Instant Pot Hamburger Helper – Fit Foodie Finds


Made in the Instant Pot, this One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper is jam-packed with veggies and comes together in just 40 minutes for the ultimate weeknight meal.

As a mom, I give this hamburger helper recipe a 10/10. Why? It’s made in one single pot, which makes for a super simple clean-up. We decided to use the Instant Pot because it’s efficient and fast. Our #1 goal when testing this was to NOT overcook the noodles. The magic number? 4 minutes. 5 was way too mushy and 3 was a bit al dente.

Simply cook the beef in the Instant Pot for a few minutes. Add the veggies and cook for another few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high pressure for around 4 minutes.

What You Need for Hamburger Helper

  • Ground beef
  • Spices
  • Veggies
  • Noodles
  • Beef broth
  • Macaroni noodles
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded cheese
Ingredients for meatballs in white bowls on a white background.

Substitutes & Variations for Ground Beef Hamburger Helper

  • Meat: we know that the “hamburger” in hamburger helper stands for ground beef, but we also tested this recipe with ground turkey and chicken and they were both delicious.
  • Veggies: feel free to add other veggies such as bell pepper or potatoes.
  • Broth: veggie and chicken broth both work.
A series of photos showing how to make meatballs in an instant pot.

Storage

Store leftover Instant Pot hamburger helper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. To reheat, microwave on high for 60 seconds.

Make-Ahead Tip

If you plan to make this for meal prep, we recommend lowering the cook time to 3 minutes. As the noodles sit in the fridge overnight, they will soften and no one wants a soggy noodle the next day!

A bowl of macaroni and cheese with carrots and parsley.

Serving Suggestions

This one-pot hamburger helper is delicious and served with shredded cheese and minced fresh parsley. I’ve eaten it with a dollop of Greek yogurt/sour cream and hot sauce, too.

The one pot series logo.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt separated
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 small white onion minced
  • 1 cup minced carrots ~3 large carrots
  • 1 cup minced celery ~3 stalks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. macaroni noodles
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions 

  • Add the ground beef and 1 teaspoon of salt to the Instant Pot and turn on the saute feature. Break the beef up with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes.

    An instant pot with meat in it.
  • Add the remaining salt, dried thyme, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the beef and toss the ingredients together. Cook for 5-7 minutes until beef is cooked and the vegetables begin to soften.

    An instant pot filled with meat and vegetables.
  • Add the macaroni noodles, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and broth to the pot and stir.

    A person pouring sauce into a pot of pasta.
  • Cover the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. You will need to allow time for pressure to build.

  • Quick-release the pressure and toss the noodles to release heat. Add the cheese to the pot and toss gently until the cheese has melted.

    An instant pot full of macaroni and cheese with a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the pot to keep the pasta from cooking. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • We tested this recipe with 2 types of macaroni noodles. We suggest using traditional macaroni noodles with no ridges or twists. We suggest the brand De Cecco or a similar shape.
  • Feel free to add more vegetables if desired.
  • You can use any type of broth for this recipe.
  • We tested this recipe with a cook time of 5 minutes, 4 minutes, and 3 minutes. We do not recommend cooking the noodles for 5 minutes, they get very mushy. We recommend 4 minutes if you are eating the pasta immediately, and 3 minutes if you are planning on meal prepping this recipe for the week. The noodles will continue to absorb the liquid throughout the week.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 409kcal Carbohydrates: 50g Protein: 22g Fat: 13g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 6g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.





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