beef · dinner · entree · one pan

Bacon Cheeseburger Mac Skillet

I’d love to meet someone who has never made Hamburger Helper.

When I was in college, Hamburger Helper was my dinner savior. I made so much of it that I think I made myself sick.

My favorite, of course, was the stroganoff (both pasta AND potatoes) and cheeseburger mac. That last one is also my husband’s favorite.

I haven’t bought a box of Hamburger Helper in years and it’s probably because I know how to make it homemade for cheaper. You’d be surprised how much more food you can make for $1 when you make Hamburger Helper the old fashioned way.

I’ve made this version of Cheeseburger Mac a few different times for my husband. I’ve added a few changes here, though.

First, I had to use ketchup because my tomato paste somehow went bad in the tube (yuck!). The change was subtle and it still added that slight tomato flavor.

Second, I added bacon to make this meal even better. Bacon makes everything better, duh.

Even with those changes, this might have ended up my best Hamburger Helper recreation yet.


Bacon Cheeseburger Mac Skillet

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A simple copycat version of Hamburger Helper's cheeseburger mac that tastes better and is cheaper to make.


  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 TBS. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 TBS. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Directions

    1. In a large, deep skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.
    2. Add ground beef to skillet and cook with seasoned salt, pepper, half of the paprika and half of the garlic and onion powders. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain grease from beef.
    3. Stir in ketchup, mustard powder, paprika, remaining garlic and onion powders, and thyme. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and macaroni and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, simmering, for 8-10 minutes or until macaroni is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
    4. Stir in milk, cheese and bacon and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve.

    3 thoughts on “Bacon Cheeseburger Mac Skillet

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