This Instant Pot hamburger helper inspired pasta is a great family meal and comes with a little cheeseburger twist. It’s a perfect one-pot meal if you’re looking for ground beef pasta recipes or needing a substantial meaty meal on the budget.
This Instant Pot recipe was inspired by the classic hamburger helper, which is a quick and easy pasta dish out of the box. The pasta usually comes with browned ground beef and milky, creamy sauce and has all the characteristics of family comfort food.
We wanted to create a healthier, homemade version with simple, accessible ingredients and lots of flavor. We decided to combine two comfort dishes – hamburger helper pasta and a cheeseburger – to create a delicious, affordable, and family-friendly one-pot meal. The Instant Pot makes this super quick and easy to prepare, so it’s perfect for a midweek dinner.
Note: adding the suggested toppings to the cooked pasta in your bowl is ESSENTIAL to achieve that cheeseburger twist. It might seem strange to add pickles and marinated mustard onions to the pasta, but it works! You can thank us later.
Make sure to check out more Instant Pot pasta recipes here.
Cooked perfectly and quickly with your Instant Pot, this Hamburger helper inspired pasta has a little cheeseburger twist your family will love.
1/2 large onion, chopped finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound / 0.5 kg ground beef mince
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce such as Frank’s or Tabasco
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (you could use pureed tomatoes as well)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk (dairy-free could be used)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water (if using water, add another teaspoon of salt)
4 cups large-ish pasta like fusilli (we use the tri-colour fusilli)
To finish the pasta
1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup grated cheddar or mixed cheese of choice
Pickled red onions
1 small to medium red onion, finely chopped,
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
4 small pickled gherkins, sliced or diced
Extra grated cheese
Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté function key.
Add the onions, olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beef and garlic and cook together for 2 more minutes, stirring a few times.
Add the rest of the ingredients and the dried pasta. Stir through really well. Cancel the Sauté function key.
Place the lid and lock it, making sure the top valve is pointing to Sealing. Set to Manual, HIGH pressure, and adjust the time to 4 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start building the pressure and cooking will begin at the same time.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pickled red onions (this can be done ahead of time or the day before), by combining them with the other ingredients in a bowl. Slice the gherkins and grate a little more cheese.
Once the 4-minute timer goes off, use the quick release to let off the steam (simply point the top valve to Venting and step aside). Open the lid once the pressure is out.
Mix the cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) with 2-3 tablespoons of water and add to the pasta. Add the grated cheese and stir everything through. The cheese will melt into the pasta broth and the sauce will thicken.
Note: If you find that you don’t have enough liquid in the pasta, simply add a little more hot stock. You can always set the Instant Pot to Sauté for a couple of minutes to heat everything up again.
Serve the pasta in bowls and top with sliced gherkins/pickles, a teaspoon of pickled onions and a little more grated cheese.