef broth (or stock), diced tomatoes and pasta to the Instant Pot.
Note: Be sure to push all the pasta underneath the liquid as much as possible
Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes to come to pressure, then pressure cook for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Open the lid when the pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily. Add green pepper and shredded cheese on top of the pasta.
- Stirin the bell peppers and cheese, then let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Garnish with parsley and enjoy!
What are the benefits of using an Instant Pot to make hamburger helper?
So, if making the boxed hamburger helper is so easy, why bother making it from scratch in your Instant Pot?
While it does take a bit more time (and a few more ingredients), you’ll be using real ingredients. Homemade cheese sauce versus cheese sauce from powder means there is NO chemical taste! Trust me, the few additional minutes will be totally worth it!
Reasons to make the recipe in an electric pressure cooker:
- Saves time: The Instant Pot cooks most items quicker than the stovetop, cutting down on your cooking time.
- Creates more flavor: The Instant Pot helps blend ingredients and flavors together while they cook.
- It’s easy: Because the Instant Pot controls the pressure and temperature, your hamburger helper will cook evenly. Plus, you won’t have to worry about over-boiling your pasta.
- It’s fast to clean up: Making everything in one pot saves you a lot of time cleaning up.
This recipe is truly a one-pot meal. Since you can use the sauté function on the Instant Pot to brown the ground beef, you won’t have an extra pan to clean up!
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
If you have any leftover hamburger helper, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four or five days. To reheat, simply pull out an individual-sized portion and sprinkle some water overtop, then microwave for 2-3 minutes.
If you don’t think you’ll finish the leftovers within a few days, then it’s better to freeze it.
To freeze the leftover hamburger helper:
- Divide the leftover food into individual-sized or family-sized portions.
- Place each portion into airtight freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- Store the hamburger helper in the freezer for up to three months.
- Place the frozen hamburger helper into the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- Reheat on low in the microwave or in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring often.
- Another option is to reheat from frozen for 6-8 minutes in the microwave. Be sure to sprinkle some water overtop and stir halfway through to avoid drying out the pasta.
There are so many things that you can serve alongside this Instant Pot hamburger helper! Some suggestions are:
- Garlic bread (or another crusty bread)
- Your favorite salad
- Roasted cauliflower or roasted potatoes
- Steamed broccoli
- Green beans
- Instant Pot Steamed Vegetables
Other Instant Pot pasta recipes
If you enjoy the hamburger helper recipe and you’re a pasta lover, be sure to try these other Instant Pot pasta recipes, too!
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
Instant Pot resources
If you’d like some more help with your Instant Pot, then you’ll love my free resources! Sign up for free below when you get my weekly newsletter:
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!