Hamburger Helper began selling their famous red box with pasta noodles and cream sauce in 1971. Hamburger Helper’s meals are designed to work around a meat shortage with higher prices on meat. Families could purchase a ready to make meal that the home chef would add beef to as they needed.
While the recipe has always called for milk to help hydrate and spread the sauce out evenly, milk isn’t always available in every household. Also, some people are allergic to milk but want the option to make a quick, easy Hamburger Helper meal. Hamburger Helper fans can choose to ignore the instructions on the box instead of foregoing Hamburger Helper and just use something else.
The most common and popular substitutes for milk in Hamburger Helper are cream, almond milk, water, butter, coconut milk, and at least a couple more. We will discuss many of these options and how they change your Hamburger Helper recipe’s taste.
Almond milk is a very popular alternative to milk in general. As the name suggests, almond milk comes from olive extract. Almond milk avoids common lactose allergies.
While it’s difficult to tell the exact amount, you might need more almond milk than regular milk when adding it to your recipe. We would suggest adding slightly less almond milk than milk initially just to ensure you have the right thickness. Add more if you need to.
Almond milk will add a slightly natural nutty flavor to your meal, which isn’t really a bad thing for Hamburger Helper.
Any variety of cooking cream should work, ranging from half and half to heavy cream or light cream. It’s more up to your preferences and what’s in your refrigerator.
You will probably need to use less cream than milk, as cream is generally much thicker and fattier than milk. On the other hand, if you want to make your Hamburger Helper more flavorful, you can add more.
Pour cream in slowly and mix while adding to ensure you have the right consistency for your tastes.
Chicken or Beef Stock
You might have this laying around especially if you make soups, stews, or pastas. Chicken and beef stock can be pretty healthy for you – especially chicken stock. Beef stock can add more beef flavor with a bit more salt, which can be good especially if you have less meat.
Beef stock can change the flavor of your Hamburger Helper quickly. We recommend adding it slowly and checking the taste. This is only because Hamburger Helper’s powder is designed to work with fattier milk.
Want a little zing in your Hamburger Helper? Add cream cheese instead of milk. Cream cheese also comes in a variety of flavors that are largely meant for breads, but they can certainly help with your noodles.
You might want to pre-soften cream cheese a bit in the microwave. Add it slowly so you don’t make the flavor too overpowering. It will be creamy and good!
Before throwing sour cream in, know it will make your Hamburger Helper tangier. This can actually be great for some kinds of Hamburger Helper.
Sour cream is thicker and milk and can be fattier. Try to add a little at a time to see how you like it, as sour cream comes in a variety of fat amounts.
Sour cream can add a bit more to your Hamburger Helper as it comes with different flavors too. Check your grocery store the next time you go.
There is also a bit of a difference between sour cream and cream cheese.
Greek yogurt can add another little zing to your Hamburger Helper. Greek yogurt can also add some nutritional value with its low fat content.
The good news about greek yogurt is that it will make your Hamburger Helper creamier without thinning out the cream. It’s also not a bad thing to have in your fridge for a variety of purposes.
Like many other alternatives here, add it a bit at a time to see how it changes the Hamburger Helper. Add as much as you need to get the result you want.
Ask ten people their opinion about mayo and they will give you many different answers. You can add mayonnaise to your Hamburger Helper instead of milk. It’s fattier than milk and you’ll need less of it.
Your Hamburger Helper will be smooth and creamy, which can be a great thing to make your meal filling.
We put water low because it’s obviously available in most households, but it really isn’t the best option. The cream powder sauce in Hamburger Helper needs fat and liquid to spread. Water has liquid, but no fat.
There is no shortage of possibilities when you don’t want to or can’t use milk for your Hamburger Helper. Many times you make Hamburger Helper, you might discover that you have a milk shortage and adapt by using whatever you have. Instead, your next trip to the grocery store could explore what other products might taste good for milk recipes.
Until then, try one and we hope it tastes as good as the original.