Learn how to properly cook ground beef so that it remains juicy but is nicely browned. I’ll share my techniques with you so that every time it turns out perfectly.
In my opinion, being able to cook ground beef effectively is a crucial skill. I use ground beef in my go-to pasta sauce, baked ziti, nacho dip, and this simple Mexican skillet dinner, among many other dishes. Those are just a few recipes, though. You can use ground beef in practically everything.
What to Know About Buying Ground Beef
The majority of ground beef packages will label their fat-to-lean content. This label can have a weight range of 70/30 (the fattiest) to 96/4 (the leanest).
These two ground beef options, 80/20 and 85/15, are excellent all-purpose options because they are lean but not overly lean, meaning they still contain some fat and therefore flavor.
70/30: Ground beef with more fat will be more flavorful and juicy, but will also shrink the most when cooked.
Extra lean ground beef has the fewest calories but also has the least flavor and is more likely to dry out when cooked.
Homemade American Soft Shell Beef Tacos with Lettuce Tomato Cheese
How to Cook Ground Beef
The ideal method of preparing ground beef is to brown it. To do this, cook the ground beef in a skillet over high heat until it is thoroughly cooked.
How to Brown Ground Beef
1. Choose the Correct Skillet: A 10- to 12-inch skillet should be used to cook 1 pound of ground beef. Cast iron skillets are a particularly wise choice because they produce a powerful, steady heat that helps ground beef brown incredibly well.
2. Heat the Oil: In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon of your preferred vegetable oil or olive oil until shimmering.
3. Without disturbing the browned beef, add the ground beef to the skillet and break it up into a few big pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown the meat, without touching it, for about 5 minutes.
4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and any additional spices (more on that below) to the ground beef before cooking it.
5. While cooking, break up the ground beef: Use a wooden spoon to begin breaking it up into smaller pieces. Stirring and crumbling the beef as it cooks will help remove any remaining moisture from the meat and ensure that it is evenly browned and no longer pink.
Temperature to Cook Ground Beef
To kill any potentially harmful bacteria, the USDA advises cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature equates to cooking the ground beef to well-done. However, many people prefer to cook their patties to medium rare (130 to 135 degrees F) or medium (135 to 140 degrees F) if they’re using ground beef in hamburgers to ensure its juicy.
Seasonings for Ground Beef
You only need to season ground beef with salt and pepper when browning it. But if you prefer, you can add additional spices because ground beef is a versatile ingredient. Chili powder, ground cumin, or even smoked paprika are excellent choices if you’re using the ground beef in tacos or chili. No matter how you intend to use ground beef, the versatile seasonings garlic powder and onion powder also go well with it. Try dried oregano or Italian seasoning instead if you’re using it in lasagna or a pasta casserole.
How To Cook Ground Beef
What is the best way to cook ground beef?
InstructionsHeat the pan and coat with oil. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the meat before adding it to the hot pan. Add the meat to the center of the hot pan. Break meat into smaller pieces, season, and brown. Finish browning.
How to cook ground beef step by step?
According to the FDA Food Code, restaurants should cook ground beef for 15 seconds at 155°F. However, according to the CDC and USDA, consumers should cook ground beef to 160°F.
How long ground beef should be cooked?
Place the beef in a deep stove-top pan. Add enough water to cover the meat. If the meat remains in clumps, use a wooden spoon to break it apart into small crumbles. Bring to a boil gradually, stirring frequently to keep the meat separate.