Cheeseburger Macaroni (My kids favorite meal!)

Forget Hamburger Helper - this made-from-scratch Cheeseburger Macaroni is my kids' favorite meal. This macaroni and cheese recipe is a fast dinner for those busy nights (and adults love it too) and is the perfect family easy dinner recipe.

how to make macaroni and cheese with beef

I am all about simple recipes during the week. And even better if I don’t have to make a huge mess in the kitchen while I’m doing it.

Or if it is one of those weeks where the dishes magically piled up and you only have a few clean dishes left (this never happens!), you can still make this easy dinner recipe!

If you love easy recipes, our one pot meals are a great option those busy nights!

You have got to try out our One Pot Cheesy Chicken Alfredo recipe, One Pot Turkey Spaghetti, and this super delicious One Pot Creamy Spaghetti and Sausage recipe.

Kid-Approved Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Beef make for the perfect combination and filling meal. A kids classic turns into a culinary masterpiece that everybody is going to love.

Add a little kick and a little flavor to it and you have yourself the perfect dinner for the pickiest eaters.

I found this macaroni and cheese recipe over at Kevin & Amanda and it has quickly become one of our family’s favorite meals- mostly because my kids devour it.

It is easy to prepare- only takes about 20 minutes- and tastes amazing.

Want to try another family favorite? Check out our popular Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese!


Ingredients for homemade hamburger helper:

  1. Ground beef
  2. Taco seasoning mix packet
  3. Diced tomatoes with green chilies (we used this Rotel)
  4. Beef broth
  5. Elbow macaroni
  6. Butter
  7. Flour
  8. Milk
  9. Shredded cheddar cheese
  10. Salt
  11. Pepper

You can always make your own taco seasoning and omit the packet of taco seasoning mix.  Take a look at this great taco seasoning recipe from If you do that I would add about 2 tablespoons of the homemade seasoning to this recipe.


how to make our cheeseburger macaroni skillet recipe


Get out your large pan and brown up the ground beef until it is done. Then drain the grease and return the meat to the pan.

Next, stir in the taco seasoning, tomatoes, beef broth, and uncooked macaroni noodles (no need to cook them ahead of time) and bring everything to a boil in the pan.

Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let it simmer for about 12-14 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.

In another small saucepan, melt the butter.

Once the butter has melted completely, add the flour and whisk it into the butter, continuing to cook and whisk it for another 4-5 minutes. It should become a light brown color.

Now the butter and flour are brown, whisk in the butter, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Continue to whisk the butter and milk mixture until it begins to thicken up and is smooth. Then remove it from the heat.

After you take the mixture off the heat, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and stir it until the cheese is completely melted and combined.

Then add in the salt and pepper to the cheese and mix everything together.

Now, take the cheese sauce and pour it over the hamburger macaroni mixture and carefully stir everything together until it is combined well.

Lastly, serve it and enjoy it!

How to Brown Ground Beef

When purchasing ground beef, it’s important to understand that a higher fat to meat ratio means the meat is going to shrink up a little more as it cooks.

The store sells the higher fat beef cheaper and this may seem like the more budget-friendly option, but you are also getting less beef out of it. Either way, you get what you pay for.

When browning ground beef, you will want to use a nonstick skillet or spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add the uncooked beef to the pan and cook over medium-high heat.

Use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to evenly break up the meat as it cooks. You could also use a spatula to break of the meat into small, evenly sized, pieces.

Cook until there is no pink left in the meat. Browning ground beef usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

How to tame the spice in this cheeseburger Macaroni 

Depending on the taco seasoning and the green chiles you buy, this could get a little spicy. We have found that to cool the spice, we mix in a little sour cream.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, you could also use Greek yogurt.

adjusting this Macaroni and cheese recipe for Tomato haters

If you have a few family members that don’t particularly love tomatoes, you could blend them up or use a little tomato sauce. We recommend using sauce because it comes a little more flavored and salted than paste.

You could also use a little marinara sauce. However, changing up the ingredients might effect the consistency. We recommend adding extra noodles or meat when leaving out the tomatoes and using a tomato substitute.

Related recipe: If you love our cheeseburger macaroni, you’ll love our Ground beef and macaroni tomato soup!


What to serve with Cheeseburger Macaroni:

Serves: 6

Cheeseburger Macaroni

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cups beef broth (or water)
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • Cheese sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Brown ground beef and drain grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, tomatoes, beef broth, and macaroni and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 minutes until macaroni is tender.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  4. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 4-5 minutes until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn a light brown color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and mixture starts to thicken. Remove mixture from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.



1083 cal


55 g


97 g


52 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Picky eaters are no joke!  Check out our 20 Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters!


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macaroni and cheese recipe "cheeseburger macaroni"
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48 Responses to “Cheeseburger Macaroni (My kids favorite meal!)”

  1. well looking for easy easy easy kid friendly, for a 2 and a 3 year old..they are picky... i have leftover taco meat..i think i am just gonna make some mac and cheese and add some...see how that goes over! thanks for the idea!
  2. I made this for dinner tonight. Unfortunately I couldn't find the mild Rotel so I used the original. It was very spicy. Luckily my kids are older so they were still able to eat it, but we all agreed it would have been much better without that extra spice.
  3. Rikki
    I made this tonight and it is very good. I thought the 1 c. of pasta sounded a bit low but I still went with it (especially because that is how much I ended up having leftover from a previous use). It did come out very soupy. I think I will go ahead and make it with at least 1.5 cups next time.
  4. I made this for dinner and it turned out great! It is definitely a keeper. It was quick and easy. I used one teaspoon Morton's seasoned salt instead of taco seasoning because I wasn't sure my kids would go for the taco seasoning. My 9 year old loved it but the 6 year old is super picky and claims she didnt like it (i think she spit it out before she even gave it a chance). I enjoyed it and was happy it was done in under an hour.
  5. Lavinia
    I made this for the first time tonight. I love it! Super easy! We prefer hot here so I used the Hot Rotel (tomatoes with jalepenos) and omitted the salt because the broth I used already had a lot. Definately, making this again. Thanks!
  6. Made this tonight with petite diced tomatoes with green chili's and it was spicy and yummy! If your family is not into a little hot, I would simply get the tomatoes without chili's. I used a 14 oz can of those and upped my pasta to 1 1/2 cup.
  7. We loved it! I used ground turkey and substituted Cajun seasoning and did need to add a little extra cooked macaroni in the end which wasn't a problem (more leftovers). Maybe I should've drained the tomatoes? Really yummy on a cold Spring day in Buffalo.
  8. melissa tilley
    I made this dish a few nights ago, my 5 children loved it and they are all picky. My husband who is ridiculously picky, raved about it and even took leftovers the next day for lunch and he hates leftovers! I changed the 1 cup of pasta, to 1.5 cups. I also doubled the whole recipe and it made a ton! I think next time I would make it and add another 1/2 batch. I have 7 people in my family. It does make good leftovers. The kids enjoyed it with tortillas chips. Thanks for a great recipe!
  9. Stephanie Hirsch
    This was great, I didn't know that I should buy mild rotel and we bought original...made the dish pretty spicy, so we called it taco macaroni, lol. We used some sour cream to ease out the spice, next time I'll try it with mild rotel, but it's a great meal that was fast and yummy. I think just the ground beef/rotel/cheese sauce mix would make a great taco dip!
  10. Before I could afford not to serve Hamburger Helper, it was a staple. I knew better but when one is so eager to be grown in a world where bills are due, one learns quickly how to adapt in order to survive on their own. I learned very early how to jazz up boxed meals. Once college was complete & life led me to a more comfortable place, I ditched the boxed foods vowing never to travel that road again! (many) Years later, I find myself perusing Pinterest, looking at this homemade-from-scratch recipe & wondering how good it really tastes. Reluctant to head to the grocery store, I had exactly what the recipe called for & little else. Hey, cut me some slack here. It's Dec 30th! I cooked the pasta dish including additional ingredients for a total of 25 minutes to soften noodles. I didn't have Rotel on hand (we love it so it was long gone) but I had a can of diced tomatoes. Those worked out very well. I had 1/2 of a fresh tomato, so that too went in. For those who don't have tomato (canned or fresh) on hand, no worries! You can use tomato sauce or tomato paste (just water it down & add a little salt & spices to make it flavorful) Don't like tomato of any kind? Just skip this part! For a more saucy dish w/o the tomato, you can swap the red sauce for a white sauce by adding in 1/2 cup sour cream. I had 1/2 a zucchini that was also diced & tossed it. I used lean ground turkey because that's what I had on hand & for those asking, ANY meat (or tofu) can be subbed in here with ease. I prefer the flavor of vegetable or chicken stock & already had chicken stock open from Christmas cooking, so that's what I used here. I like 30% less sodium taco seasoning but had a tbsp left of an open packet of fajita seasoning (same macros as 30% less sodium taco seasoning) so for those wondering, that is an easy sub as well. Before cooking the meat, I sauteed a diced sweet yellow onion but any color onion (or no onion) work here. This was a pretty good twist on a once prominent staple. After vowing to never cook from a box, I'm happy to have come across this delicious recipe which is far from a box but is nearly just as easy. This should be 1 of many recipes mothers give to their children when they move out. I ran into a group of young people the last time I was at the grocery store. One of the girls said she was trying to re-create a recipe her mother made. They try. they really do. Make life easier on them & give them a book with their top 5 main dishes & top 3 desserts. Thanks for sharing your edible love with us & Happy New Year!

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