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One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper}

For a homemade copycat of Beef Taco Hamburger Helper, this One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet is a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients!

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper} ~ a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients! | FiveHeartHome.com

In case y’all hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on somewhat of a one-pot/one-pan/one-skillet recipe kick lately. And why not? Who doesn’t love a complete dinner that’s made in about 30 minutes while dirtying only one large cooking receptacle?

So a few weeks ago, I’d been running around all day and hadn’t had any time to think about dinner until, ohhh, about 5 o’clock. And so I did what one does when one is short on time and overdue for a trip to the grocery store….I reached into the freezer for a pizza to pop in the oven. Alas, the freezer revealed that frozen pizzas needed to be added to my grocery list as well, so I quickly had to come up with a plan B. I realized that I had a lone pound of ground beef in fridge, so what could I make with that in a matter of minutes? Sloppy Joes? No buns. Tacos? No tortillas. But the taco theme stuck for some reason, so I quickly secured a handful of ingredients that would turn ordinary taco meat into a One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet.

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper} ~ a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients! | FiveHeartHome.com

This recipe is ridiculously easy to make, friends. Simply brown some ground beef and stir in taco seasoning, beef broth, and rice. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Then mix in some grated cheese and voilà! Dinner is served.

As soon as I took that first bite, I realized that the inspiration for this recipe must have originated from the childhood-affinity-for-Hamburger-Helper recesses of my brain, because I instantly had the conviction that my meal should be accompanied by a tall tupperware cup of Kool-Aid and a Jello Pudding Pop for dessert. Do y’all remember the Beef Taco Hamburger Helper from the 80s, made with rice instead of pasta? Welp, this recipe is a homemade version of that. I just now Googled it to see if it still exists, and apparently there’s a “crunchy” version these days that’s got the fancy-pants addition of tortilla chips on top. But the one I remember loving as a kid was simply ground beef, rice…and whatever icky seasoning packet and powdered cheese came in the ubiquitous red and white box.

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper} ~ a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients! | FiveHeartHome.com

As it turns out, today’s homemade Cheesy Beef Taco Rice Skillet recipe still comes together one pan in under 30 minutes, just like the Hamburger Helper of yore. But it’s much healthier and tastes wayyyy better, since it swaps out all of those processed ingredients for real, all-natural ingredients…and just five of them, at that!

Now, if your pantry is stocked and you want to jazz up this meal with some additional ingredients, feel free! You may saute some garlic and/or diced onions in the pan before adding the beef. You may swap out chicken broth for beef broth. You may substitute a can of diced tomatoes (juice included) for about 1 cup of the broth. You may stir in a can of drained diced green chiles for a little kick. You may use your favorite cheese in lieu of cheddar. Get wild and crazy with your dinner-making self!

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper} ~ a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients! | FiveHeartHome.com

As far as the rice, I chose white rice for this recipe because of its quick cooking time. I love wholesome brown rice and use it most of the time, but since it takes twice as long to cook (and would probably require more liquid), I thought that white rice would just work better for this 30-minute, one-pan meal. Also, this recipe should work in just about any large skillet, pan, or pot. You see it pictured here in a wide, deep braiser, but I’m just as likely to make this type of recipe in a large Dutch oven, which is better at containing grease splatters when I brown the meat.

So who’s ready for a quick and easy, one-pan supper that will tickle your tastebuds, fill your belly, and simultaneously transport you back to 1983? Whip up a pitcher of Kool-Aid and join me, won’t you? 😉

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper} ~ a quick and easy dinner recipe made with five real, all-natural ingredients! | FiveHeartHome.com

One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet {Homemade Hamburger Helper}

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

For a homemade copycat of Beef Taco Hamburger Helper, this One-Pan Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet is a quick and easy dinner recipe made with just five real, all-natural ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning (or 1 packet store-bought)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (such as Jasmine)
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

Instructions

  1. Set a large skillet, pan, pot, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as the meat cooks. Drain the grease from the pot and sprinkle the cooked meat with taco seasoning. Add the rice and beef broth and stir well to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then stir and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir in the grated cheese and serve immediately.

Notes

When you bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, make sure that the simmer is a simmer...not barely bubbling (or the rice won't cook and absorb the liquid) and not bubbling too fast (or the liquid may get absorbed too fast and the bottom may burn). For my stove, this was medium-low heat, adjusting up or down a tad as needed when I would stir every few minutes.

If too much liquid remains once your rice is cooked, you may remove the lid and turn up the heat for a minute or two, stirring so that it doesn't burn. If the liquid evaporates before the rice is done and everything starts to stick to the bottom, you may stir in a bit more broth or water.

This recipe is intentionally simple, but you may jazz it up as you wish (see post above the recipe for ideas).

You may garnish this meal with your favorite Mexican toppings...crushed tortilla chips, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, extra cheese, etc. Or you may leave it perfectly plain!

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More one-pan/one-pot dinners…

30-Minute Skillet Pastitsio {Greek Lasagna}
30-Minute Skillet Pastitsio ~ this creamy, flavorful Greek lasagna -- loaded with ground beef, tomatoes, pasta, and Greek yogurt -- is a quick and easy, family-pleasing, one-pot dinner! | FiveHeartHome.com

One-Skillet Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
One-Skillet Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole ~ a quick, easy, family-pleasing weeknight dinner recipe that's made in just one pan! | FiveHeartHome.com

One-Pot Pizza Pasta
One-Pot Pizza Pasta ~ an easy, cheesy, comforting dinner recipe loaded with flavor thanks to all of your favorite pizza toppings...and as a bonus, everything gets cooked in the same pot! | FiveHeartHome.com

30-Minute Skillet Lasagna
30-Minute Skillet Lasagna ~ quick and easy, savory and cheesy, one pot, stovetop dinner | FiveHeartHome.com

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Comments

  1. Love this! It’s going on my to make list for sure. I hate to admit it but my family likes the taco Hamburger Helper, so this is going to be the substitute from now on 🙂

  2. Your cookbook arrive yesterday. I read it like a novel last night. I want to make your taco hamburger helper tonight. My instructions for jasmine rice calls for 1 and a half cup of liquid. Should I reduce the amount of beef broth a little? Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes and stories on your blog.

  3. The recipe came out perfect. My husband ate 6 helpings. The 3 cups of broth was spot on. Thanks again.

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