How to Cook Ground Beef

When we say weeknight favorite, nothing beats a classic recipe that contains ground beef like tacos, nachos, meatballs, sloppy joes, spaghetti, etc.

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There are a lot of varieties of ground beef that you can find, most grocery stores label them by fat percentage content. 90/10 means 90% lean meat 10% fat and 80/20  means 80% lean meat 20% fat, other labels them from based on the cut of beef where it’s been originated. The most common cuts used for ground beef, ranging from leanest to fattiest, are round, sirloin, and chuck. Most recipes like burgers, meatballs, etc. choose 80/20 cause it gives a juicer outcome when cooked, but the more fat it contains the cheaper the ground beef is, some consumers may think that a beef with more fat it is the more budget-friendly option, however, keep in mind that ground beef with a higher amount of fat results in a lot of shrinking when cooking. The fat contains a  lot of flavors so choose the fat content wisely you don’t want to choose a 100% lean ground beef.

Cooking ground beef isn’t hard but you better choose a fresh ground beef, avoid ground beef that appears gray, you want that red fresh looking ground beef so make sure you buy the freshest ground beef, choose a package with a sell-by date label that is furthest from today’s date.

Ground Beef Recipe

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3


  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • ½   tbsp. Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the pan

  2. Add the Ground Beef into the Pan

  3. Break the Ground Beef into Pieces

  4. Let the Ground Beef sit for a while

  5. Season the ground beef with salt and black pepper while you stir it to evenly distribute the flavor into the ground beef

  6. Brown the Ground beef

  7. Drain the Excess Fats

Cooking ground beef is an easy process but there are 3 stages of cooking ground beef: the first is it will turn grayish brown as soon as the ground beef touches the pan, the second is as you break the ground beef into pieces a lot of water will come out from the ground beef, the third is as you continue to cook it will evaporate most of its water this stage you should watch carefully your ground beef, not to over cooked or the veins that are in the ground beef will turn rubbery as you chew, you don’t want that to happen.

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Step 1: Heat the Pan.

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The first step is to take any pan available, you may use a stainless steel pan or a nonstick skillet. If your using a stainless steel pan make sure to heat the pan enough so that the meat won’t stick into the pan. Place the pan over a  medium-high heat you want your pan smoking hot when you cook the ground beef you want it to immediately sear and turn to brown rather than steaming. Next is to grease the pan with oil, if your beef contains a lot of fat I would suggest to lessen the oil. In this recipe, I use 80/20 ground beef so ½ tbsp. of oil should be okay with this type of ground beef.

Step 2: Add the Ground Beef into the Pan.

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Once you see a lot of smoke coming out from the pan immediately add the ground beef into the hot pan you should hear a lot of searing as soon as it hit the pan , pay close attention to the meat on the first few minutes of cooking to ensure it doesn’t burn, you may adjust the heat if the pan is too hot.

Step 3: Break the Ground Beef into Pieces.

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Using a wooden spoon or other sturdy spatula break the ground beef into pieces to ensure that the meat cooked evenly, you will see that as the beef touches the hot surface of the pan, the ground beef will immediately turn into grayish brown you want that searing sound as you stir and toss the ground beef.

Step 4: Let the Ground Beef sit for a while.

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Now on the fourth step, is to let the ground beef brown let it sit for a while stirring and tossing it occasionally, The ground beef needs to maintain contact with the pan for a while in order to brown. As you break the meat into smaller pieces, moisture evaporates, which can cause the meat to steam rather than brown. try not to stir it too much. This the stage that a lot of water will come out from the ground beef, it is also the right time to choose if you want a soft juicy ground beef or a little chewy and crisp ground beef just like taco beef. You don’t want your ground beef to overcooked because ground beef contains veins and it may go hard and rubbery to chew if over-cooked, it’s like eating a tiny well-done steak.

Step 5: Season the ground beef with salt and black pepper while stirring

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Season the ground beef with salt and black pepper while you stir it to evenly distribute the flavor into the ground beef. If your fine with soft juicy ground beef you may stop cooking once all of the ground beef is evenly browned and shows no signs of pink,  this usually takes 5-7 min. You may stop at this step and continue to step 6.

Step 6: Brown the Ground beef

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In the fifth step if you want to continue browning your ground beef into a little bit chewy and crisp,  leave it for a while let it brown until it reaches that caramelized brownish type of brown. Be careful not to overcook as may go hard. Once you’re okay with the ground beef, remove it from the pan.

Step 7: Drain the Excess Fats.

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The final step is to drain the excess fat from the ground beef. Place a strainer on top of a heatproof bowl then pour the ground beef into the strainer.  You may store the beef fat for a later use but I would advise you to dispose of it, it’s a very heavy fat and it’s not good for your health. you may let it rest for awhile, it will harden when its cold then you can discard it into your trash bin, avoid throwing it on the sink cause it may solidify and clog your sink.

You may use it immediately on your weeknight favorites or you may let it cool and transfer it to a container for later use, you can refrigerate it for a week or froze it for three months.