One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper (Cheeseburger Pasta)

January 21, 2020

30 Minute Meals

By: Jasmine Briones 

Hamburger Helper has never tasted so good! This homemade, vegan version is full-of-flavor, hearty, and down-right delicious. It’s simple to make and requires just one pot and about 30 minutes!

up close overhead image of skillet of one pot vegan hamburger helper

This post is sponsored by Kroger.

We teamed up with Kroger to bring this recipe to life using their Simple Truth Plant-Based Line, and wow, we are so impressed! We used their new Emerge Plant-Based grounds as the centerpiece for this Hamburger Helper, and it was PERFECT for this recipe!

overhead image of ingredients for one pot vegan hamburger helper

Growing up, hamburger helper was a staple for so many of us, so being able to create a vegan version with wholesome ingredients was a lot of fun. If you are in the minority and have no idea what hamburger helper is, it’s essentially a cheeseburger pasta dish. Who wouldn’t love that, right? 

overhead image of one pot vegan hamburger helper in a cast iron skillet

If you have a Kroger store near you, this new Simple Truth Plant Based line is a total game changer. With products ranging from plant-based cream cheese, to meat alternatives and cookie dough to a full line of plant-based milk, there is no shortage of options. Did we mention that everything is super affordable too? Whoever said eating vegan is expensive, hasn’t been to a Kroger store recently. 

overhead image of one pot vegan hamburger helper in a bowl with fork

Here are a few other one-pot pasta recipes that you may also like:

If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it, we love seeing your photos!

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up close overhead image of skillet of one pot vegan hamburger helper

One-Pot Vegan Hamburger Helper (Cheeseburger Pasta)

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


This Vegan Hamburger Helper is the ultimate comfort food staple. It’s hearty, packed with flavor, and the perfect copycat of the classic boxed pasta many of us grew up with. All you need is one-pot, 30-minutes, and 11 simple ingredients. 


  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 lb. Kroger Emerge Grinds (vegan ground beef alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups warm Simple Truth unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened milk of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm vegan beef broth (see notes; we use this brand or you can use vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups Simple Truth rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded vegan cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese of your choice)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, to garnish


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add in the oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add in the emerge grinds  (vegan ground beef alternative) and break them up with your cooking utensil. Cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Drain any excess fat in the pan if needed.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, oregano, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper until uniform. Sprinkle the mixture over the mixture in the pan and stir well to distribute.
  4. Mix in the almond milk, broth and pasta, and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Remove from heat. Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded vegan cheese over the cooked pasta and stir until it has melted through.
  6. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley as desired. Enjoy!


  • If you want to take this to the next level, replace 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Entree, Pasta, Hamburger Helper, Cheeseburger, Stovetop, 30 Minute, Vegan

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Kroger but all opinions remain our own. The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Shannon M says:

    Great recipe! Tha k you for sharing. I made it and it was amazing!

  2. Alice says:

    I made this tonight and it is better than cheeseburger macaroni hamburger helper! I added the half a cup of tomato sauce like suggested at the bottom and turned out amazing.

  3. Tammy Greene says:

    I loved this recipe. I used Beyond Meat and added seasonings and it was so delicious. Total comfort food. Took me back to my childhood when all we ate was Hamburger Helper. But this was sooooo much better than that. Thank you for this recipe. It’s a keeper.

  4. Moon says:

    I’m very bad in general at cooking, so I was unsure about having that “much” chilipowder. But I trusted the recipe and WOW. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything this tasty for myself!
    I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

    • Elyse says:

      Made this tonight and it will definitely be added to the usual rotation. So good and a dead ringer for our childhood comfort food favorite before we went plant based. Highly recommend the tomato sauce substitute, was delicious! Thank you!

  5. Maddison King says:

    I don’t have any beef-less crumbes on hand, but I have everything else!
    Would you suggest any easy alternatives? Or would I be okay with leaving that out? Thank you!

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      We definitely recommend using some type of veggie ground if possible. If you don’t have any, cooked lentils may work as well.

  6. Natalie says:

    So good! I was really hesitant about this, but my whole family (which includes two picky non vegan kids) loved it!

  7. Laura A Cooper says:

    What can u use in place of chili powder

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      You can just leave it out if you’d like!

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      You can substitute the things chili powder is made from: cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. Roughly equal amounts of all, and adjust until you get the flavor you’re looking for. If you don’t have all of those ingredients, you can get by with just cumin, cayenne and paprika.

  8. Cameron says:

    OMGoodness!! Delicious…this was a hit with the entire family (2 picky kids included!)

    • Sharon says:

      Very good!! A really nice change to have. Thank You!! I was concerned about it, but it tastes good!!

  9. Kat says:

    This was SO delicious and amazing!!!!! After try the dish, my bf told me it was his favourite thing I’ve cooked for him yet. I will be using this recipe A LOT!! Thank you!!

  10. Jerrica says:

    This was AMAZING! Taste just like the real deal. I used flour instead, impossible meat, and a box of Annie’s vegan cheddar mac instead seeing I didn’t have any cheese on hand. It was perfect and easy. Even my non vegan family (who usually doesn’t like any of my vegan dishes) loved it!

  11. Rachel says:

    For some reason, I never comment on recipes once I’ve tried them, but I felt like I needed to for this. This is probably my favorite vegan comfort food dish. Like of all time. It’s so simple to put together and tastes amazing. I’ve only made this twice so far, but it’s been perfect each time. Highly recommend that everyone tries this!!!

  12. Judie says:

    Omfgggg tasted just like hamburger helper! Soo excited, I missed it even though I have only been vegan for 5 months 😀 I used Impossible meat (found at Albertsons), Daiya cheddar cutting board shreds and follow you heart parmesan. 10/10 will make again.

  13. Elizabeth Reyes says:

    what brand do you recommend for the Vegan Cheddar cheese? I want to cook this recipe for a grandson who is allergic to dairy. Thank you.

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      any vegan shreds would work! We recommend either Follow Your Heart or Violife. Daiya is also good and more accessible.

  14. Shay Davis says:

    I’ve honestly made this SO many times (I can’t even count!!) since it came out a couple months ago. This is my go to for my boyfriends lunch on some days or even an easy dinner night. Growing up my mother would always make us hamburger helper so being able to make this brings me so much comfort. ❤️

  15. Natalie says:

    This was very good! Even my meat eating boyfriend loved it and requested it again!

  16. Stefanie Vogel says:

    Will the dish turn out as well if I leave out the corn starch? Unfortunately I cannot digest it very well once refinded.

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      The corn starch helps the sauce thicken, so it will work without it, but might be a little runnier.

  17. Arri says:

    Such a good recipe! Followed the directions to a T and it came out perfectly! Opt for the vegan beef broth – it’s a game changer.

  18. ALIX LINDSTROM says:

    This recipe is addictive! I have made it twice in two weeks. I am 6 months pregnant and am really loving this right now. My vegan dad loved it when I made it for him and my omni husband loves it too! I sent my dad home with leftovers for my mom and selfishly wish i saved it all for myself. I’m so into it that I have no patience for heating up my leftovers of this recipe before digging into it. Haha

  19. Tiffany Akins says:

    When do you put the pasta in?

  20. Tiffany Akins says:

    I make this regularly, it really is like the standard Hamburger Helper! I use a full can of puréed tomatoes/tomato sauce and powdered veggie broth bouillon. So far unsweetened plain cashew milk works well.

  21. Victoria P says:

    If I use gluten-free pasta, do I need to adjust the liquid and cooking times?

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      We haven’t tested it, unfortunately. Gluten-free pasta is a bit finicky and could easily get mushy if overcooked. We recommend just keeping a close eye on it to make sure it cooks properly!

  22. Anne M J says:

    My vegan daughter really enjoyed this! I used precooked vegan crumbles and added two tablespoons of tomato paste. I probably added 2 cups of cheese, but stayed true to the original recipe otherwise. I used artisan pasta, which I don’t recommend … this dish needs nice, soft, cheap elbows to get that hamburger helper vibe. I plan to make this often.

  23. fwn says:

    This was a great, flexible recipe. I used what I had on hand: impossible burger and gluten free quinoa macaroni; and arrowroot to thicken. The pasta held up well but I did check on it a few times to make sure it didn’t turn to mush. Next time I’ll use unsweetened cashew milk as I prefer it in vegan sauces; neutral taste with a little more fat. The omnivores in the family really liked this and I can’t wait to make it again. Yum!

  24. Melani Long says:

    I don’t usually write reviews but this recipe was simple to make and delicious to eat! Reminded me of childhood dinners. My husband, who is a bit finicky, also loved this dish. It will be on regular rotation.

  25. Becca says:

    Do I cook the pasta before adding it?

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      Nope, we use uncooked pasta. The recipe is designed to cook the pasta along with everything else 🙂

  26. Tiffany says:

    This was SO good! I used 14oz of frozen meatless crumbles and about 3oz of chopped up mushrooms, and a little nooch for extra cheeziness~
    Also 100% recommend using tomato sauce in this recipe, even my omnivore boyfriend liked it more than hamburger pasta with beef! (I will convert him soon, hehe.)

  27. PB says:

    SO GOOD. Just make it, you won’t be disappointed!! And definitely use the tomato sauce. I used even more than 1/2 cup because I didn’t want to waste the rest of the can.

  28. Kaitlin Elizabeth Saville says:

    We make this about twice a month. It’s a family favorite. We use gluten free noodles, impossible meat , nutritional yeast instead of vegan cheese and the tomatoe sauce as suggested. I always have to add alot more noodles otherwise it’s mostly meat. But it’s delicious!!

  29. Laura says:

    One of my go-to recipes! Always so delicious and a crowd-pleaser. I like adding soy sauce for a bit more salty/umami and that Mushroom & Co seasoning from Trader Joe’s!

  30. Shannon says:

    I’ve made this several times and it’s soooo good each time. My partner and I can almost eat the whole recipe to ourselves because it’s that good. Super simple and forgiving as well for ingredients. I’ve tried different types of noodle shapes, veggie grounds (impossible meat, beyond, st yves, etc) and different vegan cheese shreds (daiya, earth island, violife) and the recipe always turns out

  31. Kalina says:

    This was delicious!! Thank you!
    I didnt have corn starch so I added green yogurt (so veg instead of vegan), also added shredded zucchini with a bit less ground veg and about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. My toddler ate 3 bowls. We will be making this again!

  32. Celeste says:

    We LOVE this recipe and call it “Harmless Helper”! We add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1/4 tsp of garlic and onion powder! We also used Gardein tvp instead of the emerge!
    I loved the idea of adding the tomatoes like you said, so we do 1 cup broth, 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup crushed roasted tomatoes!! Soooo good! Thank you for the great recipe!

  33. Eleni says:

    Wow i love a one pot meal especially a childhood favorite veganized. So simple & so freaking delicious! Tastes exactly how i remember

  34. Cheryl Devine says:

    Yum. I dropped the grounds to 1 patty and subbed the remainder of the 1lb with broccoli and squash.

  35. Elicia Behrens says:

    My boyfriend just made this, and it is absolutely scrumptious!! He used Impossible burger and Violife cheddar style shreds. I would call him a flexitarian, while I am a 9 year vegan. We both agree that no one would ever guess it’s vegan if they were not told. This is so good I spontaneously started doing a “happy dance” when I tried it. Great job with this recipe!

  36. Monica says:

    Soooo good! I left out the vegan cheese because half the family doesn’t like the flavor. We didn’t miss it! Very good – we used New Mexican red chili powder for the chili powder and Wow!

  37. Christina Gomez says:

    This is DELICIOUS. I added some nutritional yeast and a dash of turmeric when I made this, but otherwise followed exactly. So good!

  38. Aspen says:

    Made this for my parents’ anniversary dinner! They both loved it, and they’re both big meat and dairy fans. They didn’t even realize it was vegan! I did use spicy Impossible sausage for half of the protein, because my grocery store didn’t have enough vegan beef crumbles in stock. I also added a little extra pepper jack on top of the recommended amount of cheddar. The extra spice really added something, imo.
    Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe! Very fun to make and eat. :^)

  39. Lasey says:

    I used Penne pasta but still came out great! One of the best pasta dishes to make with pretty minimal effort!

  40. Holly says:

    I’d like to try this recipe. It looks really good. How do you use the beef bouillon to equal 1 1/2 cups of broth? Do I add a teaspoon to boiling water? Do I just add water to the pot and then some bouillon? I don’t know the process. Thanks.

    • Chris Petrellese says:

      We hope you love the recipe! Yes, you would add 1.5 teaspoons of the bouillon paste to 1.5 cups of hot water and mix it in!

  41. Hayley W says:

    This was so good! I’m pregnant and have been craving really meaty, cheesy food, so this was perfect. I did cut down on the salt and added some Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning.

    Question: how do you think this recipe would freeze? I’m looking for some easy and filling freezer meals for my maternity leave 🙂

  42. Gail says:

    I made this recipe this past weekend and it was delicious. It’s definitely a keeper. I just found your site and this was the first recipe from your site that I made. I also made the quesitos and they were simple to make and delicious too; a winning combination. I look forward to trying your other recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  43. Tessa says:

    Ultimate nostalgia comfort food!

  44. Robert Shawhan says:

    I never leave reviews. But this was amazing!! Have not had something like this years since I have been a vegan. With lentil pasta and Gardin crumbles this was packed with protein. This is going to be part of the routine rotation now. Thanks for the recipe.

  45. Deena Verriello says:

    So good! I used oat meal for more creaminess and added cayenne for a bit of kick! So good!

  46. Naisaa Laen says:

    Can you use water if you don’t have milk?

  47. Andromeda says:

    The cheese is missing from the ingredients list in the recipe.

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