This is such an awesome Air Fryer Hack, which I have been doing for years. Today, I wanted to share this recipe on How To Cook Ground Beef In The Air Fryer.
I did this first with my son and his friends at a hotel; during a hockey tournament, we made Taco Meat in the Air Fryer, and I thought, wow, this is so cool.
If you have never made taco meat or cooked ground meat in the Air Fryer, let me tell you, it’s so easy, and best of all, you will only have one pan to clean! It’s truly easy peasy.
Can you cook ground beef in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook ground beef in an air fryer. Cooking ground beef in an air fryer is a quick and convenient method that can yield delicious results with minimal cleanup. It is so easy, and you don’t even have to watch it; it’s so simple. You can make this any time, camping while staying at a hotel, while you do not have access to a stove or skillet.
It’s easy, and in the end, all you need to do is drain out the fat. Another great option is this way, which will allow you to season your meat, so whether you want beef fajitas, tacos, or another seasoning mix, it is simple and delicious.
Why Will You Love Cooking Ground Beef In Air Fryer?
Cooking ground beef in an air fryer offers numerous benefits that can make it a preferred method for many. Here’s why you’ll love using your air fryer for ground beef:
- Efficiency: The air fryer cooks ground beef quickly, making it ideal for busy weeknights or any time you need a fast meal. You can prepare perfectly cooked ground beef faster than preheating an oven or grill.
- Less Mess: Cooking ground beef in the air fryer contains splatter and keeps your stovetop clean. Say goodbye to oil splatters on your stove and countertops, as the air fryer keeps everything contained.
- Healthier Cooking: Air frying ground beef allows excess fat to drip away from the meat, resulting in leaner, healthier dishes. Enjoy your favorite ground beef recipes with less fat without compromising on taste.
- Even Cooking: The circulating hot air in the air fryer ensures that ground beef cooks evenly, providing consistent results every time. No more unevenly cooked patties or having to worry about undercooked spots.
- Versatility: Whether you’re making burgers, meatballs, or taco meat, the air fryer can handle it all with ease. Experiment with different ground beef recipes and discover the convenience of one appliance for multiple dishes.
- Flavor Enhancement: The high heat of the air fryer can intensify the seasonings used on the ground beef, leading to more flavorful dishes—experience how the air fryer can lock in flavors, giving you juicy and aromatic ground beef.
- Convenience: With the air fryer, there’s no need for constant monitoring or flipping, freeing you up to prepare other parts of your meal. Enjoy the hands-off cooking approach that lets you multitask in the kitchen.
- Easy Cleanup: Air fryers are generally easy to clean, especially if you use liners or aluminum foil to catch drips. Spend less time on cleanup and more time enjoying your meal with this straightforward cooking method.
Cooking ground beef in an air fryer simplifies meal preparation and offers a healthier, cleaner, and more efficient way to enjoy your favorite beef dishes.
Ingredients Needed For Cooking Ground Beef In The Air Fryer
Cooking ground beef in the air fryer is a simple and efficient process that requires minimal ingredients but delivers maximum flavor and convenience. Whether you’re aiming for juicy burgers, savory meatballs, or perfectly browned ground beef for tacos, here’s what you’ll need to get started:
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, as well as the nutritional information.
Fresh Ground Beef: Choose a fat content that suits your recipe needs; leaner beef for healthier dishes or a higher fat content for juicier outcomes. The versatility of ground beef makes it perfect for various air-fried dishes.
Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning, salt and pepper will enhance the natural flavors of the beef, providing a simple yet effective seasoning base.
Optional Seasonings: Depending on your recipe, add garlic powder, onion powder, taco seasoning, paprika, or your favorite spice blend to give the ground beef a unique flavor profile.
Cooking Spray/Oil: A light coating of cooking spray or a little olive oil on the air fryer basket prevents sticking and helps achieve a more even crust on the meat.
With these basic ingredients, you’re well-equipped to start cooking ground beef in your air fryer, transforming it into a variety of delicious, satisfying meals with minimal fuss and maximum flavor.
How To Cook Ground Beef In The Air Fryer
This recipe will work with either frozen or fresh ground beef. You can choose any seasonings that you want. Today, I used simple seasonings, but if you want to make Taco meat, add the taco seasonings to the ground beef and mix well.
Cooking ground beef in the air fryer is a straightforward and efficient process that yields delicious results. Here are step-by-step photos of cooking ground beef in the air fryer.
Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F (200°C) for 3-5 minutes. This ensures the ground beef starts cooking immediately at a high temperature for a nice sear.
Season the Ground Beef: Season the ground beef in a bowl with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you use. Mix gently to distribute the seasonings without overworking the meat.
Form the Beef: For crumbled ground beef, you can add it to a safe oven baking pan.
Cook the Ground Beef: For Crumbled Beef: Add the pan to the air fryer basket and set cook time for 5-7 minutes. Use a spatula to break the beef into smaller pieces halfway through cooking. Continue cooking until it’s fully browned and reaches the safe internal temperature.
Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the beef has reached an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C), indicating it’s safely cooked. For crispy ground beef, add a couple of minutes.
Rest and Serve: Allow the cooked ground beef to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Cooking ground beef efficiently and deliciously involves more than just turning on the stove or preheating the air fryer. Here are some pro tips to elevate your ground beef dishes:
Choose the Right Fat Content: Select the appropriate fat content for your recipe. Extra lean meat (90/10) is great for tacos and sauces, while a higher fat content (80/20) is ideal for juicy burgers and meatloaf.
Season Generously: Don’t skimp on the seasoning. Ground beef absorbs flavors well, so season with salt and your favorite seasonings liberally before cooking to enhance its natural taste.
Avoid Overmixing: Mix the meat and seasonings until just combined when forming patties or meatballs. Overmixing can lead to tough, dense textures once cooked.
Preheat Your Cooking Surface: Whether using a skillet, grill, or air fryer, ensure it’s properly preheated. This helps to sear the meat, locking in juices and flavor.
Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure safety and doneness, cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). A meat thermometer is your best friend in avoiding undercooked or overcooked beef.
Let It Rest: After cooking, allow your beef to rest for a few minutes, especially if it’s a larger patty or meatloaf. This resting period lets the juices redistribute, ensuring a moist bite.
Drain Excess Fat: For dishes where extra grease isn’t desired, drain the fat off after cooking. This is particularly important for higher-fat ground beef to avoid oily finished dishes.
Cook in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the pan when browning ground beef, especially for crumbled beef in dishes like tacos or sauces. Cooking in batches ensures even browning and proper cooking.
Deglaze the Pan: After cooking, use a little broth, wine, or water to deglaze the pan, scraping up those flavorful browned bits (fond). This technique adds depth to sauces or gravies.
Experiment with Flavors: Ground beef is incredibly versatile. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different herbs, parmesan cheese, spices, and seasonings to discover new flavor profiles.
Proper Storage: If not cooking immediately, store ground beef in the refrigerator if using within 1-2 days, or freeze it. Thaw frozen beef in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
By incorporating these pro tips, you can elevate your ground beef dishes from good to great, ensuring delicious, juicy, and flavorful results every time.
How to Season Air Fryer Ground Beef
Seasoning air fryer ground beef correctly can elevate your dishes to new heights. Here are straightforward steps to ensure your ground beef is perfectly seasoned every time:
- Start with the Basics: Regularly season your ground beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This fundamental step enhances the natural flavors of the beef.
- Add Aromatics: Incorporate garlic powder and onion powder to introduce depth and richness. A half teaspoon of each per pound of beef is a good starting point.
- Introduce Herbs: For a fresh note, mix in dried or fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, or basil. Dried herbs are more potent, so use them sparingly.
- Incorporate Spices for Heat: If you enjoy a bit of spice, consider adding chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount according to your heat tolerance.
- Use a Binder for Burgers or Meatballs: When making patties or meatballs, a beaten egg or a splash of your favorite sauce or Worcestershire sauce can help bind the meat together, adding moisture and umami flavor.
- Experiment with Specialty Seasonings: Don’t shy away from using specialty blends like taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, or even a dash of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
- Taste Test: For dishes where you can safely taste the raw mixture, such as when using a binder, adjust the seasoning as needed. Otherwise, cook a small portion to taste and adjust.
- Consider the Dish: Tailor your seasoning to complement the final dish. For example, use Italian herbs for pasta sauces or bold spices for tacos.
- Don’t Overmix: Avoid toughening the meat when adding seasonings and mixing your ground beef.
- Let It Marinate: If time allows, let the seasoned ground beef sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This enhances the flavors even more.
How to Use Cooked Air Fryer Ground Beef
Air Fry Ground beef is incredibly versatile and can be the star ingredient in many dishes. Here’s how to use cooked ground beef across various meals:
Tacos and Burritos: Season the beef with taco spices and use it as the filling for tacos or burritos. Add toppings like lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream for a complete meal.
Pasta Sauce: Stir cooked ground beef into marinara or tomato sauce for a hearty meat sauce. Serve over spaghetti, penne, or your favorite pasta for an easy dinner.
Casseroles: Incorporate cooked ground beef into casseroles, such as a classic lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or a Tex-Mex-inspired bake with beans, cheese, and tortilla layers.
Stuffed Peppers: Mix ground beef with cooked rice, spices, and tomato sauce. Use this mixture to stuff bell peppers, then bake until the peppers are tender.
Chili: Add cooked ground beef to a pot with beans, tomatoes, chili powder, and other desired ingredients. Simmer to blend the flavors for a comforting bowl of chili.
Burgers: Form cooked ground beef into patties and reheat on a skillet or grill. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and condiments.
Meatloaf: Combine cooked ground beef with breadcrumbs, eggs, ketchup, and seasonings. Bake until firm and glazed with more ketchup or barbecue sauce.
Sloppy Joes: Mix cooked ground beef with a sauce made from ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and vinegar. Serve the tangy meat mixture on hamburger buns for a quick and easy meal.
Meatballs: Mix cooked ground beef with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, herbs, and egg. Form into balls and bake or simmer in the sauce. Serve with pasta or as an appetizer.
Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with cooked ground beef, beans, cheese, and jalapeños. Bake until the cheese is melted, and serve with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.
Salads: Top greens with cooked ground beef, beans, cheese, and other salad fixings for a taco salad. Use a lime vinaigrette or salsa as dressing.
Quesadillas: Sprinkle cheese and cooked ground beef between tortillas. Cook on a skillet until crispy and the cheese has melted. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream.
Pizza: Use cooked ground beef as a pizza topping, along with other favorites like onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Add to your pizza before baking for an extra protein boost.
Soup: Stir cooked ground beef into vegetable or minestrone soup for added heartiness. Simmer to blend the flavors before serving.
Using cooked ground beef in these ways can help you create a wide range of delicious, satisfying meals that will please any palate.
Can I cook ground beef in the air fryer without preheating it first? Preheating the air fryer is recommended to ensure the ground beef cooks evenly and gets a good sear. Most recipes benefit from starting at the right temperature.
How do I prevent the ground beef from drying out in the air fryer? Avoid overcooking by checking the beef’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer to prevent drying. Cooking at a slightly lower temperature for longer can also help retain moisture.
Is flipping the ground beef while cooking in the air fryer necessary? For patties, flipping halfway through cooking ensures even browning and cooking. Stirring crumbled beef with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula a few times during cooking helps cook it evenly.
Can I cook frozen ground beef in the air fryer? Yes, you can cook frozen ground beef in the air fryer, but it’s best to thaw it first for even cooking. If cooking from frozen, expect to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time break it apart and stir more frequently.
How do I know when the ground beef is fully cooked? Ground beef is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). A meat thermometer is the best way to ensure it’s safely cooked.
Can I add seasonings or sauces to the beef before air frying? Absolutely! Season the ground beef before cooking to enhance flavor. If using sauces, consider adding them during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent burning.
What’s the best way to clean the air fryer after cooking ground beef? Let the air fryer cool down to clean, then remove the basket and pan to wash with hot, soapy water. For tough residue, soaking might be necessary. Some air fryer parts are also dishwasher safe.
Can I make a large batch of ground beef in the air fryer? For best results, avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Cook in batches if necessary to ensure the beef cooks evenly and gets crispy.
How can I use air-fried ground beef? Air-fried ground beef is versatile and can be used in tacos, pasta sauces, pizzas, salads, or as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.
What are some tips for ensuring the best results when cooking ground beef in the air fryer? For optimal results, ensure the beef is in a single layer for patties or broken up for crumbled beef, use a meat thermometer to check doneness, and adjust cooking times based on your air fryer model and the amount of beef being cooked.
How long does it take to cook ground beef? The amount of ground beef and your air fryer will determine how long it will take to air fry your ground beef. It takes between 8 to 10 minutes. Once the meat starts to turn brown, you can remove it.
What temperature to cook ground beef? Ground beef should be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to check the meat to make sure it’s fully cooked before removing it from your air fryer.
How do you drain ground beef? I usually pour the cooked ground beef into a colander and then drain it. Use your spatula to move the meat around so that all of the greases pour out. This will ensure that your meat is drained well.
How long does cooked ground beef last in the refrigerator? Once you cook ground beef, you should try to use it within 2 days. After that, you can freeze the meat.
To Freeze Cooked Ground Beef: Let the cooked ground beef cool to room temperature, and then place your ground beef into a freezer-safe container. Place the container into the freezer, lasting 2 to 3 months.
To Use Frozen Ground Beef: To use frozen ground beef, move it to the refrigerator, where it should thaw overnight. Then, use it in your recipe.
What spices go well with ground beef? The most common spice that will go well with ground beef is taco meat, which you would mix in your taco seasoning into the ground beef—other Ideas: Garlic Powder, Onion Salt, Red Pepper Flakes, Thyme, and Rosemary.
More Air Fryer Easy Recipes
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How To Cook Ground Beef In The Air Fryer
- 1-2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoon steak seasonings
- Add your ground beef to the baking pan, and then season it with salt, pepper, and seasoning mix. Use a spatula to break up the meat.
- Set the pan into the Air Fryer Basket and set the temperature to 400 degrees F, air fryer setting, and air fry for 10 minutes. Use your spatula to stir about halfway through the cooking process.
- .Stir well, and then drain.
- Use in your recipes, as directed.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray