Hamburger and Macaroni

BudgetComfort FoodGround BeefMacaroni

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!

Photography Credit: 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 make 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!

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Hamburger and Macaroni Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni (use rice pasta or gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version)
  • 1 Tbsp 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 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp 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.

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.

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.

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Rhode Island 'Chop Suey,' from The Perfect Pantry

Creamy Taco Mac, from Annie's Eats

Cheeseburger Mac, from Ezra Poundcake

Hamburger Macaroni - what to make with hamburger meat

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

245 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jeffrey Hopkins

    Number one search result when I looked for beef and mac. And it deserves a place at the top. Made it tonight, added some chopped celery, used a tbsp plus a couple squirts of Worcestershire. Otherwise followed it exact. I feel it would have had a bit more zing with the full amount of Worcestershire, and maybe an extra shake of crushed red peppers. No Manwich flavour whatsoever. Thank God. Next time will try it with chili powder in place of the Worcestershire for a different twist.

    Thanks so much for sharing this great meal!


    Show Replies (1)
  2. m0mmasu3

    Kinda tasted like Manwich with pasta. My daughter said it was good. I’d leave out the pasta and make sloppy joe’s? Thank you for sharing your recipe. It just wasn’t for me.

  3. Marie

    Thank you for this recipe, Elise, it is my late mom’s American chop suey to a t, sans the chopped green pepper. I have long tried other recipes but they just were not the same. She made this monthly in our house, but especially when we would go camping in Rhode Island in the summer. It’s just one of those tastes that takes me back.


    Show Replies (2)
  4. A

    This turned out so good! I had to substitute shell’s for macaroni. My 5 year old loved it!


  5. Melanie

    We loved this recipe. I didn’t have celery seed but used celery salt in the seasoning. I also added chopped celery to the onion while browning the meat. We enjoyed it for dinner with a tossed salad and had enough for lunch the next day.


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