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Healthy Hamburger Helper (Low Carb & Keto Friendly)

This HEALTHY HAMBURGER HELPER is a one skillet dinner that is reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood meals – Cheeseburger Macaroni! There is ZERO pasta in this low carb one dish dinner – instead this recipe includes cauliflower for a healthier alternative. 

wooden spoon scooping hamburger helper out of a skillet

I’m not going to lie, you guys.

I LOVE Hamburger Helper! The Cheeseburger Macaroni version is an all-time favorite for both me and my kiddos and lately we’ve all been craving it.

After I perfected my cauliflower mac and cheese, I knew that I had to work on some low carb hamburger helper and woah. This is so darn good! 

The real question: did my kids like this low carb version of hamburger helper? 

low carb cheeseburger macaroni recipe.

The answer: Yep! My son didn’t even question the cauliflower, but he’s a teenage boy so he eats anything and everything. My daughter is the picky one in the family and she ate two helpings of this. She did say that she preferred the kind from a box, but that she wanted me to make this low carb version again too. 

I call that a win! 

How to make this low carb hamburger recipe: 

browned beef in skillet.

You’ll start by browning your beef. I prefer to use lean beef, but whatever you like is fine.

Once the beef is browned, you’ll add all of your remaining ingredients to the skillet. This couldn’t be easier.

You’ll need cauliflower that you’ve chopped into macaroni sized pieces, cream, water, sugar free ketchup, mustard, and a few spices. 

cauliflower and beef cooking

There won’t be a lot of liquid in the skillet, but bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. You’ll want to cook this until the cauliflower is nice and tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, add in a couple handfuls of shredded cheddar, and pop the lid back on to let the cheese melt.

Stir and serve!

white plate of low carb hamburger helper

This really is an easy one dish dinner and it was such a hit with my family. It totally satisfied my hamburger helper craving and I can’t wait to make it again on a busy night.

We served this with a side salad. Top it off with homemade ranch, homemade Italian dressing, or homemade thousand island dressing.

healthy hamburger helper on a wooden spoon

More low carb kid-friendly recipes:

Fathead Pizza: Everyone loves pizza night!

Ranch Grilled Chicken: This marinade is so easy and so flavorful!

Keto Taco Casserole: Perfect for Taco Tuesday!

Air Fryer Pork Chops: So simple and always a hit!

Keto Spaghetti: My kids love this spaghetti squash recipe.

cauliflower and beef  on a white plate

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Healthy Hamburger Helper

This low carb version of hamburger helper uses cauliflower instead of pasta. This recipe is kid-friendly and perfect for a low carb or keto diet!

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 16 ounces cauliflower, chopped into macaroni sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar free ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley


  1. Brown ground beef in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat, crumbling it as it cooks. Drain grease.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the skillet with the beef, except for the grated cheese and parsley. Stir well.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is as soft as you’d like, stirring every couple of minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheddar cheese, and cover for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir well and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 1078mgCarbohydrates: 10gNet Carbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 25g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information is accurate.

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72 thoughts on “Healthy Hamburger Helper (Low Carb & Keto Friendly)”

  1. Hi! I made this for me and hubby. We both just loved it! Gonna add it to our weekly dinners. It’s so quick and easy and low carb.

  2. Tastes even better than Ham urged helper with noodles. I used cubed zucchini since I didn’t have cauliflower on hand at the moment. Will make again, and again.

  3. Thank you for your easy recipe. I will make this again but I will leave out the paprika. I had forgotten that I don’t care for it. I added a generous splash of Heinz 57 sauce and it helped to cover up the paprika on my serving.

    1. Karly Campbell

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Beth! Hope it’s even better without the paprika for you. 🙂

    1. Karly Campbell

      Hi Melissa! I’ve only made this with cauliflower…we think it has a similar mellow flavor like pasta and it softens up nicely. I’m sure you could use most veggies in a dish like this, but the flavor won’t be the same.

    1. Karly Campbell

      I’ve only made this recipe with heavy cream. I’m not sure what would work as a substitute.

      1. I used sour cream instead of heavy cream and it was delicious. Thanks for this recipe!

    2. I know this is an old post but I have come back to this recipe many times. I use cauli rice that I precooked in the microwave; I also like to use cream cheese in place of the cream

  4. I made this recipe and added the ingredients into my LoseIt! app. I only added some green peppers and onion, everything else was as listed. If you make this recipe and say it’s four portions, it comes out as just under 700 calories per serving! How did you come up with such a low number when calculating this! I love the recipe but your nutritional chart is very misleading.

    1. Karly Campbell

      Hi Christie! The nutrition is calculated automatically, pulling numbers in from USDA. If exact counts are important to you, you’ll want to calculate using the exact ingredients and weight of ingredients that you used. 🙂

  5. Takia Police

    I dont have the sugar free ketchup..can i use regular ketchup instead and if so how much?

    1. Karly Campbell

      Regular ketchup is fine, if you don’t mind the sugar. You’d use the same amount.

  6. My first time trying a “cauliflower substitute” recipe and and really liked it. I will use less cheese next time (just a personal preference) but there will definitely be a next time. Thanks for all your good work.

  7. Rikka Martin

    Quick question is what is a serving size of this recipe? All it says is 4 servings, are these large or small servings?

    1. Karly Campbell

      Hi Rikka! I didn’t measure by volume – just divided the recipe into fourths.

    2. Takia Police

      Hey it me again. I was wondering instead of ground beef ,can i use ground Turkey instead?

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