Recipe: Ground beef crumbles

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite cooking hacks.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought about making a recipe using ground beef crumbles, only to change my mind at the last minute because the only meat I had available was frozen solid and would take forever to thaw before I could even start browning it.

Then I hit on a solution: Why not use ground beef I’ve already browned ahead of time and frozen for nearly instant use? Batch cooking at its best.

I start by sautéing an onion, green pepper and garlic for a bit of extra flavor. Then I add five pounds of fresh ground beef, which I brown and drain thoroughly, separate into recipe-sized portions and store in the freezer until I need it.

And voilà! When a recipe calls for browned ground beef, all I have to do is pull a bag of the crumbles out of the freezer and pop the crumbles in the microwave for just two minutes. 

The crumbles can be frozen for up to three months and are handy for use in beefy mac, chili, taco filling, ground beef stroganoff, spaghetti, sloppy joes … the list goes on.

This recipe makes six 10-ounce bags of crumbles.


  • 5 pounds fresh lean ground beef
  • Large onion, diced
  • Large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Dusting of freshly ground black pepper


Sauté onion, green pepper and garlic with oil on medium heat in a large dutch oven until vegetables are softened and slightly caramelized, adding a very light sprinkling of black pepper.

Add the fresh (unfrozen) ground beef to the sautéed vegetables a bit at a time, breaking it up as you go with a large high-temperature-resistant hamburger meat chopper and stirring constantly until all meat is browned and crumbly. 

Drain the meat thoroughly and place in a shallow, loosely covered container in the refrigerator until the meat has cooled.

Once cooled, split the crumbles into recipe-sized portions – I usually make each portion about 10 ounces – and place portions in plastic freezer bags. Transfer to the freezer promptly.

When it’s time to use the crumbles, remove from the freezer bag, place in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for about two minutes. Then add to your favorite recipe!

Nutrition information

Per 10-ounce recipe portion, based on 90% lean ground beef. Depending on the recipe the crumbles are used in, final portion size may vary considerably.

Calories: 715 | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 75 g | Fat: 150 g | Saturated Fat: 37 g | Cholesterol: 245 mg | Sodium: 250 mg | Potassium: 340 mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 0 % | Vitamin C: 28% | Calcium: 4% | Iron: 70% 

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