This Healthier Instant Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper is a delicious one-pot spin off on one of your favourite childhood meals.
How to make homemade hamburger helper
- In a large pot, heat oil. Add ground beef or chicken, onions and garlic, and cook until browned.
- Once browned, add in carrots, celery and red pepper, then continue to saute ingredients.
- Add broth and tomatoes, along with basil, oregano and salt. Then add dry pasta and cover with a lid, occasionally stirring until pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in cheese and remove from heat.
- Top with parsley (optional) and serve!
Instant Pot directions
- Add olive oil and ground beef to bottom of Instant Pot and break up meat with a slotted spoon.
- Add in remaining ingredients in order that they are listed above (except for red pepper, cheese and parsley) adding in pasta last.
- Pressure cook for 3 minutes.
- Carefully open lid after releasing pressure and then stir in red pepper, cheese and parsley.
- Let sit for 3-5 minutes for red pepper to steam.
- Serve and enjoy!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – any neutral oil will work in place of olive oil. Neutral oils can be grapeseed oil, canola oil, avocado oil, etc.
- Extra-lean ground beef – ground turkey or ground chicken can also be used in this recipe.
- Yellow onion – red onion, sweet onion or shallots can substitute yellow onion.
- Garlic – use fresh or jarred minced garlic in this recipe.
- Carrots – use any vegetables of choice (like red or orange bell peppers, zucchini and carrots) for this recipe.
- Celery stalk – use any vegetables of choice (like red or orange bell peppers, zucchini and carrots) for this recipe.
- Beef broth – chicken broth can also be used in this recipe
- Diced tomatoes – canned tomatoes or freshly diced tomatoes can be used as a substitution
- Dried basil – use dried thyme, dried rosemary or Italian seasoning.
- Dried oregano- use dried thyme, dried rosemary or Italian seasoning.
- Salt (to taste)
- Rotini pasta – any short pasta (like penne, scoobi doo, macaroni, etc.) can be used in this recipe as a substitute for rotini.
- Red pepper – use any bell pepper of your choice or substitute all together with a poblano pepper for additional heat.
- Cheddar cheese – use any shredded cheese blend of your choice.
- Parsley (optional)
Storing and reheating
For leftover hamburger helper, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once stored, it will last in the fridge for up to five days, making it a great meal prep recipe.
To reheat, take a portion from the fridge and sprinkle some water overtop and then microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Freezing this recipe
To freeze the leftover hamburger helper, divide the leftover food into individual-sized or family-sized portions. Separate it into portions to make for easier reheating. Place the portion into airtight freezer-safe containers or in freezer bags. Once in the freezer, the hamburger helper will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
When ready to reheat, place the frozen hamburger helper into the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Reheat the hamburger helper in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or in a large saucepan, stirring often.
If you forgot to thaw the serving or are looking for a last minute dinner, reheat from frozen for 6-8 minutes in the microwave. Be sure to sprinkle some water overtop to avoid drying out the pasta. Make sure to pause the microwave at the halfway mark to stir.
More Instant Pot recipes
Meal prep tools
- The Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 is the version I use in this recipe.
- This is the pasta I use for the Instant Pot version.
- Grab some Glass meal prep bowls for your leftovers.
- And of course I get all my grass-fed beef from Butcher Box!
Healthier Hamburger Helper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef or ground chicken
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1 796mL can Diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb (about 4.5 cups) dry rotini pasta
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)
- Stovetop directions: In a large pot, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add ground beef or chicken, onions and garlic, and cook until browned, about 4-5 min. Add in carrots, celery and red pepper, sauteeing for another 2-3 min. Add broth and tomatoes, along with basil, oregano and salt. Add dry pasta and cover with a lid, cooking on medium heat and stirring occasionally for 12-15 minutes until pasta is completely cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Top with parsley (optional) and serve!
- Instant Pot: Add olive oil and ground beef to bottom of Instant Pot and break up meat with a slotted spoon. Add in remaining ingredients in order that they are listed above except for red pepper, cheese and parsley, adding in pasta last. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to preheat then cook the 3 minutes). Do a quick release of the pressure, then stir in red pepper, cheese and parsley. Let sit for 3-5 minutes for red pepper to steam, then serve and enjoy!