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.
Spicy Chipotle Beef Enchiladas
2. Stuff it into veggies
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.
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.
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.
Big Batch Shepherd’s Pie
6. Roll up some 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.
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.
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).