One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta
Easy Eats

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Oh the myth of the one-pot meal! To be honest, I shy away from such things because I find them to be more gimmick than good. But, after trying a few variations on this dish over the last few cold weeks, I proclaim it a success.

In other words, it actually works.

You toss all of the stuff into a big ‘ole pot, let it simmer for a few minutes, and BINGO. You have a really delicious pasta meal that ends up being some amazing cross between macaroni and cheese and a bolognese sauce.

Betsy calls it my homemade hamburger helper dish, which is probably about right. Whatever you call it though, this one-pot cheeseburger pasta is an easy miracle and should definitely be on your meal plan!

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Just a moment please...

Serves 6.
Prep Time
Total Time

Everything cooked in one pot: beef, onions, and pasta! Plus, a cheese lid! This pasta dish is very worth your while. DIG IN.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 pound large elbow macaroni
2 cups beef stock
2 cups water
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Scallions, garnish
Print Recipe     Pin Recipe

Helpful Equipment

Dutch Oven


1) Heat olive oil in a large sturdy pot over medium heat. Add beef and brown well. Break up beef as it browns.

2) Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes until veggies are soft. Season mixture with oregano, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in tomato paste.

3) Add diced tomatoes and macaroni pasta. Stir to combine. Then add beef stock and water. Stir, cover, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 12 minutes.

4) Check pasta. If it’s still uncooked and the pot is dry, add another cup of water, cover, and simmer or another 2-3 minutes. Most likely though the pasta will be cooked through after 12 minutes.

5) Season pasta mixture with salt and pepper. Add grated cheese to the top of the pasta, cover again, and let steam for 2-3 minutes until cheese is very melted.

Top cheeseburger pasta with chopped scallions and serve while warm!

Recipe adapted from a Number 2 Pencil recipe.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Everything is going in one pot so that needs to be a big pot. I recommend a good Dutch oven that’s at least 5 quarts in size. The one I used is 6 quarts.

Start by adding a little oil to the pot over medium heat and brown the beef well. Break it up as it browns and let it get some color. Seasoning it with a pinch of salt and pepper is a good idea.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Browning the beef.

Then add the onions and garlic and cook those for a few minutes until they are soft.

Next, the tomato paste, oregano, and dried mustard goes in. That’s kind of the ketchup and mustard ingredients of the “cheeseburger.” Get it?!

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Good flavors.

Getting Serious

Okay. Time to get real. Add a pound of macaroni (I really recommend the bigger elbow macaroni). Add a big can of diced tomatoes. I split it up in the pan so you can see how the ratio works out, but you can just dump it in.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

The pieces of the pot.

Then add the liquid (beef stock and water) and bring it all to a simmer.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Liquid needed.

Once it’s simmering, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 12 minutes.

That should be just enough time to finish cooking the pasta, but check it. If it’s super-dry, add more liquid by the 1/2 cup.

Most important: Taste the pasta at this point. It might need some extra seasoning. It should taste good just like this!

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Almost done!

The Cheese Lid

This is my favorite part, for obvious reasons. Add 2-3 cups of grated cheese to the top of the pasta.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Cheddar is better.

Cover this and return the pot to a low heat. The trapped heat will melt the cheese into a perfect gooey lid.

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Cheese lid!

Add a few handfuls of chopped scallion to this and you’re in business.

You can kind of stir everything together or try to keep it in layers. Whatever works!

Of course, the best part about this one pot cheeseburger pasta: There’s only one dish to clean up!

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta: Everything cooked in one pot: beef, onions, and pasta! Some say it's impossible, but this is the way to make it happen! Plus, a nice little lid of cheddar cheese on top finishes off this pasta dish and makes it very worth your while. DIG IN. |


More Fast Weeknight Dinners!

One Pot Chorizo Yam Stew

One Pot Chorizo Yam Stew: This is one of the most flavorful stews you'll make this year and everything just goes in one pot! The order is important though! Chorizo, yams, white beans, spinach. Perfect for winter! |

Weeknight Crispy Chicken

Weeknight Crispy Chicken: This super-simple, under 30 minute dish is perfect for a weeknight. Crispy chicken cutlets with lemon, a simple cream sauce, and angel hair pasta! |

BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joes

BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joes! These are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. They are fast to make from scratch or you can toss everything in a slow cooker and they are ready when you are! Great for a back-to-school, busy weeknight meal! |

One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta: Everything cooked in one pot: beef, onions, and pasta! Some say it's impossible, but this is the way to make it happen! Plus, a nice little lid of cheddar cheese on top finishes off this pasta dish and makes it very worth your while. DIG IN. |

18 comments on “One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

  1. Dear Nick

    Would you make any additional changes to the recipe if I wanted to use ground turkey inatead of beef?

    1. You might need slightly more oil to brown the turkey, but probably not. Other than that I think you could easily sub turkey. Just be sure to taste the pasta after it simmers and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Should be great!

  2. Today I made your chicken and dumplings as I have for several years I did it the long way, cooked whole chicken, etc but it is worth it. I always make the dumplings too large—-a teaspoons best. Thank you so much for this recipe—it’s the best.

  3. 4 1/2 months pregnant working full time in the evenings at a hospital and you just saved my family for dinner! Simple enough to make before heading in to work leaving dinner ready for husband and toddler!

  4. I was really excited for this recipe however I followed the recipe exactly and it came out very bland. Any suggestions to up the flavor?

    1. Hey Emily! Sorry about that. I’d recommend tasting it after the macaroni is cooked but before you add the cheese and adjust the seasonings to your liking. It might very well need more salt/pepper or other spices. Good luck!

  5. What I like about a recipe like this: it works with all kinds of customization.
    I added a can of beans, since they’re a household staple, healthy, and they stretch the number of portions.
    So basically I guess I made this into a chili mac, didn’t I? So I also added some cumin/coriander/chili flakes.
    This turned out great, by the way.
    Maybe to get a little more mustard flavor, I’ll add about a tablespoon of yellow mustard next time.

    1. Hey Teri, if you use very lean beef you probably won’t need to, but if you use 85/15 or 80/20 you will probably want to drain off all but a tablespoon or so of the fat. Good luck!

Leave a Comment