You bought more ground beef than you need for any particular recipe. Has this ever happened to you? Turn ground beef into a delicious weeknight dinner with some of these creative ground beef recipes, and don’t let it go to waste.
Ground beef is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make various tasty dishes and lends itself well for meal prep. I will share easy and delicious ground beef dinner ideas with recipes using ground beef: from cheeseburgers to casseroles, chili to tacos.
Take the ground beef, season it with salt, pepper, onion powder, and fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano, parsley, and garlic. Add an egg and breadcrumbs. If you want to give your meatballs a Middle Eastern flare, try seasoning the beef with cinnamon, mint, and allspice. Add some parmesan cheese if you want to give it an Italian profile, or mix the ground beef with skinless Italian sausage. Form the balls and brown them on a skillet or in the oven, or you can skip the browning and fry them.
Serve the meatballs with a marinara sauce, add them to spaghetti or any other pasta, or make a bechamel sauce and serve them with mashed potatoes. Make the meatballs bite-sized, and they're perfect as an appetizer. Also, see the instructions for our favorite mozzarella meatballs recipe, these sweet and sour appetizer meatballs, or Dominican meatballs.
Chimi burger recipe is our favorite burger recipe, in case you want to try something new.
You can make delicious burgers by taking your leftover uncooked ground beef and adding onions and pepper. Leave out the salt so the meat keeps its tenderness. To make traditional burgers, take between 4 and 8 ounces of ground beef and shape it into patties. When you are ready to cook them, season the burger patty with salt and more pepper.
Cook them on a grill or skillet and serve with your favorite toppings like tomatoes, caramelized onions, bacon, and American cheese. To make smash burgers, follow the same steps as before, but instead of patties, form 2-ounce balls. In a hot skillet, smash the meatballs with a spatula, season with salt and pepper, and wait until the bottom is caramelized. Then flip them and cook the other side.
Picadillo (minced beef with vegetables)
Cuban beef picadillo is one of my our favorite ways to cook minced beef. A ground beef skillet with vegetables in rich tomato sauce, this Cuban dish is inexpensive, very flavorful, and quite easy to make.
The leftovers freeze very well, so keep some in the freezer to complete a meal later on. This minced beef with vegetables dish is also another favorite.
Meatloaf or albondigón
As its name in Spanish suggests, albondigón meatloaf is a large meatball. The process of making it is the same as making a small meatball. Mix the ground beef with onion, garlic, parsley, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Shape it into a loaf; you can wrap it in bacon for a tastier dish.
Bake it on a loaf pan or a baking sheet. Rest the meatloaf for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
This easy rice and ground beef casserole is a great way to use leftover ground beef and white rice. Place half the rice in the bottom of a pan, fill it with ground beef on top, diced tomatoes, and season with spices like chili powder and cumin to give it a Mexican twist.
Place the rest of the rice on top and add cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Ground beef casserole
To make a potato casserole, take some mashed potatoes (they can be leftovers too!). In a casserole dish, put half the mashed potatoes on the bottom and add the cooked ground beef on top. You can add veggies like onions, corn, or carrots. Place the remaining half of the potatoes on top and finish it with shredded cheddar cheese. Place it in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and crispy.
You can make this shepherd's pie-like casserole with other vegetables like ripe plantains, tapioca (yuca), sweet potatoes, or taro root. If you only have a small portion of ground beef or vegetable topping. Just put the beef on the bottom of the casserole dish and top it with the mashed vegetables.
Ground beef chili
Chili is a comforting meal that’s perfect for using up leftover ground beef. Brown the beef in a large pot; add onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and chili powder. Let it simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.
If you like it spicier, add some hot sauce. or homemade taco seasoning. If you have leftover kidney beans, a quick chili can be made by adding cooked ground beef and seasoning it with cumin and chili powder. Our bean and sausage soup recipe is a similar and very easy dish.
Ground Beef Tacos
Tortillas are a great vessel to use up ground beef. Depending on the size of the tortilla, you can make tacos or burritos. Brown the beef with some onions and garlic, add tomato paste, and then add some taco seasoning to taste, or if you don’t have taco seasoning, use cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Serve in taco shells or wraps and top or fill them with Pico de Gallo made with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and lime juice.
Convert this recipe into a taco salad by tossing in a bowl the beef, Pico de Gallo, lettuce, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.
This is a great ground beef recipe because you can use not only use leftover ground beef but also use leftover pasta sheets or any other pasta shape. In a baking dish, layer the cooked lasagna noodles with ground beef, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
You can make it a white lasagna by using a bechamel sauce instead of a tomato-based sauce. If you don't have lasagna sheets, use any pasta like macaroni, penne, or even spaghetti and make a pasta casserole. This three cheese and beef lasagna is highly recommended.
Sloppy Joes are a ground beef sandwich, a comfort food that's delicious and filling. Brown the beef with onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, then mix in some ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with pickles and cheese. It may be the perfect dinner tonight.
Cabbage and rice rolls
Cabbage rolls are a delicious meal, perfect for the whole family. Boil a head of cabbage until the leaves are soft and pliable. Cook the ground beef with onion, cinnamon, allspice, and garlic until browned and tender. Mix the raw rice and the beef and fill a cabbage leaf, roll it up, and place it in a pot that has been covered at the bottom with cabbage leaves.
Make a sauce with diced tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, and tomato paste. Pour it over the rolls, close the pot, and cook it at low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Ground beef stuffed peppers are an easy, delicious, and healthy meal. Half along the long side and clean the peppers. Cook the ground beef with onion, garlic, and pepper until golden brown and tender. Add cooked rice, diced tomatoes, and some water. Simmer for a few minutes until the flavors merge.
Fill the peppers with the mixture, top with shredded cheese, pour over marinara sauce, cover with aluminum paper, and bake in the oven until the peppers are tender. We have a great stuffed anaheim pepper recipe, but you can also make it with bell peppers or make them into zucchini boats.
Ground beef mini pizzas
This one is perfect if you have kids. Take a loaf of bread, spread ketchup on top, and season with oregano and onion powder. Put a slice of mozzarella or provolone cheese and top it with some cooked ground beef. Put it in an air fryer or oven until the cheese melts.
Convert this into a Mexican pizza by using a taco or burrito tortilla instead of the bread and adding ground cumin to the ketchup.
Cabbage and minced meat dinner
Cabbage and ground beef is another excellent way to serve ground beef. This inexpensive, uncomplicated one-pot dinner that you can serve in no time. With a nice combination of spices, and curry powder, your family will love this flavorful dish.
Take the cooked ground beef and premade empanada discs. The filling can be made as a picadillo, with olives, and raisins, or you can add boiled eggs to the beef. Fill each empanada disc with a tablespoon of the filling, wet the edges, fold it in half, and close it tightly with the help of a fork. Bake or fry them.
Why use leftover ground beef?
As you can see, there are many beef recipes using it ground, from classics to new and imaginative ways to use what you have left of a previous dish or if you mistakenly bought more than you needed for another recipe.
These recipe ideas can help you maximize your investment in food so that you do not produce excess waste while offering creative dishes for your family.
The key to success is to plan beforehand, cook once, and plan any of these ideas for weeknight meals, when you don't have much time to cook something elaborate but still want a nice, comforting, and tasty dish.
By Tia Clara, published Mar 24, 2023 on