16 simple recipes with ground beef

Amanda M. Rye

Ground beef: It’s easy to buy in bulk, freeze and whip up for a wide variety of recipes.

Whether you’re someone who consumes it as a once-in-while-treat or it’s a family-favorite protein you enjoy weekly, beef often one of those things people snag when it’s on sale and keep in the freezer. So, once you’ve properly defrosted it, what can you cook with ground beef?

Luckily, the options are endless. To satiate the craving for something hearty any day of the week, here are some simple one-pot beef recipes, ground beef casseroles and easy pasta dishes to make tonight or any night. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead Seasoned Ground Beef

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

This is a great basic recipe that can be transformed in any way you like and requires only a few simple ingredients, many of which you might already have on hand. It also works with ground chicken or turkey and is a great base for tacos, Hamburger Helper, cottage pie or on its own.

BBQ Meatloaf


Meatloaf lovers, prepare to be impressed. This straightforward ground beef recipe gives this classic dish a sweet and smoky barbecue twist.

Asian-Style Mini Meatball Bowls


If you want a flavorful, easy-to-prepare meal that will please palates of all ages, you’ve found it. Even better, you can freeze the meatballs after they’re cooked and save them for dinner another night.

Spaghetti Al Forno With Ground Beef, 2 Ways

Anthony Scotto

This recipe takes a fresh pasta dinner with traditional Italian ingredients and turns it into a completely different dish. With tender eggplant, sharp Parmesan cheese and protein-packed ground beef, oven-baked dinner gets sliced up like a savory pie.

Ground Beef Tacos


Celebrate Taco Tuesday, Wednesday or any day with this versatile recipe. The only necessities are the ground beef and tortillas, but the other toppings can really be a combo of whatever fresh, crunchy vegetables you have on hand.

Fork-and-Knife Sloppy Joes


This one’s a time warp back to childhood. Almost everyone remembers enjoying sloppy Joes, and if they don’t, this will create new happy memories! This dish is ideal for those craving something comforting, as they’re topped with crunchy corn chips and get so messy, they require a fork and knife to eat.

Easy Spaghetti Bake with Ground Beef and Veggies

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Casseroles are key to expanding a couple pounds of meat to a big enough dish for a bigger group or days of leftovers. It’s fun to add in extra veggies to up the nutritional value and make it a complete one-pot meal.

“I made up this recipe when I was working on a $20 a week grocery budget,” Margene Simmons says about the dish.

Taco Hamburger Skillet

Kardea Brown

Forget the boxed version! This homemade meal is equally as tasty and ready in 30 minutes or less. It’s a delicious mashup of creamy mac and cheese, spicy tacos and meaty hamburgers. Plus, you can make it with ingredients you more than likely already have in your fridge and pantry.

Speedy Scrumptious Burgers

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Many people think burgers when they see ground beef. This less-than-30-minute dinner delivers all the flavor with no filler. Ditch the breadcrumbs and use well-seasoned beef, seared to perfection. It’s beyond good!

One-Pot Beef Stroganoff

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

What makes this easy dish a standout is simple ingredients cooked really well. Caramelizing the onions adds sweetness while the sour cream brings its signature tang to this quick and flavorful dinner.

Valerie Bertinelli's 'Hamburger Helpa'

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Valerie Bertinelli swears this dish speaks directly to her “more-than-occasional desire for quickness and efficiency.” It’s a no-fuss, no-muss, hardly-any-cleanup and get-right-to-it dinner.

Classic Tater Tot Hotdish

Food Network

Here’s another casserole with a fun, regional spin. This heavenly concoction from Molly Yeh is quintessentially Minnesotan and so cozy. It’s perfect for a winter or rainy spring day and the ‘taters look so put together and inviting on top!

Kofta Kebabs


A kebab is simply any meat or seafood cooked on a skewer or spit, a technique you should know because of its limitless applications using a wide range of proteins.

“This is a Tila house favorite and one of the dishes Ali and I had on our first date,” says Jet Tila. “We also competed on Guy’s Grocery Games making this dish and won best dish of that round, so don’t pass this one by!”

Chili on the Grill

Andrea Behrends and Helene Dujardin

There is chili, and then there is chili from the grill. Cooking the ingredients in an open searing hot Dutch oven in a covered grill allows the ingredients to get both a flavorful browning without losing any natural juices to the flames and plenty of smoky flavor. The result is a complex, delicious chili. It is formidable on its own in a bowl with your preferred garnishes, or as the key component on a hot dog or brat.

Orecchiette Bolognese Pasta

Eugene (Huge) Galdones / Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots by Matt Jennings

Every home cook should know how to make a simple, meaty ragù. It’s universally beloved by most who eat meat and although it requires some effort and a decent investment of time, it can be made well in advance then frozen. And then it easily defrosts for a wonderful weeknight dinner.

Ree Drummond's 'Love Robot' Chili

Ree Drummond

This is a wonderfully easy chili that’s perfect on its own or as part of other recipes. It’s great served on burgers, over cheesy nachos, with freshly baked cornbread and so on.

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