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How to Cook Ground Beef for Spaghetti

Finding ground beef in spaghetti is a sight as normal as the sun rising. And it’s because ground beef is an intricate part of Italian cuisine. Most times, it’s used for making meatballs, but you’ll also find it in casseroles, pot pies, and numerous other traditional recipes. But if you’ll be using it as a main ingredient in spaghetti sauce, you must know the best ways to make it.

How to Cook Ground Beef for Spaghetti (4)

Ground Beef Nutrition Facts

How to Cook Ground Beef for Spaghetti

But First! A Few Tips

While cooking ground beef for spaghetti is relatively easy, it helps to note a few hints before and after the recipe.

  • It’s important the meat cooks until all the pinkness is gone. According to food safety authorities, a pink color indicates that the meat is raw, and eating beef in such conditions is unsafe.
  • Don’t overcook the meat because you want to be sure it’s fully done. Take it off the heat immediately after you notice the full color change.
  • Choosing the right kind of ground beef saves you the trouble of draining excess fat. But a little of it is also great for additional flavor in your spaghetti recipe.
  • You can choose to season your beef before or after it’s added to the pan, so long as it’s seasoned.
  • Depending on your method, you can also cook the meat with or without oil.

Selecting the Ground Beef

The first step to cooking ground beef is choosing the type you’ll use. Of course, you should know that the best condition to buy it is at the frozen section of your grocery store. When picking, ensure that the packet is solid cold and isn’t torn. And unless you’re cooking it immediately, put it in the fridge as soon as you reach home.

It also helps to look out for the ground beef’s fat content. Since it’s for spaghetti, you’d want more flavor, which means a decent amount of fat. But too much of this means you’ll have to drain the beef before using. So, to make things easier, choose an 80/20 ground beef mix, which will give your recipe the best taste and perfect fat level.

Preparing the Ground Beef

If you’re not cooking immediately, then you can let the ground beef thawing in the fridge, but if you can’t wait, defrost it under running water for some minutes until you notice it grows soft. Note that you can’t leave ground beef on the counter to thaw, as it can quickly permit bacterial growth at room temperature.

Once the beef is thawed, you can season it immediately or during cooking. And while kosher salt and black pepper are easy options, you can also consider other flavor profiles for more complexity. Ingredients like cayenne pepper, allspice, five-spice powder, Italian seasoning, and many others can play in your ground beef recipe.

Cooking the Ground Beef

You can cook ground beef using different kitchen methods, whether you’re adding it to a sauce or combining it with the pasta. So, choose whichever suits your preference, or try a new idea to improve your skill on how to prepare it.

On the Stovetop

Place a frying pan on the stove and set the heat to medium. Then, add the ground beef and cook, stirring as your do. You’ll notice the beef break into crumbles, but you can further break it to whatever size you like. Then, as you notice the raw pink color gradually fade, add some seasoning and salt to the ground beef and continue cooking. The beef will be ready once the entire color turns brown, about 10 minutes.

In the Oven

Take a lined baking sheet and break the ground beef into it. Then, set the oven to preheat to 425F, after which you slide the pan into it. Let the meat cook for 15 minutes, or until all the pink is gone. It would be best to take the pan out halfway through the cooking time to season and crumble to smaller pieces. Or you can season the ground beef from inception before placing it on the lined baking sheet.

In an Instant Pot

Set the pressure cooker to ‘sauté’ and leave it for three to five minutes, so it heats. Then, season the ground beef in a bowl, ensuring the ingredients are fully incorporated into the meat. Add some oil to the hot instant pot, and as it shimmers, break the ground beef into it. Stir the beef in the oil, and sauté for about six to seven minutes per pound. Then, turn the instant pot off and take the ground beef out once all the pink is gone.

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Ground Beef for Spaghetti(2 servings)

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  • One pound, ground beef
  • One tablespoon kosher salt
  • Half teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Cook the ground beef in a pan at medium heat until it begins to break into crumbles of your preferred size. Then, season to taste with ground black pepper and salt. Cook until all the pink in the ground beef is replaced by a brownish hue, and then take it down and use in your spaghetti sauce as desired.

This video recipe can also help you know more about cooking ground beef for spaghetti.

  • Author: Bobby