Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook, you’re sure to appreciate our tips on how to cook ground beef. Buying, cooking, storing, freezing and thawing are all explained in this How to Cook Ground Beef article. Once you have a package in the fridge, our ground beef recipes
provide you with hundreds of options. Who doesn’t want a list of meatball
or meatloaf recipes
on hand? And what about chili
? How to cook ground beef? With flavor, of course!
Ground Beef Food Safety
Keeping it Safe: Always be sure to cook ground beef until no pink color remains. Ground beef can host harmful bacteria that are destroyed only by cooking the meat all the way through.
Cooking Ground Beef
Cooking Ground Meat: Ground beef, veal, lamb and pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F, while ground chicken and turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. For accurate results, use a digital instant-read food thermometer, inserting it into center of meat. If the meat piece is too thin to check from the top, insert thermometer sideways into the piece of meat or burger.
Draining Ground Beef: Many recipes call for ground beef to be drained after cooking to reduce the amount of fat and moisture going into the final recipe. An easy way to do that, is to cook the ground beef until no longer pink and then drain in a colander in the sink. You can also blot with paper towels to remove even more fat and moisture, but be careful not to go overboard as the fat and juices also contain the flavor too.
Make Ahead: If ground beef is a staple in your cooking routine, save time by cooking it in advance. Refrigerate the ground beef promptly after cooking, and it will be safe in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Never partially cook ground beef for later use; it should be fully cooked to destroy bacteria.
Storing Ground Beef
Storing Ground Beef: Store ground beef in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 2 days. (The refrigerator temperature should be no higher than 40°F.) For longer storage, wrap the meat tightly in foil or freezer-weight plastic wrap and store in the freezer. When thawing, place the meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any drippings from cross-contaminating other foods.
How to Make Meatballs
Making The Best Meatballs can be sticky work. If you have a medium-size stainless steel scoop, consider using it to create uniform meatballs without the mess, or if you are doing by hand, dip your hands in cold water to keep the meat from sticking while you shape the balls.
Frozen meatballs are great to have on hand for a busy weeknight. To properly freeze meatballs, loosely pack cooled meatballs in freezer-weight resealable plastic bags. Lay bags flat in freezer so meatballs freeze individually. Store up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator several hours or overnight before using as desired.
On a bun, over noodles or skewered for a different twist, try these recipes where meatballs are the hero: Cheesy Meatball Subs, Easy Baked Parmesan Meatballs, Sweet-and-Sour Meatball Skewers, Classic Cocktail Meatballs.
How to Use Leftover Chili
Since chili is typically made in large batches, consider getting creative with the leftovers. Try topping a baked potato with reheated chili and KRAFT shredded cheddar cheese, or top tortilla chips and garnish with KRAFT shredded cheese, lettuce, TACO BELL salsa and BREAKSTONE’S Sour Cream for instant nachos, or spoon over spaghetti for chili-mac and serve it Cincinnati-style.
How to Save Money on Ground Beef
Save money by buying ground beef in bulk and portioning out into 1 pound packages. The meat can then be wrapped tightly and frozen raw or cooked and seasoned and frozen for later use. If you are going to cook and season the meat, consider separating it into thirds – season one-third with Mexican seasoning/taco seasoning for tacos, enchiladas or nachos; season one-third with Italian seasoning for spaghetti, lasagna or meatballs, and leaving one-third plain to be used as a catch-all for remaining recipes calling for ground beef.