Tricks and Recipes to Make the Most Out of Ground Beef


ground beef


Super easy ground beef recipes abound and are easy to find online and by asking around. You’ll find everyone, and their grandmother has a favorite way to serve up ground beef. 

Ground beef is easy to prepare and lends itself to many flavors and types of cuisines. It can be turned into a Mexican dish like tacos, a Scandinavian dish like Swedish meatballs, an Italian recipe like spaghetti with meat sauce, or a quintessentially American dish like a good, old-fashioned hamburger.

Besides the simplicity with which ground beef can be cooked (essentially just season to taste and brown it for many dishes), another reason to like ground beef is that it can be a relatively inexpensive source of protein, and it keeps well frozen. 

Many popular ground beef recipes today, such as these below, call for lean ground beef. However, if you are interested in stretching your dollar with ground beef while keeping it tasty, there are some types of ground beef that will cost less. These are typically fattier ground beef varieties. 

As trainer Tyson Brown notes, these higher fat grounds are still high in protein and may save you calories because you can use much less cooking oil to prepare them. Also, regular ground beef can lose as much as ⅓ of its fat content during cooking. 

Here are 3 easy and fast recipes with ground beef that you can turn to when you want a different way to cook this versatile meat.

5-Star Ground Beef Casserole

ground beef casserole

Natasha, from the Salt & Lavender blog, inspired this recipe. If you’re looking for ground beef dinner ideas, make this dish and serve it with a simple salad and crusty garlic bread.

Like Mac & Cheese, this is good comfort food. It’s great for potluck dinners, or to make ahead of time for the kids when you have a babysitter. For a twist, you can add chopped multi-color bell peppers or a bit of chopped green chilis.  Nutritionally, it’s high in protein and calcium, and if you are concerned with calories, use the leanest ground beef you can find and reduce the cheese by ½ cup.


  • 1 16-oz box of penne
  • 1/2 chopped onion (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (pizza sauce can be used in a pinch but reduce the salt)
  • 2 cups pre-shredded cheddar cheese

How to Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 400oF.
  2. Grease a glass 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Cook penne to al dente state (10 minutes or less).
  4. In a skillet, combine beef, oil, and chopped onion and sauté over medium heat. As it starts to brown, add garlic. 
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drain pasta and place into a baking dish. Pour beef mixture over the top and then toss until it’s combined with the pasta. Top with an even layer of the cheese—Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese melts and starts to brown. 

5-Star Taco Salad

taco salad

This fast ground beef recipe is derived from cookbook author Maya Krampf’s original version at, where you can find hundreds of 10-ingredient-or-less recipes. If you’re looking for complete, healthy, and easy meals with ground beef, try it! You can pull this crowd-pleaser salad together in 20 minutes or less. 


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 T vegetable oil 
  • 2 T taco seasoning 
  • 4 cups fairly finely chopped romaine lettuce 
  • 1⅓ cup cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa

How to Make It

  1. In a skillet on high, heat the oil and then crumble and brown the ground beef for about 8 minutes. At the end, stir in the taco seasoning.
  2. Combine browned beef with everything else in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.

5-Star Korean Beef Bowls 

korean beef bowls

This easy-to-make dish is one of the best ground beef recipes you can find. Not only is it easy, but it’s on-trend and nutritious. It’s inspired by Alyssa Rivers at The Recipe Critic blog. Low in calories with only about 350-500 calories per serving, it delivers protein from lean beef and is topped with sesame seeds, a nutritional powerhouse. Make it even more nutritious by serving over brown rice


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 T sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Cook the ground beef and garlic over medium heat in a large frying pan, stirring until lightly browned.
  2. Pour soy sauce and sesame oil into a bowl and whisk in brown sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes & pepper. 
  3. Add the sauce and snow peas to beef and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Apportion into 4 bowls of hot rice, sprinkling with sesame seeds, and green onions. You can also add a few fresh basil leaves as garnish.

Some Takeaway Thoughts for Meals with Ground Beef

Super easy ground beef recipes abound and are easy to find online and by asking around. You’ll find everyone, and their grandmother has a favorite way to serve up ground beef. 

There are many complete dinner ideas with ground beef; you can build a whole meal around a theme. Go Mexican and serve tacos, along with guac and tasty margaritas for a fiesta. Serve up home-style meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and perhaps an old-fashioned root beer float for nostalgia.

If you want some ideas of what sides go with ground beef recipes, along with inspiration on how to plate and garnish dishes for heightened appeal, visit The Spruce Eats website. Here you can browse some delicious photos in articles such as Family Pleasing Ground Beef Casseroles

The last word on ground beef? It’s a remarkably forgiving ingredient…so go ahead, invent your favorite recipe!

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