12 Easy Ground Beef Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight – Real Simple

Whether you’re looking to save time during a busy work week, or want to spend less money as food prices rise, one ingredient that’s not too costly, versatile, and easy-to-cook with, is ground beef. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, you can often find a package of ground beef for less than $5. To lower your grocery bill even more, you can also buy a chuck roast and then grind the meat yourself, or ask your butcher to do the dirty work for you.
However you procure your ground meat, you can whip up classics like tacos or chili, or stretch the protein even further by combining it with other ingredients—think breadcrumbs, veggies, and herbs—to make meatballs or burger patties. So go ahead and add ground beef to your grocery list, then use it to make one of the following easy ground beef recipes!
When you think of ground beef, meatballs are likely one of the first foods that come to mind. This recipe calls for a combination of ground beef and ground turkey or pork, which yields a slightly leaner but just as delicious meatball. The meatballs are also made with ricotta, which gives the final product an incredibly tender texture. You can freeze these guys for up to a month, which means you can always have delicious meatballs within reach.
Think of this easy meal as deconstructed beef cabbage rolls with a little Moroccan flair. You’ll start by sautéing ground beef that’s been seasoned with cinnamon and coriander, and then add some sliced green cabbage and onion. A finishing touch of raisins and tomato purée adds sweetness and brightens the sauce. Serve over rice and you’ve got dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This savory ground beef mixture is seasoned with chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic. It obviously makes for an easy, flavorful taco filling, but you can also add it to a quesadilla, use some to top a homemade pizza, or sprinkle a bit on top of a bowl of pasta or rice.
Speaking of tacos, these quick ones come together in 15 minutes. Inside you’ll find ground beef seasoned with brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha, as well as mini cucumber slices, toasted sesame seeds, and a dollop of store-bought kimchi. This recipe is so easy and flavorful that we guarantee it will become a new weeknight favorite.
Ground beef is the backbone of many hamburgers. Here, the meat is seasoned with chili powder and cumin, while the patties themselves are then topped with sautéed bell peppers and onions. Spread a creamy avocado mixture on one half of the bun, and add some pickled jalapeño slices for even more flavor.
RELATED: How to Cook Hamburgers 5 Different Ways—Including Grilled, Broiled, and More
If you’ve ever wondered what you get when you combine spaghetti and meatballs and a casserole, this is it. Our favorite part about this one-dish recipe is that everything—meatballs, pasta, and tomato sauce—go uncooked into the oven. Roughly an hour later, you have a ready-to-serve family favorite that even picky eaters will love.
This chili, which feeds eight, calls for more than a pound of ground beef. The meat is prepared in a slow cooker along with other chili mainstays like black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, and chili powder. Zucchini slices add plenty of nutrients to the meal, and make it even heartier. Top each bowl with sour cream, cut-up avocado, and chopped fresh cilantro, and you’re good to go!
What’s better than a sloppy Joe? A sloppy Joe served on refrigerated biscuits. In addition to saving time, the biscuits act as the perfect vehicle to sop up all the sloppy goodness. When shopping for ground beef, look for a mixture that is 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat—a great ratio for juicy, tender beef. If you’re feeling ambitious, try making your own biscuits instead of using store-bought ones.
Bacon meatballs? Yes please! In addition to ground beef, these meatballs are made with coarsely chopped bacon, which adds a salty, smoky taste to the mixture. Other meatball ingredients include grated Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and flat-leaf parsley leaves. Serve ’em over spaghetti, polenta, or zucchini noodles and you’ve got an easy, cozy meal in less than 30 minutes.
For a meal that’s packed with meat and potatoes, but not difficult to make, give this simple shepherd’s pie a whirl. The comforting dish features vegetable-enriched beef filling topped with a batch of buttery mashed potatoes, meaning it’s likely to be a hit with the whole family.
RELATED: Delicious Savory Pie Recipes That Are Perfect for Chilly Winter Nights
The frustrating thing about a Bolognese sauce is that it typically requires hours of simmering on the stove. However, this quick and easy version calls for just 30 minutes of hands-on work, followed by a 90-minute simmer. Go ahead and make a big batch, and feel free to store any leftovers in the freezer for up to three months. Then, use the leftovers to coat pasta, poach eggs into for an interesting take on shakshuka, or top a steaming hot baked potato.
For a different take on meatballs, try this recipe from Argentine chef Fernando Navas. These meatballs call for grass-fed ground beef, stale bread, ricotta cheese, and more. Plus, the meatballs get a chance to simmer in their own homemade tomato sauce, yielding a complete light meal or appetizer in a little over an hour.
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