Dairy Free Hamburger Helper

A silver sauté pan full of dairy free hamburger helper.

In the mood for a big ‘ol bowl of hamburger helper – but on a dairy free diet? Don’t fret – we’ve got a dairy free hamburger helper recipe that will satisfy that comfort food craving! This dish is perfect for busy weeknights when you need a hearty and filling meal that can be prepared in just one pot. Easy, delicious, and sure to please any picky kiddos!

Ingredient Notes

Here’s a photo of all the ingredients you’ll need, along with selected ingredient notes:

All of the ingredients for the recipe laid out on a white backdrop.
  • Dairy free shredded cheddar – My family is very picky about dairy-free cheese, so we stick to Violife. That is (in my opinion) the best option on the market right now that is widely available for a cheddar style. However, if you have another dairy free cheddar that you love, feel free to use it!
  • Dairy free sour cream – We find Tofutti “Better Than Sour Cream” to be closest to traditional sour cream. However, keep in mind that this is a soy-based product. If you are soy-free as well, you can use another variety of dairy free sour cream, or even a plain almond-milk based yogurt. You’re really just looking for some creaminess and tang to add to the recipe.
  • Cavatappi Pasta – This is a fun spiral shaped pasta that works well in this dish. However, you can easily substitute another pasta if you don’t have this on hand. Penne, rigatoni, farfalle, and cavatelli will all work in this recipe. Note that if you use smaller pasta shapes, the cooking time will be a little shorter.


You’ll find the full recipe amounts and instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s a helpful overview with photos and tips.

Start by heating the oil in a large sauté pan. A sauté pan has a flat bottom and tall straight sides, which makes it ideal for this recipe. If you don’t have a large sauté pan, use a large pot instead.

Add the beef and onion. Cook for a bit, breaking up the beef as it cooks.

If you need to, drain off any excess oil. Whether you need to do this will depend on the fat content of the beef you use; lean beef may not require draining but a fattier ground beef will.

Add the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a minute or two.

Sauté pan filled with ground beef, onion, and seasonings.

Add the tomatoes, broth, and noodles.

Tomatoes, broth, and noodles added to the sauté pan.

Give everything a good stir, bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Let that cook for around 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.

Cooked pasta in the sauté pan with other ingredients.

Stir in your dairy-free cheese and sour cream. Cook for a minute or two. The mixture will thicken a bit and look like authentic hamburger helper!

Overhead shot of a pan of dairy free hamburger helper that has just been cooked.

Now portion it out, give it a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you want to get fancy, and dig in.

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you’re preparing this recipe:

How should you store leftover dairy free hamburger helper?

Leftovers will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply heat until warmed in the microwave (about 1-2 minutes, depending on portion size and microwave strength).

What should you serve with hamburger helper?

This is a rich dish, and can be served alone as-is, or with a light side to accompany it – like a garden salad, roasted green beans, or sautéed zucchini.

Can you make hamburger helper with other meats besides beef?

Yes. Ground turkey, ground chicken, or Italian sausage would all work well.

Allergens in this Recipe

Disclaimer:  Always double check ingredients and labels yourself prior to making a recipe.  While I try to check all ingredients for allergens, there’s always the chance I may miss something, or manufacturer formulations can change.

As written, this recipe is dairy free, egg free, and peanut free.

This recipe could contain tree nuts depending on your product choices. Double check labels if you have a tree nut allergy.

This recipe does contain soy (in the dairy free sour cream) and gluten (in the pasta and possibly the Worcestershire sauce). Here are adjustments you can make if needed for these allergies:

  • To make gluten free – Choose a gluten free pasta, and ensure that your Worcestershire sauce is gluten free. Also double check that your dairy free cheese and sour cream are gluten free.
  • To make soy free – Choose a dairy free sour cream that is not soy based. Also, double check that your dairy free cheese and Worcestershire sauce are soy free (some brands add soy).
A bowl filled with dairy free hamburger helper.

More Kid-Friendly Dairy Free Dinners

If you’re looking for more easy dairy free dinners that the whole family will love, be sure to give one of these a try:

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. If you get a chance to try it, feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below!

Hamburger Helper

This dairy free hamburger helper is creamy, packed with flavor, and perfect for the entire family. Plus, you’ll love how easy it is to make in one pan.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 503 kcal
Author Dairy Free for Baby


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or any ground meat you prefer)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 ½ cups dry cavatappi noodles
  • 1 ½ cups shredded dairy-free cheddar cheese (recommend Violife)
  • 4 oz dairy-free sour cream (recommend Tofutti)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the ground beef and diced onion. Cook about 6-8 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender. Drain if needed.
  3. Add onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes with green chilies, beef broth, and noodles. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover the sauté pan with the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Let it cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add in the dairy-free cheddar cheese and dairy-free sour cream. Stir until combined. Cook on low for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (if using). Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • A sauté pan has a flat bottom and tall straight sides, which makes it ideal for this recipe. If you don’t have a large sauté pan, use a large pot instead.
  • Feel free to substitute other similar sized pasta for this recipe, like penne, rigatoni, farfalle, and cavatelli.


Nutrition analysis (approximate per serving): 503 calories, 26.5 g fat, 13.5 g saturated fat, 1300 mg sodium, 42.5 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 26 g protein, Vitamin D: 0%, Calcium: 3%, Iron: 23%, Potassium: 13%

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Close up of a sauté pan filled with just-cooked dairy free hamburger helper, with a text overlay with the name of the recipe.

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