This classic homemade beefaroni is chock full of meat and pasta infused with Italian flavor. It’s a saucy 15 minute form scratch spin on an old childhood favorite that makes a filling lunch or dinner the whole family can enjoy. Ditch the can, and go with this one pot copy cat recipe to satisfy your childhood craving instead!
When I was growing up, grocery trips were carefully regimented by Mom’s shopping list.
Every now and then we’d get lucky enough to sneak something in the cart though.
Not by slight of hand, we wouldn’t dare.
But good behavior with three young children could almost always get at least one simple request granted!
One of our favorite things to beg for, other than lunchables, were a couple cans of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee’s beefaroni.
It may seem small, but those little cans were like golden nuggets in our pantry.
It’s true, I didn’t appreciate my Mom’s home cooking growing up as much as I do now.
Nothing that came out of our Southern kitchen, other than spaghetti pasta topped with sauce and meatballs, came close to the canned stuff.
Flash forward, and I was happy to treat my kids to the same occasional indulgence when they were younger.
Pretty sure they thought it was just as magical.
Then came the day when I realized I could make it even cheaper, and more magical, when made from scratch.
What Is Beefaroni?
So, I actually got asked this question a lot when I started making it for friends and family.
Apparently they weren’t initiated into the club as kids like we were.
Luckily, it’s never too late to discover the deliciousness of this simple pasta dish.
Whether it comes from a can, or is homemade on the stove top, beefaroni is really simple when you break it down.
Basically, it’s a combination of cooked pasta with ground beef, cheese, and tomato sauce.
Typically it involved macaroni, or elbow noodles.
Everything’s cooked and mixed together into a delicious mix that infuses every bite of pasta with full on flavor.
And it’s simple- making it a no brainer for a homemade make-over!
- ground beef – lean ground beef works best, so that you don’t lose volume as the fat cooks down
- ground pork – if you don’t like, or can’t eat, pork you can use all ground beef
- onion – white onion works best here, as we want to retain a little of the ‘bite’ for the sauce
- elbow noodles – if you don’t have elbow noodles, sub another small shaped pasta such as shells or ditalini
- beef broth – stock will work too
- salt & pepper
- sugar – don’t skip the sugar, it’s integral to the final taste of the dish
- Worcestershire sauce
- crushed tomatoes – canned from the grocery store, or homemade will work. You can also use larger canned tomatoes and lightly puree them in a blender, if that’s what you happen to have on hand
Our version is meatier than the canned kind, which is how we like it.
If you’d like a saucier version with less meat- then just use one lb of ground beef and skip the pork completely.
How To Make
Making this is so easy.
It’s the adult equivalent of dumping the can contents into a pot and stirring while heating through.
In a large pot, set over medium heat, add the meats. Cook them, breaking them up as you stir, until they’re cooked through and completely crumbled.
Strain the meat to remove excess grease from the pot.
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, stirring until combined.
Allow the mixture to come to a low simmer. You don’t want it to burn on the bottom while it cooks.
Cover the pot with it’s accompanying lid, and allow the beefaroni mixture to simmer for roughly 15 minutes.
Make sure to stir it every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking, clumping, and/or burning.
After the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the lid.
Stir everything in the pot thoroughly, and then let it simmer (uncovered) and additional 2-3 minutes.
This will allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
If it’s still not thick enough, turn off the heat, stir again and allow it to sit another 2 minutes.
The pasta will continue soaking up the sauce.
You can ladle it into bowls, and serve as is- or with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
Cheese Or No Cheese?
Yes, the canned kind contains cheese- no our spin on the classic does not.
After years of making this homemade beefaroni, I’ve found cheese isn’t absolutely a necessary ingredient.
We still love to serve it topped with shredded cheddar or a sprinkle of Parmesan, but no longer mix it into the sauce.
If you’re more of a traditionalist, you can absolutely still include the cheese.
Stir 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar into the sauce when making so that it melts and is completely incorporated.
Storing Any Leftovers
With all my hungry guys, I rarely have leftovers- but I will often double this recipe just for that reason.
Leftovers means another meal I don’t have to cook.
This homemade beefaroni also travels really well for a hot lunch when spooned into a prepared thermos!
Extras need to be cooled, and then can be transferred to an airtight container where they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can then reheat in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove.
Other Chef Boyardee Style Recipes To Try:
This homemade beefaroni is chock full of meat and pasta infused with Italian flavor. It’s a saucy 15 minute lunch or dinner the whole family can enjoy.
It’s an easy, from scratch way to enjoy a childhood favorite.
Pair it with a simple side salad and a steamed vegetable for a filling, healthy meal for a larger crowd.
Give these other easy nostalgic ideas a try as well!
If you’ve tried this HOMEMADE BEEFARONI, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 small white onion finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups elbow noodles dry
- 1 1/3 cups beef broth
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 28 ox can crushed tomatoes
- Cook the ground beef in a large pot, crumbling as you do, and drain of excess grease once done. Return it to the large pot.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined, bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cover & allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes (just simmering), stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pot, stir thoroughly, and let the mixture simmer for another 2-3 minutes more- this will allow the sauce to thicken some.