There are those evenings when you do not want to cook and make a mess in the kitchen, but you still feel like enjoying a fantastic, incredibly quick meal.
In those moments, Hamburger Helper (and its variations) can save our evening. It is an exceptionally hasty, delicious dinner that can be made with a single pan.
This recipe requires milk, which is perfect for its creamy texture. However, if you don’t want to use milk or you don’t have any at home, you will need a good milk substitute for your Hamburger Helper.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can change whatever you want to adapt it to your needs. Therefore here is a comprehensive list of all the substitutes for milk in Hamburger Helper to make your meals extra special.
The best substitutes for milk in Hamburger Helper
Hamburger Helper has been a staple in American households for decades. Its unprecedented success led the brand to develop numerous versions of the meal kit for all taste buds.
In fact, there is a Tuna Helper, a Chicken Helper, Asian Helper, and even a Whole Grain Helper, alongside the original one, Hamburger Helper.
These meal kits are incredibly easy and quick to make; it only takes one pot and about 20 to 30 minutes. The straightforward process will provide you with a delicious dinner with minimal washing up to do.
Now, if you do not have any milk at home, it is not a big deal. It is possible to make Hamburger Helper without milk and still have a delicious meal in return.
The options are countless, but we have tried to gather up the best ones to upgrade your meal to a whole new level.
Butter can make up for a solid alternative when you are considering making Hamburger Helper without milk.
The procedure is the same for every other alternative, so it won’t be difficult to swap one ingredient for another.
All you have to do is to follow the instructions on the box, and when it calls for milk add ¼ stick of butter and two to three cups of water.
Make sure not to add too much or too little water as in the first case it might dilute your meal kit a little too much; in the second case, there is the chance your food will burn and stick to the pan.
Using butter mixed with some water in your Hamburger Helper will produce a fantastic meal with a creamy and rich finish.
Plus, Hamburger Helper is already salted, as you add the seasoning sachet that you find inside the box.
As a result, when it comes to handling butter as a milk substitute for Hamburger Helper, make sure to use unsalted butter.
The same concept for butter applies to margarine. Being the dairy-free alternative of butter, margarine will work wonders as a substitute for milk in Hamburger Helper.
As already said above, add ¼ stick of margarine and two to three cups of water to the mixture and that’s it!
Keep stirring until you take the meal off the heat and make sure the margarine does not burn and stick your food to the pan.
3. Heavy cream
Thanks to its velvety texture, heavy cream might represent an excellent option as a milk substitute for Hamburger Helper.
If you do not mind the rich and firm consistency of heavy cream, you can simply add it to your browned beef (or any other ingredient of your choice).
If you prefer a silkier texture, it is also possible to mix half a cup (or a little more) of heavy cream with some water, according to how creamy and runnier you want your meal to be.
4. Half and Half
Another rich and luscious texture option, Half and Half can work as a substitute for milk in Hamburger Helper.
Since it’s a mix of whole milk and heavy cream, its consistency might be a little too much for your Hamburger Helper recipe.
Therefore, you can mix it with a little water to give it that creamier and runnier texture. It will also allow all the ingredients to combine together.
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese is an all-time favorite and a fantastic milk substitute for Hamburger Helper.
Not only will it provide you with that luscious consistency for your recipe. It will also bring out all the flavor and taste, combining the taste of your ingredient of choice with the deliciousness of cream cheese.
When your recipe calls for milk, you can include a quarter cup of cream cheese in your pan and stir well. On top of that, include some water too.
It will bring together all the ingredients in your dish by combining it properly before your dinner is ready to be served.
6. Evaporated milk
Just like all the other options listed above, using evaporated milk mixed with some water might be a great alternative for your Hamburger Helper meal.
Using evaporated milk will give you that rich and fluffy consistency, but the benefits do not stop there.
Evaporated milk contains a little percentage of sugar compared to other alternatives. And this characteristic will not alter the taste of your meal too much, making it a fantastic alternative.
7. Non-fat dry milk
Dry milk is simply regular milk, but it comes in the form of powder. It is dehydrated milk that has a longer storage life than regular milk.
As it comes as a powder, you will have to mix it with water before adding it to the pan.
Simply take a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of dry milk, include some water, and stir well until there are no lumps.
Once it gets a smooth consistency, you can include it in the rest of the ingredients in your pan and that’s it. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
8. Sour cream
Sour cream is your ally not only when you need it as dipping or condiment on nachos, but when you are cooking Hamburger Helper without milk too.
It is a little acidic compared to all the other alternatives listed here, so watch out for the amount you pour in while cooking.
On top of that, it is quite thick too. Therefore, include the sour cream a little at a time and keep stirring.
By adding a small amount at a time, it will be easier to understand when it is enough for your amazing Hamburger Helper recipe.
9. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt can also be a great milk substitute for Hamburger Helper. The most important thing though is that you pick a plain, preferably fat-free option.
This alternative might be one of the best options out there as it is thick enough to enrich the mixture, but it does not need mixing with water.
It will also add the recommended amount of sweet and sour to your dish, making it incredibly velvety and delicious.
10. Plain yogurt
The same concept as Greek yogurt applies to plain yogurt here, which is another fantastic alternative.
As plain yogurt is a little runnier than Greek yogurt, include it in your recipe a little at a time. Probably the whole cup might be a little too much, but it all depends on the doses you are using.
Once you add it to your mixture, stir well until your Hamburger Helper turns into a tremendous and creamy dinner.
11. Cream sauce
You need to pour it all over your mixture as it cooks and let it simmer until it combines properly.
Mayo might not be the obvious option but it will allow you to cook Hamburger Helper without milk.
You can either use regular mayonnaise or a vegan one, the result will be exactly the same.
You just need to add three to four teaspoons of mayo to your recipe and stir well to incorporate all your ingredients properly. Get ready to serve your meal piping hot.
13. Soy milk
If you plan to cook a plant-based, or vegetarian meal, soy milk might be the best option for you.
It is best to use soy milk with low sugar content, so it will not alter the taste of your Hamburger Helper too much.
As for the recipe, you can easily follow the instructions and add the equivalent amount of soy milk as described on the box, and that is it.
Compared to other plant-based milk, soy milk is a little runnier, so it needs to simmer properly before taking the meal off the stove.
14. Almond milk
Almond milk has a slightly firmer consistency, and it can be a pleasant alternative if you want to cook Hamburger Helper without milk.
The instructions are always the same as on the box. The result will be a creamy, dairy-free, incredibly delicious Hamburger Helper.
Almond milk will bear a little bitterness to your recipe, and it will be able to balance the taste perfectly.
15. Cashew or hazelnut milk
Another fantastic dairy-free alternative if you are planning to make Hamburger Helper without milk.
This plant-based milk will bring a different tang and a nutty taste to your recipe. They are capable to turn your classic, beloved recipe into something even tastier.
Simply add the doses required on the box, and stir the ingredients well until you obtain a creamy and rich mixture.
16. Rice milk
People with allergies or those who are lactose-intolerant should definitely go for this alternative. Rice milk is way more digestible than most milk alternatives.
If you want to swap milk with rice milk in Hamburger Helper, simply do it in a ratio of 1:1.
Stock or broth can also be a great dairy-free, sometimes vegan alternative while making Hamburger Helper without milk.
Simply dilute a bouillon cube in some water and mix it in with your ingredients. Of course, this will be a very liquid, watery option so tally it carefully, a little at a time.
It is possible to use veggie stock if you are going for a dairy-free, vegan alternative, or simple chicken and beef stock will do the job too.
18. Red wine
If you feel extra fancy, and would like to turn your box meal kit into a gourmet dinner, red wine might the best option for you.
Just add one glass to your browned beef and let it simmer. When the liquid has evaporated, leaving your mixture luscious and rich, the meal is done.
Adding red wine will make your dinner incredibly fancy. It will turn a quick meal into a sumptuous supper.
Making Hamburger Helper without milk is totally possible, as you might have noticed by now. And even if you do not have any of the ingredients listed above, it is no problem at all.
You can make Hamburger Helper by simply adding water to your mixture. That’s it. One cup of water, or more, depending on your doses, will be more than enough to add moisture to your meal.
It will be enough to combine your mixture together and it will deliver you a light, delicious meal in a matter of minutes.
How to choose a milk substitute for Hamburger Helper
There are plenty of options to cook Hamburger Helper without milk. There is an alternative for every need, and that makes it easy to achieve a delicious meal in no time.
If we were to break down milk substitutes for Hamburger Helper by their characteristics, we could group them into two main groups:
- Dairy Alternatives: if you do not mind consuming dairy, you have plenty of options to choose from. You can either go from cream cheese to heavy cream, sour cream to butter to cream sauce. Plain and Greek yogurt can also be a valid option, as well as half and half, evaporated milk, and powdered milk.
- Dairy-Free Alternatives: if you are following a dairy-free diet, the options are also countless. You can enrich your Hamburger Helper with plant-based milk alternatives, like soy, almond, rice, and nut milk. Margarine and mayo can also be an option. But if you feel like giving an extra kick to your meal kit, try adding some red wine or broth and you will notice the difference.