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This quick and easy one pot Hamburger Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food made easy! Ready for the dinner table in just 30 minutes. Made with simple pantry ingredients like spaghetti sauce, broth, macaroni noodles and lean ground beef. This is a hearty dinner that the entire family loves.
For another family favorite one pot recipe be sure and try this Cheesy Taco Skillet.
Hamburger Mac and Cheese – One Pot Recipe
I won’t even admit to how many times I have made this hamburger mac and cheese the past few months…. let’s just say that I have the recipe memorized by now 😊
Not only is it so easy to make in just one pot on the stovetop, it’s also a delicious and kid-friendly dinner that everyone loves. Cheesy, full of pasta, and spaghetti sauce – it’s basically like a grown up version of mac and cheese that also happens to be a kid favorite dinner.
Ingredients Needed For Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- Lean Ground Beef – I use 93/7 ground beef.
- Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves that have been minced or pressed, use chopped garlic from a jar, or garlic paste.
- Kosher Salt
- Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sauce – This is the “secret ingredient” for making this easy dinner in one pot. Provides tons of flavor.
- Beef Broth
- Elbow Macaroni
- Colby Jack Cheese – Buy a block of cheese and shred it using a box cheese grater. I promise it tastes so much better and it’s worth the few minutes extra prep.
- Heavy Cream
How To Make This One Pot Easy Dinner Recipe (Step-by-Step Directions)
- Add the ground beef, garlic, and kosher salt into a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, and cook and crumble it until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pan.
- Stir in the spaghetti sauce, beef broth, and elbow macaroni. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes. Stir everything together a couple times to ensure that nothing is sticking to the pan. You will know it’s done when the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is cooked.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and heavy cream until combined well and cheesy.
How To Store Leftovers
Once cooled to room temperature, store the leftover hamburger mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge, for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave and add a splash of milk or broth if needed to thin it out.
I don’t recommend freezing this became the cheese, heavy cream, and pasta all have an odd texture once frozen and thawed.
Serving Suggestions For Hamburger Mac and Cheese
Hamburger mac and cheese is a hearty and satisfying meal on its own, but serving some simple side dishes is always a good idea. Here are some sides I serve it with and some more ideas.
- Green Salad : Make it easy and buy a bagged salad mix that has all the toppings and dressing inside of it. Mix it up and it’s ready to go.
- Fruit : I always have some type of fresh fruit in my fridge cause my kids love it! Use up all the extras or leftover amounts and create a fruit salad.
- Garlic Bread : This hamburger Mac and cheese is very similar to like a cheesy ground beef pasta which is why serving it alongside some Cheesy Garlic Bread is always a good idea! Soak up that meaty spaghetti sauce with it.
- Steamed Vegetables : There are so many bags of steamed vegetable varieties at the store. Pick one that your kids will eat and heat according to the package directions.
Can I Make Any Changes?
- Ground Meat : Instead of ground beef you can use ground turkey or even ground chicken with great results.
- Spaghetti Sauce : I love the traditional tomato basil pasta sauce but you can use any flavor or variety you want with great results. Just make sure it’s the same size jar as what the recipe calls for.
- Seasonings : We love the recipe as is, but with that said, it’s very adaptable to what you prefer. Add dried seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning. Make it spicy by adding chili flakes or cayenne red pepper. The base recipe is simple but really yummy and flavorful!
- Onion : Do you love onion in dishes? Add finely chopped onion along with the ground beef.
- Cheese : Any variety if cheese will work. The most important thing is that you shred the cheese from a block using a cheese grater. Real shredded cheese (from a block of cheese) has a creamier melt and tastes so much better than pre shredded cheese.
- Pasta : The elbow macaroni is the preferred pasta shape because it’s small and cook quickly. The only other one I would even think about substituting is a small shell pasta.
- Lid During Simmer Time : I recommend covering the pot with a lid during the simmer time. This allows enough time for the pasta to soften without all the water evaporating during the simmer time (which is why might happen if it’s no covered). Take the lid off about 2 times during the simmer time to stir everything together to ensure it is not burning and to redistribute the liquid.
- Fresh Shredded Cheese : Use a box cheese grater to shred the cheese off of a block. I promise it makes such a big difference, tastes better, and melts smoother.
- Beef Broth : Because this recipe is so simple I find that it’s best to use full salted, regular beef broth.
- Heavy Cream : There really are no substitutes for this. The cream provides this rich and thick texture and really make this hamburger mac and cheese amazing.
Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I use 93/7)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 jar (24 oz) tomato basil garlic spaghetti sauce
- 1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1½ cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a large skillet or saute pan, over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef, garlic, and kosher salt until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pan. * It's best to use a larger skillet or sauté pan that has higher sides on it and a lid.1 pound lean ground beef, 2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the spaghetti sauce, dry elbow macaroni, and beef broth to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.1 jar (24 oz) tomato basil garlic spaghetti sauce, 1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni, 3 cups beef broth
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is softened to your preference and the liquid is absorbed. * Stir everything together 1-2 times during the simmer time to ensure that nothing is sticking and that the liquid gets evenly distributed again.
- Once thickened, and the liquid is absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and heavy ream until combined and fully melted.1½ cups shredded Colby Jack cheese, 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Serve & enjoy!