How to Stretch Ground Beef

I’ve tried so many different ways to stretch my ground beef hoping to save some money. I’ve tried using oats (made everything way too bland) and different vegetables (made it difficult to incorporate the meat into a variety of different meals). I knew there had to be a better way so every couple of weeks when I bought my usual 3 lb log of 93/7 ground beef, I’d try a different method, a new ratio or a new variety of seasonings. I knew I finally succeeded when my husband stopped making comments like, “This needs more meat.”

Easy way to stretch your ground beef  so it can work in a variety of dishes!

I almost feel silly sharing the way I do this because it’s so simple, you probably have all the ingredients on hand already! The ratio I’ve found my husband and I like this best is as follows:

1 pound of beef : 3/4 cup of grain
2 pounds of beef: 1 1/2 cups of grain
3 pounds of beef: 2 1/4 cups of grain

As you can see, I use 3/4 cup of grain per pound of meat. I find that this stretches the beef without sacrificing any “meaty-ness” in my meals.

Easy way to stretch your ground beef  so it can work in a variety of dishes!What you’ll need:

Ground beef
Grain of your choice (I’m using brown rice)
minced or fresh garlic
Optional: salt and pepper

Because brown rice takes so long to cook, I start that immediately. Once I add my rice to the boiling water, I start the timer and start cooking the beef. I wait until the beef is mostly done then I add my onions.

Easy way to stretch your ground beef  so it can work in a variety of dishes!

Right before the rice is finish cooking, I add the garlic to beef and onions. I want to take the raw bite out of it before I mix the rice in. I let that cook for around 5 minutes, mixing and stirring every minute or so.

Easy way to stretch your ground beef  so it can work in a variety of dishes!

By this time, the rice should be done so I mix the rice in with the beef, onion and garlic right in the skillet (this is also a good time to salt and pepper the mixture). I take the skillet off the burner and put a lid on it to let it cool completely. For me, it takes close to an hour to cool. This can vary based on how well your skillet can hold onto heat.

Easy way to stretch your ground beef  so it can work in a variety of dishes!Once the meat is cool, I break out some plastic bags and start filling! I use a scale to make sure some bags aren’t substantially fuller than others. I try to stay between 8-10 ounces per bag.

This batch made 6 baggies which equals 6 different meals for my husband and I (I reserved a bag for dinner that night). Do you have any tips for stretching your ground beef? Share them below!



  1. Allie says

    I wish I could tell you amounts, but we have been using tater tots. We cook them in the oven like normal, then as we brown the beef, we add the tots and chop them up, so they blend right in with the beef in texture and size. Fortunately, the potatoes take on whatever seasoning we add so no one is the wiser. Not that it matters, since it is just me, my husband, and my eighteen year old son who will eat basically anything. LOL! But it does make me feel like we are making our money go further.

    • Kalea says

      Oh wow, I’ve never heard that one before! It’s always nice when you feel like you’re saving some money. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Sabri says

    I use diced a couple diced boiled potatoes when the ground (I use turkey) meat is almost done I add in the potato. Sometimes for tacos I add chorizo, sometimes I sautee chopped jalapeños garlic and onion prior to cooking the meat then add the potatoes. Am gonna try the brown rice

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