This cheeseburger macaroni recipe is made in one pot for a fast, easy, kid-friendly, and comforting weeknight dinner! Ready in about 30 minutes.
This cheeseburger pasta recipe is fairly similar to Hamburger Helper (but I do actually have a separate Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe that's closer to the original if you want to try it).
You may also like my Cheeseburger Soup.
This recipe has all your favorite cheeseburger flavors... but in pasta form. It's a fun recipe that is good for picky eaters. I even included pickles, but they are optional since I know not everyone likes them (heck, I like pickles and I usually pick them off my burger). 😉
How to make bacon cheeseburger macaroni (overview):
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. Stir in the ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, seasonings, and beef broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni once it's boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the sauce has reduced (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add in the cheddar and cooked bacon, then serve and top with pickles. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & 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).
- 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.
- I recommend grating your own cheddar for best results (it melts and tastes better). I use this grater and it only takes me a few minutes to grate the two cups of cheese for this recipe.
- 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.
More delicious ground beef recipes:
- Easy Creamy Beef and Shells
- Ground Beef Gnocchi
- Ground Beef Pasta
- Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells
- Simple Ground Beef Casserole
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Hamburger Soup
Questions about this cheeseburger pasta recipe? Let me know in the comments below. As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you've made one of my recipes.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.