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Homemade Beefaroni is a fast family-friendly meal that reinvents a childhood classic. Kids and adults love this hearty and comforting mixture of macaroni and beef in tomato sauce with just a hint of spice. It is made with only five main ingredients, including pantry staples like elbow noodles and ground beef, and takes less than twenty minutes. This easy beefaroni recipe is sure to become a staple on your dinner menu!
Originally published on Mar 27, 2017. Updated with video and additional useful information about the recipe.
Homemade Beefaroni Recipe
Similar to the stuff you buy in a can, but so much better and still crazy fast. This hearty bowl of macaroni and beef in tomato sauce is sure to become a new family favorite in your house too. It has just a hint of spice, with enough to taste it, but not too much for those picky eaters. So it’s totally kid-friendly. Just cook some elbow noodles (even gluten free, if needed), brown some ground beef, and add some sauce and chili powder. It doesn’t get any easier!
I’m sure like many of you, this dish holds a special place in my heart. Although perhaps not for the same reasons. Sure, in my childhood my mom opened up a can or two of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni – that macaroni and beef in tomato sauce that I know lots of us ate growing up.
But for me, beefaroni isn’t about the canned stuff. It’s about my grandma. It was actually one of the easiest meals she made, but it evokes the strongest, warmest memories for me. I can still hear her saying, “I made a pot of junk for dinner.”
Yes, she called it “junk”.
It’s a simple mixture of cooked elbow noodles, browned ground beef sauteed with a bit of onion, tomato sauce, and just a hint of chili powder. Cook it up and stir it all together in one pot so you can hear that unmistakable sound of the pieces of elbow macaroni moving around with just the perfect amount of sauce. That’s the sound that brings me back to my grandma’s kitchen.
Now my kids devour it just as quickly as I did, and I’m sure your entire family will too.
Watching my boys dig into a bowl of “junk” reminds me that it doesn’t have to be a complicated meal or some super authentic ethnic cuisine from your heritage to connect the generations. It’s really just about coming together to enjoy each others’ company and share about our past, present, and future. That’s a family recipe.
How to Make Beefaroni
This is one of the ultimate quick and easy dinners for busy nights. You can brown the meat in a skillet while you cook the elbow macaroni in the pot where you will combine everything. Or make it a one-pot meal, and brown the meat in the same pot after you’ve drained the noodles.
Plus it makes a lot, so you can feed a large family, a couple of your kids’ friends, or save some for leftovers. Yes, it might be even more delicious after it has been in the refrigerator for a day or two.
And I’m going to tell you how to make my beefaroni recipe.
What is beefaroni made of?
This easy version only has five main ingredients:
- Elbow macaroni – you can use traditional, whole wheat, or gluten free noodles
- Ground beef
- Canned tomato sauce
- Chili powder
Plus olive oil, salt, and pepper.
How do you make homemade beefaroni?
Here is a brief overview just to show you how simple it is. Check out the printable recipe card just below for the full amounts and details.
- Cook the elbow macaroni in a large pot according to package directions, and drain.
- Brown ground beef in a skillet olive oil with onion, salt, and pepper.
- Return the noodles to the pot.
- Add the ground beef, tomato sauce, and chili powder.
- Stir everything together and heat it through.
What do you serve with Beefaroni?
- Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Lemon Roasted Broccoli
- Spinach Artichoke Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta
- And for dessert, try grandma’s favorite Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake or Gluten Free Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream
Need more ground beef recipes…
- The Best Chili Recipe is always classic.
- Easy Sloppy Joes have all the kids running to the dinner table.
- Lasagna (and a version made with Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles) is comfort food everyone loves.
- Shepherds Pie can be easy enough for a weeknight meal.
- Italian Pasta Casserole is another favorite way to eat ground beef and noodles.
- My Grandma’s Porcupine Meatballs (aka Polish meatballs) are like stuffed cabbage, but without the cabbage.
Easy Homemade Beefaroni
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion, salt, and pepper.
- Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through. Drain any excess grease.
- Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot. Add the beef, tomato sauce, and chili powder and stir together.
- Return the pot to the stove over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
My favorite quick and easy dinners:
- Sriracha Lime Crockpot Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- Hawaiian Scrambled Eggs
- Balsamic Glazed Steak Bites
- Cubed Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet