Ground beef is more affordable and easier to cook than other cuts, and all it takes is a bit of imagination to do something delicious with it.
If you’re unsure of what to make with ground beef beyond classic burgers, let us inspire you—from deconstructed tacos and burritos to Jamaican patties, slow-cooker meatballs and traditional spaghetti bolognese.
With a little patience and lots of supervision, even young kids can help make these simple ground beef recipes.
Ready in: 55 minutes
Why we love it: Tacos are a family favourite—but they can quickly add up to a big mess in the kitchen and on the dinner table. Combining all those flavours into a nourishing soup with this easy one-pot recipe using ground beef is a big time-saver.
How kids can help: Safe kitchen gear for little hands is a great way to get your kid to love cooking from an early age. Start with a kid-friendly knife so they can help chop the veggies. From there, we recommend doing the initial sautéing in hot oil on your own, but kids can help stir under supervision once it’s time to add to the tomatoes, broth and water.
Ready in: 30 minutes
Why we love it: These ground beef hand pies are quick and easy to make and have everything you want in a homemade Jamaican patty—but without the extra heat for the littles. (Parents, you can always add some hot sauce on the side!)
How kids can help: Get them to unroll the pastry dough and trace out each circle into quarters for individual pie crusts. (Kids can practice their fractions, too!) Ask them to scoop the beef mixture onto the centres with a spoon and then fold each pastry into little pockets. Just make sure they wash their hands well before and after.
Ready in: 40 minutes
Why we love it: When we think of the best ground beef recipes, it doesn’t get more comforting than classic Italian bolognese. This easy recipe adds ground beef to the holy trinity of cooking (onions, celery and carrots), otherwise known as a mirepoix, to get that rich base. Just add beef stock, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and you’re done.
How kids can help: Once the sauce is at a low simmer, kids can gently stir. Get their help tasting the pasta for readiness too (just make sure it’s cooled a bit first) but leave the boiling and draining of the pasta to the grown-ups!
Ready in: 25 minutes
Why we love it: This deconstructed burrito dish is quick, easy and so fun to eat. It gives us everything we love about a loaded plate of ground beef nachos—except we actually get to have it for dinner! We crave this dish topped with sour cream, avocado, diced tomato and fresh cilantro, but feel free to swap in your own favourites.
How kids can help: Once your beef is browned and the leftover liquid is reduced, your kid can dump in the spices, enchilada sauce, beans and corn. (Even better if it’s off the stove for this step.) They can also help shred the tortillas by hand and sprinkle the shredded cheese and toppings over the skillet dish before serving.
Ready in: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Why we love it: Shepherd’s pie is our all-time favourite ground-beef casserole—how can you resist that top layer of creamy mashed potatoes? (It’s also an excellent way to hide all those nutritious veggies from picky eaters.)
How kids can help: This recipe has a lot of mixing that’s perfect for eager little hands. Kids will love mashing the potatoes with cream cheese (yes, there’s cream cheese in it!) and they can also help stir the tomatoes and herbs into the sauce.
Ready in: 40 minutes
Why we love it: This ground beef recipe includes a luscious creamy sauce with egg noodles and mushrooms—what’s not to love? If you cook the meat ahead of time, this dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Ready in: 25 minutes
Why we love it: Yes, we clearly have a thing for Mexican-inspired comfort food and this dish is no exception. Translated to “chili with meat,” this easy ground beef recipe checks all the boxes—fast, flavourful and budget-friendly.
How kids can help: After you’re done browning the ground beef and onions, you can help your kid stir in the remaining ingredients. They can also garnish the plates with sour cream, shredded cheese and fresh herbs. (Picky eaters can hold the green onions!)
Ready in: 6 to 8 hours
Why we love it: These traditional Italian-style meatballs made with ground beef, pork and Parmesan are perfect over long pasta or in a crusty sandwich. And don’t let the slow-cooking time fool you. The easy ground beef recipe only takes 25 minutes to prep.
How kids can help: Kids love squishing playdough between their fingers, so why not raw meat? (Just make sure they wash their hands well before and after!) Little ones can help mix the ingredients in a large bowl, then shape into balls and place them on top of the tomato sauce in the slow cooker before setting.
Shop Ground Beef Recipe Ingredients
- Benenden Health. Spice of life: 7 surprising health benefits of curry powder.
- Healthline. Kidney Beans 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.
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