Ditch the box and make this Instant Pot Hamburger Helper just as easily! This all-in-one recipe for Hamburger Helper is a tastier, healthier version of the classic boxed staple and is ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish!
Made with ground beef, tender elbow noodles, and a perfectly spiced tomato sauce, this Instant Pot version of Hamburger Helper, sometimes referred to as American Goulash, is a family-favorite meal.
My husband loves Hamburger Helper. As a child, he loved the boxed version but as an adult, only my homemade version will do.
While the stove-top version of this classic is simple to make, making it in the Instant Pot is EASIER and mostly hands-off.
Not only is this recipe picky-eater approved, economical to make, and incredibly tasty, but it is also so much better for you than the boxed version. It is lower in sodium, preservative-free, and you can control the quality of ingredients. Win-win!
We make this simple meal often at our house and after seeing just how perfectly this dish turns out, I do believe Instant Pot Hamburger Helper will become a staple Instant Pot recipe at your house as well!
- Ground Meat: Use ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken for this recipe. I personally prefer using lean ground sirloin for flavor and because it has very little grease.
- Noodles: Elbow noodles are classic in Hamburger Helper and this cooking time has been determined using elbow noodles. To use another type of noodle may result in needing to cook longer. I have used Gluten-Free Barilla elbow noodles with success in this recipe. I can not speak to success using other brands of gluten-free noodles.
How To Make Hamburger Helper in Instant Pot
Step One: Saute Beef
Turn Instant Pot to saute and allow to heat up.
- Once heated, add in the ground meat and brown up, breaking up into small pieces as the meat cooks.
Once the meat is browned, turn off the pressure cooker and drain off any fat if needed.
Step Two: Scrape up Browned Bits
Add in beef broth to Instant Pot and scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the Instant Pot. This will help to prevent a burn notice.
Step Three: Add in Remaining Ingredients
Add in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, and tomato sauce and stir to combine well.
Add in noodles and gently push down into sauce--do NOT stir into sauce. You want the noodles just submerged into the sauce.
Step Four: Pressure Cook
Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure--be sure to stand away from the vent knob when releasing pressure.
Stir in Worcestershire sauce into the hamburger helper and serve.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- How to Double the Recipe: To double your recipe, simply double the ingredients. The cook time will remain the same, it will just take a bit longer to come to pressure.
- Avoiding the Burn Notice: There are 3 things you can do to help avoid getting the burn notice when cooking in your Instant Pot.
- Start with a clean inner pot. Make sure the bottom of your inner pot is clean from residue from former recipes--I use steel wool to get that bottom perfectly clean in between uses.
- After browning the meat, add beef stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Do not STIR in noodles, just gently nudge them down until covered with the liquid.
- Storage Instructions: Leftover Hamburger Helper can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, you may want to add in a splash of beef stock or water, as the noodles tend to absorb the sauce as they sit.
- Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper Instructions: If you would like a cheesy version of Hamburger Helper, stir in 4 ounces of diced Velveeta Cheese or 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese AFTER cooking. The residual heat should be enough to melt the cheese.
- Adding Flavor: Feel free to saute 1 small onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic with the beef. I use garlic and onion powder instead for a dish that is approved for picky palates.
More Instant Pot Beef Recipes
If you enjoyed this Instant Pot version of goulash or hamburger helper, I would love for you to leave a comment below.
Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef or chicken/turkey
- 3 cups low-sodium beef stock/broth
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 cups elbow noodles about 8 ounces
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- Turn Instant Pot to saute, add oil, and let heat.
- Once the oil has heated, add in the meat and brown it fully, breaking it up into small pieces. Once the meat is cooked, turn off the pressure cooker. Drain off any fat and return the inner pot back to the inner pot.
- Add 1 cup of beef broth to the inner pot and use a spatula or spoon to scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir well to combine.
- Add in noodles and gently push them down into the sauce. You want the noodles just submerged into the liquid. Top the noodles with tomato sauce.
- Set to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (hit manual or pressure cook and adjust time by using +/_ buttons until the timer reads 3).
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then do a quick release of any remaining pressure--be sure stand away from vent knob when releasing pressure.
- Fluff the noodles with a fork to incorporate everything. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed and serve.
This post was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2021.