Hamburger Mac and Cheese is a comforting, easy to make dish, that’s a great family meal. It’s one of those meals you can make on a weeknight with a minimum of fuss, but without sacrificing flavor. This is our go-to mac and cheese recipe!
This is also one of the dishes my husband brought into the family. He didn’t have too many, but, like his Chicken Parmesan Casserole, they tend to be keepers! He used to make a prefab version of this as a camp counselor for the kids and translated it to a proper, no powdered cheese, version during his bachelor years. I didn’t marry him for this recipe, but we’ve been enjoying it as a quick dinner with lots of tomatoes mixed in every since. 🙂
These days, I do add some extra spices (like the mustard – it makes the flavors pop), and the sharpest cheddar I can get.
And I’m all about grass fed beef! Everything I know about it says that it is a better all around product from the treatment of the cattle to the taste of the final product. I would highly recommend looking for grass fed beef in your local market and giving it a try.
For a truly one dish meal, some chopped, steamed broccoli makes a nice addition to the dish, or toss in some frozen peas or edamame.
Otherwise serve this Hamburger Mac and Cheese along side a simple green salad dressed with a sharp vinaigrette. The vinegar in the salad makes for nice flavor contrast with the creaminess of the pasta.
If you try my recipe for Hamburger Mac and Cheese, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk, or 2%
- 6 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 oz parmesan, shredded
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 12 oz short pasta, such as medium sized shells
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- In a large 12-inch skillet, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add onion and salt and cook for 8 minutes more. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add butter to skillet. When it has melted, add 3 tablespoon of the flour.
- Using a whisk (a flat one if you have it), stir together flour and butter into a roue and let it bubble for 1 minute.
- Add the milk. Bring to a low boil, reducing heat to medium if necessary, and whisk frequently while it thickens, 2 minutes.
- Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour into the cheese, and add the cheese by handfuls into the hot milk, whisking constantly, until all the cheese has been added and it's fully melted.
- Add the paprika, thyme, and mustard powder and stir in.
- While you are making the cheese sauce, heat up a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to package directions. The pasta should be done about the same time the cheese sauce is ready.
- Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, mix to combine, and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Either add the tomatoes to the pot at the end of cooking just before serving, or serve them separately to be added at the table.
- Add-ins: For a complete meal, add in chopped cooked broccoli, frozen peas, or edamame.
- Flour in the Cheese: Coating the cheese with some of the flour helps it melt more smoothly and makes the cheese less likely to break.