I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly dinner options and I knew that this Cheeseburger Pasta recipe was going to be a hit at our place. I know what you’re thinking – wrong in concept and theory, but you’re just going to need to trust me on this one. It’s good. REALLY good!

Not only will the name of this pasta alone send waves of excitement throughout your house, but the end result is a deliciously cheesy and comforting pasta, all made in the one pan. I’ve made it multiple times across the last few weeks and, aside from being super quick to prepare (30 minutes from start to finish!), I love the simplicity of this recipe. It can be packed full of vegetables, the flavours are familiar, it’s freezer-friendly and one big batch is enough to serve my family twice … meaning less work for me, which is always a win!

Does it actually taste like cheeseburgers?

Sort of. It reminds me of a super creamy, cheesy bolognese, but either way … if you love pasta and love cheeseburgers, you will love this recipe! 

Which minced (ground) beef should I buy?

Beef mince (or ground beef) is an ingredient I add to my shopping cart most weeks. I buy the best quality, grain-fed, free-range beef that I can afford and, as a result, I find myself being able to prepare low-cost, delicious dinner options that are less than $5 per serve. Beef mince is not only perfect for slow, intensive cooking, but it’s also ideal for quick dinners like this one. It’s flavour-packed and remains tender and juicy during short cooking times. You can use any beef mince in this recipe. I normally opt for lean beef mince (90% beef, 10% fat), but regular beef mince is even better for deeper flavour (80% beef, 20% fat). You could substitute the beef mince with chicken or pork mince and it would be equally delicious in this recipe.

This one-pan Cheeseburger Pasta is a deliciously cheesy bolognese with a flavour that reminds me of cheeseburgers.

Can cheeseburger pasta be made ahead of time?

Yes, it’s a fantastic recipe to make ahead of time, ready for busy weeknights. You can refrigerate this meal for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months. It’s important to thaw the meal completely overnight prior to reheating, as it will soften … unless you don’t mind soft pasta, in which case you can reheat it directly from frozen in the microwave or on the stovetop (which I have absolutely done when I’ve needed dinner on the table fast!).

This Cheeseburger Pasta will quickly become a huge hit in your household!

What are some other quick freezer-friendly meal ideas? 

I’m a big believer in working smarter and not harder! I frequently make a double batch of whatever I’m cooking for dinner, so that I can freeze half, ready for when I need it. Some of our favourite freezer-friendly dinners are Butter Chicken, Crispy Baked Chicken Schnitzel, Homemade Nachos, Slow Cooker Massaman Beef and Roasted Pumpkin Soup. You can view all of my freezer-friendly recipes here.

Recipe add-ins

If you’re looking for an extra boost of vegetables, you can add grated zucchini (courgette) or finely diced capsicums (bell peppers), mushrooms or eggplant (aubergine) at the same time as the onions, celery and carrot in the recipe. Shredded spinach leaves and frozen peas can also be stirred through during the last 2 minutes of cooking. You can add 1–2 cups of additional vegetables.

Watch how to make Cheeseburger Pasta

Tips for cooking “one-pot pasta” with success

If you’ve ever made one-pan pasta before (where the pasta is cooked in the pan with the sauce) and found yourself with too much or too little liquid and undercooked pasta, these tips may help! It’s important that you use a heavy-based piece of cookware, such as a heavy-based casserole dish (e.g. cast-iron) or a heavy-based deep frying pan. Thin cookware will not heat evenly and does not hold its heat so well. The liquid needs to be simmering the entire time (gently with small bubbles). Always keep an eye on the heat (turn it up or down to maintain its simmer). The pasta needs to be stirred regularly. You can add some extra water if it looks like it’s starting to dry out; see the full recipe below for details.

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Cheeseburger Pasta served for dinner

Cheeseburger Pasta 

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 14 reviews

Quick and easy Cheeseburger Pasta is the ultimate stress-free, comforting weeknight dinner! All made in one pan with minimal prep, you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table within 30 minutes that everyone in your family will love!

  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 5–6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) beef 
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 g) tomato paste
  • 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock
  • 400 g (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 350 g (12½ oz) dried macaroni pasta (uncooked, can be substituted with penne or rigatoni, see note 1)
  • ½ cup (125 ml) full-cream milk
  • 2 cups (250 g) freshly grated colby or cheddar
  • ½ cup (75 g) freshly grated mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and salt (the salt will help the vegetables sweat and not caramelise – we want softened, fragrant vegetables here). Cook for 3 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the beef mince and cook for a further 3 minutes, breaking up the beef as you go, until it is browned.
  3. Stir through the pepper, onion powder, oregano and sugar.
  4. Stir the tomato paste through and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the beef stock and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the pasta and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. (Not enough liquid in the pan and the pasta is sticking? See note 2.)
  7. Add the milk and the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Season to taste. (If there is too much liquid or not enough liquid, see note 3.)
  8. Add the mozzarella on top, replace the lid and leave to sit for 30 seconds until the cheese has melted.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

Notes

Source – Originally inspired by a recipe I came across on the Tasty website. You can view the full original recipe here, mine is significantly different to really amp up the flavour. 

 

Note 1 – You can actually use up to 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) of pasta in this recipe. If using more than 400 g (14 oz) of pasta, simply add an additional 1 cup (250 ml) of water at the same time as the beef stock. Use pasta that takes 12 minutes or less to cook according to the packet.

 

Note 2 – If the pasta is beginning to stick to the base of the pan and the sauce isn’t looking very saucy, add ½ cup (125 ml) of water at a time to help loosen the sauce and continue cooking.

 

Note 3 – If there is too much liquid, it means the pot may not have been hot enough during the cooking process. As the pasta sits, some of the liquid will be absorbed. To remove excess liquid, remove the lid, turn the heat to the highest setting and cook for 3–5 minutes until the excess liquid has evaporated. If there is too little liquid and the pasta is fully cooked, add 1–2 tbsp of boiling water at a time from the kettle directly to the pan and stir to help loosen the sauce.

Make ahead: 

This is such a fantastic recipe to meal prep and make ahead. Prepare the meal as per the recipe and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight prior to reheating for best results and to avoid the pasta getting soft.

Leftovers:

Follow the make ahead instructions above for leftovers!

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 8 mins
  • Cook Time: 22 mins
  • Category: mains, pasta, batch cooking, meal planning, budget-friendly, one pan
  • Method: simmering
  • Cuisine: American