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Maybe there was a sale you couldn’t resist. Or maybe you overestimated how many burgers you needed to grill for the neighbourhood block party. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself with an excess of ground beef—raw or cooked—you’re in luck. This is one of the most versatile ingredients around, so there are plenty of delicious ways to use up the leftovers. Bonus: These tips work for any sort of ground meat or patties, so also try them with turkey, chicken, lamb or pork.


1. Make it Mexican

Ground beef is an easy-to-prep component of a bunch of Mexican-inspired dishes, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas and nachos. Simply brown raw ground beef with onions and chili spices, and then tuck it inside taco shells or tortillas. Add cheese, salsa and other toppings. Cooked burgers are an even quicker shortcut: Just crumble them and reheat, stirring in some seasoning, to make a quick filling.

Try it:
Spicy Chipotle Beef Enchiladas


2. Stuff it into veggies


So many world cuisines have a traditional stuffed veggie dish. Think cabbage rolls, Greek grape leaves, and stuffed peppers and eggplant. Ground beef makes a satisfying filling—just mix in onions, spices and rice or barley, spoon it into your desired veg and bake. For a creamy note, add a sprinkle of your favourite cheese on top just before popping the dish into the oven.

Try it:
Flexitarian Stuffed Eggplant, using ground beef instead of lamb


3. Stir it into chili

Ground beef goes a really long way in this dish. A big pot of chili is as good for weeknight dinners as it is for casual get-togethers, like a game-day party with friends. While hearty enough on its own, chili makes a tasty sloppy joe when sandwiched in a bun. It’s also a delicious topping for nachos and baked potatoes. Don’t forget to garnish it with plenty of shredded cheese.

Try it:
Spicy Eggplant & Beef Chili


4. Transform it into soup

Like chili, soup is a yummy one-dish meal that works well for a crowd. Cubed beef may be a more familiar soup ingredient, but ground beef is a tasty addition to many classic and modern recipes. And it cooks more quickly! Toss it into minestrone, or substitute it for stewing cubes in beef and barley soup.

Try it:
Kitchen Sink Hamburger Soup


5. Whip up a casserole

Ground beef is a natural starting point for a satisfying casserole. Leftover burgers work really well here—when crumbled, they’ll soak up any savoury sauce and make prep even easier because you won’t have to brown raw meat. Casseroles are the classic make-ahead meal in a pan, perfect for busy weeknights and potlucks. Assemble one the night before and refrigerate, and then pop it into the oven when you get home for a relaxed, wholesome meal.

Try it:
Big Batch Shepherd’s Pie


6. Roll up some meatballs


Seriously, who doesn’t love meatballs? You can enjoy them on top of pasta, in a sub, in Italian wedding soup or on their own with some tangy tomato sauce. Plus, you can make a big batch and freeze them ahead of time so they’re ready for dinner whenever you are.

Try it:
Classic Meatballs


7. Dish it up in pasta

Meatballs aside, ground beef is an essential ingredient in countless pasta dishes, including classic spaghetti bolognese, manicotti, cannelloni and lasagna. And even if you don’t have time to prepare a traditional lasagna, a shortcut version will still make the most of leftover ground beef.

Try it:
Beef & Mushroom Skillet Lasagna


8. Make it as easy as pie

Ground beef is a must for meat pies. You can go dinner-size and make a traditional Quebec-style spiced tourtière for a hearty meal on a cool evening. (Don’t forget the chili sauce!) Or you can create a bunch of mini meat pies so everyone gets plenty of delicious crust. Pies—big and small—are great for parties, too.

Try it:
Mini Meat Pies


Food Safety Tip: To avoid the risk of food-borne illness, cook ground beef until it’s no longer pink. Use an instant-read thermometer for burgers and meat loaf, and make sure to cook them until the centres reach 160°F (71°C).