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How To Break Up Ground Beef

Ever wondered how to get fine crumbles of ground beef for things like tacos, hot dog chili or nachos? It’s EASY and you can do it without any problem! No need to stand around chipping away with a wooden spoon or spatula, it only takes a minute or two and I’ll show you how to break up ground beef today! 

green bowl of finely crumbled ground beef with fork and green napkin

You might want to check out my Ultimate Guide to Ground Beef if you have more hamburger questions!

Why This Recipe Works

  • EASY
  • FAST
  • A couple of ‘whack whacks’ and you are done. 
  • You probably have everything you need already to get started. 

Here’s How It’s Done

STEP 1. 

I like to break up the hamburger with my fingers when I place it in the pan, but that part is optional. 

hand tearing up ground beef and putting in black skillet with red napkin

 

STEP 2. 

Use a potato masher and mash the hamburger while it is cooking. 

ground beef in a frying pan with a potato masher

STEP 3. 

Let the burger finish browning and break it up several times with the potato masher until it is browned through. Then it’s ready for your recipe! 

metal spatula breaking moving hamburger around in frying pan with red napkin

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Do You Keep Ground Beef From Clumping? 

To keep ground beef from clumping, you’ll need to take some precautions while cooking it! 

  1. Set the heat on medium.
  2. Use a potato mashing tool to break up the ground beef while it is cooking. 
  3. Keep doing this periodically while the meat is cooking to make it a fine crumble. 
  4. When the beef is just past pink, it is ready for your recipe. 

How Do Mexican Restaurants Get Ground Beef So Fine? 

Mexican Restaurants take care to keep the meat broken up fine while it is browning initially. 

Once the meat is cooked through, then it can be used in any recipe and it will stay in a fine crumble. 

Can I Freeze Finely Crumbled Ground Beef? 

Sure you can! Just put it in a freezer safe package, remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months. 

How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last? 

If kept covered in the refrigerator, it will last about 5 days. 

Do NOT allow it to sit out for more than 2 hours at a time. 

Can I Make Cooked Ground Beef Ahead?

Yes! Absolutely you can! Just cook it up and then put it in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to use.

Be sure to drain the ground beef before storing. 

You will want to warm it on the stove top or in the microwave before you try to mix anything else in with it. 

Should I Season Ground Beef Before Adding Other Ingredients? 

Yes! Please do! 

Once you’ve been cooking for a while, you start to notice small details and you can definitely taste when the salt hasn’t been added in layers! 

You want your ground beef to taste perfect when you add the other ingredients, so add some salt until it tastes like you want.

Usually this is about ½ tsp table salt or 1 tsp kosher salt per lb of ground beef. 

What Recipes Can I Use Finely Crumbled Ground Beef In? 

Beef and Rice Burritos

Taco Pie

Taco Casserole

Easy Taco Spaghetti

What Is a Potato Masher? 

This photo is an affiliate link and I am an Amazon affiliate, you can click the photo to go straight through to Amazon to compare prices and purchase. 

If you choose to purchase this way, I will earn a commission (which doesn’t change your price at all, it simply helps me to continue this website). Thank you very much for doing so. 

Basically, though, I just want you to know what I’m talking about.

You will probably find that this item at your local big box or discount store is more affordable. 

metal potato masher with black handle

hot dog in bun with hot dog chili on top

Tips and Tricks For How To Break Up Ground Beef

  • For less grease in the final product, use a leaner hamburger to start with. The FRACTION tells you how much fat is in the hamburger. Choose one with a larger FIRST number such as 80/20 or 90/10 for less grease. 
  • Be sure to drain the hamburger well before using in your recipe. 
  • If you do not have a potato mashing tool, use a meat pounder or wash a can of soup very well and then use that instead. 
  • Add salt to your ground beef before using it in your recipe, this will lend a lot of flavor to your recipe. 
  • Not ALL recipes call for finely ground beef and it becomes more of a preference. For example, I like larger chunks of ground beef in spaghetti sauce, it is entirely up to you in these cases. 

spoonful of hamburger helper close up bowl in background

Will Ya’ll Help Me Out a Little? 

Please leave a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. This helps the peoples of the internet to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes. 

How to cook Ground Beef from frozen, from scratch, homemade, in a crockpot, in a skillet, in an instapot, in a pressure cooker, in the microwave. Great for spaghetti, nachos, tacos, sloppy joes and more! Be your own Paula Deen or Pioneer Woman! #groundbeef #recipes

How To Break Up Ground Beef

Ever wondered how to get fine crumbles of ground beef for things like tacos, hot dog chili or nachos? It’s EASY and you can do it without any problem! No need to stand around chipping away with a wooden spoon or spatula, it only takes a minute or two and I’ll show you how to break up ground beef today!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to break up ground beef
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs oil optional, based on fat content of the ground beef.
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

Instructions

  • In a frying pan set over medium heat on the stove top, add oil to the pan if your ground beef is very low fat. Use your fingers to break up and pull off pieces of the ground beef chunk and put into the pan.
  • Once the ground beef is all added to the pan, use a potato masher to mash and break up the ground beef into fine and small pieces. Repeat this as the ground beef cooks.
  • Once the ground beef is just past the pink part, add ½ tsp salt, taste. Add the remainder if the ground beef needs it.
  • Turn off the heat and proceed with whatever recipe you plan to use finely crumbled ground beef for.

Notes

  • For less grease in the final product, use a leaner hamburger to start with. The FRACTION tells you how much fat is in the hamburger. Choose one with a larger FIRST number such as 80/20 or 90/10 for less grease.
  • Be sure to drain the hamburger well before using in your recipe.
  • If you do not have a potato mashing tool, use a meat pounder or wash a can of soup very well and then use that instead.
  • Add salt to your ground beef before using it in your recipe, this will lend a lot of flavor to your recipe.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How To Break Up Ground Beef
Amount Per Serving
Calories 350 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 657mg27%
Potassium 306mg9%
Protein 19g38%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A VERSE TO SHARE

The Bible tells us all the time that we are loved. But sometimes it feels like we might not be WORTHY of being loved, doesn’t it? 

Let me tell you something, it doesn’t matter what you have done, where you have been or even what you have considered doing. If you accept Jesus as the Son of God and your personal savior, if you have asked Him to come into your heart and save you, He has. You are worthy. 

1 Peter 2: 9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light

hot dog in bun with hot dog chili on top
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Wendi Spraker

Thursday 9th of July 2020

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