What Spices Go Well With Ground Beef?

I’ve got you covered if you want to spice up your ground beef!For years, I used the same old seasonings (garlic, onion, salt, I’m excited to share 11 good ground beef seasoning recipes with you because there is so much more you can do with ground beef despite this being a nice blend.

Let’s be real. Ground beef makes for super easy meals. However, it can be quite boring. Personally, I find the same flavors boring after a while.

I’ve included both some traditional ground beef seasonings and some very uncommon mixtures in the list below.

We will begin with some dry seasoning mixtures that you can prepare right away and store for later use. I’ll then demonstrate some additional techniques for enhancing ground beef using more recent ingredients.

The following spices taste great with beef:
  • Cumin.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Dark chilis.
  • Red pepper flakes.
  • Cayenne pepper.
  • Curry powder.
  • Mustard powder.

Always include salt and pepper

It’s no secret that there are a variety of ways to season ground beef. But lets begin with the basics: salt and pepper. These two are undoubtedly the best when it comes to cooking beef, and they belong in every kitchen for good reason. While pepper adds a mild heat and pungency, salt brings out the sweetness and savory flavors of food.

Whether you’re making tacos, burgers, meatballs, or any other dish that calls for ground beef, these two ingredients can significantly affect how flavorful the final product is. Additionally, the kind of salt you use can have an impact. Great options include coarse sea salt or kosher salt because they are less processed and have a stronger flavor than regular table salt. However, for the freshest option to ensure a stronger aroma, grind your own pepper.

Furthermore, timing the addition of the seasoning is the secret to a juicy bite. The specifics are a bit of a hot debate. Both can be included before cooking but will draw out moisture from the beef, ultimately causing it to release water and become tough to chew. It is generally recommended to sprinkle the classic duo on the browned meat when its almost done cooking (via Americas Test Kitchen). Adding the spices at the end allows the beef to cook in its own juices without losing moisture, resulting in a more tender final product.

Add a bit of smoked paprika

Few ingredients have an impact on a beef dish quite like smoked paprika, which is particularly common in Mediterranean, Central European, and Latin American cuisine. You may also see the spice referred to as smoked pimentón or Spanish paprika (via The Spice and Tea Shoppe). Regardless of its name, its distinct flavor and pigment dont go unnoticed. The vibrant red powder is a versatile spice that instantly adds warmth and a pop of color to meals.

Smoked paprika ranges in flavor from sweet and mild to spicy. The heat of the seasoning depends on the type of pepper used to make it. According to MasterClass, paprika is most commonly derived from various kinds of pepper ranging from mild-tasting sweet peppers to hot chili peppers. The peppers are dried over firewood in order to create a smoked taste.

Numerous dishes featuring ground beef, such as tacos and lettuce wraps, go well with the smoky flavor. You might only want to add a dash, depending on how much heat you can handle. Too much of a good thing can drown out the other flavors in a dish because a little goes a long way. Start with about one teaspoon per pound of cooked beef. The ingredient can be added while browning to help the flavors meld together, or you can sprinkle it on top for a beautiful presentation.

Choose from different types of onion powder

There should be at least one type of onion powder in every home cook’s pantry. It is a common seasoning that gives a variety of foods flavor without adding moisture or altering the texture. Without having to chop and peel fresh onions, the finely ground powder is a convenient way to enjoy the flavor of onions.

Being more concentrated than fresh onions means you might only need to use a small amount in the recipe. Since beef has a strong flavor that is both savory and sweet, seasoning can greatly improve the flavor. Additionally, if other ingredients in a recipe are spicy, onion powder can help bring them into balance.

Not all onion powders are the same though and each variety (white, red, and yellow) brings its own complexity and taste to ground beef. Of the three types, white onion powder is commonly used for its sharp aroma. It is still balanced with some sweetness, though the yellow kind is the sweetest. Red onion powder tends to be fairly mild though products from different brands may vary (via Miss Vickie). Consider the meal youre preparing and do a taste test to gauge the strength and flavor before adding onion powder to your dish.

Give it a noticeable garlic flavor

Garlic may be one of the most prominent seasonings used frequently. It is a flavorful and aromatic ingredient that is frequently used in ground beef recipes, from hamburgers to sloppy joes. Because garlic is available in so many forms, there are practically endless ways to use it. You can add any kind of garlic you like, such as minced garlic, garlic salt, garlic powder, or fresh garlic, when cooking ground beef. The degree of sharpness each variety adds to the dish you’re cooking will vary.

Jarred or powdered varieties may be the best choice for a delicate flavor. Both have a milder flavor in comparison to other types. Fresh garlic can be minced, chopped, or pressed for various levels of intensity, making it slightly more adaptable and fragrant. Apply pressure to the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife if you’re having trouble peeling it.

If youre substituting fresh or powdered garlic in a recipe, keep in mind that one medium-sized clove is the equivalent of about ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder seasoning (via All Plants). If you are cooking with fresh garlic, consider sautéing it before combining it with the meat to disperse the flavor. Sautéing garlic is a quick process and should only take a few minutes or you risk burning it. You can also add garlic to rubs or marinades and let it be absorbed by the meat.

Complete with Italian herbs

Herbs are an essential ingredient in many meals. They add layers of flavors and a clean aroma whether they are cooked separately or together. Italian cooking is known for using aromatic herbs, so it stands to reason that Italian chefs are skilled at choosing the ideal blend of herbs to bring out the flavors of dishes like soup, pasta, and meat. The secret to flavorful ground beef, whether you’re a professional chef at a fine restaurant or a home cook in your own kitchen, is adding Italian herbs.

This traditional seasoning mixture typically consists of a mixture of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, and sage. When they are fresh, these ingredients are delicious, but obtaining and preparing them can take some time each time you cook ground beef. Instead, choose simplicity and combine dried herbs with the fresh ones. Similar ingredients can be purchased already ground and dehydrated, or you can create your own Italian seasoning blend. Some versions include garlic and onion powder too. Without having to buy additional herbs, this combination of herbs can easily change the flavor profile of ground beef.

Consider a curry blend

Curry blends vary depending on the region, and the spice mix is commonly used in Indian, Thai, and South Asian cuisines. The seasoning may have ingredients such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili peppers (via Raw Spice Bar). Given that the mixtures are regionally distinct, they can include ginger, mustard seeds, or coconut milk, for example.

The two most popular types of curry seasoning to use when cooking are ground powder and paste. The main distinction between the two is that the paste is created using a mix of fresh and dry ingredients, giving it a stronger fragrance. Red, yellow, and green curry paste are the three most popular varieties, each with a distinctive flavor and level of heat. The spiciest color is red, the mildest is green, and the subtlest is yellow.

No matter what color the curry paste is, cooking it will bring out its full flavor. Simply cook it on high in a saucepan with a little oil until fragrant. The paste needs to be cooked at a high temperature to release its aromatics, and the oil prevents the spices from charring. Although you can buy this mixture of spices in stores for convenience, making your own allows you to control the amount of heat.

Spice it up with cayenne pepper

Whether youre a spice lover or just looking to turn up the heat, try adding cayenne pepper to your next ground beef recipe. Its a popular spice in many cuisines such as Mexican, Cajun, and Indian (via Spice and Life). However, you may best recognize the intense flavor from your favorite hot sauce, dips, or spreads.

Cayenne pepper is the spice equivalent of a wild card — a little goes a long way and it packs a big punch. It is a part of the nightshade family and is typically long, thin, red, and hot (via Chili Pepper Madness). This fiery red pepper is well known for its bright color and ability to add a super spicy kick to most dishes. The level of heat varies depending on the source and preparation, but it is generally considered to be one of the hotter peppers with a rating of 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale.

Start with about 14 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and adjust to your preferred level of heat. When browning the beef or adding a final heat burst, this ingredient can be added at various points throughout the cooking process. Be aware of any additional spicy seasonings you may be using and adjust as necessary.

Mustard powder adds a unique tang

Although mustard is typically used as a condiment, it can also be used as a seasoning. Contrary to popular belief, mustard in powder form, as opposed to sauce form, goes better with beef. When cooking with ground beef, ground mustard, also known as English mustard, should be used. The yellow-brown spice tastes similar to regular mustard and imparts a less acidic but still vinegary flavor to the meat.

Mustard powder is typically made from ground yellow seeds, which have a milder flavor. There are three varieties to choose from according to Mustard Maker: black, brown, and white. Each one provides a unique flavor profile to the protein.

When using dry mustard alone in cooking, you might not immediately detect a distinct flavor. It won’t add much flavor to the ground beef if you just add it. The ground mustard needs to be made into a paste with water, vinegar, or oil before being used to season the protein. This procedure aids in the release of oils from the powder, adding to its zing. The mixture can be used as a marinade, spread, or sauce ingredient. This unassuming seasoning can be used to bond liquid ingredients like eggs and oil as well as to tenderize meat.

Keep the heat with red pepper flakes

Red pepper flakes are probably available in the majority of pizzerias across the nation. The well-liked topping is a go-to seasoning to use when preparing ground beef. These tiny dried chili pepper pieces, also known as crushed red pepper, are made from a blend of peppers, including the jalapeo, bell, and cayenne varieties. When you don’t want every bite of a dish to be bursting with heat, this seasoning is ideal to add. However, depending on the type of chili pepper used, red pepper flakes can still be quite hot. The amount of seeds and veins in the flakes, which are what give the pepper its spiciness, can also affect the heat level.

Whether you are making burgers, burritos, or stuffed peppers, the pepper’s spice adds a pleasant level of heat. Red pepper flakes are simple to find and use in cooking, and you can add them to the protein at various stages to achieve different levels of spiciness. For a flavorful meal, try adding flakes as a garnish or by mixing them with other ingredients. Red pepper flakes will definitely kick up any ground beef recipe you’re cooking.

Sprinkle in some cumin

Dried herbs and spices are essential for flavor, but few have reigned supreme since the dawn of time. Cumin goes pretty far back and has been used for thousands of years, originally by the ancient Greeks and Romans (via Pacific Spice). Still trending today, cumin is a great ingredient to use to add layers of flavor and complexity to your meals, particularly those made with ground beef. Its a pivotal spice in a variety of cuisines like Middle Eastern and Indian and continues to be a staple in many others.

Cumin is made from dried seeds of the cumin plant, which is actually considered to be a part of the parsley family, according to the McCormick Science Institute. The small, oblong seeds are ground into a powder to use as an ingredient for cooking and you can find it as a powder or as a whole seed at most major supermarkets. The old spice produces a warm, earthy, and nutty flavor profile. It pairs well with many other ingredients, making it an ideal additive for most beef recipes like meatloaf and meatballs.

1 Turn up the spice with chili powder

A dash of chili powder is all it takes to add a hint of heat and vibrancy to your beef dishes. Keep an eye out when choosing the product, as it is not to be confused with chile powder, an entirely different seasoning. Ground hot peppers make ground chile powder, whereas chili powder typically has a few added ingredients besides the pepper (via Southern Living). This seasoning often includes a blend of cumin, ginger, oregano, paprika, and assorted spices, which will give your ground beef a bold, spicy flavor. Its a common ingredient to use in chili, hamburgers, and burritos.

When seasoning meat with this spice blend, timing is everything. For the best results, try adding it when the food is being browned. This technique enables the seasoning to cook alongside the beef, giving it flavor. Additionally, it aids in the release of the chili powder’s oils, which can improve the aromas. Because the heat level can range from mild to extremely hot, take care not to add too much. Start with about a teaspoon and gradually add more seasoning as desired by your taste buds. This will assist you in finding the ideal ratio of heat to flavor.

How to Season Ground Beef when Browning


What can I add to ground beef for flavor?

Onions, garlic, salt, and pepper are some flavorings that you can add to ground beef. Additionally, adding green onions as a garnish enhances the flavor.

What herbs go well with ground beef?

The herbs mentioned above are the best for ground beef; you can also use rosemary, thyme, oregano, or sage for flavorful ground beef. Ground beef can be combined with Parsley, Dill, or Tarragon, depending on the dish you’re making.

Should you season ground beef?

Season the Ground Beef Adding salt to uncooked ground beef causes the meat to dry out and produce steam during cooking, which prevents the meat from properly browning. Other seasonings work similarly, but for a different reason.

What seasoning goes with meat?

When seasoning beef, some of the first ingredients that come to mind are pungent spices like onion and garlic. With its slightly hot bite and piney aroma, black pepper pairs beautifully with beef, and they are savory, strong, and also simple to find. Cayenne is a terrific spice to use with beef.

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