Are you stuck in a meal planning rut? Some of the easiest and cheapest meals are made from a simple pound of ground beef. You can stretch it further than other types of meat, and feed your family well on a budget.
Plus, it’s one of the easiest proteins to prepare. There’s no guessing if it’s cooked through or not.
If you struggle to come up with easy dinner ideas, look no further than this list of 30 simple ground beef recipes. Thaw out that pound of ground beef gathering frost in your freezer, and ease your meal planning woes.
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Next time your grocery store is having a great sale on ground beef, stock up and use a Foodsaver to have it ready in your freezer all the time. Without any freezer burn!
Here are some very easy and quick ground beef recipes to add to your meal planning arsenal. All these meal ideas can be customized to your family’s taste. And you could make them with ground turkey, chicken, pork, or vegetarian crumbles too!
30 Simple Ground Beef Recipes
Mexican Ground Beef Recipes:
If you love Mexican food as much as I do, try making it at home for a change. I’m sure Pandora has a Mariachi band station that you can play for that restaurant-style ambience!
Tacos – It doesn’t get much simpler (or more popular) than taco night. Simply brown a pound of beef, draining excess grease if necessary, and add taco seasoning. You can choose flour or corn soft tortillas, or crunchy ones. Add cheese and your other favorite toppings.
Tostadas – Follow the steps for tacos, but put it all on a flat tostada shell for a fun twist.
Nachos – Just as easy as tacos, but use tortilla chips instead. Refried beans make a nice addition to any of these recipes as well.
Burritos – Place your ground beef, beans, and onions inside a large ‘burrito-size’ tortilla and roll up. You can pour salsa or enchilada sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese, and bake in your oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until melty and gooey.
Enchiladas – Quite similiar to the ‘wet burrito’ above, but use corn tortillas instead. I usually buy the Old El Paso enchilada sauce, but you can make your own if you prefer. To make life even easier, layer your tortillas lasagna-style instead of rolling them. Just spoon sauce onto the bottom of an oven-safe dish, then place a layer of corn tortillas, topped with your cooked beef, then another layer of tortillas, sauce, and so on.
Quesadillas – If you’ve never had a ground beef quesadilla, you’re missing out! Sprinkle some cooked and seasoned ground beef, cheese, and onions inside two flour tortillas. Warm it in a skillet until the cheese is melted.
Taco Salad – Use your seasoned ground beef as part of a taco salad for a lower carb option. You could use salsa or Catalina as your dressing. Crushed tortilla chips and cheese make it especially enjoyable.
Taco Rice – Ground beef turns Spanish rice into a main dish. Here’s a simple recipe with only 6 ingredients.
UPDATE: Due to the popularity of this post, I put together a printable list of these ground beef dinner ideas. You can print it out, or save it to your computer or phone, and reference it when meal planning. Check out the bottom of the post to get yours!
Italian Ground Beef Recipes:
It’s really hard to decide whether I love Mexican or Italian food more. Luckily, I don’t have to choose, because here’s some Italian simple ground beef recipes.
Spaghetti – Who doesn’t love spaghetti? You can brown your beef while the water for your pasta boils. Adding garlic and onion make the meat even tastier. Add your favorite homemade or jarred sauce, and done! Feel free to use spaghetti squash or zoodles as a healthier alternative if you want.
Lasagna – While lasagna sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Grocery stores now sell noodles that you don’t have to boil ahead of time. Once your beef is browned, combine it with your pasta sauce and spoon over the bottom of your oven-safe dish. Then layer the no-bake noodles, the beef/sauce mixture and cheese, then more noodles and sauce, cheese, etc.
Ziti – Here’s a super simple ground beef recipe for 5 ingredient ziti.
Meatballs – Meatballs can also be made with just a few ingredients. Here’s a recipe for super easy meatballs.
Comfort Food Ground Beef Recipes:
These simple ground beef recipes are especially fantastic in the Fall and Winter, but I’ll take comfort food any time I can get it.
Meatloaf – I like to make mini-meatloaves in a muffin tin. Combine 1 lb. of uncooked ground beef with a cup of water and a box of Stovetop stuffing mix for a super easy dinner.
Goulash – Man, I really like (American-style) goulash, but I always forget to make it. I need to try this easy recipe.
Chili Mac – A great use up for leftover chili is ‘chili mac.’ Boil some macaroni noodles, and once drained, combine with chili. It sounds weird, but it’s seriously so delicious.
Sloppy Joes – Your grocery store sells pre-made sloppy joe sauce (like Manwich), or you can make your own with ketchup, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Once you’ve browned your pound of ground beef, pour in the sloppy joe sauce until warmed through. Serve on hamburger buns.
Shepherd’s Pie – Shepherd’s Pie is definitely a classic comfort food dish. And it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Here a simple recipe from Kraft.
Stuffed Peppers – Try this stuffed pepper recipe that uses just a few ingredients.
Hamburger Helper – This was one of my favorites growing up. If you prefer to make your own, instead of a boxed mix, here’s a pretty easy recipe.
Salisbury Steak – Similar to the meatloaf, except you cook it in a skillet instead of the oven. Smother it in beef gravy, and maybe some onions and mushrooms for extra goodness.
Beef Stroganoff – The simplest way to do this is to brown your meat while egg noodles boil in another pot. Combine the cooked meat and noodles with a can or two of cream of mushroom soup.
Hamburgers – My favorite way to make hamburgers is to mix the (raw) ground beef with an egg, and approximately 1-2 tbs. of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup of breadcrumbs, and plenty of this delicious burger seasoning. For best results, cook them in a cast iron skillet like this one.
Pizza topping – Cooked ground beef can make a tasty pizza topping. Consider changing it up from the standard pepperoni if you’re making homemade pizza, or doctoring up a frozen one.
Ground Beef Soup Recipes:
Speaking of comfort food, soup is always a classic. All of the recipes below can be made in a slow cooker for added convenience.
Chili – Isn’t chili just the best? And you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make it. Here’s a super easy recipe. I also add some bell pepper and corn when I make it.
Taco Soup – Taco soup is super easy to make in the slow cooker. Simply combine a pound of cooked ground beef with one can each of pinto beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and corn, plus a packet of taco seasoning in your Crock Pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Hamburger Soup – This is one those perfect winter recipes. Here’s an easy recipe for making it in your slow cooker.
Stuffed Pepper Soup – It tastes like stuffed peppers, but made even easier in soup form. I plan to try this Crock Pot recipe soon.
In need of a great slow cooker? This is the one I have and love!
Ground Beef Casserole Recipes:
There are bajillions of ground beef casserole recipes available on the handy ol’ Internet. Here are a few favorites.
Taco Casserole – Kinda like tacos and lasagna had a delicious baby. I really need to try this recipe.
Tator Tot Casserole – Tator tots aren’t just for school cafeterias anymore. Here are 20 tator tot casserole recipes to get you started.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole – Can you tell that I really like stuffed peppers? This dump and bake recipe takes all the prep work out of making them.
There you have it! 30 simple ground beef recipes to diversify your meal planning. Save money by buying it on sale, and feed even a big family on a budget.
Kitchen gadgets to make meal prep faster and easier:
- Vegetable chopper – Chop half an onion with one press! It also includes a spiralizer.
- Egg cooker – Hard, medium, or soft boil eggs perfectly every time. It also cooks mini-omelettes and poaches eggs for you.
- Meat claws – Shred cooked meat with fantastic ease, and have fun doing it.
- Foodsaver – Preserve a wide variety of foods for your freezer, without any freezer burn!
- Bread machine – There is nothing like the smell of hot, fresh bread in your home.
- Salad spinner – Wash your lettuce quickly and easily, and have it ready to eat.
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Grilling Indoors: How to BBQ without a Grill (or even a backyard!)
Meal Planning on a Budget (+ cute weekly meal planner!)
How to Use a Master Grocery List (to save your time and sanity!)