What to Make with Ground Beef

Ground beef (also called hamburger meat in some homes) is a dinner mainstay for many of us.  So many things to do with it, it cooks up very quickly, and whatever you make with it is usually comforting and homey and satisfying and family friendly. 

32 Things To Make With Ground Beef

But as with any dinner staple, we can get rut-like about how we make it.  So what else can you make with ground beef

Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef

Ground meat can star in so many recipes; this is one of the reasons it’s so perennially popular. It’s inexpensive, easy and fast to cook, and versatile. It can take center stage as a hamburger, meatballs, or meatloaf. It can play a more supporting role, as in a casserole or a skillet dish. And it can definitely anchor a chili, become the base of a sauce, get layered into lasagna.

In short, meals with “hamburger” are a repeating part of many folks’ dinner routines, and there’s no reason to allow that to become boring in the slightest.

Also see How to Brown Ground Beef on the Stove.

Different Types of Ground Beef

There are 4 main types of ground beef, though if you shop at a good butcher or a well stocked market with a meat counter, you’ll find more variations on these themes. If the recipe calls for particular type of meat or fat content, follow the instructions as best you can. The main areas of difference are:

The Cut of Ground Beef

Which part of the animal the meat comes from.

The Grade of Ground Beef

Buy the best grade you can afford! From highest quality to lowest, the grades are : Prime (this is the top grade, from younger cows), Choice, Select, and then there is Ungraded Meat, which is fine to cook and eat, but not the best quality.

The Fat Content of Ground Beef

Different cuts have different percentages of fat. More fat can result in richer, more flavorful beef dishes, but too much fat can also led to greasy results. The amount of fat you are looking for in the beef depends on how you are going to use it. If you are browning and draining the meat, or making burgers, a higher fat content is fine. If you are including it in a meatloaf or a casserole, you may want a lower fat content.

  • Regular Ground Beef – the meat might come from any part of the cow, usually the brisket or shank area, or be a mix of different cuts. The fat content can range from 25-30%, and this higher fat content makes it good for things like meatballs and hamburgers.
  • Ground Round – From the lower end of the cow and on the leaner side with about 15% fat. Good for casseroles, lasagnas, and meatloaves.
  • Ground Chuck – From the front of the cow, usually the shoulder, with about 20% fat.
  • Ground Sirloin – from the midsection with 10-15% fat. More pricey, but leaner.

How Long Can Ground Beef Keep?

Ground meat can be stored in the refrigerator in its original packaging for 2 days. If you plan to use it after that, it’s best to transfer it to an airtight freezer proof bag or container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Here are 10 family-pleasing dinner recipes for putting ever-popular ground beef to work in new and delicious ways. Dinner ideas for days.

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32 Best Ground Beef Recipes

Beef, Black Bean and Jalapeno Chili

Beef, Black Bean and Jalapeno Chili

Can you ever have too many chili recipes? Trick question.

One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni

One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni

This is total comfort food; a one dish recipe, with even the pasta cooking in the same skillet.

Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce

The Instant Pot quickly makes cooked pasta, sauce, and cheese come together in a layered pasta dinner.

Game Day Ground Beef Chili

Game Day Ground Beef Chili

A nice straightforward and simple chili recipe, with hamburger meat at the base.  You can tailor the recipe to what you have on hands, different kinds of beans, different vegetables, and dial up the heat, or dial it down as your family prefers.

How to Make a Nacho Bar

How to Make a Nacho Bar

Ground beef makes a terrific nacho topping.  This is a great use for leftover browned ground beef, whether seasoned simply, or with Mexican, Southwestern, or Tex Mex seasonings.

Bolognese Sauce / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Bolognese Sauce

This quick and easy Bolognese makes the cold weather a lot more tolerable.

Shepherd’s Pie / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman / themom100.com

Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potatoes atop a savory pie are delicious; cheesy mashed potatoes are kind of sublime.
Leftover ground or chopped cooked lamb also works perfectly for this.  Also something to think about when you have leftover mashed potatoes on hand (I've also used packaged mashed potatoes for this, and no one knew or would have cared).

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas

Like the best bar food in the world, but right here in your own kitchen. My family has never met a combo of ground beef and cheese that they didn't like.  This simple ground beef recipe is a forever favorite.

Classic Lasagna with Turkey Sausage / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman / themom100.com

Havarti and Gouda Turkey Lasagna

Gouda and havarti give this hearty lasagna serious cheese flavor. This is a contender of a lasagna. Sub in the ground beef for the turkey sausage.

Cheesy Beef and Hash Brown Casserole

Cheesy Ground Beef and Hashbrown Casserole

Crispy but tender shredded potatoes top a casserole of juicy ground beef bound together with a creamy cheesy sauce.

Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas

Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas

Satisfying old-school beefiness and cheesiness, wrapped up in flour tortillas and baked until hot and melty.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

A super classic, soul satisfying chili, made in the crockpot.


Beef and Three Cheese Noodle Casserole

Beef and Three Cheese Noodle Casserole

Easy, make ahead, and total comfort food (this dish is sometimes called Johnny Marzetti!).

One-Skillet Beefy Enchilada Casserole

One-Skillet Beefy Enchilada Casserole

A satisfying one dish cheesy, beefy pasta recipe that hits all of those delicious flavor notes of enchiladas!

Chipotle Beef Burgers

Chipotle Beef Burgers

These burgers have a spicy kick, but you can adjust the heat level to your taste. Just one ingredient more than plain burgers, but so much more interesting!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Tender little meatballs coated with a lovely creamy sauce—you can give Ikea a run for its money right in your own kitchen!

Fork-in-the-Road Burgers (with a Kick) / Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman / themom100.com

Fork-in-the-Road Burgers (with a Kick)

A burger with a little heat (but also a plain and simple version for those who wants to keep it mild).

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

A flavorful Mexican-inspired ground beef and vegetable casserole is nestled under a crunchy-tender cornbread topping.

Mexican Pizza with Avocado Crema

Mexican Pizza with Avocado Crema

Pizza heads south of the Border (don’t miss the avocado crema drizzle).

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Beefy meatballs glazed with a tangy, simple pantry ingredient sauce are hard to stop eating.

Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce

The Instant Pot quickly makes cooked pasta, sauce, and cheese come together in a layered pasta dinner.

Deviled Burgers / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman / themom100.com

Deviled Burgers

A burger with personality.

Meatball Subs

Meatball Sub Sandwich

Layered up with marinara sauce and lots of mozzarella, these are the meatball subs dreams are made of.

Classic Cheesy Beefy Lasagna

Meat Lasagna

This is what my family thinks of as the world's best lasagna.

Meat Sauce

Classic Italian Meat Sauce

If you are a meat sauce family (my family is a serious meat sauce family), then a pot of this in the fridge, or a container of this in the freezer is just pure peace of mind.

Chipotle Sliders

Easy Chipotle Sliders

These cute little sliders are kind of sophisticated as sliders go, but still totally game day party worthy.

Cheeseburger Pizza

Cheeseburger Pizza

Two of the most popular comfort soul-satisfying foods around become one in a decadent and addictive pizza pie.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

A perfect classic meatball recipe, adapted for the slow cooker, so you can set it and forget it.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

This perfect Italian classic makes people so happy, and just will never go out of style.

Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

A super solid, super satisfying cold weather pasta casserole—kind of a deconstructed lasagna.

Grilled Cheeseburgers with Herb Sauce

Grilled Cheeseburgers with Herb Sauce

When ketchup and mustard aren't quite enough.

You may also be interested in 10 Things To Make With Leftover Shredded Chicken!

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