Serious Eats / Emily and Matt Clifton

Even as a culinary professional, I get stumped sometimes staring at the ground beef in the butcher’s case. Sure, it’s on special, but what the heck do I want to do with it? Do I go with the tried and true burger or meatloaf? Maybe something I’ve never tried making at home before, like Jamaican beef patties? I know I’m not alone in my quandary.

We’ve delved into our vast Serious Eats library to come up with a collection of recipes to inspire you to rethink how to cook your favorites or try cooking something new—such as Cincinnati chili, grilled Korean-style bulgogi burgers, skillet tamale pie, seekh kebabs, and Cuban picadillo. Whatever the mood or occasion, there is a perfect ground beef recipe for you.

Pressure Cooker Ground Beef and Bean Chili

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Classic beef-and-bean chili done right normally requires plenty of time to simmer to fully tenderize the meat—not ideal for the impatient cook. But Daniel’s pressure cooker method reduces the cooking time considerably without compromising on flavor, and is bolstered with a little coffee, dark chocolate, and fish sauce to add subtle toasty and savory notes.

Cincinnati Chili

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Cincinnati chili may seem idiosyncratic in the pantheon of American chilis, but there is much to love about this dish of spiced meaty chili piled on a bed of tender spaghetti and topped with diced onion and a mound of shredded cheddar. Jed’s version includes a little dry active yeast to replicate the famed Skyline Chili signature seasoning.

Classic Meatloaf (The Food Lab)

Serious Eats / Mariel De La Cruz

Leave it to Kenji to improve on an American classic, coming up with a version that’s deeply moist and meaty with a firm tender texture that holds its shape so each slice stays intact. It’s perfect as is served up with a side of ultra-fluffy mashed potatoes, or layered in a sandwich.

Grilled Korean-Style Bulgogi Burgers With Kimchi Mayo and Pickled Daikon

Serious Eats / Emily and Matt Clifton

Bold flavors of Korean bulgogi married with proper burger grilling technique equals the best kind of fusion cooking. Layering in colorful crunchy vegetables and piquant kimchi mayo turns this burger into a visual feast.

Curried Jamaican Beef Patties

Serious Eats / Robby Lozano

These brightly hued flaky pastries—loaded with deeply seasoned ground beef, onions, garlic, and Scotch bonnet peppers—are ubiquitous throughout Jamaica. They’re found in ramshackle roadside stands, neighborhood restaurants, and even resorts. One bite can magically transport you to a warm sunny beach!

Cuban Picadillo

Serious Eats / Diana Chistruga

This easy-to-make Cuban comfort food classic is deceptively simple but big on flavor. The layers of flavor begin with a sofrito and finish with briny green olives, capers, and raisins that add brightness and texture. Serve it with white rice and black beans.

Easy Skillet Tamale Pie With Cornbread Crust

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Although it’s hard to say whether this savory skillet pie of beef chili topped with a buttery, tender, crisp-edged cornbread crust was actually inspired by the Mexican tamale, it’s definitely part of the great lexicon of Americanized dishes. Browned butter gives the cornbread a rich, nutty aroma.

Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Brown Gravy

Serious Eats/ Vicky Wasik

Like Daniel, Salisbury steak was one of my favorite TV dinners as a kid (and the only school cafeteria offering I actually wanted to eat). His rendition features a juicy and tender steak-like patty smothered in a rich mushroom gravy accentuated with sweet, complex onion flavor.

American Chop Suey (Macaroni, Beef, and Cheese Skillet Casserole)

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Despite its origins, calling this “choy suey” is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. Nevertheless, you can’t argue that the combination of tender macaroni, tomato sauce, and ground beef (seasoned with Worcestershire sauce) baked with lots of melty pockets of mozzarella cheese isn’t deeply satisfying. This one-skillet wonder is almost as easy as cracking open a box of Beefaroni mix.

Tater Tot Casserole (Hotdish)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Ever-present throughout the Midwest, “hotdish” is an entire meal baked in a casserole—consisting of meat, vegetables, a starch, and sauce. Golden, crispy tater tots reign supreme as the preferred starch, while ground beef is the traditional meat of choice. Sohla swaps out condensed canned soup in favor of a creamy from-scratch sauce made with roasted mushrooms.

Classic, Savory Shepherd’s Pie

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Daniel’s take on the British shepherd’s pie starts with a glorious layer of ultra-rich mashed potatoes loaded with butter blanketing a savory, meaty ragù-like sauce studded with peas and carrots. While it’s traditionally made with ground lamb, ground beef is a popular substitute—particularly for those who don’t like the flavor of lamb.

Kotlet (Persian Ground Meat and Potato Patties)

Serious Eats / Nader Mehravari

Popular throughout Iran and the Persian diaspora, these ground meat and potato patties are incredibly versatile and easy to make. Serve them hot or cold, as a main dish, side, snack, or even a sandwich filling.

Seekh Kebabs (Pakistani Spicy Grilled Ground Meat Skewers)

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Getting the right flavor profile is certainly key to making what Kenji calls the “meat-on-a-stick of your dreams.” The other is properly salting, chilling, and grilling the meat to achieve seekh kebab nirvana.

Hoisin-Glazed Cocktail Meatballs

Serious Eats / Mariel De La Cruz

These sticky, tangy bite-sized morsels are much cooler than the toothpick-skewered cocktail meatballs they served in the 60’s. Paired with an irresistible dipping sauce, they’re the ideal snack to munch on while sipping an ice-cold martini…shaken or stirred.

Moroccan Kefta and Bell Pepper Briouats (Ground Meat and Bell Pepper Pastries)

Serious Eats / Greg DuPree

These triangular-shaped pastries filled with ground beef, caramelized onion, and bell pepper and flavored with garlic, sweet paprika, cumin, and coriander make for an excellent finger food or starter. Although they’re traditionally made with a Moroccan pastry called warqua, the more readily available phyllo is a fine substitute.

Cheesy Stuffed Mexican Peppers With Red Chile Sauce

Serious Eats / Jennifer Olvera

These Tex-Mex-style stuffed peppers are filled with a creamy mixture of ground beef and rice bound in two kinds of cheese and sour cream, and spiked with chile powder and cumin. It’s topped with a luscious sauce flavored with ancho chile, unsweetened cocoa, cumin, and Mexican oregano.

Brown Rice Congee With Beef, Shiitake, and Garlic Chips

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Rice porridge is a classic breakfast staple throughout Asia, and brown rice turns this “blank canvas” into a heartier, healthier base for a variety of accompaniments—such as marinated ground beef, dried shiitake mushrooms, and garlic chips. Reducing the water-to-rice ratio ensures that the brown rice congee will be just as creamy and silky as the white rice version.

Basic Ragù Bolognese

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Ragù bolognese is a foundational component for several classic pasta dishes, including lasagna alla bolognese. We suggest making a batch and stashing it in your freezer.

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