What to Add to Hamburger Helper? [10 Tasty Combos]

What to Add to Hamburger Helper 10 Tasty Combos
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When it comes to Hamburger Helper, you might think it’s as perfect as it could be, but even an idea this great can still be improved. My passion is exploring and experimenting with food, so by now, I have made substantial discoveries in making Hamburger Helper even more delicious.

Hamburger Helper is a great way to make an ordinary dish taste heavenly, which is why I always have it in my kitchen. Over the years, I have gathered some experience, and in this article, I will share some of my ideas on improving Hamburger Helper and enjoying your meal to the fullest. 

Parsley and Cilantro

Parsley and cilantro are great herbs to add to Hamburger Helper, and they can really elevate the dish. They add a refreshing spruce of green color, making the meal more inviting to the eye and enhancing the flavors.

With its grassy taste, parsley and cilantro complement the savory juiciness of the Hamburger Helper. This powerful combo doesn’t dominate the taste, but it adds a subtle but still noticeable herby note resulting in a fresher flavor.

Cilantro and parsley together create a bold, citrusy flavor that gives the Hamburger Helper dish a homemade feel. However, cilantro and parsley are a pair that has no grey zone; you either love it or hate it. I genuinely enjoy the flavors these two herbs provide, so for me: the more, the better.

I especially appreciate the parsley and cilantro combo because it is easy to add, just chop and sprinkle, and it doesn’t lose flavor while cooking. What’s even better, these two mix great with veggies such as tomatoes, onions, or peppers, making it a great way to make Hamburger Helper better. 


What Is Hamburger Helper & Is It Worth It?

Diced Avocado and Chopped Tomatoes

Diced avocado and chopped tomatoes bring a refreshing dimension to Hamburger Helper as well as adding texture. The creamy, buttery avocado pairs beautifully with the juicy, tangy tomatoes creating a silky and tender dish.

The contrasting flavors of the avocado and tomatoes hit the bull’s eye in the story. While avocado is mild and smooth, the tomatoes add a bright, slightly sweet, and acidic flavor, which pair up perfectly, making your Hamburger Helper creamier and zestier. 

Between the soft avocado and the crunchy tomatoes, you will enjoy the abundance of texture and flavor they offer. 

However, this combination has a downside, so adding them the right way is crucial for a successful dish. If you add the tomatoes and avocado after you cook the Hamburger Helper, it may get soggy and overly wet. 

To prevent this, add the avocado and tomatoes while your Hamburger Helper is cooking to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. Once the dish is ready, let it cool for a few minutes to allow for everything to set. 

Although it works with all Hamburger Helper varieties, I find this combination especially delicious with a cheesy Hamburger Helper. The freshness of the avocado and tomatoes helps cut through the richness of the cheese, making each bite even more irresistible. 

For some extra flavor, you might want to add chopped cilantro, a few drops of lime juice, or a bit of hot sauce.

Cream Cheese And Sour Cream

Cream cheese and sour cream Hmaburger Helper

After a stressful day, Hamburger Helper can really be the best comfort food, and with some extra cream cheese and sour cream, it washes the stress away in a second. 

Not only do they make the dish creamier, but they add gentility and silkiness, perfect to cheer up even the gloomiest day. You can add these while cooking, or after the dish is done, it will be creamy and rich either way. 

I like to add them in after I cook the Hamburger Helper, but while it is still hot. This way, I get to enjoy the flavors as well as the creaminess they offer. 

While cream cheese adds creamy saltiness to the dish, sour cream adds a subtle tanginess that freshens up the flavors and balances the richness of the dish. You don’t have to add both, of course, but I like to mix them in a bowl and add them together. 

To make the dish even more playful, you can add some veggies such as sautéed mushrooms, diced bell peppers, or even some fresh spinach. However, only the sour cream and cream cheese will do, so you don’t have to bend over backward to improve your Hamburger Helper. 

Tomato Sauce

If you want to give your Hamburger Helper dish a homemade dimension so that it tastes wholesome and warm, tomato sauce should definitely be your choice. Tomato sauce truly enhances the dish, giving it a rich and tangy flavor with a comforting feel. 

The sweet and savory tomato sauce, with just a tad of acidity, complements the other ingredients in the dish, bonding the flavors together and balancing them up. It smoothens and slightly thickens the texture, helping bind everything together, making the Hamburger Helper an even more satisfying meal. The tomato sauce also makes the dish more appealing, giving it shades of red color interspersed with brown. 

To add your tomato sauce to the Hamburger Helper dish, you only need to pour as much as you want and stir it into the dish while it’s cooking. Add the tomato sauce for a few minutes before you remove the pan from the plate for a more expressive flavor. This way, the flavors will remain intact, while the texture will be creamy and satisfying. 

In my experience, adding tomato sauce to Hamburger Helper has always made it more enjoyable, and I love how customizable it is. You can create a completely different dish every time just by tweaking the ingredients. You can add garlic and onions, dried herbs, or grated cheese. 

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is Hamburger Helper’s secret weapon. It adds a unique and deep flavor that really takes the dish to a whole new level. Worcestershire sauce has many culinary uses, so whenever you aren’t sure whether or not it will go, try it; it probably will. 

It has a delicious savory taste with a whiff of tanginess with a thin and smooth texture, making it perfect for mixing into the Hamburger Helper.

When I add Worcestershire sauce to my Hamburger Helper, I usually start by mixing in about a tablespoon or so when cooking the ground beef. You can always adjust the amount to your liking and even add an extra splash when you crave that delicious and edgy, umami taste.

Worcestershire sauce is even more impressive because it pairs well with other ingredients such as sautéed onions and mushrooms, peas, or carrots. One of my favorite combos is to add a little BBQ sauce along with the Worcestershire sauce for a smoky-sweet flavor.

Garlic Powder and Italian Seasoning

Garlic powder and Italian seasoning create pure magic when it comes to Hamburger Helper! These two seasonings are like a flavor power duo that can do anything short of fighting crime. 

Garlic powder adds a warm, savory taste making the dish more satisfying and mouthwatering. The aroma of garlic stimulates your appetite making the dish taste even more delicious, not to mention teasing you while you’re cooking.

Italian seasoning is a blend of various dried herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. It adds depth and complexity to the Hamburger Helper, making it taste more homemade. Combined together, garlic powder and Italian seasoning spice up the Hamburger Helper without overwhelming it. 

The best thing about this combo is that you can always add one or the other to balance things out. If you add too much Italian seasoning, add a tad more of powdered garlic to tone down the herbal notes. Conversely, if you overdo it with the garlic powder, you can always add some more Italian seasoning to milden it down.

Add the garlic powder and Italian seasoning right before you remove the dish from the stove so as to prevent the flavors from fading. 

Smoked Paprika 

Smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices to jazz up a Hamburger Helper meal. It brings a warm, smoky flavor that perfectly combines sweetness, earthiness, and just a tad of spiciness. It doesn’t really change the texture, but it adds that extra layer of flavor that gives it depth and complexity.

How much smoked paprika you add depends on you and you alone. You can add as much or as little as you want. I like to start by adding one teaspoon, mix it well and add more if I am in the mood for a spicier and smokier dish. 

To spice up your Hamburger Helper even more, add some sautéed onions and bell peppers. You can also throw in a few chili pepper pieces to make things more interesting. 

Bell Peppers and Mushrooms

Hamburger Helper works great with parsley and cilantro or mushrooms and bell peppers or avocado and tomato

Since I mentioned them a few times earlier, it is about time to devote an entire section to this power couple. Adding bell peppers and mushrooms to Hamburger Helper is a real game-changer.

The bell peppers bring a nice, sweet crunch interlaced with that signature gentility and homemade dimension, while the mushrooms offer their earthy depth of flavor.

While cooking the meat for the Hamburger Helper, toss in some diced bell peppers (I use a mix of red, yellow, and green for that pop of color) and sliced mushrooms. I let them cook with the meat until they’re tender and have released their juices, which usually happens after a few minutes. Then, just follow the instructions on the Hamburger Helper box, adding the seasoning and pasta. 

Let everything simmer to bond the flavors and balance them out. 

You can also throw in some chopped onions and minced garlic for an extra splash of flavor. If you are feeling particularly creative, experiment with seasonings and spices, as the bell pepper mushroom combo is very receptive to any added flavors.

Cheese isn’t a necessity, but it is a desired ingredient here, so if you have some, grate it over your Hamburger Helper dish while it is still hot.


In my experience, zucchini adds a subtle and mild flavor that complements the dish without dominating it. Its role is more to support the flavors already in the dish than to shine on its own. Adding zucchini to Hamburger Helper is a great way to smuggle in some extra veggies and make your meal fresher, richer, and healthier. 

The crucial thing to do when adding the zucchini to the Hamburger Helper is to drain it so that it doesn’t make our dish soggy and drippy. Zucchini is pretty generous in liquid, and guess where it all goes if you don’t get rid of it — straight into your pasta, making it soggy.

Grate the zucchini and place it in a bowl. Add some salt and let it sit for at least half an hour. The salt will draw the liquid out, so all your need to do is strain the zucchini with a strainer or gauze. Once you squeeze out most of the zucchini liquid, you can cook it.  

Zucchini works well with a variety of Hamburger Helper flavors, so use it with whichever you want. It also does excellently when combined with other veggies, such as bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms. Once the zucchini is cooked, simply add it to the Hamburger Helper mixture and stir gently. 

Zucchini is a great way to make your Hamburger Helper creamier and healthier. 

Spinach or Kale 

Adding leafy greens to your Hamburger Helper dish may seem unusual, but rest assured, it is a great idea. Not only will you make your meal healthier, but you will also enrich it texture-wise, as spinach or kale gets creamy when cooked. 

Spinach or kale gives Hamburger Helper a slightly earthy taste, similar to that of mushrooms. Also, despite their reputation, spinach and kale are very gentle and don’t overwhelm the flavor, but they do add their own magic. So, if you are a fan of mushrooms, you will certainly like spinach or kale in your Hamburger Helper. 

If you are still deciding which to add, consider what you want to achieve. If more flavor and creaminess are your goals, you should go with spinach, and if the texture is what you are looking for, kale is the way to go. 

Chop them and add them to the Hamburger Helper while you cook them. They will soften up in just a few minutes. Stir them nicely to homogenize them with the dish, and your meal is all set. 

Healthy and delicious, spinach and kale are great ideas to improve Hamburger Helper. These two leafy greens also work with other veggies, but they do especially well with garlic. So, add a clove of minced garlic to make your meal even more flavorful. 

Hamburger Helper Improved

Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta Improved

Author: Laura Bais
Anything can use an improvement, and so can this delicious premade meal. Still, improvements don't have to be big and complicated. So, here's a simple and easy way to make your Hamburger Helper better!
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Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 servings
Calories 381 kcal


  • 1 box Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 1 carrot (finely sliced)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Smokey BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup tomato sauce


  • Put the olive oil into a skillet on medium heat and saute the onion and carrot.
  • Put the ground meat in and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, breaking up and stirring.
  • When the meat is done, stir in hot water, milk, sauce mix, sauces, and pasta. Heat to boiling.
  • Once it starts boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.
  • Uncover and cook, while stirring, for an additional 1 to 3 minutes to desired consistency.
  • Enjoy your improved version of Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta with gusto!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 24gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 818mgPotassium: 700mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 2234IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta Improved, How to Make Hamburger Helper Better, Improved Hamburger Helper, What to Add to Hamburger Helper
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