Introduction to Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is a quick and delicious meal that combines the convenience of the Instant Pot with the classic flavors of the well-known boxed dinner. This dish typically consists of ground beef, pasta, sauce, and seasonings cooked together to create a hearty and satisfying meal in no time.

Instant pot hamburger helper

Why Choose Instant Pot for Cooking Hamburger Helper?


Using an Instant Pot for making Hamburger Helper is incredibly convenient. Instead of using multiple pots and pans on the stove, everything cooks together in one pot, minimizing cleanup and making meal prep a breeze.


With the Instant Pot’s pressure cooking function, Hamburger Helper can be ready in a fraction of the time it would take to cook on the stove. This is especially beneficial for busy weeknights when time is limited.

Retaining flavors

The sealed environment of the Instant Pot allows flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a more flavorful dish compared to traditional stovetop cooking methods.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

To make the best Instant Pot Hamburger Helper, it’s important to choose the right ingredients:

  • Ground beef: Opt for lean ground beef for a healthier option, or use ground turkey or chicken as a substitute.
  • Pasta: Choose your favorite pasta shape, such as macaroni, rotini, or penne.
  • Sauce: Use a pre-made sauce mix or make your own using broth, tomatoes, and seasonings.
  • Vegetables: Add in vegetables like onions, bell peppers, or mushrooms for extra flavor and nutrition.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

  1. Sautéing ground beef: Start by browning the ground beef using the sauté function on the Instant Pot until it’s fully cooked.
  2. Adding vegetables: Once the beef is cooked, add in any vegetables you’re using and sauté until they’re tender.
  3. Adding pasta and sauce: Stir in the pasta and sauce until everything is well combined.
  4. Pressure cooking: Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook for the recommended time for pasta.

Variations and Customizations

Get creative with your Instant Pot Hamburger Helper by trying out different variations:

  • Cheeseburger macaroni: Add in shredded cheese towards the end of cooking for a creamy, cheesy twist.
  • Taco pasta: Use taco seasoning and add in black beans and corn for a Tex-Mex inspired dish.
  • Vegetarian options: Substitute the ground beef with plant-based crumbles or extra vegetables for a meat-free version.

Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

  • Liquid ratio: Make sure to add enough liquid to cover the pasta and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Release method: Use a quick release for a firmer texture or a natural release for a softer texture.
  • Garnishing and serving: Sprinkle with fresh herbs or grated cheese before serving for added flavor and presentation.

Healthier Alternatives

For a healthier twist on Instant Pot Hamburger Helper, consider the following substitutions:

  • Whole grain pasta: Use whole wheat or other whole grain pasta varieties for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Lean ground turkey or chicken: Swap out the ground beef for leaner protein options to reduce saturated fat content.
  • Homemade sauces: Make your own sauce using fresh ingredients to control the amount of sodium and preservatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen ground beef?

Yes, you can use frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot. Simply increase the sauté time to ensure it’s fully cooked before adding other ingredients.

How long does it take to cook?

Cooking time can vary depending on the type of pasta used and the thickness of the sauce, but typically ranges from 4 to 8 minutes under pressure.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, you can double the ingredients, but be sure not to exceed the maximum fill line on your Instant Pot.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover Instant Pot Hamburger Helper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze Instant Pot Hamburger Helper?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.


Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is a versatile and delicious meal option that offers convenience without sacrificing flavor. By following a few simple steps and customizing the ingredients to your taste, you can create a satisfying dish that the whole family will love. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a comforting meal on a busy day, Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is sure to hit the spot.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef?

Absolutely! Ground chicken or turkey can be excellent substitutes for beef in Hamburger Helper. Just make sure to adjust cooking times accordingly, as leaner meats may cook faster.

2. How can I make Instant Pot Hamburger Helper gluten-free?

To make Instant Pot Hamburger Helper gluten-free, simply use gluten-free pasta in place of traditional pasta. Many grocery stores offer a variety of gluten-free pasta options, including rice, quinoa, or chickpea-based varieties.

3. Can I add additional spices or herbs for extra flavor?

Yes, feel free to customize the flavor of your Instant Pot Hamburger Helper by adding spices or herbs such as garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs like parsley or basil. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavor profile.

4. What can I serve with Instant Pot Hamburger Helper?

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper pairs well with a variety of side dishes, including a simple green salad, steamed vegetables, garlic bread, or crusty rolls. Choose sides that complement the flavors of the dish and add variety to your meal.

5. Can I make Instant Pot Hamburger Helper ahead of time?

While Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator until ready to cook. This can help streamline the cooking process and make mealtime even more convenient.