What to Make with Leftover Ground Beef

So you just got done making a delicious family meal but you realized you have a plethora of leftover ground beef. If you’ve ever wondered what to make with leftover ground beef, you are not alone. Ground beef is a fabulous protein to work with due to its versatility, but it is also great using leftovers. As long as you store your ground beef properly so it doesn’t dry out too much, you will be able to use up all of that meaty goodness without having to waste any.

what to make with leftover ground beef

How to store ground beef

Ground beef can dry out and spoil very quickly if it is not properly stored. It is important to keep the ground beef in a sealed bag and store it in a reasonably cool place. If the ground beef is stored correctly, it can remain fresh for up to three days. It is also important not to store ground beef in the refrigerator door because that is where the temperature fluctuates most often.

Check out these recipes using leftover ground beef:

Leftover Ground Beef Tacos

Leftover Ground Beef Tacos

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Latin, Leftovers, Mexican
Keyword: leftover ground beef taco recipe, leftover ground beef tacos, leftover taco recipe, leftover tacos
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • cup olive oil
  • 1 lb leftover ground beef cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 cups picante sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 8 small to medium sized corn tortillas
  • 1 head lettuce shredded into bite size pieces
  • 2 tomatoes sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 avocados smashed in a bowl with 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 TB chopped cilantro for garnish
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix taco seasoning and water in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl add olive oil, picante sauce, and picante sauce mixture. Mix well with a whisk.
  • On a baking sheet spread out tortillas and bake for 15 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp. After tortillas cool, cut each one into 4 quarters.
  • Take a small amount of picante mixture and spread it evenly over the inside of the taco shell. Then place lettuce pieces in each shell followed by beef, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, sour cream and cilantro.
leftover ground beef sloppy joes

Leftover Ground Beef Sloppy Joe’s

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Leftovers
Keyword: leftover ground beef sloppy joes, leftover sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joes using leftover ground beef
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 pound leftover ground beef
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Add the onion and green pepper to the leftover ground beef and cook over medium-low heat until soft.
  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic and tomatoes with juice.
  • Mix well and add tomato paste and stir until well blended.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • If the chili is too thick, add water or broth to thin it out.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with your favorite toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions and/or tortilla chips.


*NOTE: to thicken chili, add a roux (made from equal parts water and flour) or additional tomato paste.
Leftover Ground Beef Chili

Leftover Ground Beef Chili

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Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Leftovers
Keyword: chili recipe using leftover ground beef, leftover ground beef chili, leftover ground beef chili recipe
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked red kidney beans 2 cans
  • 1 cup tomato sauce canned or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder optional
  • 2 teaspoons paprika optional
  • 1 teaspoon oregano optional
  • 8-12 ounces water or beer to thin the chili to desired consistency
  • Leftover Ground Beef


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and salt and saute for another minute or so.
  • Remove from heat and add beans to the pot along with tomato sauce, chili powder (and any other spices desired) plus enough water or beer to thin the chili. Add the leftover ground beef and stir.
  • Return pot to heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. You can adjust spices at this point as well.
  • Enjoy!
Leftover Ground Beef Cheeseburger Casserole

Leftover Ground Beef Cheeseburger Casserole

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Leftovers
Keyword: cheeseburger casserole using leftover ground beef, leftover cheeseburger casserole, leftover ground beef cheeseburger casserole
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 3 pounds leftover ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds 8 cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 green bell peppers seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces half a package sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet over medium-high heat the oil and cook onions until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • In a very slow stream pour water over beef and cook, stirring constantly until the water has evaporated.
  • Season with salt, vinegar, garlic powder and sugar.
  • Add leftover meat to skillet and add green peppers and tomato sauce; simmer for 10 minutes before placing in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Bake for 20 minutes; sprinkle cheese over top and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Ground beef is a versatile and delicious ingredient that offers plenty of opportunities for creativity in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking to make tacos, sloppy joes or chili; ground beef can be used as the main protein source in any dish. And the best part is, you don’t have to worry about cooking too much because you can always find what to make with leftover ground beef.

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