Skip to Content

How to Cook Ground Beef

How to cook ground beef – Ground beef is one of the most versatile ingredients when it comes to cooking. It is one of the best ways to enjoy beef. It’s ready in less than 15 minutes!

Close-up shot of well-browned ground beef in a frying pan, showing uniform color and texture

Cooking ground beef is a fundamental skill that every home cook should master. It’s versatile, and delicious, and can be used in a variety of dishes like burgers, tacos, spaghetti sauce, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced chef, this simple guide will walk you through the steps of cooking perfect ground beef every time.

How To Brown Ground Beef

Given how versatile ground beef is, being able to prepare it just right is essential for a wide range of dishes, from simple ground beef and potatoes to mouthwatering and easy one-pot ground beef pasta. The possibilities are endless!

To ensure that your ground beef comes out perfectly every time, I’m here to share some of my secrets with you. By using the right techniques, you can make sure that your ground beef stays juicy and gets nicely browned. With these skills at your fingertips, you’ll be able to elevate all of the dishes you make with ground beef and take your cooking to the next level.

Fully browned and cooked ground beef served in a serving bowl, ready to be incorporated into various dishes

What type of Ground beef should I use then?

When selecting ground beef, consider the fat content. Ground beef is typically labeled with the percentage of fat it contains, such as 80/20 (80% lean meat, 20% fat) or 90/10 (90% lean meat, 10% fat).

The fat content affects the flavor and juiciness of the final dish. Leaner options are suitable for healthier recipes, while higher fat content adds richness and flavor. Choose the type of ground beef that best suits your recipe and preferences.

You can also learn how to make your own ground beef, at home and from scratch so that you know what goes into your body instead of using store-bought ground beef. 

Pile of raw, seasoned ground beef preparing to be browned in a cooking pan

Ingredients for cooking ground beef 

  • Lean ground beef: Lean ground beef comes with less fat so it is a lot better. Ground sirloin and ground round beef works for this recipe. 
  • Olive oil: While this is an optional ingredient, using olive oil to cook ground beef is common practice. It prevents the ground beef from sticking to the pan and also helps it not to dry out. 
  • Salt & pepper: This is optional but I love to add it to get it a bit flavored. 

How to cook Ground Beef

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground beef to the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up into small pieces.
  3. Let the beef brown for several minutes without disturbing it, as this will help it develop a nice crust.
  4. Break the beef into smaller pieces and continue to cook until it is cooked through and no longer pink.
  5. Remember to drain any excess fat from the skillet if necessary. 
  6. You can use the cooked ground beef in various recipes, such as tacos, chili, or pasta dishes such as African Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs.

Recipe Ideas Using Cooked Ground Beef

Here are a few ideas to inspire your next meal:

  • Classic Spaghetti Bolognese: Combine cooked ground beef with a flavorful tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti for a comforting and satisfying pasta dish.
  • Tasty Tacos: Seasoned ground beef, paired with taco shells or tortillas, and topped with your favorite toppings like shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, and guacamole, create a delicious taco night feast.
  • Hearty Chili: Create a warming pot of chili by simmering cooked ground beef with beans, tomatoes, spices, and vegetables. Customize it with your preferred level of heat and garnish with sour cream, grated cheese, and fresh herbs
  • Flavorful Stuffed Bell Peppers: Stuff cooked ground beef into hollowed-out bell peppers, along with rice, vegetables, and cheese. Bake until tender for a satisfying and nutritious meal.
  • Ground Beef and Potatoes: For a comforting and hearty meal using cooked ground beef, sauté onions and garlic in a pan, then add the cooked ground beef and diced potatoes. Season with your choice of spices and cook until the potatoes are tender and everything is well combined.
Close-up shot of well-browned ground beef in a frying pan, showing uniform color and texture

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ground beef is best for browning? This depends on individual preferences. Leaner options are suitable for healthier recipes, while higher fat content adds richness and flavor. Choose what you feel is best for you.

Can I brown frozen ground beef? Yes, you can brown frozen beef, but it’s recommend to thaw it first for a more even cook and better texture.

How will I know when my ground beef is properly browned? The beef should be a deep brown color. The meat should also have reached a safe internal temperature of 160°F when tested with a meat thermometer.

Do I need to drain ground beef after browning it? Yes. It’s best to drain ground beef after browning to remove excess grease. This will improve the texture of your final dish and make it healthier.

What can I add to my ground beef for more flavor while browning? The simplest seasonings are salt and pepper. However, I like my food well seasoned so I added garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce to boost the flavor.

How long can I store browned ground beef in the refrigerator? You can safely store fully cooked and cooled ground beef in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, place the cooled beef in freezer bags or an airtight container and freeze it. It can be frozen for up to three months.

Tips

  1. Thaw meat properly: If using frozen ground beef, make sure to thaw it completely in the refrigerator before cooking. Avoid using a microwave for thawing, as it can lead to uneven cooking.
  2. Preheat the pan: Always preheat your skillet or pan before adding the ground beef. This will ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.
  3. Don’t overcrowd the pan: It’s important not to overcrowd the pan with too much ground beef. Cook in batches if necessary, as overcrowding can cause the meat to steam rather than brown.
  4. Brown the beef first: Start by browning the ground beef on one side without stirring too much. This will create a flavorful crust and enhance the overall taste.
  5. Drain excess fat: After cooking, drain any excess fat from the ground beef. This helps reduce greasiness and make the dish healthier.
  6. Season to taste: Don’t forget to season your ground beef. This will enhance the flavor and make the dish more delicious.

By following these tips, you can make sure your ground beef comes out perfectly every time!

Try out these delicious meals you can make with Ground Beef 

Close-up shot of well-browned ground beef in a frying pan, showing uniform color and texture

How To Cook Ground Beef

A foundational skill in the kitchen is browning ground beef. It's the underpinning of many remarkable dishes. Our guide will equip you with everything you need to create dishes that are flavorful, aromatic, and absolutely irresistible.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 lb
Calories: 621.4kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the ground beef to the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into small pieces.
  • Let the beef brown for several minutes without disturbing it, as this will help it develop a nice crust. Then break the beef into smaller pieces.
  • Once the ground beef is well broken up and nearly fully browned, sprinkle in the, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
  • After the beef is fully cooked (6-8 minutes), all small pieces bear a uniform rich-brown color, and the internal temperature reads at or above 160°F, drain any excess fat using a slotted spoon.
  • You can now use the cooked ground beef in various recipes, such as tacos, chili, or pasta dishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 621.4kcal | Protein: 97.1g | Fat: 22.7g | Saturated Fat: 10.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.8g | Trans Fat: 1.6g | Cholesterol: 281.2mg | Sodium: 299.4mg | Potassium: 1569.4mg | Calcium: 40.8mg | Iron: 10.8mg

Let’s Connect! You can find me on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!