Dairy Free “Hamburger Helper”

I love this meal. It’s a kid favorite, only uses one skillet. And tastes like the “real” fake stuff! Minus all the preservatives and “gunk”!

You could change this up a number of ways.  Add cheese if you like.  Or add taco seasoning with the water. Or both.  Toss in some frozen vegetables while it’s cooking.  This is really a basic meal that can be modified in many ways!

Not the most “glamorous” meal, but we all thought it was tasty!

Print This Post

Dairy Free “Hamburger Helper”

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 35 minutes


  • 1 lb. ground beef ($1.29) Bought when on sale for $1.29/lb.
  • 1 onion, chopped ($.20)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.10)
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp dairy free margarine or butter ($.30)
  • 3 Tbsp flour ($.05) Use rice flour to make this GF
  • 3 cups milk ($.30) Use rice milk to keep dairy free
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups whole wheat elbow or shell pasta noodles ($.50) On sale this week…1 lb. for $1; Use rice pasta noodles for GF version
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz bag of frozen peas ($.68) Bought from Walmart back in June


  • In large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Season with pepper. Once fully cooked, drain and rinse ground beef. Do not return beef to the skillet. Yet.
  • In same skillet, add margarine or butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a paste. Quickly whisk in milk until no clumps remain. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken.
  • Once sauce starts to thicken, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of pasta shells. Stir through.
  • Add 1 lb. of meat and mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta shells have cooked through.
  • Stir often. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken slightly after removing from heat.
  • Prepare frozen peas as indicated on package instructions.
  • Serve “Hamburger Helper” Pasta with Peas.

Cost $3.42

FREE DOWNLOAD! Eight 20-Minute Meal Ideas That Will Help You Survive Chaotic & Busy Weeknights!
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


  1. says

    LOL, this is what we had tonight too but with ground turkey over rice instead of the macaroni. My family has loved this for years and it’s much better then the box stuff (and healthier too). Great price for you at $3.42. I think mine was around $6.00 but I did feed 6 grown people with it. Love all your recipes I look forward to them every night!

  2. says

    Thanks for such a great basic recipe! I’ve been looking for ways to reduce convenience foods in our house and replace them with homemade and healthier versions! This is great for that! And I love that you can modify it in so many ways!

  3. says

    I have a great homemade hamburger helper recipe that really is dairy free; no regular milk and no rice milk. I have it on my blog about frugality. It’s our go-to meal when we get ground beef or turkey at a great discount and I need a meal fast.

  4. Rebecca says

    How did I not find you until tonight! I have been Gluten Free and Dairy free for 3 years and have tried TONS of recipes trying to get a good tasting dinner! This is so much better than good it is FANTASTIC! We used it over rice because we were out of pasta. We will have a great time playing with this recipe to get different flavors. I am also going to be spending more time on your site!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *