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

3.42 from 198 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
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
  • ½ 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


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


Serving: 1Bowl | Calories: 581kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 483mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 319mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American

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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. | macheesmo.com

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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. | macheesmo.com