Cheap, Easy & Full of Flavor: 30+ Ground Beef Recipes

How many times have we asked ourselves: What can I make with ground beef tonight? I know I have plenty of times. Well you’ve hit the jackpot with this list! Here’s my handpicked collection of recipes–each promising to be not only tasty–but most are fast and easy to make too.

I’ve separated them into two groups for convenient browsing, the first lists assorted dishes and ideas while the second group is casseroles.

Bonus! If you’re interested in cooking up big batches of hamburger and freezing it for future use (cuts down cooking time on busy work nights), you’ll find instructions at the bottom of the page for boiling it. Be warned though, the meat doesn’t have as much flavor when boiled (though it does get rid of much of the fat), you’ll want to cook it with spices, onions and flavorings.

First, here’s a Quick Skillet Dish Recipe to try:

Brown 1 lb of ground beef, drain off fat then add a chopped onion and minced garlic (2 or 3 cloves), salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes (crushed canned tomatoes–28 oz), 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 3 cups of macaroni, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (stir occasionally). Once pasta is cooked, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of shredded Cheddar (depending on how cheesy you like it), heat until melted then serve.

Ready to check out the rest? Here you go…

  1. Not Your Average Joe – Sloppy Joes!: A sure winner, this is made with french fried onions, toasted hamburger buns, shredded cheddar & manwich sloppy joe sauce. Southern Plate.
  2. Slow Cooker Italian Stuffed Peppers: Red, yellow or orange bell peppers, Italian sausage, cooked rice, small zucchini & more. From Olga’s Flavor Factory.
  3. Potato Topped Bowl: This quick & easy main dish recipe is also called shepherd’s pie. Each serving includes a layer of beef & mixed vegetables, mashed potato flakes, & a sprinkling of cheddar. Better Homes & Gardens.
  4. Barbecue Filled Biscuits: A tasty mixture with peppers & cheese are blended with BBQ sauce & pressed into refrigerated biscuits to make this fast weeknight dish. Kraft Foods.
  5. Lean & Spicy Taco Meat: A combination of lean meats makes a less-greasy filling. Bypass taco-seasoning packets in favor of making your own full-flavored filling. Eating Well.
  6. Lasagna Rolls: Lasagna noodles, spaghetti sauce, fennel seed (optional) & shredded part-skim mozzarella. Taste Of Home.
  7. Chili: Yields 8 servings, ingredients include vegetable oil, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, dried oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (optional), plum tomatoes, bottled strained tomatoes & kidney beans. Canadian Living.
  8. Old-Fashioned Meatloaf: Quick-cooking oats, diced tomatoes (without juice), a lightly beaten egg, bell pepper, black pepper, salt. Paula Deen. You’ll find more idea here.
  9. Open-Face Lone Star Burgers: (scroll down page a bit to find the recipe) Made with onion, minced garlic, dried thyme, shredded Colby Jack, frozen garlic Texas toast, tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire & steak sauce. Gooseberry Patch. You’ll find dozens of burger ideas on this page.
  10. Sweet & Sour Meatballs: Serves 4 to 6, made with quick oats, slightly beaten eggs, finely chopped onion, milk, salt, pepper & Worcestershire. Sweet & Sour ingredients: brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire. From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
  11. Taco Skillet: The flavors of the Southwest come alive in this skillet supper featuring picante sauce, tortillas – it’s a family favorite that’s on the table in just 25 minutes. To make getting dinner on the table even faster, you can make this ahead & freeze it. Campbell’s Kitchen.
  12. Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Gravy: Sliced mushrooms, reduced-sodium beef froth, Worcestershire & bouillon granules. Beef Loving Texans.
  13. Salsa Skillet: It’s hard to believe we got all this goodness into a one-pot skillet dish—but true! It has ground beef, mac & cheese, salsa — & more cheese. Kraft Foods.
  14. Homemade Hamburger Helper: Made with hot water, milk, elbow macaroni, corn starch, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, sugar, paprika & shredded cheese. Chickens In The Road.
  15. Salisbury Steak: Served with caramelized onion gravy, Yum! One Perfect Bite.

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Many of us have a favorite, tried-and-true casserole in our back pocket but there’s always room for more! Here’s a bunch to try, some quick ‘n easy, some cheesy, while others are tweaked so they’re a little less fat & a little more healthy…each promises to please. Enjoy!

  1. Super Casserole: Egg noodles, diced celery, tomato soup, cream of chicken condensed soup, cream of mushroom soup. Cocoa And Cheese.
  2. Stroganoff: Mushroom gravy mix, sliced mushrooms (jar, drained), sour cream, Bisquick, milk, egg & a small bell pepper cut into rings. Found at Tablespoon.
  3. Crafty Crescent Lasagna: Bulk pork sausage, lean ground beef, onions, dried parsley flakes, dried basil leaves, dried oregano leaves, finely chopped garlic, a dash of pepper, tomato paste, grated Parmesan, small-curd cottage cheese, an egg, refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, mozzarella, milk, & sesame seeds. From Pillsbury.
  4. With Baked Beans: Onion, baked beans, fresh tomatoes, light brown sugar, bacon & seasonings. Paula Deen.
  5. Zesty Italian Crescent Top Crust: Onion, tomato pasta sauce, shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack, sour cream, Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls, grated Parmesan. Pillsbury.
  6. Creamy With Noodles: Scallions, bulgur, minced garlic, tomato sauce, whole-wheat egg noodles, low-fat cottage cheese, reduced-fat sour cream & shredded extra-sharp Cheddar. Eating Well.
  7. Layered Fiesta Style: Green & red peppers, salsa, canned diced tomatoes, frozen corn, corn tortillas & sharp cheddar. Kraft Recipes.
  8. Shipwreck: Tater tots, diced onion, frozen sliced carrots and tomato soup. Southern Plate.
  9. Mile High Salsa Pie: Made with Old El Paso Soft Taco Bake dinner kit, kidney beans, jar of salsa & Monterey Jack. Betty Crocker.
  10. Cheddar & Potato Pie: Made with ground beef or turkey, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, baking potato, dark beer, sharp cheese & frozen puff pastry. Stylish Cuisine.
  11. Enchilada: Taco seasoning, refried beans, hard corn taco shells, tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup, red enchilada sauce and Mexican blend cheese. Cooking With Krista.
  12. With Chili & Corn Chips: Made with tomato sauce, chili con carne, fritos, jalapeno, and grated cheddar. The Open Pantry.
  13. With Noodles: Wheat egg noodles, fresh mushrooms, minced garlic, tomato sauce, reduced-fat cream cheese, reduced-fat ricotta, reduced-fat sour cream, green onions and reduced-fat fiesta blend cheese. From Pots & Plots.
  14. Green Chili Cheeseburger French Fry: Diced onion, seasonings, diced mild green chiles, Garacias Nacho Cheese Mexican Cheese, shredded chipotle cheddar and Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries. The Cooking Photographer.
  15. Impossibly Easy Taco Pie: No taco shells are needed for enjoying the great taco flavor of this easy main-dish pie. Ingredients include taco seasoning mix, green chiles (canned, drained), milk, eggs, Bisquick mix, shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar, salsa and sour cream (if desired). Betty Crocker.
  16. Spiral Pepperoni Pizza Bake: Kid-friendly and mom approved. Uses a pound each of hamburger and sausage. Going Jane.
  17. Tasty Pie: Topped with mashed potatoes, ingredients include frozen green beans (thawed), tomato soup and shredded process American cheese. Better Homes and Gardens.
  18. Swedish Meatball Casserole: Uses frozen precooked meatballs to speed up prep time, ingredients include uncooked egg noodles, dried gravy mix, sour cream, nutmeg, fresh parsley and mushrooms (jar, drained). Land O’Lakes.
  19. With Macaroni: A hearty cumin-scented dish with a cheesy-crisp topping. Ingredients include: elbow macaroni, extra-virgin olive oil, onion, green bell pepper, cumin, all-purpose flour, crushed tomatoes (can), chicken stock or low-sodium broth, heavy cream, parsley, sharp cheddar (shredded), panko and scallions. Food & Wine.
  20. With Biscuits: Promises to be both family and budget pleasing, ingredients include celery, onion, all-purpose flour, salt, dried oregano, pepper, tomato sauce, frozen peas, refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, shredded cheddar. Taste of Home.

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Did you know it’s possible to boil hamburger? It doesn’t sound that appealing does it but it’s actually pretty good (at least my family thinks so) and there are many benefits to preparing big batches at a time. Here’s the scoop…

  • This is super fast and easy to do! Just bring a pot of water to a boil and crumble the raw ground beef into the water. If it’s still frozen, just plop it in and give it more time to cook. Keep things at a rolling boil, stirring apart the clumps. When there’s no more pink to the meat–it’s done. It takes just a few minutes!
  • Boiling the meat removes much of the fat. After straining you could also rinse again with hot water to remove the trace of fat left on the surface.
  • The amount of water needed has no rules other than using enough to keep the meat covered.
  • Note: This won’t be as flavorful as fried, so you’ll want to add things like celery, onion, garlic, peppers, bouillon, seasonings to the pot (whatever you like). Or you could just make sure to add more zip to the dishes you’ll be using this in.
  • Once it’s cooked, strain with a colander placed over a pail or large pot and allow to cool (you don’t want to drain the water in the sink because of the grease). Portion the meat in freezer bags in one pound batches. Space saver tip: flatten the bags and stack them on top of each other in the freezer.
  • You can cook meatballs this way too! Don’t make them too big and they’ll float to the top when they’re cooked through (test one first by cutting in half). Freeze on a cookie sheet then bag portions in freezer bags.
  • Some choose to use the strained water as a broth for homemade soups, but I chuck it. If you want to use it as broth, refrigerate the water first so you can remove as much as the fat as possible when it solidifies at the top.
  • Use fast meals. Take a bag out of the freezer, thaw and whip up anything you like that calls for hamburger (sauces, taco filling, chili, sloppy joes, casseroles, lasagna, etc.). Cooking time is cut drastically because the meat is already done.

If this cooking method seems a tad odd to you, try one little batch and see how it turns out. The texture is fine and crumbly and can be on the tasteless side if not seasoned well, but when you can prepare 10 pounds in minutes and have a freezer full of quick fixins for hectic nights–you might find yourself easily converted ;).

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What Readers Are Saying: 4 Comments
  1. Susan M Lynch says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your recipes with me they are truly amazing. love making them all.

  2. dearcat from Maine says:

    I am 76 yrs. and am so glad I found this site. Love it. I have been cooking for more than 60 yrs. and am amazed that I have found so many new things that are delish.

  3. Sherri says:

    Amazing recipes and so easy to make. The boil meat thing really does save alot of time, I just spice it up when I use the meat in a dish. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Satina Ballard says:

    I’ve never heard of boiling hamburger meat in my life! But it sounds great with having every night busy with three small boys under the age of five. Thank you so much. Trying this tonight!


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