Hamburger Helper

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Hamburger Helper is a line of General Mills packaged food products, sold under the Betty Crocker brand, which consist primarily of boxed pasta bundled with a packet or packets of powdered sauce or seasonings.

The contents of each box are combined with browned ground beef, water, and sometimes milk to create a complete dish. The product line also features products with other starches, such as rice or potatoes, instead of pasta.


Hamburger Helper was first introduced in 1971.[1][2][3] In 2005, the American-based Food Network listed Hamburger Helper as number three in its list of the top five fad foods of the 1970s.[4]

In 2013, the company rebranded to just "Helper", de-emphasizing the meat-specific naming.[2][5][6]

The Hamburger Helper mascot is the "Helping Hand" (or "Lefty"), an anthropomorphic animated, four fingered left-hand mitt, which appears in the product's television commercials and on the packages.[2][3][5]


Hamburger Helper is available in numerous flavors, organized into various categories.

Although the classic boxed Hamburger Helper products only supply the starch item and sauce packets, some varieties of the product include ground beef. These include a frozen food line, which features some of the brand's classic varieties in a complete meal kit form, with frozen ground beef and frozen sauce packaged separately from the noodles in the same bag. There is also an "instant" version of Hamburger Helper containing dehydrated meat, noodles, and seasonings in a small pouch, requiring only water to be added.

Other products[edit]


Tuna Helper was the second variety to appear on the market, in 1972, and is the 2nd best seller within the product line.[2]

Fruit Helper was introduced in 1973. The products were desserts made with canned or fresh fruit. The Fruit Helper line has since been discontinued.[7]

Chicken Helper was introduced in 1984 in response to the wide availability of inexpensive boneless, skinless chicken breast.[2]

Asian Helper is a selection of three Asian-American-style dishes, two hamburger and one chicken.[citation needed]

Whole Grain Helper options include Lemon & Herb Chicken, Honey Mustard Chicken, Cheeseburger Mac, and Stroganoff flavors made with whole-wheat pasta.[citation needed]

Pork Helper was introduced in 2003. Varieties included Pork Fried Rice and Pork Chops with Stuffing. It was discontinued shortly after introduction.[citation needed]

Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles were introduced in 2006. This product requires only the addition of water and brief cooking in a microwave to produce a single serving portion of some of the most popular flavors. Chicken Helper flavors were added in 2007, though the brand was discontinued shortly after. It returned in 2013 as Chicken and Chili Helper.

Chili Macaroni is a variety to prepare chili mac.

In popular culture[edit]

In 1979, Scott Spiegel wrote, produced and directed a short film entitled Attack of the Helping Hand, which featured a "Hamburger Helper" oven mitt as a killer glove.[8]


  1. ^ The Catering Industry Employee: Official Journal of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees' International Alliance and Bartenders' International League of America. 82 & 83. The Alliance. 1973. p. 7. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hughlett, Mike (2013-07-06). "General Mills relaunches Hamburger Helper". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  3. ^ a b Weissman, Saya (2013-11-23). "Hamburger Helper Is Awesome at Twitter. Really.". Digiday. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  4. ^ "Top 5 Food Fads of the70s". Television Food Network G.P. 2005. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Wong, Venessa (2013-07-09). "In Redesign, Hamburger Helper Drops the Hamburger". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  6. ^ Thrasher, Michael (2013-07-22). "'Hamburger Helper' Is Now Just 'Helper'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  7. ^ Carolyn Wyman (2004). Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods that Changed the Way We Eat. Quirk Books. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-931686-42-6. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sam Raimi is Killed by Hamburger Helper in This Early Short Film | News Article". FEARnet. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 

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