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This cheeseburger macaroni recipe is made in one pot for a fast, easy, kid-friendly, and comforting weeknight dinner! It’s ready in just 30 minutes.

You may also like my Cheeseburger Soup or Potato Soup with Bacon next.

close-up of a bowl of cheeseburger macaroni

Why you’ll love it

Readers adore my popular Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe, but this one pot cheeseburger macaroni might even rival it. It’s like a cheesy hamburger helper yet elevated with crispy bacon. This recipe has all your favorite cheeseburger flavors but in pasta form!

This is a fun recipe that is fantastic for picky eaters without resorting to opening a box, and cheesy comfort food that’s simple to make with quality ingredients that you can actually pronounce is always a winner. It’s like a cheeseburger and mac and cheese had a baby.

What you’ll need

  • Bacon – what’s a cheeseburger without bacon!?
  • Ground beef – I use at least 90% lean
  • Onion – a tasty aromatic base to the sauce
  • Tomato paste and tomato ketchup – for that rich tomato flavor in the sauce
  • Yellow mustard – we’re getting all the burger vibes here
  • Garlic powder – for a hint of garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce – it’s not overpowering and enhances savory taste. Don’t skip it!
  • Broth – beef broth is deep and rich for the sauce
  • Pasta – macaroni is the classic choice. I wouldn’t sub for anything else in this recipe because it could throw the proportions off.
  • Cheddar cheese – use a good-quality block of your favorite sharp cheddar
  • Pickles – yes, pickles

Pickles!?

I included pickles for the full burger experience, but they are totally optional since I know not everyone likes them. But it isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Try my Dill Pickle Soup Recipe next if you’re a fan of pickles! The slight tang it adds is awesome.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • It’s easy to cut up bacon with these kitchen shears.
  • Grating your own cheddar melts and tastes so much better. I use this grater, and it only takes me a few minutes to grate the two cups of cheese.
  • This is the Dutch oven I use.

How to make cheeseburger macaroni

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

frying bacon and ground beef in a dutch oven

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a plate, and leave the fat in the pot. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until the beef has browned, then spoon out excess fat.

adding seasonings and pasta into a pot for cheeseburger macaroni

Stir in the ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, seasonings, and beef broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni once it’s boiling.

adding cheddar cheese into a pot of cheeseburger macaroni

Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the sauce has reduced, stirring occasionally. Add in the cheddar and cooked bacon, and then serve and top with pickles if desired!

Helpful tips

  • This recipe will feed 4-6 people depending on how hungry people are and what else it’s served with.
  • One pot recipes can vary depending on your particular stove and ingredients, so if you seem to be running out of liquid with a lot of time still left, feel free to add in a bit more. Try 1/2 cup at a time. If there’s too much liquid, just leave it for longer. The pasta will absorb it over time.

Substitutions and variations

  • I don’t recommend swapping the variety of pasta since it could affect the liquid measurements. You’re welcome to try, but keep a close eye on it in case you need to add more liquid.
  • You could swap the ground beef for sausage meat or ground turkey.
  • Want to give it some heat? Add some red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce.

What to serve with cheeseburger macaroni

cheeseburger macaroni in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

Leftovers and storage

  • This recipe will soak up the liquid the longer you leave it. Leftovers will definitely be more dry (but still yummy) than when it’s just cooked. The pasta releases starch as it cooks, thickening the sauce, and the pasta also absorbs the liquid.
  • Keeping that in mind, it’ll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container no problem. Simply reheat over a low heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add in a little more broth if you like.
  • I wouldn’t freeze this one. Cooked pasta doesn’t thaw well and keep its texture.
two white bowls with cheeseburger pasta

If you made this cheeseburger pasta recipe, let me know in the comments below. As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made one of my recipes!

close-up of a bowl of cheeseburger macaroni
5 from 4 votes

One Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

This cheeseburger macaroni recipe is made in one pot for a fast, easy, kid-friendly, and comforting weeknight dinner! It's ready in just 30 minutes.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickles optional

Instructions 

  • Cut the bacon up (use kitchen shears to do this quickly) and add it to a soup pot/Dutch oven. Fry it over medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 min). Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate but leave the bacon fat in the pot.
  • Add the ground beef and onion to the pot. Cook it, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until browned (about 8 minutes). Spoon out most of the excess fat.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once it's boiling, add in the macaroni. Reduce the heat so it's not boiling like crazy (a rapid simmer is good). I cooked mine over medium heat. Let it cook uncovered until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 13-15 minutes). Stir it every couple of minutes so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheddar and cooked bacon (I reserve some for topping the bowls). Season with salt & pepper as needed, and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb more of the liquid (if needed) and for the flavors to meld more. If you want to have a layer of cheese on top, stir in about 3/4 of the cheese and then sprinkle the rest on top and cover the pot so it melts faster.
  • Serve with the chopped pickles if using.

Notes

  • Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat/what else you serve it with.
  • Troubleshooting tip: As with any one pot pasta, ingredients, pots, and stoves vary. If you’re running out of liquid (like it’s close to sticking and burning) when you still have a while to go before the macaroni is cooked, add in more broth or water, 1/2 cup at a time. The pasta will soak up the sauce quite quickly, so if it seems too liquidy, just wait a little bit longer.

Nutrition

Calories: 620kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 144mg, Sodium: 1576mg, Potassium: 859mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 835IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 452mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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10 Comments

  1. Dyonna Wilson says:

    5 stars
    I had my 18 y/o son make this when I worked one of my late shift. He and I loved it.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s wonderful! Thank you!

  2. Nichole says:

    5 stars
    I have made this before, but today I’m going to use fresh tomatoes at the end and instead of chicken broth (what I used last time) I’m using a mushroom broth.

    1. Natasha says:

      Sounds good to me! Glad you like the recipe, Nichole! 🙂

    2. David Canning says:

      The fam loved it, thought the pickles were a spectacular extra!

      1. Natasha says:

        Yay!!!

  3. Lis says:

    5 stars
    This is delicious but I recommend making extra bacon so the chef can snack on it while cooking 😂

    1. Natasha says:

      Hahahha great tip!!

  4. Yoga with Apiwan R says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and my boys loved them! It’s easy and perfect soup for winter (Sydney, Australia). I didn’t add any salt to the dish as it was salty enough.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s fantastic!! So happy they enjoyed it. 🙂