This post was originally published on December 2, 2009. It was updated on April 27, 2020.
Many years ago, I bought ground beef in bulk because it cost less than buying smaller amounts. I would go home, divide it into roughly one pound increments, and freeze it to have the right amount for a recipe. This was something I learned from my mom, and it was helpful to not have to thaw out a huge package of meat just to use one pound of it.
Fast forward a couple of years, to when I figured out how to freeze ground beef in a way which made meal prep infinitely easier. I still bought ground beef in bulk, but I figured out that browning it before freezing it would be a huge time saver. I haven’t frozen ground beef any other way since.
How many times have you wanted to make a recipe that called for a pound of ground beef? If you are like me, lots of times. When I make a meal that requires ground beef, having it already cooked and ready to go in my freezer is such a big help. As a mom of five, anything I can do to make cooking easier is a win.
How to Freeze Ground Beef
To brown up large quantities of ground beef, you will need a big stock pot, a colander, a large bowl, zipper bags or some type of freezer container, and ground beef, of course.
Cook the ground beef until there is no pink left. I like to cook it a little longer than that, even though I will be cooking it in a recipe at some point. I am kind of militant about cooking meat, especially ground beef, to the proper temperature (at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit).
Once the meat is fully cooked, I let it sit for a few minutes, so that it is not boiling lava hot when I transfer it to the colander. Then, I carefully pour the ground beef, grease and all, into a colander that is sitting on top of a large bowl.
I forgot to take a picture of the meat in the colander until after I had frozen the ten pounds of ground beef we browned up over the weekend. Hopefully, you get the idea.
I let the ground beef drain until most of the grease is in the bowl below the colander. After that, I put the ground beef into sandwich sized zipper bags in two cup increments.
Two cups of cooked ground beef is approximately one pound of uncooked ground beef. (Those are jars of homemade chicken broth in my freezer on the shelf above the ground beef. That is a post for another day.)
In 2009, I wrote this post, that I have seriously updated today, because I was so excited to have 32 pounds of browned deer burger to put into my freezer.
We have wonderful friends who used to provide us with a deer or two, that they processed themselves, each fall because they knew times were especially lean on one income with a large family.
This method will work for ground beef, ground vension, or any other ground meat of your choice.
Having cooked ground beef in my freezer is such a time-saver for many meals we enjoy like chili, spaghetti, lasagna, sloppy joes, tacos (I usually freeze ten cups of cooked ground beef at a time for tacos.), and more.
While remembering to put a package of cooked ground beef in the refrigerator the night before is ideal, you can always microwave a package for 45 seconds to a minute if you are in a time crunch.
Ground beef isn’t the only food item I cook in advance and freeze. I have cooked big batches of chicken in the crockpot, shredded it, and frozen it in one cup increments. I have done the same with dried beans.
Do you cook any foods and freeze them to make meal prep easier?