Homemade gluten-free hamburger and macaroni is comfort food at its best! If you are looking for something easy and flavorful to make with grass-fed ground beef, hamburger and macaroni is what’s for dinner!
You guys, homemade hamburger helper is such an easy dinner recipe to pull together. And the homemade version of this delicious meal is made with whole foods and no preservatives.
Yes, I’m going to show you how my family makes a simple hamburger and macaroni from scratch! It’s a healthy hamburger helper – but so much better than the boxed version.
This is a meal your entire family will love, including picky eaters.
Hamburger and macaroni is an easy meal my aunt often made on our dinner and movie nights at her place. Aren’t aunts the best?
One day over a decade ago I asked her for the recipe and I still have the little recipe card I wrote it on.
You know how it is with passed down recipes – I didn’t receive a recipe so much as an unmeasured list of ingredients to cook together.
I’ve been making this hamburger and macaroni for years, and have since turned her dish into a recipe to share. Back then we used regular macaroni, and these days my hamburger and macaroni is made with gluten-free elbow macaroni.
Here are three things I love about this flavorful hamburger and macaroni:
- Hamburger and macaroni is a crowd-pleaser
- Hamburger and macaroni is a delicious meal for busy weeknights
- Hamburger and macaroni left-overs reheat well the next day
Gluten-Free Hamburger and Macaroni Ingredients
This recipe is the real thing. It’s made from scratch and that means it doesn’t use taco seasoning or any processed ingredients. Just 6 simple ingredients to make this family favorite!
In addition to being gluten-free it’s also dairy free. My homemade version of gluten-free hamburger helper tastes great without shredded cheese!
1. Ground Beef
I use lean ground beef and recommend at least 90% lean. This reduces the amount of fat you’ll have to drain off, or that is left lingering in your dish.
I recommend 90% to 93% lean ground beef for this Hamburger and Macaroni recipe.
I also cook exclusively with 100% grass-fed ground beef, but this isn’t required. Here’s a roundup of my top choices for best place to buy grass-fed beef. And here are some tips on how to find grass-fed beef near you.
Tip for Buying Lean Ground Beef
I’ve cooked with 90/10 ground beef that was tough and hard to crumble, and even leaner 93/7 ground beef that was tender and easy to work with. Not all ground beef is the same, if you haven’t had luck working with 90% lean ground beef, try sourcing from a different farm.
2. Yellow Onion
One scant cup of yellow onion, which is one small to medium onion.
3. Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
Two 14 oz cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their juice. You can also use regular diced tomatoes (not “petite diced”) but you’ll probably need additional salt if your tomatoes are unsalted. FYI – Fire-roasted diced tomatoes really do take the flavor up a few notches compared to regular tomatoes!
4. Baby Bella Mushrooms
You can use baby bella (aka cremini mushrooms), or regular white button mushrooms. I recommend Baby Bella as the more flavorful choice.
Baby bella are just white button mushrooms that have been harvested when they are more mature, which results in a firmer texture and more developed flavor. Grab an 8oz pack.
5. Gluten-Free Macaroni
Two cups of gluten-free macaroni pasta, boiled in a separate pot.
These days I’m loving Jovial brown rice elbows for my gluten-free hamburger and macaroni. I’ve also used gluten-free pasta brands made with corn and rice flour. If you prefer regular wheat flour macaroni, that also works!
6. Salt and Pepper
A quarter teaspoon of freshly ground or black pepper and four twists of your salt mill. If your tomatoes are unsalted you will likely want to add more salt to taste when it’s done.
How to Make Hamburger and Macaroni in 3 Steps
This easy weeknight meal is as delicious, healthy and super convenient!
1. Prepare the ingredients
It helps to have your ingredients ready to go so you can just toss them in when it’s time.
Start by cooking your macaroni in a separate pot according to the directions on its package.
Finely dice the onion. I use a a little electric chopper (similar to this one) to do this quickly and avoid some of the eye burning.
Slice the mushrooms, and cut the large ones in half so all the pieces will be bite-size once they cook down.
2. Cook the onion and beef
Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet (with high sides) over medium heat. Add the diced onion once the oil begins to shimmer. Sauté for about three minutes until the onion starts to soften.
Add your ground beef to the onion and fry, stirring often, until it’s cooked through. Be sure to use your spoon or spatula to break the beef up into small pieces while it cooks.
When the ground meat is brown, I strain what fat I can from the pan.
3. Simmer the beef and onion with the mushrooms and tomatoes
Add the canned tomatoes (with their juice), sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper to the beef and onion mixture and stir well.
You can optionally loosely cover your pan with a lid at this stage to reduce spattering. Gently simmer all ingredients until the mushrooms are done to your liking.
If you’re serving your whole family immediately, stir the cooked macaroni into the beef and tomato mixture to serve. If you expect to have leftovers, spoon the hamburger and tomato mixture over bowls of pasta rather than mixing it all together.
What to Do With Leftover Hamburger and Macaroni
Pasta usually becomes extra bloated when it sits in liquid for a long period of time and this can ruin the flavor and texture. That’s why I recommend keeping the gluten-free pasta separate from the hamburger mixture if you plan to have leftovers, or are doing meal prep for the week ahead.
Store the pasta separate from the hamburger mixture, each in their own airtight container in the fridge.
Hamburger and macaroni is easy to reheat in a skillet, or microwave for an easy dinner the next day that tastes just as good!
FAQ: Gluten-Free Hamburger and Macaroni
Is hamburger and macaroni the same as American chop suey?
Yes hamburger and macaroni is just another name for American chop suey. Chop suey is a dish made with ground beef, seasoned tomato sauce and macaroni and that’s what this recipe is. If my recipe used cheddar cheese (which it doesn’t) I’d probably call it gluten free cheeseburger macaroni, which is another similar dish.
What goes with hamburger macaroni?
One of the things I love about hamburger and macaroni is that it doesn’t need a side dish. Hamburger macaroni is a complete meal all on its own. Enjoy a warm bowl on a chilly day for the perfect comfort meal.
Can I make hamburger and macaroni with another type of pasta?
You certainly could make this with another type of pasta, such as gluten-free penne. But it’ll be more like a pasta dish topped with hamburger and tomato sauce, and not a true hamburger and macaroni. I also prefer the smaller elbow pasta to the larger penne so that each forkful delivers several little morsels of pasta with the hamburger and tomato. But in a pinch you could substitute in gluten-free penne or gluten-free noodles if that’s all you have.
Gluten-Free Hamburger & Macaroni Recipe (Dairy-Free)
- 2 cups dry elbow pasta gluten-free or regular
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 scant cup yellow onion finely diced
- 1 lb ground beef grass-fed
- 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 4 dashes salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- In a separate pot, cook the macaroni according to the directions on its package.
- While the macaroni cooks, heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet with high sides. When the oil is hot, add the diced onion and cook until it begins to soften – about 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the onion and fry until it's cooked through. Use your spatula or spoon to break the beef into small pieces while it cooks.
- Strain off any fat from the pan, then add the canned tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper to the beef and onion mixture.
- Simmer gently until the mushrooms are cooked to your liking.
- Stir the macaroni into the beef and tomato mixture and serve.