More Hamburger Helper Add-Ins

(Update 2017) I’ve gone back and forth for a year now about whether I should keep the Hamburger Helper posts and the like on the site. On the one hand, they are the most popular posts on the blog. Every day, more and more people check these posts out. On the other hand, they are so unhealthy even with the good stuff added. And this blog is supposed to be about eating healthy on a budget. What to-do, what to-do?

Well, I decided to leave them. For now. My figuring is that if people are adding the good stuff then they are benefiting somewhat on the health side. And those people may need to cut corners more than others. So the hamburger helper ones are staying. At least until I can figure out how else to get that information to people.


On March 8, 2009, I made a post here called Hamburger Helper Add-Ins. Ever since, the post has been one of the most popular each month. I decided to add some more ideas to the mix in a new post, but be sure to read through the comments of the original post because plenty of readers have given ideas for add-ins as well.

Meats are the main add-in, at anywhere from 3/4 to 1 pound. There are a variety of meats that can be used in a hamburger, not just ground beef. You could also switch up other helpers using these ideas.

  • sausage
  • ground beef & ground sausage
  • moose meat
  • deer meat

Vegetables add a boost of nutrition to an otherwise not considerably healthy meal. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetables per pan. You may need a bit larger pan.

  • carrots, peas, & celery
  • green beans & broccoli
  • white potato & sweet potato
  • sweet potato, squash & peas
  • celery & carrots
  • diced tomato & fresh spinach

You might also decide to add extra flavor to your helper meal. Try one or more of these seasonings.

  • parsley
  • oregano
  • chives
  • rosemary
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Do you have one or more favorite add-in combinations? Let us know in the comments.


13 thoughts on “More Hamburger Helper Add-Ins

  1. I turn the Cheeseburger Mac into a chili cheese mac. Prepare it as directed but I brown a chopped onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a teaspoon of chili powder with the meat (ground beef or turkey). Add the water, sauce and milk as directed and then stir in a can of chili beans. Cook as directed. When done, remove from heat and stir in a half cup of salsa (I use medium heat salsa). Let stand for five minutes and enjoy. I think you could easily reduce the meat to half a pound or add two cans of beans, a cup of dried macaroni and an extra cup of water and stir in a bit more salsa to expand the box.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Shannon I buy some ready entrees that come in dried food storage. They work a lot like helper meals. The box comes with tons of ingredients, and a few helper meals with or without meat. I like to add onions, ginger, and a couple tablespoons of freeze dried peas or broccoli to the teriyaki beef entree. It simmers 15 minutes just like the helpers. I have added tvp meat substitute before, but it already has dried beef. For chili or soups I save crouton packs from my Wendy’s salads and dress it up. Could you please tell me what veggies or topping would you add to a chicken alfredo helper?
    It’s good but kind of plain 🙂 I am excited to know what your suggestions are~!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Angela! So good to hear from you. The combinations of food items you use sound delicious.

      I think my vegetable choices for chicken alfredo would be tomato or peas. Broccoli would also be good. I’d also add some fresh parsley once it is done cooking. You might also consider some grated fresh garlic while cooking, especially if you go with the tomatoes.


  3. I’m so glad you posted this thank you. I stopped eating like I used to due to early retirement and I started going to a local food bank and my pantry became over loaded with Hamburger,Tuna and Chicken Helpers but never did they hand out ground beef. I got some canned tuna and chicken but not enough to use all the boxes of Helpers.
    So I thought to myself the meat is just a filler. I put three potatoes with the stroganoff and it was great. Now I don’t eat beef and tonight I need to use a ham I got for Easter. They also have me squash and other vegis I have never eaten before. So mix meats and or potatoes and the other things I know that are healthy as a filler and I’m eating.well. Thank You. Tim Skau . California. P.S. deep fried green beans are a great tasty filler.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are some great ideas Tim. Thank you. You can get pretty inventive with fillers, using turkey rather than chicken and salmon rather than tuna. Whatever you can get your hands on, really. I’ve even used leftover beef and pork roast.


  4. I’d suggest carmelized onions. Make them, set aside and add at the end. And mix in to warm up the onions. The heat of the finished hamburger helper will easily warm the onions.


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