One Pot Creamy Beef and Shells

A homemade hamburger helper recipe that will have you dancing in your chair.


This is my kids dance in their chair meal. They would chose to bathe in it if they could. Disclosure: I think I would too. This creamy, velvety smooth sauce is a game changer. You don’t have to use shells here, although I do advise it. You can substitute in any medium size pasta.

For the tomato sauce, I used a store bought sauce I typically use for a quickie pizza sauce. It’s a glass jar tomato basil sauce. You can use a canned sauce as well, whatever you have handy! The sugar in this recipe is optional, but I always tend to find tomato sauce to be on the bitter side and thus prefer to sweeten it up a bit. If that’s not your jam, then just leave it out.

For me this is a one stop meal. No vegetables. Pure gluttony. But if you want, you can serve this with some broccoli or string beans in a mild attempt to salvage your meal.

creamy beef shells close up

One Pot Creamy Beef and Shells

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2-3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 12 oz medium pasta shells
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • In a large pot, heat your oil. Toss in the ground beef and break up the meat using a wooden spoon until browned.
  • Add the onion and sauté a few minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Season with the italian blend and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the flour for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually stir in 2 cups beef broth, a cup at a time. Mix in the tomato sauce a cup at a time while stirring in between. Add in the sugar and your pasta, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Stir occasionally and cook for roughly 15 minutes. If your mixture gets dry and the pasta isn't cooked yet, add in more broth, a half cup at a time.
  • Once the pasta is cooked al dente, stir in the heavy cream for a minute to warm through. Taste and adjust seasonings and sugar if needed. Remove the pot from the burner and then mix in the cheese until melted.


Any medium sized pasta will work here, does not HAVE to be shells.


Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 1185mg | Potassium: 879mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1200IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
Author: Stella

You might also like