Best to buy
Ground beef should have a bright red color and be free of gray or brown patches. Check the
label for fat content and be sure to buy it on or before the “sell by” date (the
last day it should be offered for sale).
For the leanest possible ground beef, buy a lean cut of meat and ask your butcher to trim the
fat and grind it for you.
Store it safely
Refrigerate ground beef in its original packaging for up to two days or freeze for up to two
Quick & easy
Grill patties, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C),
about 11 to 13 minutes.
Because it is finely ground, this type of beef is particularly vulnerable to bacteria. It
should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C).
Heat skillet over medium heat. Use ground beef formed into patties or meatballs, or crumble
to cook for casseroles. Cook ground beef on the heated skillet, turning to cook all outer
surfaces. Ground beef patties take 10 to 12 minutes and are done when the interior is brown
but still juicy.
Preheat the broiler and form ground beef into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) patties. Place on a broiler
pan in the oven, 3 to 4 inches (7.6–10.2cm) from the heat source. Broil, turning once,
until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C).
Form into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) patties and place on the grill directly over the heat source.
Cook, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C),
approximately 11 to 13 minutes.
To bake, combine ground beef with onions,
chopped vegetables, herbs,
spices, salt, and pepper. Form into a loaf and place in an ovenproof dish. Cook at
350°F (180°C) for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F
Form ground beef into patties, place on a greased baking dish, and microwave on high 4 to
10 minutes, depending on quantity. Halfway through cooking, turn patties and drain drippings.
To microwave bulk ground beef, place beef in a bowl, then cook on High, 9 minutes per pound
(454g). Stir several times during cooking.
Buying and storing tips
Ground beef should have a bright red color and be free of gray or brown patches. Beef
normally has a purple-red color but takes on a cherry-red hue, known as the
“bloom,” when exposed to oxygen. While the exterior is bright red, the interior of
the meat retains the darker color. Vacuum-packed beef also shows this purplish color. With
lengthy exposure to oxygen, ground beef will turn brown. This is a sign that the beef is no
longer fresh and needs to be used immediately.
Check the label for fat content and the “sell-by” date. The label may also tell
you which part of the animal the hamburger comes from, for instance, the round or chuck. For
the leanest possible beef, buy a lean cut of meat and ask your butcher to trim the fat and
grind it for you.
Store ground beef in its original packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, where
it will keep for 1 to 2 days. It may be frozen in this packaging for up to two weeks. For
longer freezing, wrap the meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer bags.
Ground beef will keep 3 to 4 months in the freezer. Defrost it in the refrigerator, allowing
12 hours for thick hamburgers. Cook as soon as possible after defrosting.
Ground beef comes mostly from the chuck, sirloin, and round, though the taste depends more
on the amount of fat than on the cut of origin. The fat content of ground beef varies, so
it’s important to check the label for this information. A higher fat content makes for a
juicy hamburger. For a casserole, where the hamburger is cooked and the fat poured off, a
lower-fat ground beef might be a better choice.
Regular ground beef usually contains 25% fat by weight.
Lean ground beef usually contains 10% fat by weight.
Extra-lean ground beef usually contains 5% fat by weight.
Regular ground beef (broiled), 3 oz. (85g)
Total Fat: 18g
*Excellent source of: Niacin (4.90mg), Selenium (16.15mcg), Vitamin B12 (2.49mcg), and Zinc (4.40mg)
*Good source of: Iron (2.07mg), Phosphorus (144.50mg), and Vitamin B6 (0.23mg)
Lean ground beef (75% lean meat, 25% fat;
broiled), 3 oz. (85g)
Total Fat: 16g
*Excellent source of: Niacin (4.10mg), Selenium (18.19mcg), Vitamin B12 (2.39mcg), and Zinc (5.26mg)
*Good source of: Iron (2.01mg), Phosphorus (160.65mg), and Vitamin B6 (0.30mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular
nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good
source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily
The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes
only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult
your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any
supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.