20 Best Ground Beef Recipes for Beginner Cooks

a stainless steel skillet holding a tomato-based casserole garnished with parsley
Photo: lutzflcat

These top-rated ground beef meals are great for beginners or anyone else looking for simple, classic meals using unfussy ingredients and straightforward preparations. With these ground beef recipes, there's no need for fancy techniques or special equipment and no hard-to-find ingredients required. Give them a try.

01 of 20

Beef Stroganoff with Ground Beef

close up on a plate of egg noodles topped with beef stroganoff

"Ground beef makes this stroganoff sauce a quick, tasty comfort food served over noodles or mashed spuds," says Deena Kordt. Fabeverydayblog says, "Very easy and delicious recipe. The sauce is very thick. If you like a thinner stroganoff, try including a little beef broth when adding the ingredients at the end."

02 of 20

Chef John's American Goulash

A white bowl holding a serving of a skillet casserole made with ground beef and macaroni in a tomato-based sauce
Photo by Chef John. Chef John

This is one of those very simple dishes that does not taste simple--perfect for your weeknight dinner rotation," says Chef John. "One of my all-time favorite comfort food meals growing up was the beef goulash they served in my school cafeteria alongside a slice of buttered white bread and a carton of milk. Little did I know that it wasn't really goulash, but an Americanized version, invented to stretch a small amount of beef into enough food for a not-so-small family."

03 of 20

Taco Meat

close up on hard taco shells with taco meat and toppings
Buckwheat Queen

The essential Americanized taco or burrito filling. It's simply lean ground beef sauteed with a few seasonings and tomato sauce. The recipe submitter Natalie says, "Make a big batch and use for a multiple of different meals: add to bean burritos for a more hearty and tasty burrito, or add a can of beans (kidney, red, or pinto) and use for Frito Pie, Navajo tacos, or taco salad."

04 of 20

Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms

Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms
Photo by naples34102.

This is the ultimate no-fuss comfort food. A delicious, one-pan, homemade dinner featuring seasoned ground beef patties, sauteed mushrooms with onions and a rich, pan gravy. "The mushroom and onion gravy is wonderful over mashed potatoes or rice," says Krystal Wetter. "The gravy is still good even without mushrooms."

05 of 20

Classic Meatloaf

Classic Meatloaf
Photo by Sherri.

With this classic recipe, Chef John reveals a few tricks and techniques for perfect meatloaf. Chef John says, "The secrets to this meatloaf are fresh, very finely diced vegetables that give it moisture and flavor--and a light touch in mixing together the ingredients."

06 of 20

Easy Beef Enchiladas

looking down at a serving of beef enchiladas with a side of rice
Chef Mo

Browned ground beef combines with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning, red enchilada sauce, and chili powder. You'll roll the beef mixture up in tortillas and spoon the remaining sauce, black beans, and olives over the tortillas. Chef Mo says, "Super simple and super good! 5 stars for sure! The flavors were very good! I didn't add the olives or black beans, but maybe when I make these again. Great for a group!"

07 of 20

Bolognese Sauce

a bowl of rigatoni rigate topped with Bolognese sauce, garnished with chopped parsley
Chef John's Bolognese Sauce. Kim's Cooking Now!

Here's the classic Italian meat sauce starring ground beef, plum tomatoes, and aromatic vegetables. The secret ingredients here are milk and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Simmer the sauce for a nice long time, the longer the better. The flavors will concentrate and the meat will become unbelievably tender.

08 of 20

Shepherd's Pie

close up on a serving of shepherd's pie

Another classic comfort food casserole. It's a complete meat and potatoes and veggies meal. Christine says, "This is a handy, quick dinner casserole! Ground beef and frozen vegetables are seasoned and topped with mashed potatoes."

09 of 20

Sheet Pan Nachos

close up on a sheet pan of nachos

"A very simple sheet pan recipe, these nachos are guaranteed to be a hit at your next get-together," says The Kitchen Alchemist. If you like, top them off with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro at the end. "This is a great way to eat tacos without the mess," says Margaret. "Very easy to make."

10 of 20

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Photo by ~*MyHotSouthernMess*~.

Here's a simplified version of cabbage rolls. No stuffing or rolling required. "This is a quick and easy main dish," says tlc_adams. "The longer it rests the better it tastes."

11 of 20

Sloppy Joes II

Sloppy Joes II

This classic sandwich filling is super easy to make from scratch. Brown ground beef with chopped onions and green peppers, stir in garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar, and simmer for 30 minutes. Done! "This is the best Sloppy Joe recipe anywhere!" says Itb817. "I added approximately 1/3 cup of water just to get the consistency right for my palette. Next time I will reduce 3 tsps of brown sugar to 1 rounded tsp."

12 of 20

Taco Bake I

close up on a taco bake
Maya Macias

This flavorful recipe couldn't be more simple. You'll layer seasoned, browned ground beef in a casserole dish with canned refried beans and salsa. Top it with shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. "SUPER easy and very good," says Mary K. "Easy to manipulate to make it spicy or mild based on individual preferences. I used the Taco Seasoning recipe from this site, mixed the beef and beans together in the skillet, and then layered it on top of some tortilla chips in the bottom of an 8x8 dish. Topped it with the salsa and four-cheese Mexican blend, and it couldn't have been easier."

13 of 20

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

Here's a simple baked spaghetti casserole featuring seasoned ground beef, sautéed onions, jarred spaghetti sauce, and three kinds of cheese. It's so quick-and-easy to put together. CALLIKO says, "A comforting baked spaghetti casserole with plenty of melted cheese is the perfect dish for potlucks, family gatherings, or a week-night dinner."

14 of 20

Cheeseburger Quesadilla

looking at a cheeseburger quesadilla cut in half and stacked on top another

Here's some 5-star Mexican-American fusion food! You'll saute ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Add the beefy mixture to flour tortillas and top with classic cheeseburger fixings: Colby cheese, ketchup, mustard, and relish. Mrs.hogaboom rates it 5 stars: "This will be a go-to recipe for sure! I'll freeze the hamburger in small containers to have on hand."

15 of 20

Hot Tamale Pie

Hot Tamale Pie
Photo by lutzflcat.

You'll layer cheese, frozen corn, and a flavorful ground beef mixture, finishing with a cornbread batter topping. "While this tamale pie has very little to do with its south-of-the-border namesake, it's a really delicious recipe all the same," says Chef John.

16 of 20

Cheese and Hamburger Macaroni

close up on a large serving of cheese and hamburger macaroni
It's A New Day

Melted cheese, sour cream, and seasoned lean ground beef combine with elbow macaroni for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. For a Mexican-inspired take on this versatile recipe, add a tablespoon of cumin and 2 teaspoons chili powder to the beef and serve with chopped lettuce, tomato, and salsa.

17 of 20

Taco Stuffed Poblano Peppers

looking at a few taco stuffed poblano peppers

Poblano peppers are stuffed with ground beef and Spanish rice and baked in a tomato soup-based sauce topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. "American comfort food done up Latin-American style," says IBETRAVLIN. "We used boxed Spanish rice, but there are a number of good recipes on this site (Spanish Rice II and Best Spanish Rice) that I have used with good results. Serve with garnishments of choice: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa."

18 of 20

Chef John's Picadillo

Chef John's Picadillo
Photo by Chef John.

"A Cuban creation, picadillo is one of the world's great ground meat dishes," says Chef John. His version features crumbled ground beef browned in olive oil with onions, garlic, and seasonings. You'll deglaze with red wine vinegar and crushed tomatoes and then simmer the meat sauce with currants, stirring in sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives toward the end. "I went with ground beef, but you can add some pork and/or chorizo. Serve it with rice."

19 of 20

Italian Baked Meatballs

close up on three Italian baked meatballs on a plate

"This recipe makes the most tender and tasty meatballs," says Dawn Fronius. "I also freeze these meatballs and take out how many servings I need for each meal. If cooking in sauce, add baked meatballs 20 minutes before serving time."

20 of 20

A Minnesotan's Beef and Macaroni Hotdish

close up on a large bowl of Minnesotan's beef and macaroni hotdish

An old-school Minnesota staple, ground beef, macaroni, bell pepper, and onion combine with tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, basil, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce. You add beef broth to the mix, cover and simmer.

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