31 Fabulous Ground Beef Recipes
Ground beef is one of the most versatile and affordable meats to cook with, especially when you're trying to get dinner on the table fast. It’s a staple ingredient that you can stock the freezer with, and rely on at any moment’s notice for an easy and satisfying dinner without stressing a lengthy cook time. Whether you are in the mood for a casserole, burgers, or even a salad, ground beef has got you covered. You can sauce it, stew it, bake it, and crumble it for an unlimited list of crave-worthy dishes. Here are some of our favorites.
Tex-Mex meets tater tots in this easy, inexpensive, and all-around comforting one-dish dinner. Our spicy twist on the classic tater tot casserole consists of a succulent ground beef filling—featuring creamy black beans, crisp-sweet corn, cheese, and mild green chiles for a kick—topped with crispy tater tots, and finished with a drizzle of an addictively spicy and tangy sour cream sauce. Top this fiesta of a casserole with fresh garnishes, such as avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro, and it’s as perfect to serve at your next football feast as it is for a casual weeknight meal. We use 85/15 lean ground beef for this recipe and recommend that you do not go with anything leaner, as the higher fat percentage both contributes to the filling’s rich flavor and keeps it from drying out while baking.
Photo: Gina DeSimone; Food Styling: Blakeslee Giles; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Pan-Fried Beef and Scallion Dumplings
These easy beef dumplings are an excellent use for extra-lean ground beef, and are great served as an appetizer or as a simple entree alongside a couple of vegetable sides, like Sesame-Soy Green Beans or Mixed Mushrooms with Fish Sauce. It’s important to use a leaner ratio of ground beef for this recipe in order to avoid excessive grease releasing during the steaming process .(If your beef is too fatty, you’ll end up with soup dumplings filled with beef grease.) The dumplings can be made a few hours in advance, simply cover with a damp paper towel and hold in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Photo: Gina DeSimone; Food Styling: Paige Grandjean; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Ground Beef and Pasta Casserole
This casserole is perfect for your busy week when getting in and out of the kitchen needs to be a snap. With very simple prep work, it will become a weeknight staple in your household.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Quick and Easy Nachos
This platter of goodness represents the lowest-effort end of the nacho spectrum. That said, “low-effort”—by no stretch of the imagination—means a low YUM-factor here. Although this game day-perfect platter of beefy, cheesy nachos comes together quickly and relies largely on store-bought shortcuts, it delivers the classic meld of flavors and textures that you want from everyone’s favorite appetizer. For this recipe, we combine the meat and cheese elements to create a Ro*Tel Dip-inspired, beefy cheese sauce to pour over the nachos. Not only does this guarantee an even distribution of the hearty toppings, but it keeps you from having to crank up the oven. However, if you prefer melted, shredded cheese over a sauce, simply cook your ground beef in a skillet on the stovetop, drain, and distribute over the nachos on a sheet pan. Then, top the platter with shredded cheese and pop it under the broiler until melty and glorious (omitting the can of Ro*Tel).
Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Julia Levy; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson
Beef, Cheese, and Noodle Bake
Photo: Lee Harrelson
Burger Patty Salad
We love the richness that a little ground lamb offers, but you can use all beef or even ground turkey instead.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: MIndi Shapiro Levine
Green Chile Tamale Pie
Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
The Cheeseburger Salad
Classic burger elements become a fast, fun salad--a deconstructed take on a diner favorite. Instead of four burger patties, we cook just two, then chop and sprinkle them over the top. A handful of crushed potato chips adds crunch. Kick up the dressing with a pinch of ground red pepper.
Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Claire Spollen
Cowboy-Style Beef and Vegetable Ragout
Think of this savory meat sauce as a cross between beef stew and sloppy joe filling. Add pearl onions to soups and stir-fries, or saute in a skillet with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. The perfect pairing for this ragout is our Cauliflower Polenta. While the stock mixture for the polenta comes to a boil, begin cooking the beef mixture. As your finish the ragout, the polenta will be cooking away. The addition of cauliflower to traditional polenta lightens the recipe. To add more vegetables to this ragout, add carrots and parsnips during the fall.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen
Sheet Pan Beef and Black Bean Nachos
Load up the nachos on a baking sheet, then bring straight to the table for easy serving and a great presentation. While we love melted shredded cheese, we found that it makes the nachos a bit unwieldy. Instead, a creamy cheese sauce coats each chip and makes it easier to separate from the pack. Topping potential is endless, but we like sliced avocado and jalapeño.
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford
Super Fast Upside-Down Shepherd's Pie
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Meatball and Ziti Bake
Whole-wheat pasta holds up well in this cheesy, saucy pasta bake.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Quinoa Bibimbop Bowls
Bibimbop is a Korean dish that means "mixed rice." For this version, we took a hearty grain like quinoa and served it with crunchy vegetables and a fried egg. Jalapeño seeds add heat to the spicy-sweet beef mixture; remove the seeds and membranes before mincing for sensitive palates. Let the family build their own bowls, so this way, everyone's happy.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Spiced Beef Tostadas with Cilantro-Lime Rice
These tostadas are inspired by classic taco night toppers and sides. Our version amps up the spice while keeping sodium numbers in check.
Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Claire Spollen
Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis
We add white cheddar cheese to this comfort-food favorite making it seem more indulgent than it actually is at less than 300 calories per serving (no joke!).
Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
The ultimate crowd-pleaser, nachos were invented in 1943 by a maître d' in Piedras Negras, Mexico (just south of the Texas border). Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, working a solo shift at the Victory Club restaurant, cobbled together a pile of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and pickled jalapeños for a group of U.S. military wives in for a snack. His creation became hugely popular, paving the way for massive concession-stand revenues across America.
Annabelle Breakey; Dan Becker
These meatballs are made with onion, minced garlic, corn tortilla, egg, ground sirloin, and chipotle chile.
Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Claire Spollen
Chili for a Crowd
Photo: Rob Howard; Styling: Marcus Hay
Photo: William Dickey; Styling: Cindy Manning Barr
Speedy Shepherd's Pie
Making the most of supermarket convenience items gets this family favorite on the table in a flash. Precut matchstick carrots are easier to chop into small pieces quickly, and using prepared mashed potatoes for the topping is a good trick for when you don't have leftover mashed potatoes on hand.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford
When we say easy, we mean easy. You don't even have to cook the noodles for this speedy yet impressive lasagna that always gets rave reviews. Lasagna is a family favorite, but this version is extra-special because it only requires 5 quick ingredients: ground beef, pasta sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella (we don’t count the water!). It’s rated 5 stars for a reason. Pro tip: Make a double batch: Enjoy one now and freeze one for a quick meal on a busy weeknight.
Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Martin
Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce over Pappardelle Pasta
Traditionally, Bolognese sauce requires hours of babysitting as it simmers on the stove, but our recipe is virtually hands-off.
Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Greek Baked Ziti (Pastitsio)
In the Greek version of baked ziti, the noodles are mixed with two sauces: a lamb-and-tomato sauce and a milk-and-cheese sauce. I lightened the cream sauce by using 2% milk and fewer eggs. The casserole keeps for days in the refrigerator and cuts into neat little squares for reheating.
Photo: Oxmoor House
Tomato 'n' Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Caroline Murphey
Roasted Vegetable and Mini Meatball Pappardelle
Although it's pricier than ordinary ground beef, grass-fed (which is what you usually find at farmers' markets) goes a long way when rolled into mini meatballs.
Photo: Iain Bagwell
Meatballs in White Wine Sauce with Rustic Bread
Meatballs in White Wine Sauce with Rustic Bread gives new life to an ingredient staple--lean ground beef. These meatballs are pumped with flavor with the addtion of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, ricotta cheese, and sundried tomatoes--and then simmered in white wine.
Photo: Kate Sears; Stylist: Amy Wilson
Up your grilling game this summer with a burger that’s sure to impress—i.e. a Gyro Burger. Inspired by the classic Greek sandwich, we’ve upgraded ground beef with bold seasoning and a new home inside of a pita pocket, rather than typical sesame bun, with lettuce, tomato, red onion, feta cheese, and generous drizzle of toasty tahini sauce. Before assembling, wrap your pita rounds in a foil packet and throw them on the grill for a couple of minutes if you’d like a warm pocket for your burger and toppings. And if you are a lamb fan, we’d highly recommend substituting ground lamb for half of the beef called for here. Serve these beauties up with fresh grilled veggies like eggplant and zucchini.
Burger With Mushrooms and Radicchio
Photo: Romulo Yanes
Thai Beef Cabbage Cups
In Thailand, the spicy ground beef mixture is called larb. Serve with lime wedges.
Photo: John Autry
Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower
Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross