How To Cook Ground Beef Perfectly, 4 Ways

Fresh Raw mince, Minced beef, ground meat with herbs and spices on black plate

How To Cook Ground Beef Perfectly, 4 Ways

Ground beef is the foundation of some of the best family meals. Whether it’s taco night or you’re making spaghetti and meatballs, ground beef can be included in a variety of recipes. If you’re looking for some quick and easy meals to make for your family or to meal prep for the week ahead, you might wonder about the best ways to cook ground beef. Cooking delicious meals doesn’t have to be complicated and you can learn how to cook ground beef perfectly with just a few simple steps.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, ground beef is a delicious meat to include in chili, burrito bowls, or pasta. Keep reading to find out the best ways to cook ground beef.

Horizontal Close Up Photo of Fresh Ground Beef with Garnish on Slate with dark table top
Ground beef comes in several varieties that come from different parts of a cow.


Purchasing the Right Ground Beef

Before you start cooking your ground beef, you have to decide what kind of ground beef is best for you. Ground beef usually comes in several varieties that will impact the consistency and flavor of your recipe. Here are the types of ground beef you’ll normally see in the grocery store:

  • Ground beef (70/30)
    While ground beef is often a general term that includes any kind of beef, it’s also a term to describe the ground beef with the highest fat content. This type of ground beef is 70% lean and 30% fat. Considering the high-fat content, it’s also the most affordable of the three types. Ground beef with 30% fat is great for making hamburgers and is a blend of different types of beef.
  • Ground chuck (80/20)
    Ground chuck is a type of ground beef that comes from the shoulder or neck region, known as the chuck. This cut is higher in fat than ground sirloin but still has enough fat to be considered a flavorful type of ground beef. It’s also a good variety to use for hamburgers or meatballs.
  • Ground round (85/15)
    Ground round is much leaner than most other types and it comes from the portion of the cow around the tail. This will often include meat from the hips, hind legs, or even knees. While it does have more fat than ground sirloin, ground sirloin has more of a beef flavor than ground round. Ground round is best for recipes with extra seasonings or other ingredients to bind the meat together.
  • Ground sirloin (90/10)
    Ground sirloin is the leanest type of beef and comes from the mid-back region of the cow. Since it’s the leanest version of ground beef, it’s not great for hamburgers but it’s perfect for using in sauces or other similar dishes.

As you’re looking at the types of ground beef in the store, consider which one is best for the recipe you’re using. While they can all be cooked in similar ways, the amount of fat is going to impact the flavor of your recipe as well as how much grease is produced.

How to Cook Ground Beef on the Stove

Cooking ground beef on the stove is the simplest and easiest way to brown it. All you need is a skillet or saucepan and something to stir the beef. To increase the flavor, you can add a variety of seasonings. You can also add tomatoes or tomato paste for tacos or ground beef over rice.

Here’s the easiest way to cook ground beef on the stove:

  • Add oil to a pan or skillet
  • Once the pan is hot, add your ground beef
  • Using a wooden spoon, break the beef into smaller pieces
  • Let the ground beef cook and brown for several minutes
  • Once all the beef is browned, remove it from the pan
  • Place it on a paper-towel-lined plate to let the beef drain

When you brown your ground beef, the fat from the beef will come out in the form of grease. If you don’t want the grease as a part of your meal, you can drain it by placing it on a plate lined with a paper towel like you would bacon. You can also strain the ground beef with a mesh strainer and let the grease drip into a bowl. 

The amount of grease will depend on how lean your beef is. Also, avoid disposing of the grease in the sink because it can clog your drain.

How to Boil Ground Beef

While cooking your ground beef on the stove is a great option, if you’re looking for something leaner and healthier, you can also cook your ground beef on the stove by boiling it. This is a healthy and efficient way to cook ground beef, especially if you’re using it for tacos or sauces and you need the size of the pieces to be more consistent.

Here’s how to boil ground beef:

  • Add a pound of ground beef to a large saucepan
  • Fill the pan with enough water to cover the beef
  • Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon
  • Bring the water to a boil, stirring frequently
  • Lower the temperature to a simmer
  • Simmer the beef for about 15 minutes or until it’s completely browned
  • Drain the beef and season to taste

There are many different seasonings you can add to beef after boiling, or you can simply mix it into your favorite sauce, chili, or other recipe. You can use a variety of types of beef for this method, but if you’re trying to reduce the amount of fat in the meat, you’re better off choosing a leaner cut.

How to Cook Ground Beef in the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is a useful kitchen tool to have on hand. Not only does it allow you to pressure cook your food for efficient cooking, but most Instant Pots also have a saute function, and slow cook function. The newest versions of the Instant Pot even have an air-fryer option.

Here’s how to cook ground beef in the Instant Pot:

  • Turn on the saute function in your Instant Pot
  • Add the ground beef to the pot and brown it for 3-4 minutes
  • Season the beef
  • Add ½ cup of broth to the pot
  • Close the lid and make sure the valve is closed
  • Set it to pressure cook for 2 minutes
  • Once the timer goes off, do a quick release and manually open the valve
  • Drain the beef when finished

Cooking the ground beef in the Instant Pot creates delicious and flavorful beef in a short amount of time. You can use this ground beef in a variety of recipes. A slotted spoon can be handy to have to scoop out the ground beef from the Instant Pot without the liquid. 

How to Cook Ground Beef in the Oven

When in doubt, using the oven is a quick and easy way to cook any meal. It doesn’t require any extra tools or appliances and you can easily control the temperature to keep your meat from overcooking or burning.

Here’s how to cook ground beef in the oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F
  • Cover a shallow pan or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
  • Add your ground beef to the bottom of the pan
  • Cook the ground beef in the oven for 20-60 minutes until browned
  • Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula

This can be a great way to brown a lot of ground beef at once for a large meal or even for meal prepping. The cooking time will vary significantly depending on how much meat you’re browning. It’s best to check it after 20 minutes, especially if you’re only using a small amount. If you’re cooking 3-5 pounds of beef, it can take up to an hour to cook.

For an easy way to break up the cooked ground beef, you can also place it in a food processor which will break it up into smaller pieces.

Healthy Beef and Bean Chili2
You can serve ground beef in pasta, chili, tacos, and more.

©AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock.com

Best Ways to Serve Ground Beef

Ground beef is a great type of meat to have on hand because it’s so easy to cook. If you’re simply browning the ground beef, you can serve it in tacos, quesadillas, over rice, or even on a pizza. But there are also numerous other possibilities on how you can use ground beef, including:

  • Hamburgers
  • Meatballs
  • Baked ziti
  • Chili
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Enchiladas

Ground beef is a relatively inexpensive meat compared to others like chicken breast, especially when you purchase it in bulk at stores like Costco. Whether the family is craving spaghetti and meatballs or you want to whip up a batch of burgers, there’s no limit to the ways you can serve ground beef.

Ground Beef Recipes

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