Hamburger and Macaroni

Hamburger and Macaroni! Others call it goulash or even American chop suey. Whatever you call it, it's great for a midweek meal. Browned ground beef cooked in a tomato onion sauce, mixed in with elbow macaroni. So good!

Hamburger Macaroni
Elise Bauer

Rachael Ray has nothing on my mother. As far as this family is concerned, my mom invented healthful, delicious comfort food that one can cook in 30 minutes or less.

This hamburger and macaroni dish is one of my mother's recipes that has been served in our house at least once a month for the last 45 years. We even have a special name for it—HMO (Hamburger Macaroni Onions). I've also heard it called "goulash" or "American chop suey" or "Hamburger Noodle Casserole."

My father gets a song in his voice when he announces that we're having HMO for dinner. You brown the meat and make the sauce while the water is coming to a boil and the macaroni is cooking. So it takes less than half an hour to make. So easy!

Hamburger and Macaroni in a bowl
Elise Bauer

Hamburger and Macaroni

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (or mixed chopped green onion greens and yellow onion)

  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

  • Pinch chili pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

  • 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Start cooking the pasta:

    Get a large pot of salted hot water (1 tablespoon of salt for 2 quarts of water) heating and begin cooking the macaroni as per the directions on the macaroni package.

  2. Brown the beef and onions:

    While the water is heating and macaroni cooking, prepare the sauce. In a skillet, brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Stir only infrequently so that the ground beef has an opportunity to brown.

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    When the beef has mostly browned, add the onions to the pan and toss to combine. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes.

  3. Add seasonings, tomatoes:

    Add the celery seed, a dash of crushed red pepper and seasoned salt. Pour in canned tomatoes, add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.

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  4. Add cooked pasta:

    Reserve a half cup of the pasta cooking water. Mix in the drained and cooked macaroni and the parsley. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add in some of the pasta water if the dish is too dry.

    Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.


Rhode Island 'Chop Suey,' from The Perfect Pantry

Creamy Taco Mac, from Annie's Eats

Cheeseburger Mac, from Ezra Poundcake

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
487 Calories
24g Fat
30g Carbs
36g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 487
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 682mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 33mg 163%
Calcium 128mg 10%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 975mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.