This one-pot Cheeseburger Pasta is nutritious, delicious, and so easy to make. It’s a 30-minute way to make quick work of dinner—and has a veggie right in the mix!

Hands holding bowl of cheeseburger pasta.

I love a one-pan dinner, and much like my Homemade Hamburger Helper, this Cheeseburger Pasta skillet checks all the boxes for easy, satisfying, and delicious. It’s made with accessible ingredients you can easily find at the store, has a veggie right in the mix, and boasts the creamiest texture.

This is one of those easy weeknight dinners or healthy family meals that works as well for a toddler as it does for the rest of the family. The pieces can be picked up and eaten as finger foods, but the flavors are nuanced enough for adults to appreciate, too.

Pair this with a simple salad, Sliced Baked Apples, or side of fresh fruit for an easy meal for everyone at your table.

(You may also like Cheesy Rice, Ground Beef Pasta, and Pasta with Peas.)

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Ingredients You Need

Below is a look at the ingredients you need to make this Cheeseburger Pasta recipe to share with the kids.

Ingredients for cheeseburger pasta on countertop.
  • Ground beef: I typically use lean ground beef, or 90-95% lean, to reduce the need to drain the pan after cooking the meat. Any type will work though.
  • Onion: White, yellow, or even red onion work to add flavor to the mixture. You can also simplify this recipe by using frozen diced onion.
  • Carrot: I like to add shredded carrot to the mixture so there’s a veggie in the mix. You can skip this if you prefer. You can also use minced mushrooms, which blend in color-wise a little more seamlessly.
  • Tomato sauce: This ingredient adds flavor and acidity, which helps ensure that the final pasta dish has ample taste. (You can use my Easy Marinara Sauce or Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce if you prefer.
  • Pasta: A small shape, such as small shells or elbow macaroni, is best here since it will cook all the way through the easiest.
  • Broth: I usually use chicken broth here as I prefer the flavor, but beef broth works well, too. Reduced-sodium broth or stock has plenty of flavor, without as much sodium, so I usually use it here. (You can also use Vegetable Broth.)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Cheddar cheese adds the creamy texture to the end result of the Cheeseburger Pasta. I buy it pre-shredded from the store, but you can also shred it on a box grater. Both blend in just fine.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s an overview of how to make this recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down for the full recipe, including the amounts and the timing.

cooking carrot and onion in pan for cheeseburger pasta.

Step 1. Saute the onion and carrots. This gives them a head start to soften nicely in the mix.

cooking ground beef for cheeseburger pasta in pan.

Step 2. Add the ground beef and cook until just browning, breaking up with a spoon as you go.

Step 3. Add the broth, tomato sauce, spices, and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook.

cooked cheeseburger pasta with cheese in pan on countertop.

Step 4. Stir in the cheese until it melts into a creamy sauce. Serve the Cheeseburger Pasta warm with optional toppings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of pasta is best for cheeseburger pasta?

I have found that a small shape of pasta is best for this skillet recipe since it cooks through the quickest and evenly.

Can I make this vegetarian?

You can use an Impossible Burger ground meat, or similar product, to make this vegetarian. Or, simply omit the beef. You may want to add white beans or even peas to make the recipe more filling if you omit the meat.

What’s the best way to reheat pasta?

Sprinkle with a little water, cover in a heat-safe container, and warm in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between.

How to Store

Store leftover Cheeseburger Pasta in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, sprinkle with water and cover with a plate or wax paper and warm for 30-60 seconds in the microwave, stirring halfway through.

This reheats really nicely, so it’s a great make ahead toddler dinner.

Serving Suggestions for Cheeseburger Pasta

We like to have this with a side of fresh fruit, a salad kit from the store, or my Cinnamon Apples, Fruit Cup, or Easy Roasted Broccoli.

Cheeseburger pasta in two white bowls.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use a small pasta shape, such as small shells or elbows, for the fastest, and most even cooking in this Cheeseburger Pasta recipe.
  • Use lean ground beef if desired, or drain off any excess fat once the meat is done cooking.
  • Use chicken broth or beef broth, according to your preference.
  • I like to add garlic powder for enhanced flavor. You can also add freshly minced garlic to the pan with the onion if you prefer.
  • Serve with optional garnishes including pickles, slivered green onions, spicy mustard, Dijon mustard, chopped tomatoes, black pepper, thinly sliced or pickled red onion, or other burger toppings you like.
  • Find more iron-rich recipes for kids and our go-to Mini Meatballs.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please rate and comment below!

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Hands holding bowl of cheeseburger pasta.

Cheeseburger Pasta

This one-pot Cheeseburger Pasta is nutritious, delicious, and so easy to make. It's a 30-minute way to make quick work of dinner!
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 508kcal
Servings 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups small pasta, such as elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart beef broth (reduced-sodium if desired)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, pickles (optional for serving)
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  • Set a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil to warm. Then, add the beef, onions, and carrots, and cook until the beef has browned, about 8-10 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Drain any excess fat from the pot.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Add the beef broth and turn the heat to high. When it boils, reduce to medium so the liquid simmers with steady but calm bubbles (so just not vigorously).
  • Add the pasta to the pot and stir gently.
  • Cook until the pasta is just tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, or for about 14-16 minutes. It's OK if there's some liquid remaining, as it will be absorbed as the pasta sits.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese to melt.
  • Serve with optional toppings as desired.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, sprinkle with water and cover with a plate or wax paper and warm for 30-60 seconds, stirring halfway through.
  • Use lean ground beef if desired, or drain off any excess fat once the meat is done cooking.
  • Add 1 cup finely diced mushrooms to the pan with the onion and beef to easily add another veggie.
  • Add an additional 8 ounces tomato sauce at the end of cooking for a more robust tomato flavor.
  • Top with minced fresh parsley if desired.


Calories: 508kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Sodium: 1147mg, Potassium: 578mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 549IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 303mg, Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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5 from 19 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    Love this!! Enough food for the family but also super easy to make. My 12m old daughter for some reason just doesn’t like beef at all..was able to trick her into eating some with this recipe.

  2. I plan to make this for dinner tonight! I have an open can of tomato paste, and I am wondering if tomato paste would sub in for the tomato sauce in this recipe, in the same quantity?

  3. 5 stars
    Easy to make and yummy! My 5 and 9 year old didn’t actually like it but kids don’t make sense. That wasn’t fault of the recipe!

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