How to Make Hamburger Helper Taste Better

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Hamburger Helper has been a go-to one-pot meal for many families for decades. It’s one of those quick, easy, and satisfying comfort food recipes that just hits the spot, especially on busy weeknights.

Let’s be honest, though, sometimes the boxed stuff could use a little upgrade in flavor. I’m excited to share with you my tips and tricks for how to make Hamburger Helper better, so it can compare to homemade dishes like our ground beef and noodles or creamy sausage pasta!

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How to Make Hamburger Helper Better

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered if there’s a way to make that cheesy pasta even more delicious without losing the convenience. Well, wonder no more!

Today, I’m sharing some easy add-ins of real ingredients that will make boxed Hamburger Helper seem just like a homemade Hamburger Helper recipe. It will have your entire family asking for seconds.

Making Hamburger Helper taste better usually just entails adding in an extra ingredient or two. Try one or more of the add-ins below to make your Hamburger Helper taste amazing!

Be sure to check out our best sides for Hamburger Helper when you are ready to make your meal!

Boxed Hamburger Helper Add-Ins:

Hamburger Helper is a versatile dish that can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are some simple ingredients you can add to enhance the flavor:


Adding one or more frozen, canned, or fresh vegetables to your Hamburger Helper box mix can give the meal a more homemade flavor. Choose a variety of additions from the list below:

  • Onions: Sautéed fresh onion to add depth and sweetness
  • Garlic: Minced cloves of garlic for a savory flavor
  • Bell Peppers: Green and/or red bell pepper will add color and sweetness
  • Mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms add an earthy flavor
  • Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes can add freshness. Use fresh or canned.
  • Spinach: For some extra greens and nutrients
  • Peas: Adds sweetness and texture
  • Green beans: Canned or frozen green beans can be added for extra veggies


This boxed dinner calls for ground beef in the instructions, but you can add whatever you want. 

  • Ground Beef Variation: Instead of the beef suggested, use ground sausage, ground turkey, ground chicken, or a mix for different flavors.
  • Bacon: Cooked and crumbled bacon adds a smoky flavor.
  • Shredded Chicken: Adds a different texture and flavor.
  • Meatballs: You can add cooked meatballs for variety.
  • Beans: Kidney beans or black beans can be a nice addition for extra protein.

Herbs & Spices

Depending on the flavor of hamburger helper you’re making, it might help to add a seasoning. 

  • Italian Seasoning: Stir in a blend of herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme
  • Paprika: Adds a smoky flavor
  • Chili Powder: For a bit of heat
  • Cumin: Adds warmth and depth
  • Red Pepper Flakes: For those who like it spicy
  • Fresh Herbs: Fresh parsley, basil, or cilantro for a fresh finish
  • Garlic powder and/or onion powder: peps up the taste like only garlic and onion can!


A box of Hamburger Helper comes with a cheese-flavored powdered seasoning, but adding real cheese can really make this meal taste more like a homemade version of Hamburger Helper. You probably won’t need much cheese to improve the flavor, so add a little at a time and make sure the ratio is right.

  • Cheddar Cheese: Shredded medium cheddar cheese or sharp cheddar cheese melts beautifully.
  • Parmesan: Adds a nutty, salty flavor.
  • Pepper Jack: For some heat and creaminess.
  • Cream Cheese: This can make the sauce creamier.

Other Additions

Here are some other additions for this family favorite to make this easy dinner:

  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds a savory, umami flavor.
  • Hot Sauce: For those who like it spicy.
  • Sour Cream: Makes the sauce creamier.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds a rich and indulgent creaminess.
  • Broth or Stock: Instead of water, use beef stock or beef broth, chicken broth, or vegetable broth to add depth.
  • Tomato Sauce: For a richer tomato flavor. You can add tomato paste instead.




Its easy! I will show you how.

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