One of the best things about cooking at home is that you can make a big batch of something and then use it in lots of different ways.
Ground beef is one of those items that’s incredibly versatile—it’s not limited to burgers or meatballs.
You can use leftover ground beef to make burrito bowls, tacos, sloppy joes, hash, and so much more! Here are some ideas for using up your leftover beef:
How to store leftover ground beef
When you’ve got leftover ground beef, you have some options.
- Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- If you’re keeping your meat cold and covered by this point, it should be fine in the fridge for a few days without spoiling.
- Just make sure to keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- If you don’t eat all of your meat within 5 days but don’t think that there’s enough left over to warrant cooking another meal, consider freezing some of it as an easy way to keep food from going bad before its expiration date! Ground beef freezes well when sealed tightly in airtight containers or freezer bags with plenty of room for expansion (don’t use glass containers—they’ll break!).
- Label each container with its original date so that you know how long it’s been stored there and how long until expiration; then enjoy later on down the line when a craving strikes!
8 ideas for leftover ground beef
Assemble a burrito bowl with the ground beef, rice, black beans, and corn
To make a burrito bowl with ground beef:
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper; reduce heat to low.
- Cover and cook 5 minutes more or until heated through; set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl combine rice, water and butter [microwave for 8 minutes on high].
- Let stand covered 5 minutes.
- Fluff with fork before serving (or just add to your bowl).
- Add black beans (rinsed) and corn kernels that have been microwaved for 2 minutes.* Top with cheese (optional) if desired!
Make lettuce wraps with the meat and your favorite Asian-style veggies and drizzle with peanut sauce
If you’re looking for a low-carb option, lettuce wraps are a great alternative to sandwiches or burgers.
They’re also super easy to prepare when you need to make dinner in a hurry.
All you need is some ground beef (or other meat), your favorite mixed Asian-style veggies, some lettuce leaves and peanut sauce!
To make sure your lettuce wraps are full of flavor, try combining some green onions with minced ginger root and garlic cloves before adding them to the ground beef.
Stir-fry them until everything is cooked through, then put it all in the refrigerator so that they have time to cool down before serving them up with fresh ingredients like cucumbers and carrots—or whatever else strikes your fancy! Peanut sauce is an excellent way of dressing up this dish since it adds both sweetness as well as spicy heat at the same time (if using more chili paste).
Use it to make loaded breakfast hash
If you’re looking for a quick and easy breakfast that doesn’t take much time, this recipe is perfect.
It can be made in a skillet or on the stovetop, and it’s full of flavor from the ground beef, potatoes and peppers.
Add diced potatoes, peppers and onions to a large skillet over medium heat.
Sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
In another pan fry eggs sunny-side up or over easy as you like them! Top with cheese then place each egg on top of hash mixture for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts slightly (if desired).
Serve with biscuits/toast on side if desired!
This is a great recipe to make in the morning if you want something quick that will fill you up.
If you like spicy food, feel free to add more crushed red pepper flakes to your liking!
Turn it into a veggie-filled sloppy joe that’s just as good without a bun
If you still have some leftover ground beef after making tacos or sliders, then grab a slow cooker and get ready to make this veggie-filled sloppy joe.
You can use any kind of vegetables that you like—I used mushrooms and red bell peppers, but black beans would also be delicious.
Serve the sloppy joe on top of your favorite buns (or even over rice) with cheese for an extra flavor kick!
Sloppy joes are one of my favorite go-to meals because they’re easy to make and always turn out delicious.
This veggie version is no different, with a mixture of mushrooms and bell peppers adding extra flavor to the meat.
Serve it on top of your favorite bun or even over rice for an easy weeknight meal!
This sloppy joe recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
Serve it on top of buns or even over rice for an easy meal!
Make breakfast-for-dinner tacos with the meat, scrambled eggs, and cheese
- Tacos: This is the most obvious and straightforward way to use leftover ground beef.
- Simply heat some oil in a skillet, add however much meat you want, and cook it until it’s browned.
- (Add salt before you add the meat.) When it’s done, set aside in a bowl and turn off the heat.
- Then mix together some scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes, cilantro, avocado slices or guacamole if you have it on hand (or if not—it’s still delicious without!), salt (not too much!) and pepper into one big delicious mess of yumminess.
- Burritos: Instead of making tacos with your leftovers, try wrapping them up in a flour tortilla along with some cheese (or queso fresco) for an easy burrito creation.
- It might not be as satisfying as having actual breakfast burritos—but hey! You can always make those too after dinner if you’re feeling extra hungry or adventurous at dinnertime tonight!
Cook up Cuban sandwiches, tortilla soup, and more ideas inspired by this American classic
You can also make Cuban sandwiches, tortilla soup, or veggie burgers with the beef.
In addition to that, ground beef is incredibly versatile in general and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
You can use it as an ingredient in pasta sauce or stir-fry dishes (like spaghetti with meat sauce), add it to pizza dough for extra flavor and protein, make omelets richer by including a little bit in them, or just eat it straight out of a bowl!
You can also use it as a topping for tacos, burritos, or nachos.
It’s a great way to add some extra protein and flavor without adding any fat.
Make spaghetti squash lasagna boats
Spaghetti squash lasagna boats are a fun way to change up your pasta routine.
All you need is ground beef, tomato sauce, cheese and spaghetti squash.
Bake them in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Once they’re done baking you can add your favorite veggies on top!
Spiralized zucchini makes a great pasta substitute; simply toss it with olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese for a tasty side dish or use it to make veggie noodles.
You can also use squash like spaghetti, fusilli and rotini to create fun new dishes.
Try making zucchini lasagna, pasta salad or baked zucchini boats with ground beef and tomato sauce.
You can even add a variety of cheese like mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta.
Make burger bowls
To make a burger bowl, you’ll want to cook a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice.
You can cook it beforehand and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat—just make sure to reheat it before serving!
Next, add your favorite veggies and greens.
This is the fun part: any veggies will do! I recommend chopping up some red onion and adding tomatoes (whether they’re fresh or roasted), bell peppers (I love green ones), avocado slices or guacamole dip.
You can also add spinach or kale if you’re feeling healthy—or even throw in some corn kernels if you’ve got ’em on hand!
Then comes the sauce: salsa is always great here, but so are pesto sauces (like basil pesto) or hot sauces like sriracha or salsa verde.
You could even get creative with hummus by mixing some into our burgers with other ingredients like olives for an extra kick of flavor that goes well with everything else going on inside this dish…but then again why mess around when there’s already so much flavor happening in every bite?
So get creative, and have fun! It doesn’t matter how you choose to use your leftover ground beef—just make sure you don’t waste it.
Because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that wasting food is never good for anyone.