The Ultimate One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni Recipe

Who can resist the mouthwatering combination of cheeseburger and macaroni? This homemade version, also known as Cheeseburger Macaroni, Hamburger Helper, or hamburger mac and cheese, is a creamy, cheesy, and meaty delight that will leave you craving for more.

Pot full of macaroni and cheese with ground beef

Unlocking the Creamiest Mac and Cheese

Have you ever wondered why some mac and cheese recipes have incredible flavor but a gritty texture? We did too! That’s why we set out to create the creamiest and cheesiest mac and cheese recipe without any grittiness.

Close up over top pot of macaroni and cheese with wooden spoon

The Secret Ingredient: American Cheese

Believe it or not, the secret to achieving a silky, smooth cheese sauce lies in good ole’ American cheese. Thanks to the stabilizers it contains, American cheese prevents any unpleasant graininess from ruining your mac and cheese. While it may not be your favorite cheese for other purposes, it plays a crucial role in this delightful One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe.

Very close up eye level cheeseburger macaroni with wooden spoon

To ensure creaminess and flavor, we recommend combining American cheese with other stronger flavored cheeses such as Cheddar, Parmesan, Havarti, Gouda, smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, or Fontina.

Shred Your Own Cheese for Optimal Creaminess

For the smoothest texture, it’s best to shred your own cheese instead of using pre-shredded bagged cheese. Most store-bought shredded cheese contains an anti-caking cellulose agent that can sometimes cause the sauce to become grainy when melted.

Further reading:  The Ultimate Guide to Making a Delicious Bottom Round Roast

Mastering the Art of Cheese Melting

To achieve the perfect texture, lower the temperature before adding the cheese. Adding cheese to extremely hot liquid can cause proteins to congeal, resulting in a lumpy or stringy sauce. By keeping the temperature low, the cheese will melt just enough without separating or becoming greasy. Remember not to over-stir, as this can also affect the texture of your cheese sauce.

Reheating Mac and Cheese to Preserve Creaminess

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, here’s a pro tip to ensure they maintain their creaminess. Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water when cooking the mac and cheese. When reheating, bring a cup of pasta water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce the heat to low. Add the mac and cheese, gently stirring as it melts. You can add more pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency without diluting the rich flavor.

Now that you know the secrets to perfect mac and cheese, let’s move on to the other essential component of our Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe: the meat element, aka the burger.

How to Make Cheeseburger Macaroni

  1. Begin by cooking the ground beef, chopped onion, and seasonings in olive oil until the meat is fully cooked and the onions are translucent.

A woman's hand pouring seasonings into a pot of ground beef and onions

  1. Add tomato paste to the meat mixture and sauté for a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Now, it’s time to focus on the mac and cheese.

Stirring hamburger meat in a large white pot for cheeseburger macaroni

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Remember to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water.
Further reading:  Discover the Delight of Flanken-Style Short Ribs

Pouring elbow macaroni into a pot of boiling water

  1. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until slightly darkened. Sprinkle in mustard powder and continue whisking.

Adding dry mustard to a pot

  1. Slowly whisk in the milk, bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring consistently, for about 3-4 minutes to prevent the flour from burning or overcooking.

Pouring warm milk into large white soup pot while whisking, for mac and cheese

  1. Gradually add the cheese in three batches, starting with American cheese. Whisk until fully combined after each addition. Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper.

Adding shredded cheddar to a large white soup pot with warmed milk mixture

  1. Fold the meat mixture into the cheese sauce, ensuring everything is well incorporated.

A black spatula stirring together cheese and ground hamburger meat

  1. Finally, fold in the cooked pasta noodles, and voila! You’ve achieved the most delicious and hearty meal ever.

Stirring cooked macaroni elbow pasta into a large pot with cheesy meat mixture

Feel free to get creative and add some veggies to your recipe. Steamed broccoli or cauliflower, peas and carrots, or any other vegetable of your choice would make a fantastic addition. Furthermore, mix it up by using different pasta shapes such as shells, penne, or rigatoni. No matter how you customize it, one thing’s for sure: this One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni will be an absolute crowd-pleaser.

Very close up view of Hamburger Mac and Cheese in a pot

Prepare yourself because this dish is bound to become a family favorite. The creamy and rich Hamburger Mac and Cheese will have everyone coming back for seconds and thirds. You might want to consider making a double batch, just to be safe!

For the ultimate cheeseburger macaroni experience, give Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ a try!