60 Easy Weeknight Dinners That Start with Ground Beef

published May 4, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Quick! What’s the first meal that comes to mind when you think of ground beef? For me it’s burgers, or maybe tacos that I used to eat as a kid. But those two foods barely scratch the surface of all the different dinners you can cook up with some ground beef.

Arm yourself with a pack of ground beef and the sky’s the limit when it comes to dinner possibilities. This is precisely why you’ll find a pound or two stashed in my freezer at all times (and remember: to defrost ground beef faster, freeze it flat). It’s a budget-friendly choice, and worth stocking up on when it’s on sale.

Shape it into burgers, meatballs, or meatloaf to really make it the star of the meal. Or on nights when you need to stretch a pound or less into a meal to feed the whole table, bulk it up into a hearty casserole, skillet dinner, or slow cooker dish. No matter what you’re in the mood for, we’ve got 60 ground beef recipes to cook up tonight.

Meatballs and Meatloaf

It is impossible to think about turning ground beef into dinner without considering meatballs and meatloaf. There are so many variations, and it’s one of my favorite ways to make ground beef shine on the dinner table.

1 / 18
Easy Herby Meatballs
Cut back on meatball prep by letting your blender do all the work. Purée herbs and aromatics into a flavorful base before combining with ground beef and breadcrumbs.
Go to Recipe
2 / 18
Air Fryer Meatballs
These quick and easy air fryer meatballs are as moist and flavorful as they come, thanks to a combination of ground meat and the addition of ricotta.
Go to Recipe
3 / 18
Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs

When frying seems out of reach, these simple baked meatballs are here for you. And the bonus is you get an easy homemade tomato sauce at the same time.

Go to Recipe
4 / 18
Whole30 Italian Meatballs with Marinara
Inspired by the classic, these Whole30 Italian meatballs are packed with fragrant herbs, but skip the grains and dairy.
Go to Recipe
5 / 18
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Swimming in a glossy sweet and tangy sauce serve these two-bite meatballs as an app or partner when with a pile of rice or noodles for dinner.
Go to Recipe
6 / 18
Italian Meatballs
If you’re on the hunt for a trusty, foolproof meatball recipe, look no further — these are classic Italian meatballs at their finest.
Go to Recipe
7 / 18
BBQ Meatballs
Bring the life to the party with these BBQ sauce-smothered cocktail meatballs.
Go to Recipe
8 / 18
Instant Pot Meatballs
These easy meatballs use a combination of beef and sausage for a fast and flavorful dinner from the Instant Pot.
Go to Recipe
9 / 18
Porcupine Meatballs
These retro beef meatballs are made with uncooked rice, which cooks as the meatballs bake in the oven. The result is a saucy, satisfying weeknight dinner.
Go to Recipe
10 / 18
50/50 Meatloaf
This meatloaf is 50% meat, 50% vegetables rounded out by three umami powerhouses.
Go to Recipe
11 / 18
Italian Meatloaf
Marinara and cheese set this recipe apart from traditional meatloaf.
Go to Recipe
12 / 18
How To Make Meatloaf from Scratch
The next time you have a craving for a super classic meatloaf with a sticky ketchup topping, this is the recipe to cook up.
Go to Recipe
13 / 18
Stuffed Meatloaf

Oozing with melty mozzarella, this stuffed meatloaf is a fun and cheesy twist on the old school version you know.

Go to Recipe
14 / 18
Easy Skillet Meatloaf
This savory mixture of beef and pork flavored with slowly browned onion and pressed into a cast iron skillet and brushed with a sticky barbecue glaze.
Go to Recipe
15 / 18
French Onion Meatloaf
Inspired by a cozy crock of French onion soup, this meatloaf is loaded with velvety caramelized onions, then blanketed with a bubbling layer of Gruyère.
Go to Recipe
16 / 18
Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
Here's how to use your Instant Pot to cook meatloaf and mashed potatoes at the same time in less than an hour.
Go to Recipe
17 / 18
Crock-pot Meatloaf
A slow-cooked meatloaf is tender and juicy without the pesky crispy edges that come from baking in close contact with a pan. The constant and closed low heat keeps the meat’s moisture where it should be — in the meatloaf.
Go to Recipe
18 / 18
Keto Meatloaf
This tender, juicy meatloaf is low-carb and keto-friendly, but most importantly it’s downright delicious.
Go to Recipe

Ground Beef Casserole Recipes

Take your pick between partnering meat with rice, pasta, beans, veggies, or even tater tots to make it a casserole. This is such a great easy and budget-friendly way to stretch a pack of ground beef into a meal that easily feeds the whole table.

1 / 11
Taco Spaghetti
Mexican-American flavors elope with a red sauce spaghetti casserole.
Go to Recipe
2 / 11
Hamburger Casserole

This ultra-creamy casserole is leftover-friendly and builds on the sizzling savor of ground beef.

Go to Recipe
3 / 11
Taco Lasagna Recipe
This dish is assembled casserole-style, just like a lasagna, and filled with the most irresistible mixture of seasoned ground beef and black beans, tortillas, sour cream, and plenty of melted cheese.
Go to Recipe
4 / 11
Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Beef
This easy, cheesy crowd-pleasing casserole made with savory ground beef and baked with tender rigatoni noodles.
Go to Recipe
5 / 11
Ground Beef Taco Casserole
This recipe is everything you love about classic ground beef tacos baked into an easy casserole, then topped with lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheddar.
Go to Recipe
6 / 11
Cheeseburger Pasta Casserole
The all-American cheeseburger served casserole-style with all the fixings is a weeknight wonder.
Go to Recipe
7 / 11
Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tot casserole is the best family meal you aren’t making yet. The Midwestern casserole provides the unbeatable satisfaction of crispy tater tots layered over a creamy, beefy filling studded with sweet and tender vegetables.
Go to Recipe
8 / 11
One-Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
With smoky seasoned ground beef, spicy salsa, and gooey cheese, this one-pot pasta dinner is everything you love about the classic ground beef taco without the tortilla.
Go to Recipe
9 / 11
Easy Lasagna
This lasagna is about as low-lift as you can get while still achieving cheesy, crowd-pleasing results.
Go to Recipe
10 / 11
Baked Spaghetti Recipe
Baked spaghetti is pretty much a mash-up of all the best qualities of classic spaghetti and a cheesy baked lasagna.
Go to Recipe
11 / 11
Beef & Cheese Manicotti
Stuffed with fragrant garlicky ricotta, Parmesan, and savory beef, this baked manicotti is creamy, cheesy, meaty, and the perfect cozy weekend dinner.
Go to Recipe

One-Pot Dinners

Trade your casserole dish for your Dutch oven or favorite skillet, and you’re on your way to bulking up ground meat into an easy weeknight meal for the whole family.

1 / 9
Hamburger Soup
Hamburger, but make it a simple, warming, budget-friendly soup that feeds a crowd.
Go to Recipe
2 / 9
One-Pot Weeknight Beef Stroganoff
This riff on beef stroganoff starts with a pack of ground beef and hits all the same notes as the classic, but is decidedly much more weeknight- and budget-friendly.
Go to Recipe
3 / 9
Easy, Creamy Beef and Shells
If you grew up loving Hamburger Helper, you're going to love this quick and easy from-scratch version of cheesy beef and shells.
Go to Recipe
4 / 9
Easy Skillet Tamale Pie
This family-friendly tamale pie cooks all in one skillet, making for easy prep and clean-up.
Go to Recipe
5 / 9
Southwest Skillet Ragu
Chewy pasta and gooey cheese are balanced out by a big helping of veggies with a little ground meat for protein in this one-pan meal.
Go to Recipe
6 / 9
Quick & Easy Sloppy Joes
A family dinner classic, these easy sloppy Joes are ideal for any night of the week.
Go to Recipe
7 / 9
Stuffed Pepper Soup
From the tender bell pepper to the ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning, this is everything you love about stuffed peppers, in soup form.
Go to Recipe
8 / 9
Easy One-Pot Beef Goulash
From the sauce-slicked macaroni to the crumbles of ground beef and generous pockets of melted cheddar, one-pot beef goulash is as comforting as it is easy to get on the table.
Go to Recipe
9 / 9
Beef and Broccoli Fried Rice
If you've only got a little bit of ground beef to work with, this fried rice and beef & broccoli mash up is a smart and delicious way to stretch it into a meal for the whole table.
Go to Recipe

Ground Beef Slow Cooker Recipes

When you’ve got some ground beef to use up but it feels like you don’t have any time to stand over the stove, go ahead and pull out your slow cooker. From chili to meat sauce to sloppy Joes, there are a lot of delicious choices.

1 / 7
Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
With a no-cook beef-and-rice filling and no-cook tomato sauce, these cabbage rolls are easy to throw together in the morning so that dinner’s cooking away while you’re at work.
Go to Recipe
2 / 7
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
The low, steady heat of the slow cooker makes for a bolognese that's unbelievably tender.
Go to Recipe
3 / 7
Slow Cooker Chili Mac and Cheese
Ultra-comforting slow-cooker chili mac is the love child of macaroni and cheese and chili — perfect for the person who just can’t choose.
Go to Recipe
4 / 7
Simple & Tasty Slow Cooker Chili
Invest your prep time in chili powder from scratch and you'll have the best bowls of simple, tasty chili waiting in the slow cooker when you get home.
Go to Recipe
5 / 7
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
When you'd rather not stand at the stove, reach for your slow cooker for an even easier way to get this family favorite on the table tonight.
Go to Recipe
6 / 7
Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup
This easy slow cooker lasagna soup is everything you love about the classic Italian casserole, but it's so much easier to make.
Go to Recipe
7 / 7
Slow Cooker Taco-Stuffed Potatoes
This weeknight wonder is inspired by classic ground beef tacos, and best of all, the beef and potatoes cook together all day in the slow cooker
Go to Recipe


Whether you go for basic burgers on the stovetop or one that’s totally decked out, you can never go wrong with adding a burger night to your meal plan.

1 / 10
Juicy Lucy Burgers
You can't say no to this classic Midwest dish of a burger patty stuffed with melty cheese.
Go to Recipe
2 / 10
Easy Stovetop Burgers
No grill, no problem! Here's how to make juicy, totally tender burgers on the stove top, start to finish.
Go to Recipe
3 / 10
Burgers in the Oven
For a perfectly juicy burger without the burden of standing over a smokey grill, take it to the oven.
Go to Recipe
4 / 10
Beef-Bacon Burger Blend
A crispy bacon topping is nice, but this burger takes it a step further by mixing ground bacon into your burger patty so you get that smoky, rich flavor in every bite. Talk about tasty!
Go to Recipe
5 / 10
Easy Homemade Smash Burgers
These no-frills burgers are exactly what they sound like: ground beef that's cooked in a skillet and smashed with a spatula to create rough, craggly little patties. Here's how to master the technique at home.
Go to Recipe
6 / 10
Open-Faced Pizza Burgers
If you grew up eating English muffin pizzas, these cheesy burgers will be right up your alley. They taste like a beefed-up version of the childhood favorite.
Go to Recipe
7 / 10
How To Make the Juiciest Burger Patties
Just one ingredient will make your burgers infinitely juicier this summer, and it's already in your kitchen: butter!
Go to Recipe
8 / 10
Spinach and Blue Cheese Burger
Blue cheese, spinach, and caramelized onions transform a juicy beef burger into a French-inspired dinner.
Go to Recipe
9 / 10
Teriyaki Burger
Partnered with a simple slaw, sliced jalapeño, and a splash of teriyaki, these 5-ingredient burgers are anything but basic.
Go to Recipe
10 / 10
Beef Burgers with Cabernet Onion Jam
A sweet, rich onion topping enhances the savoriness of these beef burgers.
Go to Recipe

Other Easy Ground Beef Recipes

But it doesn’t stop there. Ground beef is also the start of tacos, easy weeknight stir-fries, one-bowl meals, and stuffed peppers.

1 / 12
Cheesy Gordita Crunch-Inspired Beef Tacos Recipe
These Taco Bell-inspired tacos feature a double taco shell stuffed with a beef-and-bean filling.
Go to Recipe
2 / 12
Easy Ground Beef Tacos
These easy ground beef tacos are a winning weeknight dinner loaded with moist, flavorful beef and your favorite toppings.
Go to Recipe
3 / 12
Weeknight Cabbage Rolls
To make this comforting dinner more weeknight-friendly, a single skillet is all your need to take them from start to finish.
Go to Recipe
4 / 12
Crispy Orange Ground Beef & Veggies
Inspired by a takeout favorite, this weeknight recipe partners crispy ground beef with stir-fried veggies and a sticky-sweet orange sauce.
Go to Recipe
5 / 12
Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
If you're still on the fence about spaghetti squash, this lasagna-inspired recipe will win you over.
Go to Recipe
6 / 12
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Bowls
Braised (or grilled!) cabbage replaces boiled leaves and the meaty sauce is unmatched.
Go to Recipe
7 / 12
Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Lettuce Salad with Hot Beef Dressing
This salad stands as one of the very best things I've made with a pack of ground beef. And while the recipe calls for romaine, any greens you have handy will work nicely.
Go to Recipe
8 / 12
Beef and Broccoli Buddha Bowls
Inspired the takeout favorite, this wholesome bowl starts with a pack of ground beef and broccoli rice.
Go to Recipe
9 / 12
Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Not only is this one-pot meal a total breeze, but it will remind you of something you might order at a restaurant.
Go to Recipe
10 / 12
Stuffed Peppers
Any time you need to stretch a pack of ground beef to feed a whole lot of mouths, stuffed peppers are a good idea.
Go to Recipe
11 / 12
Stuffed Pepper Bowls Recipe
All the flavors of a beefy stuffed pepper in a fraction of the time.
Go to Recipe
12 / 12
Copycat Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme
The legendary Taco Bell crunchwrap that's filled with cheesy beef and crispy tortilla shells can now be made at home.
Go to Recipe

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: 60 Easy Dinners That Start with Ground Beef