Boiling Ground Beef {How & Why}

The idea of boiling ground beef may seem strange or even unappetizing. But there are times when boiling ground beef makes a lot of sense. Especially when preparing meals for the freezer or making certain recipes that require lean beef results.

Boiling ground beef helps to remove extra fat in the cooking process, resulting in leaner meat. The water and heat render the fat from the meat, and by stirring continuously, you can achieve a smoother consistency of ground beef.

Boiled beef can be refrigerated or frozen once cooked.

One of the key things about boiling your ground beef is that it’s a way for you to reduce fat content. Especially if you’re finding lean ground beef too expensive, this kitchen hack can leave you with leaner beef for your recipes.

The rendered beef fat can then be saved and used for cooking or fed to your pet animals and livestock and even wild birds.

We’ll go through the steps to make tasty ground beef without frying.

A blue and white floral bowl full of cooked, boiled ground beef. It's on a linen napkin next to a spoon.

Why Should You Boil Ground Beef?

As much as I love fat of all types, there are times when this may be necessary.

If your frozen ground beef accidentally thaws and you want to refreeze it — you should cook it first before refreezing.

Ground beef is a delicious addition to many recipes — whether you’re throwing together tacos, a beef stroganoff, or some cottage pie. Having precooked ground beef on hand in the freezer helps make food preparation even easier and faster.

But why boil ground beef first?

When frying ground beef in oil you are adding extra fat to the cooking process, but your recipe may require less fat than even draining the cooked beef can accomplish.

Some people also may be trying to reduce the fat in their meals for their own reasons.

Boiling is also a good way to get really fine cooked ground beef. As you boil the meat, the fat melts out before the meat can clump together. The result is perfect, uniform ground beef with no large clumps but rather nice small pieces.

If you prefer to cut down on the amount of fat in your diet, you can significantly lower the fat content in your ground beef by boiling it. As the fat melts out, it will be in the water, so when you drain your beef, you will effectively remove much of the fat from your meat, leaving you with leaner meat.

If you have dogs on a homemade diet, boiled ground beef is an excellent and economical addition to their meals and is a quick method of making nutritious dog food.

Raw ground beef on a wooden cutting board on a linen table cloth.

How To Boil Ground Beef

Boiling ground beef is a fairly simple cooking process. All you’ll need are:

  • a pot large enough to boil your meat in – the sides should be at least 4-6 inches high
  • a spoon or spatula
  • a strainer
  • a large bowl for straining.

You can boil your ground beef without spices. But adding salt to the water is best.

Prepare the Ground Beef

  1. Remove the packaging and place your raw ground beef in the pot.
  2. If it is frozen, you’ll need to thaw it first (safely in the refrigerator preferably).

Seasoning the Ground Beef

  1. Add any desired seasonings. Salt is a good addition to avoid the boiled meat tasting too bland.
  2. If you are making bulk boiled meat to subdivide and keep in the freezer, you may prefer to leave any other seasoning for later
  3. Add suitable seasonings now if you are making boiled ground beef for a specific meal. For example, adding garlic, rosemary, thyme, and oregano will help improve the flavor of your meat for a lasagna, while garlic, chili powder, and cumin will be good for enchiladas.

Boiling the Ground Beef

  1. Fill your pot with cold water and add some salt if desired. How much water you use will depend on the amount of beef and the pot size. All that matters is your ground beef should be fully submerged.
  2. Break up the large clump of ground beef with your spoon, separating it into smaller pieces. By doing this, you’ll ensure the meat cooks evenly.
  3. Put the burner onto a high setting, and bring your water to boil; this should take 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once you have nicely boiling water going, add your raw ground beef in pieces. Turn the temperature down to a medium heat setting, and stir the beef as it boils.
  5. Cook your ground beef until it has gone completely brown and is no longer pink. Continue stirring throughout the cooking process to keep the meat evenly cooked; this should take around 3-5 minutes.
  6. The more you stir your beef, the more you’ll break up the meat into finer pieces. You can stir less if you prefer your ground beef to have a chunkier texture.
  7. When the beef reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be well-browned.

Straining the Ground Beef

Once your beef is fully cooked, it’s time to strain the water.

  1. Place your strainer over a large bowl. Although you should never pour this hot water and fat down the sink as it can clog drains, I recommend placing the straining equipment in the sink to make cleaning any spills easier.
  2. Pour your hot water and ground beef into the strainer. Use caution to avoid spilling any hot water on yourself!
  3. If you don’t have a strainer, you can also use a spider strainer to remove the ground beef from the water instead.
  4. If your meat still looks a little oily, you can pour extra hot water over the ground beef for a final rinse.
  5. You can drain your meat of excess water by leaving it on a strainer above a bowl or placing it on paper towels.
  6. Your boiled ground beef is now ready for use.

Use Hot Water and Fat from Boiled Beef 

As I mentioned, you should never pour hot water and fat down your kitchen sink. As the water cools, the fat will solidify and block your pipes.

Leave the water in the fridge overnight, then remove the solidified fat and use it for cooking.

Store it in a covered glass jar or as you do bacon grease.

To dispose of the fat instead, wait for it to solidify, then scrape it into a container for disposal.

Another option is to pour the cooled water with the fat into dried food for dogs, chickens, pigs etc.

You can also smear the fat onto pinecones and add some seeds as a nutritious food for wild birds, especially in the winter and early spring.

Storage

I find these silicone freezer bags to be amazing for storing all sorts of food.

They last way longer than plastic and do not break down into harmful microplastics in the environment.

Conclusion

Boiling ground beef is an excellent method for making cooked ground beef that is lower in fat and has a smoother, finer texture. You can use boiled ground beef immediately or portion and freeze it as necessary. Boiling ground beef is also a good way to prepare economical cooked beef for homemade dog food, especially if you need to remove excess fat from your pet’s diet.

A bowl full of cooked, boiled ground beef.

Boiling Ground Beef {How & Why}

But there are times when boiling ground beef makes a lot of sense. Especially when preparing meals for the freezer or making certain recipes that require lean beef results.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North America
Keyword: freezer meals, meal prep
Calories: 1152kcal
Author: Jana Dziak

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs ground beef

Instructions

  • Fill your pot with cold water and add some salt if desired. How much water you use will depend on the amount of beef and the pot size. All that matters is your ground beef should be fully submerged.
  • Break up the large clump of ground beef with your spoon, separating it into smaller pieces. By doing this, you'll ensure the meat cooks evenly.
  • Put the burner onto a high setting, and bring your water to boil; this should take 3-5 minutes.
  • Once you have nicely boiling water going, add your raw ground beef in pieces. Turn the temperature down to a medium heat setting, and stir the beef as it boils.
  • Cook your ground beef until it has gone completely brown and is no longer pink. Continue stirring throughout the cooking process to keep the meat evenly cooked; this should take around 3-5 minutes.
  • The more you stir your beef, the more you'll break up the meat into finer pieces. You can stir less if you prefer your ground beef to have a chunkier texture.
  • When the beef reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be well-browned. Visually, it wool look cooked with no pink parts.

Notes

Straining the Ground Beef

Once your beef is fully cooked, it’s time to strain the water.
  1. Place your strainer over a large bowl. Although you should never pour this hot water and fat down the sink as it can clog drains, I recommend placing the straining equipment in the sink to make cleaning any spills easier.
  2. Pour your hot water and ground beef into the strainer. Use caution to avoid spilling any hot water on yourself!
  3. If your meat still looks a little oily, you can pour extra hot water over the ground beef for a final rinse.
  4. You can drain your meat of excess water by leaving it on a strainer above a bowl or placing it on paper towels.
  5. Your boiled ground beef is now ready for use.
As I mentioned, you should never pour hot water and fat down your kitchen sink. As the water cools, the fat will solidify and block your pipes. The fat can be fed to livestock or saved to use for cooking.
Your boiled ground beef is now ready for freezing or to use in other recipes.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 1152kcal | Protein: 78g | Fat: 91g | Saturated Fat: 35g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 40g | Trans Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 322mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 1225mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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