I like to raise the bar for myself when creating recipes, and boy did I ever with this One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni! It literally tastes like a cheeseburger with pasta!
Everyone in the family is going to love the flavors in this dish if they love a good cheeseburger!
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I didn't use the Ninja Foodi pressure cooker in this recipe, although it certainly can be made that way. I will give my suggestions for making it in an electric pressure cooker a little later in the article.
I found that it was just as fast and easy to use a large skillet on the stove, and I recently purchased a cool induction cooktop for videos and wanted to try it out!
Frequently Asked Questions
I used a 3 quart skillet and it worked great. You can also use a large pot if you don't have a 3 qt skillet, but it may take a little longer to cook if it is smaller in diameter and the contents are deeper in the pot.
Yes, of course! You can simply omit the beef or use ground turkey if you prefer. No other changes to the recipe are needed.
If you have a large enough pot, you can certainly double the recipe. You can also double the recipe using a pressure cooker, as well.
What Type of Pasta Works Best for Cheeseburger Macaroni?
You can use any kind of pasta you like and it will be just fine. The two main things to keep in mind are shape and how much liquid they will absorb during the cooking process.
Let's say I wanted to make this recipe with spaghetti noodles. I might start off with a little more liquid than elbow macaroni because each strand of the spaghetti is going to require liquid to cook.
The timing may also be less with the spaghetti noodles. When using spaghetti or any other long, thin pasta, I would criss cross the noodles for the best outcome. You can see how I do that in this video.
If you want to make a delicious spaghetti in your pressure cooker, here is the written recipe: Ninja Foodi Spaghetti
The type of pasta you choose is 100% up to you, so use what you love and have on hand and the only major difference will be cook time. The elbows took about 14 minutes to cook, penne may take 16-18.
Can I make Cheese Burger Macaroni in the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, it might seem strange that I didn't make this recipe in the Ninja Foodi. I thought about it, but it was so easy on the stove and this is one of those times where I don't think you will save any time by pressure cooking.
It's a super fast recipe stove-top. I totally understand that there is a huge draw to throwing things in the pot and hitting a button on the IP or Ninja Foodi, so if you want to do do that, here are my suggestions.
Brown the ground beef and add the onions/seasonings just like I do in the recipe. Deglaze the pot with TWO cups of beef broth. You want to reduce the liquid because there will be very limited evaporation when pressure cooking.
Add in the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the tomato paste, and stir. Put the tomato paste on top and don't stir. I would start with 2 Tbsp tomato paste and increase as needed at the end so the dish is thickened the way you want it.
Put the lid on the Ninja Foodi and set the pressure to high for 3 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pot to NR for 2-3 minutes and then release the remaining pressure.
Stir it all together and add the cheese. If it needs to be thicker, you can add a bit more tomato paste, more cheese, or let it simmer to burn off the liquid.
How to make Cheeseburger Macaroni in a skillet
The prep in this recipe is super easy. Measure out your spices and dice your onion into about ¼" dice. That's it! Don't you love recipes like this!
Heat your skillet over medium high heat and add the ground beef. Break it up into smallish pieces and cook it until it's about 25% done. Add in the seasonings, the onions, and the Worcheshire Sauce. Cook until the beef is about 75% done.
Make sure you break up the pieces of ground beef into the sizes that you want in your dish. I like mine to be a little chunky.
Add in the can of tomatoes. I like to use fire roasted because the flavor is so good (not spicy), but you can use any style diced tomato you like.
Add in the sugar. I use Demerara sugar in this recipe because I love the flavor of it, but you can use a little brown sugar or white sugar. I would start off with half of the amount and you can always add more later.
Next add in the pasta and 3 cups of beef broth. Reserve an additional cup of beef broth in case you need it.
Make sure the pasta is under the liquid and put the lid on the pot.
Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. I like to cook the rest of the way with the lid off so some of the liquid will evaporate as the pasta cooks the rest of the way.
Taste the pasta and when it is done to your liking, turn the heat down.
When the pasta is done to your liking, it's time to add the finishing touches!
The addition of two types of vinegar might seem a little strange, but trust me on this one. The apple cider vinegar brings the slight vinegar taste (think ketchup, not puckering vinegar) and the balsamic brings a balance and a touch of sweet. The two together are PERFECT in this recipe.
Once you stir in the vinegars and the tomato paste (for thickening). Reduce the heat to low. You don't want to add your shredded cheese while the mixture is boiling or the cheese tends to clump all in one place.
Stir in the cheese. I leave about ¼ cup out and stir in just before serving, but that is totally optional.
Serve & Enjoy your Cheeseburger Macaroni!
- 3 qt skillet or large pot
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tsp sea salt fine grind
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 small onion
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 14.5 ounces fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Demerara sugar or ½ Tbsp of white or brown sugar
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsps tomato paste
- 2¼ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Chop the onion into about ¼" dice. Measure out the spices.
- Heat the skillet on medium high heat and add the ground beef. Sauté until it is about 25% cooked and then add in the seasonings and the onions. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the Worcheshire sauce, diced tomatoes, and the sugar. Add in the pasta and 3 cups of beef stock. Stir well and try to get the pasta submerged in the broth. Keep the heat on medium high and the mixture should be boiling or a rapid simmer. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover.
- Cook until the noodles are done to your liking. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed now.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add in the vinegars and the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Add in the shredded cheese and stir. Turn the heat off.
- Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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