What are your favorite recipes involving ground beef?
January 29, 2021 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite recipes that use ground beef?

I've got a 1/4 share of a cow in our freezer. I'm not going to have any trouble using up the cuts, but there's a lot of ground beef and I want to make sure I'm using it. This is the second time I've done a cow share, and the first time we had so much leftover ground beef that I ended up making a ton of burger patties and giving them away. This time, I'd like to use the ground beef more consistently, like for normal quick weeknight dinners.

I'm a good cook and comfortable making just about anything, so if it's a dish you like and it uses ground beef, I'd love the recipe! But, bonus points for:

- Quick or simple(ish) recipes that are good for weeknight dinner. I do have an instant pot and would love to be using it for this.
- Things that can be made in bulk and frozen - I've done burger patties and mini meatloaves, stuff like that.
- Soups or stews that aren't ground beef chili. Nothing against beef chili, I just already have like a dozen recipes for that and don't need more.
posted by jacobian to Food & Drink (45 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
We also have an abundance of ground beef. We make sloppy joes, spaghetti and meatballs, and tacos. All of those are probably already on your radar, but I look forward to the ideas this thread will generate!
posted by juliapangolin at 9:01 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bolognese. There are many variations on how to make it -- from Marcella Hazan to Anne Burrell to the one I linked here. Almost certainly can be made in an instant pot; its real trick is the long simmer, and that's what the pot does, so.

Use it as is over pasta; use it in lasagne (fresh, or to freeze). Freezes very well, I can confirm!
posted by Dashy at 9:01 AM on January 29, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My go-tos for ground beef:

Picadillo - I throw things together so this is just a guess at a recipe that looks good. I grew up adding corn and not using bell peppers, fyi.

I also like sauteing ground beef with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and raisins either as a filling for lumpia (spring rolls-ish) or over rice

We also saute it with mushrooms and sliced bok choy, soy sauce, and a little cornstarch and broth to make a sauce.

Halupki soup - ground beef, chopped cabbage, tomato sauce, Montreal steak seasoning, a bit of rice and extra water or broth to the consistency you like. Ours is simplified but you could use this as a guide.
posted by brilliantine at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tacos for sure, and hey, the Super Bowl is coming up and that’s a great day to make a big thing of nachos.
posted by cakelite at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2021

Here's a little something I've developed during quarantine. Fair warning: I am trash.

Cheeseburger Pie
-stick a frozen pie crust in the oven to get it a little cooked
-fry up some onions until they're see through
-throw in some ground beef and cook until it's just done, season however you like it
-toss in some shredded cheese
-cram this down into the pie crust
-beat some eggs
-pour that over your pie to fill up the spaces
-throw some more cheese on top
-cover the top in tomato slices
-bake at 400 until it's not wobbly and the crust is done


(Serve with a salad or some peas or something because there's definitely not enough vegetables in there.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2021 [11 favorites]

We make lots of meatballs - fairly neutrally seasoned with garlic and thyme/marjoram. Then cook with tomatoes and onions and add seasoning to make them Italian (basil, oregano), Spanish (sherry, smoked paprika!) or Middle Eastern with cumin, coriander, cinnamon and sumac. Freeze in bulk with neutral seasoning in meal sized containers.
posted by leslies at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You can make bulgogi with ground beef. It's a very quick and easy weeknight meal.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 9:06 AM on January 29, 2021 [4 favorites]

My grandmother made what she called spaghetti soup - brown hamburger meat and finely diced onion and some garlic. season with salt and pepper, chili powder and paprika. add beef broth and elbow macaroni simmer until noodles are tender. Then add tomato sauce. when i made it for the first time my family called it goulash. but its way thinner and more soupy ideally.

i also make a soup with whatever vegetables you like, frozen or fresh and ground beef, with a tomatey broth seasoned with chili powder.
posted by domino at 9:06 AM on January 29, 2021

Meatballs! This recipe calls for ground pork as well but you could just double the beef.

Ground beef taco filling: (I just brown the ground beef with onion, ground cumin, salt)

Actually, here's a great list of ideas from seriouseats: 14 ground beef recipe ideas
posted by dis_integration at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2021

I don't want to type it all out again, so... totchos.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:09 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

logan county hamburgers

ill be making the thai pitas up thread soon.

we have 1/2 a beef we are working through. variety is so welcome.
posted by domino at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2021

Something I haven’t done with ground beef, but probably will now that I’m thinking about it, is make some kind of hand-held meat pie, like a pasty or Jamaican beef patty . Things like that freeze great, so you could make a bunch and freeze them for later. They might even be a good gift for the same people you gave burgers to last time.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Advice re: Meatballs - mix the ground beef half-and-half with ground pork for best results.

Other ideas:

* I've almost exclusively used ground beef when I make beef stroganoff and it works just fine.

* I often get Japanese eggplants in my CSA; one of my go-to's for that is a stir fry with the chopped eggplant, ground beef, a little fish sauce, and a little chile pepper and basil. Quick and simple; serve over rice.

* I'm assuming you know about shepherd's pie - maybe go all-in on the pie concept and make small savory hand pies, using the beef filling from a shepherd's pie but using pie crust and muffin tins. Here's a page about that, which also has advice for freezing/reheating said pies. And here's a recipe I've used before for Natchitoches meat pies, which makes little empanada-size hand pies - which can also be frozen after baking.

* Speaking of the pies - if you get some ground pork to mix with the beef for meatballs, you can get more and make French-Canadian tourtiere meat pies. These usually are a mix of beef and pork with some potato chunks for the filling; you can make a big pie or a bunch of little individual ones. I've done both, and even done hand pies. There are a gabillion recipes for tourtiere out there, both on the internet and in old cookbooks (I use my great-aunt's recipe, and sorry but I'm not telling).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on January 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

My version of human chow, a sort of cowboy biryani:

Put on a pot of rice, or get out some precooked rice you have on hand. Brown or white, doesn't matter.

Chop an onion and put in in your pan with a splash of oil. Let it cook. Put in some spices and stir it around. A good curry mix or a ras el hanout – whatever you like. Eventually, add some ground beef – a burger's worth for one person, scale up as required. Brown the beef and mix with the onion, let it all cook through.

Then throw in a handful or two of chopped greens – frozen spinach or kale are fine here. Let it thaw and cook through. Then add some rice and mix that up so the flavours are carried through. If the rice is especially dry, at this point I'll throw in a little water and clap a lid on and let it all steam for a few minutes. Then take the lid off and make sure everything's evenly mixed.

Then give it a taste. Is it flavourful? Might it benefit from a shot of soy sauce or sriracha or whatever else you have on hand? Either is good. Or both.
posted by zadcat at 9:18 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

1.5 pounds ground beef, browned
elbow noodles - half a box? whole box? whatever ratio you like, cooked per directions
one can Cambells french onion soup (or make your own)

Combine in an oven safe dish.

Cover with cheese of your choice (I like mexican; my husband prefers straight mozzerella, my kids like cheddar).
Cover that with breadcrumbs (ritz crackers make great breadcrumbs. Kids like saltines. panko is fine.)

Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or just until the cheese is melted).


1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 box of beef rice a roni

Combine beef, egg, and the rice part of the box (save the packet)
form meatballs, brown
pour in two cups of water and the ricearoni packet
cover and simmer until done - usually an hour I think?

Thicken sauce if you like, serve over egg noodles.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2021

Best answer: Keema Muttar is delicious and easy to make in the instant pot.

Stir-fry beef noodles is perhaps not the most authentic recipe ever, but it is pretty tasty and quick to assemble.

Cheesesteak sloppy joes are a slightly different take on the usual sloppy joe recipe.

Laab/larb can be made with ground beef and is fantastic. This recipe doesn't mention it, but whenever I've had it in a restaurant it's served with lettuce leaves, cucumber, and steamed sticky rice.

Dirty rice classically should have chicken livers in it too, but I never bother.

Nthing picadillo and beef stroganoff.
posted by Janta at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We love this Korean Ground Beef recipe. We use less brown sugar (about half) than the recipe calls for with no negative effects as it was too sweet the first time we made it.
posted by machine at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Two that you can make in bulk and that freeze really well: Moussaka and Pastitsio. Greek dishes sort of analagous to lasagna and meaty mac. (Many recipies for both say to use ground lamb, but ground beef swaps in easily here.)
posted by miles per flower at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love this Korean Ground Beef recipe (I cut the sugar in half and it's still very sweet for me, so reduce if you like things more savory)

I also make "vegetable surprise" when we have lots of kale or chard in the garden:
-Blanch greens for a minute or two and drain
-Brown beef and drain, cook with your favorite sausage-y seasonings (I use garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, ground sage, ground mustard, and fennel seed)
-Spread the greens on a large work surface (e.g. clean countertop), overlapping as necessary to make ~8" x 5" squares
-Top greens at one end with prepared meat and shredded mozz, then roll them up like stuffed pasta
-Lay the rolled up meat/greens in a baking dish, cover with pasta sauce and more cheese, and bake ... until done

That isn't very specific, but you can use whatever greens/meat/sauce/other veggies/etc. and it's always a crowd pleaser, plus not as heavy as a similar pasta dish.
posted by zibra at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Cabbage Soup

3/4 head green cabbage, chopped
6 c water
1 large onion, chopped
3 T sugar
1 T salt
dash allspice
1 bay leaf
2 T Worcestershire
1 pound ground beef (or more, for an even heartier soup)
2 6-oz cans tomato paste

Combine all ingredients except tomato paste in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer one hour. Stir in tomato paste, then simmer 15 minutes more.
posted by DrGail at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

As a Minnesotan I must mention Tater Tot Hot Dish or they'll ban me from the State Fair.

1 to 1.5 lb ground beef
Medium white or yellow onion, diced
Can of corn, drained
Can of Cream of Mushroom soup
Can of Cream of Celery soup
One package frozen Tater Tots (Ore-Ida usually)
Shredded mild cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350

Brown & drain the beef and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Drain the can of corn and add it to the beef and onion.

In a separate bowl, mix together the Cream of Mushroom + Cream of Celery soups.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread out the beef/onion/corn mixture. Put all the frozen tater tots directly on top - they will be pretty crowded on there but mostly can fit in a single layer. Then spread the cream of mushroom/celery combo over the tater tots like it's frosting.

Put in the oven and bake for about 45 - 50 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with shredded mild cheddar. Put back in the oven for an additional 8ish minutes until cheese is melted.

Eat it and take a nap.
posted by castlebravo at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Cabbage rolls are so satisfying and yummy and freeze really well. Making them is a bit of a production so I always make a big batch and freeze it in portions. Everybody’s grandma has a different recipe. Mine is very much no measurements use your hands and eyeballs, but after steaming and peeling the leaves off a big cabbage I do ground beef, uncooked brown rice, lots of grated onion, some minced carrot and celery, a good amount of minced garlic, a big handful of chopped parsley, eggs, sweet Hungarian paprika, magi seasoning sauce, and if I have them dried currants or chopped almonds, plenty of black pepper. Then I add in some of the minced up cabbage heart that was too small and scrunched for rolling, too, and a good blob of tomato sauce. I layer the pot with sliced onions, some tomato sauce which I mix up with some sugar and vinegar and paprika to make it sweet and sour, and begin stacking my rolls as I make them, tucking them in tightly, layering with more onions and sauce and any extra cabbage bits. In the end I often have some meat mixture left with no good cabbage leaves so I make meatballs and tuck those in too. Cover everything with sauce and add water to top it off and then simmer for a good few hours until everything is cooked through and tender. Because of the uncooked rice in the mix the rolls will swell up and if you packed them well they will be all plump. It can be helpful to eat one of the meatballs to check that everything is cooked all the way through. Also you will be hungry. This is probably something that is a lot faster with an instant pot but I wouldn’t know.

I also have to mention Lebanese kibbeh, which is like... amazing meat shells stuffed with more amazing meat filling and deep fried? I haven’t made it but if it’s on a menu you bet I’m ordering it. Looking up recipes got me very intimidated but if you are up for a project then the yumminess results are probably really worth it.
posted by Mizu at 9:52 AM on January 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

I make a ground beef stew. Brown off a diced onion, as much garlic as you like (2-3 cloves here), and 700 grams of ground beef. If you like mushrooms, add sliced mushrooms, and saute till releases moisture. If beef is watery, boil off. If fatty, drain leaving some fat. Sprinkle over 2-3 tbsps of flour, and fry until 'brownish" Add in 2-3 chopped carrots, and 2-3 diced potatoes. Pour over 4 cups beef broth. Salt pepper and thyme to taste. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until carrots/potatoes are soft, and then add frozen corn/peas.

If its too thin, I often use some bisto to thicken, and adds some taste. If consistency ok, but taste not great, Worcestershire or HP Sauce. Sriracha is also good.

I usually serve with a fresh loaf of bread/butter.

Its quick and easy
posted by Ftsqg at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2021

Sloppy Joes.
posted by Splunge at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Both mantu (Afghan) and mandu (Korean) dumplings can be made with ground beef.

Japanese hamburg steak is good too (here's a slightly different recipe). I used to order it with thinly sliced, fried garlic.
posted by wintersweet at 10:08 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is not a freezable meal, but I really like this spiced beef with hummus and tomato. Really easy, slightly different.
posted by jeather at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2021

We get meal kits and some of our favorite meals are the various asian rice and beef bowls which are pretty much the same recipe with minor changes:
Chop up some vegetables and put them in the oven with oil, salt, and pepper to roast for 10-25 minutes, usually carrots or zucchini.
Put some white rice on to boil and then reduce to simmer. Once it finishes, leave the lid on until the rest of the food is ready.
Dice and cook a yellow onion until soft, add salt and pepper.
Add beef to the onion and brown it, add salt and pepper.
Once browned, add 2-3 of the following items - your choice: garlic, ginger, soy sauce, ponzu, sweet chili sauce
Cook on low for a few minutes, stirring to combine all the flavors.
Dish up rice, then veggies, then beef mixture. Top with sriracha mayo, green onions, sesame seeds, etc.

Instead of yellow onion, you can use the whites of the green onions or a long green pepper. Add a jalapeno or other chilies if you want to increase the heat.

Another good one is a shepherds pie type dish with peppers/onions/beef all browned together in an ovenproof pan. Add southwest spice, then add butter until melted, then flour until browned, then water and stir to deglaze. Top with mashed potatoes and broil for 5 minutes or so. Another one that can benefit from a jalapeno.
posted by soelo at 10:39 AM on January 29, 2021

Best answer: If you want to try spaghetti and meatballs in a slightly different way, I recommend Makaroni aka Persian style spaghetti aka spaghetti tahdig. It does have an extra step, (although the sauce comes together really fast) but I think it reheats really well. I actually make it with beyond burger, and its good that way too. This recipe tells you how you can make your own advieh (I leave out the rose petals anyway, because I just really really don't like them). There's something about the crunchy tahdig and the chewiness that happens because you steam it that is just so comforting. I learned to make it because my kids' daycare owner makes plates and plates of it for them and they LOVE it so much. I guess it traditionally uses spaghetti or bucatini, but she makes it with a mix of spaghetti and big fat rigatoni, which is....chef's kiss.
posted by atomicstone at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'll be watching this closely, as I was gifted an entire cow for Christmas. (My father ensuring that his 3 grandsons never get hungry, I suppose.)

I found bobotie and loved it. It uses curries and chili to make a savory casserole dish.
posted by wg at 10:44 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Shepherd's pie, meatloaf
posted by theora55 at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh! I have also made something like soelo's Asian rice bowl above, only the recipe I have skips the vegetables and calls for simmering the beef in a splash of wine first. The ground beef and onions are simmered rather than sauteed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on January 29, 2021

I've got a recipe my parents made often, they called it "Spanish Steak". I've looked around a little and I've never found anything like it. I make it for myself these days, as my wife who hates it calls it "sour meatloaf". It's simple easy and hearty, I pair leftovers with instant mashed potatoes for a quick lunch.

• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 medium onion, diced coarse to fine as you prefer
• 10 stuffed olives, any will work, I like the Tasso's Jalapeño Garlic
• 1 can stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce will work in a pinch

Slice olives into 1/8" slices, then lightly mince. Mix onion, olives, the liquid from the stewed tomatoes, black pepper (I never measure, but it's a lot, about 1 tsp) and salt to taste in the ground beef. Knead this mixture until smooth and homogenous.

Traditionally, my parents made this dish in a cast iron pan in the oven. I don't like to do this, as the acid eats the seasoning I work hard to develop. I like to make this dish in Pyrex Snapware containers, since I can just pop a lid on it and refrigerate leftovers. Any glass baking dish will do.

Spread the meat evenly in the baking dish, top with the stewed tomatoes, poke some holes in the meat with a fork, twisting to make little holes for the stewed tomatoes to ooze into when baking. Bake at 350°F for about 90 minutes.
posted by sydnius at 10:51 AM on January 29, 2021

Joe's Special is a San Francisco dish that I do with ground beef (or turkey). There are variations but the version I like is:
1lb ground beef
1package frozen spinach (or cook up some fresh spinach if you want)
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese (I like a lot of cheese)

Beat eggs and set aside, grate cheese and set aside, thaw spinach and drain and set aside. Put oil in a large skillet, add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add ground beef and start to brown. Drain the fat. Then add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and salt/pepper to taste. When the beef is thoroughly cooked, pour beaten eggs over it and stir while they set. Take off the heat. Add parmesan cheese while stirring. Done.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:57 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This recipe for sukuma wiki (African braised collard greens with tomatoes) calls for ground beef, but there are many others that can be adapted. It's delicious, quick and healthy!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:57 AM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know you're not interested in chili, but have you tried Cincinnati chili? I think it's one of the world's great dishes. There are a million variations on the recipe; here's one that seems sensible (though I would add cumin as well as several "baking" spices like mace and nutmeg).
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:08 AM on January 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Stuffed peppers? These are seriously low effort and fairly fast to throw together, and taste great. (I add quite a bit more garlic and cheese, but you do you.)
posted by sm1tten at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2021

I made this "taco casserole" last night, and it was surprisingly tasty, my leftovers for lunch today were wonderful (I made the casserole as written, served a scoop with lots of romaine, tomatoes, sour cream and hotsauce, for kind of a taco salad vibe). It would also be really good as filling in quesadillas or wraps, or used as a kind of dip with nacho chips.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:09 PM on January 29, 2021

For a flavourful Japanese option there is always soboro, which combines beef with ginger, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sake into a delicious topping for rice. I skip the sugar.
posted by lulu68 at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tacos as other have mentioned. Stuffed cabbage deconstructed. Basically the hamburger, rice onions and some seasoning mixed up with cabbage and smothered in tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce). My grandmas used to use ground beef in her spaghetti sauce. A dump meal of 1 pound of the beef browned, some onions and peppers sauteed, two cans of sloppy joe sauce and your favorite pasta shape. Mix all together.
posted by kathrynm at 2:37 PM on January 29, 2021

Two, from our cow share: We make the Lamb Pulao from the NY Times with beef if we have that around instead of lamb, and it's equally popular. Modifications: We use 1 pound instead of 1.5 pounds, still fine. If you have a rice cooker just make the rice w/tumeric, lime, etc in that at the beginning instead of at the end. Sautee some onions on low in the beef fat while you're doing all of it until they get nice and brown and throw them in the mix at the end, and get everything ready at the beginning as it goes very quickly. If you want extra veg throw some spinach in with the sauteed onions right at the end. Sometimes some chopped tomatoes on top, if I have them. I usually start it (including prep) and am done with it about an hour later, including most of the cleanup. It would be faster if I pre-made the spice mix, which I've been planning to do but never get around to.

Also I won't link a specific recipe since I don't remember which one we used...but we had a pandemic week of "copycat meals" and the copycat big mac sloppy joes were a huge hit.

On the subject of 1/4 cow dishes: chicago italian beef and roast beef make excellent roast dishes, if you want something different.
posted by true at 4:03 PM on January 29, 2021

I like to make big batches of taco/nacho meat with refried beans, using Cook's Illustrated's taco seasoning, and then freeze. Can also be made into a chili-type soup with the addition of some tomatoes, and good in a bowl with rice and beans, etc.
posted by cyndigo at 4:20 PM on January 29, 2021

Response by poster: These are all so great, thanks everyone! I’ve marked as “best” some of the ones I’m most excited to make but it all sounds so delicious, I’ll probably end up trying everything.
posted by jacobian at 4:54 PM on January 29, 2021

Laap, Laarp or Laarb, a thai meat salad that can be made out of any animal (and some vegetables).
posted by tryscer at 1:44 AM on February 3, 2021

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