Ground Beef Skillet Recipes
A one skillet recipe is a dinnertime life-saver, I think we can all agree on that. This ground beef and pasta recipe is very possibly the least sophisticated recipe in The Mom 100 Cookbook, and very possibly the one that my husband in particular eats as though he will be fasting for the following week. His eyes get kind of teary whenever I made this. He’ll show up for dinner early.
It’s nothing new under the sun (macaroni and cheese and beef; rocket science this ain’t), but once you try it you will understand the deepest meaning of the word crowd-pleaser. And (hold onto to the edge of the table) – IT ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET. Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce! I know, I know! It’s the little things.
Skillet for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Get a huge pan, a 12 or 13-incher (best pan in the world if you cook for a group regularly), make a vat of this, keep it in the fridge. If you don’t have this huge honking pan, cut the recipe in half. If you have bigger kids who are constantly running in and out of the house with their friends, all of them starving and in need of fuel before or after soccer practice, then you, you my friend, may never again be without a batch of this One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni awaiting reheating and inhalation.
In some parts of the country this is known as goulash or American Goulash. I did not even know this was a thing until I started researching American Goulash recipes, and realized that this recipe was (accidentally!) the very definition of that dish. American Goulash is a tomato based ground beef meal or sorts with the pasta baked right into the mix. There is usually peppers (check), elbow macaroni (check) and cheese (check) involved.
This Cheesy Beef and Macaroni ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET. Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce! I know, I know! It’s the little things.Tweet This
Beef Mac and Cheese
We actually just call this ground beef pasta dish “cheesy beefy” for short, and some of the kids friends refer to it as hamburger mac and cheese. My sister-in-law Lisa with her three large boys and revolving cast of visiting teenagers swears by this. It is reminiscent of something that rhymes with Flamberger Felper, but it’s better and it’s yours.
Substitutions for Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Not to be a broken record, but please, please feel free to experiment with this pretty flexible ground beef skillet recipe. The chili powder, for instance, changes the flavor from a more Italian-American vibe to slightly Mexican, but in no way crosses over into overly exotic. Use ground turkey or chicken. Add shallots. Use cumin, or maybe curry powder. Try Monterey Jack. Wear stilettos to the PTA, spit into the wind, take up rock climbing, learn to sing opera (see what happened there? Now using cumin sounds like a very reasonable experiment, as compared to singing an aria; remember, it’s just ground meat.)
Green pepper is often called for in dishes like this, and it’s fine, but red (or orange or yellow) bell peppers are sweeter, and usually more kid-friendly, but this is not anything other than subjective opinion, and you shall do as you please.
How to Make One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Brown the beef in a very large deep skillet, then wipe out the skillet, and saute the peppers, carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef back to the skillet.
Then add the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder if using.
Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer.
Add the pasta and stir to combine.
Lower the heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season again if needed.
Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole then cover for just 1 more minute until the cheese is melty, and serve.
Serve this right out of the pan.
The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni: This is total comfort food; a one dish recipe, with even the pasta cooking in the same skillet.Tweet This
Reheating Leftover Beefy Mac and Cheese
Leftovers can be reheated on the stovetop over medium low heat (you may want to add a bit of water if it seems like it’s drying out), or in a preheated 350°F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cheese at the very end, otherwise it has a way of dissolving right into the casserole, not staying on top in that appealing melty way.
If you are serving half of it, and saving half, just sprinkle half the cheese over half the pan, leaving the rest naked for another day.
Other Ground Beef and Cheese Recipes:
- Cheesy Beef and Hash Brown Casserole
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie
- Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
- Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce
- Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
- Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas
Other Macaroni and Cheese Recipes:
- Sheetpan Macaroni and Cheese Squares
- Stovetop Macaroni and Four Cheeses
- Ultimate Creamy Baked Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese
- Macaroni and Cheese
Like this recipe? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest.Pin This
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
- 2 pounds lean ground beef 85/15%
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red, yellow, orange, or green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped peeled carrots
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder optional but recommended
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¾ pound dried elbow macaroni
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- Heat a very large skillet (for this full recipe, it should be a deep 12-inch pan) over medium high heat and brown the beef, stirring until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet, add the oil, and heat it over medium heat. Add the peppers, carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef back to the skillet, as well as the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder if using. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, stir and cover. Lower the heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season again if needed.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole then cover for just 1 more minute until the cheese is melty, and serve. Serve this right out of the pan.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved
I’m the kings taster for the family, I approve this recipe!!
Wear stilettos to the PTA…. this was the most fun recipe I’ve ever read It was really delicious too!!!
What if I already have a large batch of already cooked elbow macaroni I want to use? Should I just not add as much water?
It really won’t absorb the flavors and the liquid in the same way, so I would make a pasta salad, or just make another type of sauce!
Made it tonight ! Awesome!
This turned out really good! I didn’t have any crushed tomatoes, so I (hesitantly) tried a big jar of Prego: Garden Combination” spaghetti sauce and it still turned out great! Also added Italian seasoning instead of basil since I didn’t have any. Love it!
I love all the fresh veggies in this dish. I even used fresh tomatoes & chopped / crushed & used the tomatoes juice. I am not a mac-n- cheese lover, but this dish was very delicious!
Picky 9 year old said “mmmm…good”. I’ll take that! I halved the recipe for my small family, and added a bit more cheese. (Shredded Tex-mex) I’ll make again.
this was a family favorite forever in our house!
Is this calling for 2 28 ounce cans of tomatoes or 2 14 ounce cans for a total of 28 ounces?
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in juice – 56 ounces total!
I halved the recipe because I wanted to make sure we liked it. Very tasty. I will make the full recipe next time and try to freeze half. I had to cover and let sit, off the heat, for about 7 additional minutes for the macaroni to fully cook, and it was perfect.
I think I will try the red wine next time. Oh, I used whey instead of the water because I had some left over.
do you think i could use pizza sauce instead of chopped tomatoes?
pizza sauce is usually a bit thicker. if that what you have, I might thin it out with a bit more broth until it is the consistency of crushed tomatoes.
OK so if you have no imagination your cooking more than likely is always bland. Add 1/4 red wine and about 1/2 cup sour cream. Taste as you go. Used ancho chille powder instead of chilli powder. So only had velveta so that is what I used. Super yummy.
When I take out my 12 inch pan, my family gets excited because I’m most likely making this recipe. As with all things tomato, it’s even better the next day for lunch.
still Gary’s all time favorite!
I thought it was a great recipe. Made it with turkey burger. Had plenty of flavor even with me not using all the ingredients. My daughter and her friend said they loved it 2 thumbs up probably would have been even better if all the ingredients were used will try again and this time with all ingredients. Thanks for the idea. Very easy to make and didn’t take long.
This was very, very good. My husband will not eat any veggies and he gobbled this down. I love that it had carrots, tomatoes, and peppers. It was good, and made a huge batch so I have plenty to freeze.
I had to split our family ratings on this one – 5-stars from the wife (who loves mild foods) and 3-stars from me (I tend toward more flavor). Worth coming back to to experiment, for sure, but our biggest issue was that the full recipe is, well, at best “right at” the limit of what our 12” skillet can handle. You’ll be less nervous if you go with a 14” skillet, and then have just one pan instead of two, since I had to do a last minute changeover of pans to avoid a legendary melt-over scenario :-)
it does fill a 12-incher pretty full! and if yours was shallow I can see why you might want to go for the bigger pan.
I started out with my 12” skillet and wound up transferring it to my big Le Creuset braised
We will def make again. I did add 1/2 more water and a little bit of brown sugar to cut the tomato taste just a little.
Good call Karalyn on the brown sugar, tomatoes are a bit overpowering for some. I pre-cook the elbow mac, drain and dump it into the browned hamburger along with the tomatoes and seasonings then top with shreaded parmesan and mozzarella and bake.
This is one of our all time favorites – we love it!
It’s ideal for feeding a bunch of people and is always well received. It’s easy to modify – try adding some mushrooms or carrots – and leftovers are equally good.
I have to agree with Kelle. This had ZERO flavor. It tasted like watered down tomatoes. I even added more spices and tries to jazz it up with a few other ingredients but still zero flavor. It was so bad I even had my wife try it and ahe rarely yives a bad review but even she gave it a dounle thumbs down. Usually your recipes are really good Katie but this one was sub par. Thankfully, the pizza parlor was open!
sorry to hear,Joe. It’s a family favorite, and one of my most popular recipes — but certainly not meant to be assertive, just comfort food.
It has SO MUCH more flavor if you if you use half the amount of tomatoes the recipe calls for! I honestly must have read the recipe wrong initially because I just used one big jar of Prego garden Combination spaghetti sauce (24 Oz) and I also used beef stock instead of water! It was fantastic!
Quick and easy to make. Good flavor!
Absolutely delish. And…I have made this dish many many times and the only time the garlic, onions, carrots, and red peppers fail to have a flavor profile is when YOU neglect to allow the tomato sauce to marry said ingredients. In other words simmer the sauce for a bit of time and do not add too many pieces of elbow mac.
Made this for something easy!! My husband and I both love it. Pasta cooked perfectly. The green,red,yellow peppers…garlic…onion…Worcestershire sauce and chili powder have it great flavor!!!!! It’s a keeper
it’s one of our top 10 dishes forever!
Zero flavor. I added a lot more garlic, salt, pepper and cheese and it was still mediocre. Took 25 minutes to cook the macaroni in a very large and deep calphalon skillet. 2 teenage boys and a husband said to not make it again.
So sorry to hear – mabe check your spices, see if they have faded in flavor? I made this constantly, and never hear complaints!
Flavor was good but there is no way the pasta is cooked well this way. Had to keep adding water or broth to give pasta enough liquid to cook. Even then it was hard and chewy. Maybe I’ll try cooking pasta separately.
DSid you use bronze cut pasta? That takes a little longer. Regular elbow should cook up tender in the time it takes (this is a staple in our house).
Used regular elbow Mac and it cooked perfectly. Did you cover the pot?