22 Ground Beef Recipes For Easy Dinners

Beef consumption in the U.S. has been on a slow and steady decline since 1980, according to IBIS, when the average per capita consumption was 76.4 pounds for the year. Despite this trend, beef and ground beef, in particular, remains a popular staple of the American diet. Iowa State University notes that the average American consumed 27 pounds of ground beef in 2020, representing nearly half of overall beef consumption per capita.

Concerns surrounding the safety, environmental impacts, and health ramifications surrounding the consumption of ground beef may have influenced this decline. That said, in moderation and when properly cooked, ground beef can be a safe, easy, affordable, and delicious part of our diets, particularly when consumers opt for a higher lean-to-fat ratio.

All of this is good news for those of us trying to feed a hungry family on a budget after a long day at work. The key is having an arsenal of reliable, creative, tasty recipes that we can turn to at the drop of a hat. That's where the recipe developers at the Today Meal come in. We have all your ground beef needs figured out, from burgers to chili to pasta dishes. You'll want to bookmark this expansive list of ground beef recipes for easy dinners.

Southwestern Taco Bake

This one-dish wonder is dynamite because of its ease and capacity to deliver a well-balanced meal without much fuss. Featuring all the ingredients we know and love about tacos, this dish comes together like a Tex-Mex lasagna, using tortillas as noodles.

Because you'll be adding plenty of moist ingredients to this dish, this is a good time to opt for a lower lean-to-fat ratio of ground beef, like 90/10 or 96/4. Pair this dish with a simple green salad with a creamy cilantro avocado dressing and crunchy tortilla strips to balance the textures of the luscious casserole with some crunch.

Recipe: Southwestern Taco Bake

Best Burger Recipe Ever

Burgers are one of the most delicious ways to whip up a quick and easy meal with ground beef. Bacon bits and umami-rich Worcestershire sauce give this burger added flavor and fat for a juicy, delectable result.

It is crucial to cook burgers to a safe minimum internal temperature to ensure any potentially harmful pathogens are neutralized. For ground beef, this is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not leave this up to chance. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted through the side of the burger, into the center, to determine the temperature before resting the meat for five minutes and serving it.

Recipe: Best Burger Recipe Ever

Juicy Lucy Hamburger

This hamburger recipe has two key ingredients — the cheese and the caramelized onions. Adding cheese inside a burger helps to keep it moist, delivers a burst of flavor when you bite into it, and has a marvelous gooey texture. Just be sure to use a cheese that melts well, like one you would use for a grilled cheese sandwich.

The onions, caramelized slowly in red wine, are a rich, luxurious garnish that accentuates the umami flavors of the meat and cheese. Do not rush this step. You cannot caramelize onions without giving them time to coax their natural sugars to the fore.

Recipe: Juicy Lucy Hamburger

Bodega-Style Chopped Cheese

This seemingly simple sandwich is remarkably intense with complex flavors, beginning with the fry sauce and continuing with the spicy adobo seasoning added to the ground beef. While American cheese is classic, any good melting cheese, like aged Cheddar or Colby, will work.

If you can find the Cuban roll or pan de manteca, it is highly recommended. While this type of bread resembles French bread in shape, it has a distinctive sweet flavor, tender interior, and crisp crust uniquely suited for meat sandwiches. Authentic pan de manteca is made using lard, but many recipes opt for vegetable shortening to attain similar results.

Recipe: Bodega-Style Chopped Cheese

5-Ingredient Air Fryer Beef Chimichangas

The chimichanga is a Tex-Mex delight that takes an ordinary burrito and makes it extraordinary by frying it. Though this is tempting, it is also a bit of a belly bomb, considered by many nutritionists to be the most unhealthy thing you can order at a Mexican restaurant.

This recipe gives you a crispy exterior without the added fat by placing the burritos in the air fryer. It also eliminates the mess of deep frying, which can be a hassle and requires a lot of extra cleanup. Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and olives to give this authentic flair.

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Air Fryer Beef Chimichangas

Gooey Quesadilla Burgers

This gooey quesadilla burger recipe fits the bill for those days when you cannot decide between Mexican or All-American fare. It combines the best of both worlds with a crispy, cheesy tortilla delicately enveloping a juicy beef patty.

Add a hint of chili powder to the burger mix if you enjoy spicy food and want a more intense flavor. You can also swap the Cheddar with spicy pepper jack cheese. The kick from the chiles in the cheese will complement the sriracha-flavored mayochup. Serve these as is or garnished with a dollop of creamy guacamole to balance the spiciness.

Recipe: Gooey Quesadilla Burgers

Bean, Beef, And Cheese Enchiladas

Meaty, beany, spicy, and cheesy, these enchiladas are the ultimate in Mexican-inspired comfort food. Because it relies on store-bought enchilada sauce, it comes together in a flash, providing depth of flavor with cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.

Eliminate excess moisture from the ground beef to ensure your enchiladas don't become soggy. You can do this by sprinkling the meat with a slurry of ½ teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one tablespoon of water and allowing this to sit for 15 minutes before cooking the meat. This raises the PH of the beef, preventing the proteins from adhering to one another too tightly.

Recipe: Bean, Beef, And Cheese Enchiladas

Classic Cuban Picadillo

Comparing a Cuban picadillo to corned beef hash is not far-fetched. The classic ground beef dish can be served with rice and vegetables for a quick and easy meal. It also often serves as a filling for tacos, empanadas, and stuffed peppers. Lastly, it can be used as a base for a hearty breakfast with fried eggs and slices of toasted Cuban bread.

This version includes the characteristic briny flavors of olives and capers that set Cuban picadillo apart. Other classic ingredients for this dish may be chunks of potatoes, raisins, and a hint of cinnamon for a juxtaposition of sweet and savory flavors.

Recipe: Classic Cuban Picadillo

Simple Bolognese Sauce

This fairly classic iteration of a Bolognese is more of a meat sauce with a kiss of tomatoes than a tomato-based gravy with beef. Because the meat is the star of this recipe, you need ground beef with a slightly higher percentage of fat to keep it moist and juicy.

This dish is ideally served with tube-shaped pasta, like penne, or an orecchiette that can hold the robust sauce. While pre-grated parmesan is convenient, it does not have much flavor. Investing in an authentic imported Parmigiano Reggiano and grating it fresh will impart a delightful nutty, umami-rich taste.

Recipe: Simple Bolognese Sauce

Slow Cooker Meatballs Marinara

This simple recipe takes advantage of the slow cooker, eliminating the need to brown the meatballs. The key to keeping these meatballs moist and tender is the panade — a combination of bread crumbs soaked in milk or water. The mixture swells, creating a sponge-like layer throughout the beef that will keep the proteins from contracting and drying the meatballs out.

When using a panade, you mustn't overmix your meatballs or squeeze them too tightly while forming them. They should be gently handled and delicately layered in the slow cooker without overcrowding them, which will cause them to break apart.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Meatballs Marinara

Classic Swiss Patty Melt

This patty melt is the ultimate marriage between a hamburger and a grilled cheese sandwich, layering rye bread with a seasoned, cooked beef patty, swiss cheese, and luscious, sweet caramelized onions. You can purchase seedless rye bread or substitute it with sourdough, brioche, or challah if you dislike caraway seeds.

Feel free to play with the cheese as well. Any good melting cheese, like Cheddar, Havarti, or pepper jack, will work in this sandwich. Lastly, consider adding some fermented sharpness with either sliced pickles or sauerkraut, and a dollop of Russian dressing to this sandwich to give it a Reuben-esque feel.

Recipe: Classic Swiss Patty Melt

Taco Pie Casserole

This casserole is another delightful spin on a Tex-Mex recipe that combines two things most people are sure to love — tacos and pie. The recipe uses flour tortillas as a pseudo crust, layering it with browned ground beef seasoned with ingredients we love to put into tacos, from salsa to onions to peppers, with tons of gooey cheese.

If you want to make this recipe for someone needing a gluten-free alternative, substitute the flour tortillas with corn ones. You'll also want to make the taco seasoning yourself, as many store-bought blends are not gluten-free.

Recipe: Taco Pie Casserole

Beef And Cheddar Stuffed Peppers

These stuffed peppers are quick and easy to assemble. While many recipes use green peppers for stuffing, this one incorporates red and yellow ones. These tend to be less bitter, contain more nutrients, and are easier to digest than the green ones.

Though you can use leftover rice of any kind, this is a great place to repurpose that extra serving of rice you received in your Chinese takeout. Lastly, since these peppers have plenty of protein and starch in one dish, try whipping up a vegetable side dish to pair, like roasted asparagus or sautéed broccolini.

Recipe: Beef And Cheddar Stuffed Peppers

One-Pot Goulash

Though there's nothing specifically Hungarian about this goulash, it's a rustic, hearty one-pot meal that will surely please the whole family. If you want to incorporate a little Magyar flair, throw in a teaspoon of hot smoked Hungarian paprika. The heat and smoke will add a layer of complexity, while the bright crimson spice will impart a lovely color.

Though elbow macaroni is traditional in this type of goulash, you could use any noodle. In Hungary, egg noodles or spaetzle are both popular options. For a hint of creaminess, garnish this dish with a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe: One-Pot Goulash

Classic Lasagna

This lasagna recipe starts with a hearty homemade ragu made from ground beef and a surprise ingredient — shredded carrots. The sweetness of the carrots balances out the umami-rich beef while adding texture and extra nutrition.

If you're missing the layer of ricotta cheese mixed with spinach in this recipe, you can easily add them. Stir together 16 ounces of ricotta with 10 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and with all the liquid squeezed out. Use this as the bottom layer, splitting the ragu in half for the remaining tiers. Allow this lasagna to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, or it will fall apart.

Recipe: Classic Lasagna

Egg-Stuffed Meatloaf

An egg-stuffed meatloaf is always a showstopper. It's visually appealing, and the textural contrasts between the eggs, meat, and shredded carrots are a party in your mouth. To make peeling your eggs easier, you'll want to skip eggs straight from the farm.

When it comes to the meat, to help keep the meat moist, soak the breadcrumbs in ½ cup of milk or water for 10 to 15 minutes before adding them to the ground beef. Serve this luscious loaf with roasted or mashed potatoes and a vegetable, like sautéed green beans or spinach.

Recipe: Egg-Stuffed Meatloaf

1-Skillet Salisbury Steak

Though the origins of Salisbury steak date back to the Civil War, most of us associate this dish with the TV dinners of our childhoods. Arguably, this homemade version is substantially more nutritious and flavorful than either of these.

The mini beef patties are highly seasoned with dried spices and umami-rich Worcestershire sauce. The sauce is accented by acidic ketchup and tangy Dijon mustard. For a more elegant presentation, combine different types of mushrooms, including cremini, porcini, and chanterelles. In keeping with the nostalgia of the TV dinner, serve this dish with mashed potatoes and sautéed peas or carrots.

Recipe: 1-Skillet Salisbury Steak

Southwest Chili

The age-old debate regarding whether chili should have beans or not has been settled by this delectable recipe. It features not one but three types of beans. If you have never heard of ranch beans, these are usually pinto beans seasoned with chili gravy, reminiscent of baked beans but not as sweet. They lend heat and zest to this chili.

While many recipes suggest draining and rinsing canned beans before use, this one relies on the starchiness and salt from the liquid in the cans for texture. If you're concerned about sodium, you can adjust the amount of added salt in this recipe.

Recipe: Southwest Chili

Hearty Taco Soup

This hearty soup is a one-dish extravaganza of flavor. It combines all the ingredients you'd layer onto a taco shell in a hearty broth seasoned with spicy chili powder and cayenne pepper. When making this soup, you'll want to opt for ground beef with a lean-to-fat ratio of 90/10 lower. This ensures that excess grease won't pool on top of the broth.

While the lime wedges are listed as an optional garnish, we recommend adding some freshly squeezed lime juice to this soup at the end of cooking. The acidity will help to tame the heat and dissolve any residual fat.

Recipe: Hearty Taco Soup

Meaty Sloppy Joes

The best thing about sloppy joes is how quickly they come together. This recipe uses ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar for added flavor. The brown sugar also helps to tame the acidity of the tomatoes added to the ground beef.

While sloppy joes are supposed to be loose, you'll want to heed the instructions to drain any excess grease after the peppers and onions have been cooked. Doing so will help minimize a fatty coating on your tongue and make your joes slightly less sloppy. For a twist, try serving these on a ciabatta roll or Kaiser roll.

Recipe: Meaty Sloppy Joes

Instant Pot Beef Chili

If you're searching for that cooked-all-day flavor in a flash, this instant pot chili recipe is precisely what the doctor ordered. Please note that this chili is cooked in butter. For this reason, you'll want to opt for ground beef with a low lean-to-fat ratio to avoid residual greasiness.

Add cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cocoa powder for a variation on Cincinnati chili. You can substitute the water with a dark beer, like a stout or porter, for a robust, savory, boozy kick of flavor. Lastly, if there isn't enough heat in this recipe, chop some chipotles and add them to the pot.

Recipe: Instant Pot Beef Chili

Instant Pot Ground Beef And Sausage Lasagna

This instant pot lasagna uses ground beef and sausage for a rich flavor. You can easily make the ragu ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight if you don't want to cook the meat and assemble the lasagna on the same day. Doing so may also help impart more flavor to the final dish.

When selecting a white wine to deglaze the browned bits of meat from the bottom of the instant pot, choose a dry wine with a decent amount of acidity, that has not been aged in oak. The best options are pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, or a dry riesling.

Recipe: Instant Pot Ground Beef And Sausage Lasagna