This one-pot beef and macaroni is an easy, budget friendly meal that will please the whole family. In this recipe, seasoned ground beef is browned and cooked with a convenient tomato sauce made with pantry ingredients. Then the macaroni pasta is cooked in the beef sauce.
This easy dinner is reminiscent of the childhood favorite, beefaroni. It is fun, simple, and comforting. And, like this homemade beefaroni this vegetable beef soup and ground turkey tater tot casserole will make you feel like a kid again.
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- Oil – Use an oil with a high smoke point, we use canola oil
- Ground beef – Choose lean, or something with a little fat for flavor (we use ground chuck 80/20 lean to fat ratio)
- Seasoning – The ground beef is seasoned with Italian seasoning, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Then, the sauce gets an extra kick from Worcestershire sauce.
- Vegetables – Onions and garlic are used to flavor the sauce and give it a “homemade” taste.
- Pantry – Tomato paste, diced tomatoes (we use petite dice), pasta sauce, and beef broth make this soup as easy as it is delicious.
- Pasta – Elbow macaroni is the pasta traditionally used for beefaroni. But if you are in a pinch use another short tube pasta.
- Cheese – The cheese is for serving and it is optional. Cheddar is an excellent choice, or a combination like cheddar-jack.
Frequently asked questions
Ground beef, use a lean cut like ground sirloin, or something with a little fat for flavor, like ground round or chuck.
No, the beauty of this recipe is that it is a one pot meal. The macaroni is cooked in the ground beef sauce.
They are the same, ground beef and macaroni cooked in tomato sauce. The names are often used interchangeably.
Yes, it can. If you are going to a potluck, or serving buffet-style, a casserole makes serving easy. Prepare the recipe as directed then place it in a large casserole dish. Add cheese (if desired), cover with aluminum foil, and bake until warmed through.
- Let the beef and macaroni sit in the pot for a few minutes before serving to give the macaroni some time to soak up the delicious tomato sauce.
- Finely dice or mince the onions so they all but dissolve in the sauce, especially if you are making this recipe for kids.
- Use a meatless variety of pasta sauce because we are adding the ground beef. Also, try to choose a brand/variety that is not too thick to begin with.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat add the ground beef and spices.
Cook the ground beef for 2-3 minutes, stir and cook again for 1-3 minutes until browned.
Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Next, add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Finally, add the macaroni to the sauce, cover and cook 12-15 minutes until tender.
Taste the macaroni and beef and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours. Serve with shredded cheese, if desired, and enjoy.
Storing and reheating
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot all the way through.
This dish does not freeze well. It is best to eat the leftovers within a few days. Pasta, in general, does not do well in the freezer it gets mushy when reheated.
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Beef and Macaroni
- 1 tablespoon Oil neutral (flavorless) oil with a high smoke point – we use canola oil
- 1 pound Ground Beef we use ground chuck 80/20 lean to fat ratio
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper optional, leave it out if you don’t like spicy
- 1 medium Onion finely diced
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 2 (14.5 ounce) can Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 1 (24 ounce) jar Meatless Pasta Sauce (marinara sauce or other meatless variety use your favorite brand)
- 2 cups Beef Broth
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 12 ounces Elbow Macaroni
- Shredded Cheese for serving optional
- Heat the oil in a large pot, or deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper, if using.
- Arrange the beef in one layer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir well, arrange in one layer again and cook an additional 1-3 minutes until browned.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Next, add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, stir often.
- Add the pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce to the pot while stirring and gently scraping any bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Then, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10-12 minutes to let the flavors develop and come together.
- Finally, add the macaroni to the pot, raise the heat to high and let the sauce come back to a simmer. Then, lower the heat to medium to medium-low to keep the sauce simmering, not boiling.
- Cover the pot and cook the macaroni in the sauce for 12-15 minutes or until it is tender. Stir the macaroni often (especially in the beginning) because it tends to sink and will stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Taste the macaroni and beef and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours.
- Top the beef and macaroni with the shredded cheese, if desired, or serve on the side.
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