Wondering what to do with a pound of ground beef? Try these super simple ground beef meal ideas to stretch your budget and save money!
Meat is often the most expensive item on people’s grocery list. Depending on the type of meat and the cut, it can require the most basic of culinary skills but also some advanced talents for more elaborate and intricate recipes. But if there’s one meat that’s as foolproof as they come, that’ll be ground beef.
Ground beef is one of the cheapest cuts you can find at the supermarket, but it can make a variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. It’s why it’s a staple in my frugal kitchen! My family loves ground beef and there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t use it to whip up easy but delicious cheap meals.
So, if you are asking yourself, “What can I make with a pound of ground beef?” you’re in the right place! Here are simple ground beef recipes ideas that you can try the next time you find yourself with a pound of ground beef.
- 52 Clever Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- 28 Incredibly Filling Dirt Cheap Meals to Eat When You’re Broke
Simple Ground Beef Meal Ideas to Save Money
Table of Contents
It’s easy, super tasty and definitely one of the cheapest meals to make with a pound of ground beef!
Saute the beef, onion and garlic, add in beans, some seasoning, enchilada sauce, water and some salt. Simmer until the sauce mix is thick.
Put grated cheese and the beef filling in each tortilla and then roll and place them seam side down on the pan. Top everything with any leftover enchilada sauce and some cheese. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Nothing spells easy and laidback more than beef chili on a Friday night.
In a saucepan, saute garlic, add onion and a pound of ground beef. Drain any fat. Add in some chili powder, tomato sauce, and canned red beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until all the ingredients are well cooked and serve!
3. Ground Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers
This is a fantastic recipe with ground beef because it is cheap and easy to make. Salt & Lavender uses seasoned ground beef, tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, and rice, nicely bringing various flavors and textures into this delectable dish.
Just cook ground beef in garlic and onion, add tomato sauce, cooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning, and scoop into halved peppers. Bake for 40 minutes, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes. This is one of the easy ground beef recipes that will surely be a hit at the dinner table.
Photo: Salt & Lavender
4. Lettuce Wrap
Swap taco chips for lettuce for a lightweight and healthy snack. Cook the ground beef in olive oil until brown and season with salt and pepper. Add in water with a thickener (corn starch), hoisin sauce (soy sauce will do if you can’t find hoisin sauce) and a dash of sugar. Mix and simmer until thick.
Remove from heat and put the meat mixture in the lettuce cups and top with sliced carrots, sesame seeds or whatever you fancy and voilà–a beef lettuce wrap!
5. Cheeseburger Sliders
Beefy, juicy, and irresistible, these cheeseburger sliders by Natasha’s Kitchen are one of the best ground beef recipes you can make! They make the perfect snacks or dinner for all family members, are easy to make, and can be prepped ahead.
These delicious cheeseburger sliders are best served with baked potato wedges. You can also dip in ketchup, mayo, or burger sauces.
Source: Natasha’s Kitchen
Here’s an easy toss-everything-together meal you can serve for dinner. Saute onion in a pan, and add in ground beef and sliced pepper. Add in tomato sauce, some olives and raisins (optional) and a tablespoon of vinegar. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. Serve on top of rice. Cheap, easy and definitely one of the most delicious recipes with one pound of ground beef!
7. Ground Beef With Broccoli
If you want to add a green touch to your ground beef recipes, then it’s great to incorporate some veggies. And broccoli just happens to match ground beef so perfectly! This is an easy stir-fry recipe made with just a few ingredients, and it comes together in a few minutes! It is best served with steamed rice, a simple salad, and fresh fruits.
8. Ground Beef Bulgogi
If you’re craving Asian food, then this must be one of your go-to ground beef recipes! Inspired by the Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe, this dish replaces the thinly sliced beef with a pound of ground beef cooked with sesame oil, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Cook in medium-high heat, garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, and serve over-cooked rice. Or, you could wrap a spoonful in lettuce leaves and enjoy them Korean-style!
9. Taco Soup
This is one of my favorite ground beef soup recipes. This is an excellent ground beef recipe that you can put together even on a busy weeknight dinner since you can cook it in a slow cooker. Just cook your ground beef (ground turkey works, too) in taco seasoning, and then add the rest of the ingredients (corn, salsa, ranch dressing, green chiles. Pour in beef broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Add your favorite toppings before serving this hearty soup. Our favorites are sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and cilantro.
10. Bread Pizza
You won’t even need a whole pound of beef to make this! Just use your ground beef left over from other dishes and spread a tablespoon or two of cooked ground beef on the bread. Top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted. Now you have a quick, tasty cheap meal for busy days!
11. Shepherd’s Pie
Here’s another simple classic recipe when you don’t know what to do with a pound of ground beef. It’s simply a flavorful mix of ground beef and vegetables topped with fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes.
Cook the beef with onion and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, and then remove any fat. Add in cream of potato soup, mixed vegetables, and season to taste. Spread the entire mixture in a casserole dish and then top it with the mashed potatoes and some cheese. Bake for about half an hour.
12. Beef Empanada
Empanadas are a bit more complicated to make than bread pizzas, but if you’re looking for something to do on a lazy weekend afternoon, this recipe is definitely one to try!
You won’t even need a lot of beef to make this meal, so if you have a small bowl of beef left over from other ground beef recipes, you can use it as is for a filling or reinvent it with teriyaki sauce or taco seasoning and some extra tomato sauce.
Place about 2 tablespoon of the meat filling in the center of each prepared dough circle. Brush one side of the dough with water and then fold to seal in the filling. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the seam and fully seal the dough. The empanadas are now ready for the oven. Bake until golden brown. You can opt to brush some whipped egg onto each empanada before baking.
To make empanada dough, check out these recipes:
13. Hamburger Steak
Served with rice, hamburger steak is a delicious and cheap meal you can make with a pound of ground beef.
For the patty, mix the beef, bread crumbs, and seasoning (salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders if they suit your taste). Form into balls and flatten into patties. Fry the patties until they’re brown on both sides and set aside.
Prepare the sauce by putting the flour, onions, and drippings in the same skillet where you fried the meat. Stir and make sure to scrape the bits of the beef off the bottom of the pan. Add beef broth and some salt to season. Simmer, stirring until the gravy is thick. Put the patties back in the pan with the sauce and simmer again for several minutes before serving.
14. Beef Casserole
Ahh casseroles are like comfort food, and here’s one that you can do with a pound of ground beef. Cook the beef in a skillet until brown and then drain the grease. Add in sugar, salt, garlic ,and some tomato sauce, and then simmer.
In another pot, boil the noodles until they’re firm to the touch and then drain the water. Meanwhile, mix sour cream, cream cheese, and onion in a bowl.
Once finished, place some of the noodles into the casserole dish, top with the sour cream mix, and add a layer of the ground beef on top. Repeat layering until you’ve used everything.. Top off the casserole with some cheddar cheese before popping it into the oven to heat until it has cheese has turned golden brown.
There’s nothing as classic as a tasty cheesy beef lasagna. Cook the ground beef and onion until brown, and then add the tomato sauce and herbs to form the meat sauce. Most people use dried oregano and basil but for a twist, you can also try adding spinach. In a separate bowl prepare the eggs by combining with the cottage cheese and other cheeses you’d like to add.
Then, layer the baking dish with noodles, the cottage cheese mixture and the meat sauce. Repeat for all layers, and then sprinkle the last layer with mozzarella cheese and seasoning. Bake until the cheese is melted.
Here is another classic recipe for a pound of ground beef. In a bowl thoroughly mix the beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, onion, eggs, and garlic (season to taste).
Once the ingredients are combined,, take the mixture out of the bowl and shape itin 8×4-inch loafs on a rack in a broiler pan lined in with aluminum foil. Put the rack inside a preheated oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. Once done, you can brush some ketchup on top before cutting the meatloaf into slices.
Everyone loves some good ol’ meatballs in their spaghetti or soup.
To prepare, put bread crumbs and water in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes. Later, add in eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and ground beef(you can add pork if you want for a denser meatball). Mix everything thoroughly and shape into 1-inch balls. Put in oven to bake before adding to your soup or pasta.
18. Patty Melt
If you haven’t tried this before, then you are in for a treat!
In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion powder, and salt and pepper. Form into patties. It’s even better if you shape them into squares so they can fit your bread slices). Once done, grill the patties for about two minutes until the side directly on the heat lifts easily, and then flip and do the same for the other side.
Optional–caramelize some onion slices in butter till they are golden but almost transparent.
Take the bread slices, spread some dressing on them, and then put the grilled patties, a slice of cheese, and caramelized onions (optional) on a slice of bread. Cover with another slice of bread. Melt some butter in a skillet, set a sandwich in and grill until golden brown. Flip onto the other side and grill the same way. Enjoy with some dressing or cheese on top and ice-cold cola.
19. Beef Stroganoff
Try this for your Sunday dinner. Prepare egg noodles according to package directions and set aside. Meanwhile, sauté the beef in a skillet for about 5-10 minutes and drain the fat. Add beef stock and garlic powder, and let the meat mixture simmer while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mix it with the egg noodles. Add some sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
20. Beef and Noodle Bowl
If you like an Asian rice bowl, then you can try swapping rice for noodles in this recipe. Cook the beef with some green onions until the meat is no longer pink, and then remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan, add water, ramen noodles, and frozen vegetables. Cook until the noodles are tender.
Prepare the sauce by mixing hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, Sriracha sauce (if you like some heat), and ginger in a bowl. Put the meat prepared earlier into the skillet and add the sauce. Stir while heating for about 2 minutes. Top it with some green onions and sesame seeds.
Of course, there’s no list of simple ground beef recipes without spaghetti! I am sure you have your own favorite spaghetti recipe. I love mine Filipino style–sweet and with a bit of spice! What ethnic variation would delight your family?
22. Beef Stew
I love this on rainy days! Cook and crumble the beef on medium heat until the meat’s no longer pink. Add some vegetables and cooked pasta and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
23. Burger Patties
How could we ever forget the most classic ground beef recipe of them all? Proudly serve up your burgers with some tender and juicy beef patties.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, salt, and pepper together before adding ground beef and bread crumbs. Mix until well blended. Form the patties, about ¾ inch thick, and grill, cooking each side for about 6-8 minutes (depending on how well you want them done).
Fancy some Asian rice bowl? Here’s one you can prepare with a pound of ground beef. And don’t worry, it’s not really as complicated as it sounds!
You’ll need some steamed rice to begin with. Now, to prepare the meat, sauté spinach in a pan for a few minutes, and then add some sesame oil and salt to season. Set it aside in a clean bowl . In the same pan, add the ground beef and cook until fully brown, then mix in some chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly until the beef is coated in the sauce.
Prepare your rice bowl by adding the cooked rice first, and then topping it with cooked spinach, and finally the cooked ground beef. You can finish by adding some sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, soft-boiled eggs, and some sliced green onions or sesame seeds on top.
25. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Finally, let’s cap this list off with another classic. Cook the beef and some slices of scallions in a pan until the meat is brown and crispy. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the bread by putting a cheese slice on a slice of bread, and then add the meat and layer with another cheese slice (or two) before covering with the other slice of bread. Spread some butter on the outside of the sandwich, and bake the bread until the outside is golden and the cheese is melted.
This brilliant ground beef recipe is an absolute comfort food! Made with ground beef, macaroni, tomato sauce, and cheese, the flavors all blend together in delightful harmony! Cook ground beef in a pan and mix in tomato sauce—season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, oregano, and basil. Add in cooked elbow macaroni and mix until the pasta is well-coated. Add shredded cheese while cooking on low flame, and mix all together. It’s that easy, really!
27. Korean beef bowls
Korean beef bowls are some of the best recipes for ground beef. It’s an easy, complete Asian meal with meat, vegetables, and rice all in one bowl. Plus, it’s budget-friendly! Just cook ground beef in a pan, and add your pre-mixed “Korean sauce” made with gochujang, mirin, sesame oil, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Add in finely sliced red chilis and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving. Serve over hot steamed rice, and enjoy!
28. Cream of Mushroom Soup With Ground Beef
What to make for dinner tonight that’s quick and easy, nutritious and affordable? Well, cream of mushroom soup fits that bill so perfectly. Mix the flavors with chicken or beef broth with diced jalapenos, green chiles, and some fresh herbs. If you like it creamy, top with shredded cheese and heavy whipping cream.
29. Layered Taco Bake
Another great way to enjoy ground beef is to use it in cooking taco bakes. This is one of the simple ground beef recipes that will delight the whole family come dinnertime. This crowd-pleaser recipe consists of layers of soft tortilla, taco-seasoned ground beef, refried beans, bell peppers, and shredded cheese. It’s served with a dollop of sour cream and guacamole, making it a delicious and satisfying meal for the entire family.
Apart from being easy to make, it is also one of the most affordable yet delicious recipes you can make with ground beef in a jiffy! Check out this recipe by Spaceships & Laser Beams to learn how to make this delicious meal.
30. Sloppy Joe
Sloppy joes are one of the best things you can make with a pound of ground beef. You can easily assemble this ground beef recipe even at the last minute, and it would still taste so good! It’s one of the best ground beef recipes my family likes to return to. This homemade sloppy joe recipe is made from scratch, so you have more control over your ingredients than buying pre-made commercial ones. Even the sloppy Joe sauce tastes way better. Also, if you want to be less hands-on, you can cook the sloppy joe sauce in a slow cooker, saving you significant time!
31. Ground Beef and Potato Skillet
Looking for a savory ground beef recipe that will please your whole family? Try the ground beef and potato skillet for dinner, and it’ll become one of your favorite ground beef recipes to make with your slow cooker. It’s a classic comfort food featuring browned ground beef cooked with mushrooms and chicken broth, coated in a creamy sauce made with Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese. These ingredients blend together nicely, providing different sumptuous flavors and textures. Serve it with your favorite vegetable dish, and it becomes a complete meal!
Check out this recipe by Cupcakes and Kale Chips.
32. Chili Mac and Cheese
There are so many budget-friendly ground beef recipes, but we always return to chili mac and cheese as comfort food. If you like spicy ground beef, this recipe should fit your tastes! And it’s one of the simple ground beef recipes you can make even on a busy weeknight dinner.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion, pepper, and garlic until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until lightly browned. Season with chili powder and other spices, add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth, bringing to a boil. Stir in macaroni, cover, and simmer until al dente (14-16 mins).
In a saucepan, combine sour cream, milk, and cream cheese, then whisk in ¾ cup cheddar cheese until smooth. Add to the Dutch oven, top with remaining cheese, cover, and melt for 2 mins. Serve and enjoy!
Source: Life Made Simple
33. Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole
This ground beef casserole dish is hands-down a must-try! With scrumptious homemade enchilada sauce and just a few ingredients you can easily find in your pantry, you can re-create this amazing ground beef recipe and win admiring looks from your family. It consists of seasoned ground beef, layers of sauce-dipped flour tortillas, and cheese, then baked to golden perfection. It’s also one of the best ground beef you can make, so consider making a huge batch for busy days!
Source: Simple Joy
34. Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
Want a hearty dinner to serve on a cold night? This Bacon Cheeseburger Soup recipe is perfect for that. Re-create this flavorful soup with its trademark “cheeseburger” taste, made with ground beef, carrots, onion and celery. And oh, remember to get generous with bacon and cheese to give the soup even more flavor and creaminess! You can thicken the soup and give it a creamier texture by adding sour cream or heavy cream before serving.
Source: Spend with Pennies
Goulash is a Hungarian soup or stew made with beef (cubes, chunks, or ground beef), slow-cooked with vegetables and seasonings. The dish often adds paprika to give it a distinct mild kick. Goulash is one of the fantastic ground beef recipes perfect for the cold season. It is a warm, hearty dish that pairs perfectly with garlic bread, noodles, or rice. If you want an American version, check out this classic Goulash recipe by Dinner Then Dessert, which has macaroni noodles, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
36. Ground Beef Stir Fry
Want an easy ground beef recipe that’s delicious, cheap, and low-carb? Try out ground beef stir fry. This is one of the easy ground beef recipes you can make in less than 30 minutes. Simply prepare your lean ground beef, vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, and other ingredients for the Asian sauce. Let me tell you this – it is brilliantly simple yet tastes amazing!
Source: Easy Low Carb
37. Salisbury steak
Salisbury steak is one of the simple ground beef recipes you can make for dinner. Think about hamburger patties served with a rich and creamy sauce. It calls for ground meat mixed with chopped onions, finely diced green bell pepper, and a few more basic seasonings. You can serve them with noodles, mashed potatoes, or steamed rice.
If you like, you can make the Salisbury steak patties and just make the sauce a few minutes before dinner, helping you save so much time in the kitchen.
Check out Savory Nothings to learn how to make a delicious Salisbury steak!
38. Tortellini Bake
If you’re looking for ground beef recipes that will surely wow the crowd, look at this impressively easy, affordable, but mouthwatering Tortellini Bake recipe. This recipe calls for less than ten ingredients (Italian meat sauce, a lot of cheese, Italian seasoning, and tortellini pasta). You can quickly meal prep this pasta dish, perfect for busy weeknights. If you want it to be healthier, add vegetables like carrots and green bell peppers and sprinkle with red chili flakes for that extra kick.
Source: Nourish and Fete
39. Crockpot Chili Mac
Here’s another dinner idea that impresses your family: a crockpot chili mac.
This recipe by Slow Cooker Meals features perfectly seasoned ground beef cooked in the crockpot with lots of cheese, macaroni, chili seasoning, or sauce. It cooks perfectly in the slow cooker, making it convenient to cook in batches, freeze, and reheat throughout the week.
Source: Slow Cooker Meals
40. Hot Dog Chili Sauce
Elevate your hot dog game by topping it with homemade chili sauce, ground beef, and tomato sauce! This is one of the best ground beef recipes you’ll want to serve on a barbecue, pool party, or a quick filling dinner with your family. Use lean ground beef, tomato sauce as the base for your chili sauce, and seasonings. You also have plenty of topping options, from cheeses, mustard, pickle relish, sliced onions, and bell peppers.
Here’s a fantastic hot dog chili sauce recipe by Soulfully Made that you can follow.
41. Ground Beef Vegetable Soup
The ground beef vegetable soup (aka the hamburger soup), is a yummy ground beef recipe that allows you to mix and match ingredients. You can put almost any type of vegetable into the soup, and their combination with the flavors of ground beef makes this dish even more remarkable. It’s a fantastic recipe perfect for the cold season and for someone who feels under the weather. It also freezes nicely, so you can meal prep this weekend and have a good supply of this fantastic soup for the rest of the week (or anytime you want!).
Are You Ready to Try These Simple Ground Beef Meal Ideas?
Certainly, there’s a lot that you can do with a pound of ground beef. This list of simple ground beef recipes shows you how. The next time you shop, don’t forget the ground beef!