Ground Beef Know How - Canadian Beef | Canada Beef

Ground Beef

Ground beef’s got a lot going for it — it’s fast and easy to cook, versatile and enjoyed by all. Is it any wonder that ground beef is the #1 Canadian meal-maker! And there‘s more to ground beef’s benefits – plain and simple, ground beef’s good for you! Here’s all you need to know to make dinner – made easy with Canadian Ground Beef!

Get Ready

Forever flexible, ground beef can be pan-fried for meat sauces and casseroles or shaped into burgers, meatballs and more.

  1. COOK ground beef in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into small chunks with cooking. Cook thoroughly, until browned throughout.
  2. DRAIN.
  3. ADD to pasta sauce or soups or use in chili, casserole, taco and soup recipes, seasoning to taste.


Common Cuts

Extra lean ground beef
Maximum fat content 10% (90% lean)

Lean ground beef
Maximum fat content 17% (83% lean)

Medium ground beef
Maximum fat content 23% (77% lean)

Regular ground beef
Maximum fat content 30% (70% lean)

Myth Buster


Ground beef has colour added to it – that is why it is purple in the centre of the pack but bright red on the surface.


Ground beef is 100% beef with no additives, fillers or colours. As beef is exposed to oxygen, it naturally develops a red hue – so the meat at the surface of a package is bright red. The meat at the centre will turn red too once it’s opened up to the air.

Tips for Ground Beef

Cook’s Notes:

  • All ground beef comes designated as Extra Lean, Lean, Medium or Regular, based on the maximum fat content. This designation is the same for all ground meats: beef, turkey, veal, chicken, pork and lamb.

Ground beef types

  • EXTRA LEAN (10% maximum fat) great for flavour-packed recipes that you don’t drain after cooking. Use in meat loaf or cabbage rolls.
  • LEAN (17% maximum fat) Canada’s No. 1 grind is a good all-purpose choice. Use in all kinds of ground beef recipes.
  • MEDIUM (23% maximum fat)
  • REGULAR (30% maximum fat) use for grilling, broiling and drain to reduce fat before adding to your recipe. Use Medium in burgers and meatballs, and Regular or Medium in pasta sauces and casseroles.
  • Have you tried “Steak Experience” Ground Beef? Look for the names Sirloin, Chuck and Round on packages of ground beef. These names indicate that the ground beef is made from a single cut, not a mix. Ground Sirloin tastes like Sirloin Steak for example – it’s ground beef gone gourmet.
  • Refrigerate ground beef within 1 to 2 hours of purchase.
  • Refrigerate at 40° F (4° C) or lower, on bottom shelf to avoid dripping on to other foods.
  • Thaw in the fridge, allowing 12 to 15 hours per pound, OR thaw in the microwave, cooking immediately after thawing.
  • Cook all ground beef thoroughly to 160° F (71° C). Test temperatures with a digital read thermometer. Never eat ground beef raw.

The Question of Colour

Contrary to popular belief, the colour of beef is not a reliable indicator of freshness. In its initial state, beef is a deep purple colour. As it is exposed to oxygen in the air, the pigment turns cherry red. That same beef can turn purple again if oxygen is removed. The perfect example is vacuum-packaged beef.

With certain packaging types, that initial cherry red pigment will begin to take on a slightly brown hue quite quickly. The meat is still fresh and safe to eat, but just not as bright a red as when it was first exposed to oxygen. The Best Before date is still the best way to know if your fresh beef needs to be prepared and eaten right away or frozen.

Some ground beef can be brownish in the centre. This is because the small amount of oxygen present in the centre gives the meat pigment a brownish hue. However, the meat remains fresh and safe to eat up to its Best Before date.

Cuts used with Ground Beef

Ground Beef Options

Maximum fat content 10% (90% lean)

Maximum fat content 17% (83% lean)

Maximum fat content 23% (77% lean)

Maximum fat content 30% (70% lean)

Ground Beef recipes:

Cheesy Beef & Lentil Pasta Bake with Roasted VegHealthy AND delicious come together in this baked pasta dish inspired by the cuisine of Northern Italy. A beefy tomato sauce studded with plenty of roasted vegetables and fibre-rich lentils enrobes whole-grain noodles. Topped with creamy ricotta cheese, this recipe is perfect for serving a hungry crowd.
Thai Curry Beef ‘Ramen’Warm and rich Thai flavours come together in this take on a popular street food. Featuring slurp-worthy noodles and plenty of colourful vegetables, this recipe is a complete meal in a bowl.
Roasted Greek Stuffed Sweet PeppersThis recipe is an updated version of traditional stuffed peppers, having the peppers roasted before stuffing and using heart-healthy ingredients.
Lettuce Wrapped Swiss & Bacon Burger with Barley SlawA gourmet burger recipe gets lightened up by using lettuce instead of a burger bun. Served with a fresh yet hearty coleslaw accented with barley, grainy mustard and fresh dill, this dinner will satisfy a hungry appetite. Easily transform this recipe into a gluten-free option by using cooked quinoa instead of the barley.
Cuban Picadillo Burger Rice BowlThe ever-popular rice bowl gets a new twist in this Latin-inspired version with its bold flavours and textures. This is a new way to think about the traditional ‘burger’ meal with the Cuban influence of olives, raisins and warm spices in the beef burger patty, lots of colourful veggies and NO bun!
Cheeseburger FrittataAll the classic flavour of a cheeseburger baked into a frittata! A frittata is a great meal option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The flavour combinations are endless. Feel free to get creative and add your favourite cheeseburger toppings.
Tortellini SoupOn a cold day nothing beats a hearty soup! This is a delicious way to get your veggies along with your protein via extra lean ground beef. This is a simple and quick recipe for first time cooks to try.
One Pot Cheesy Broccoli Ground Beef and RiceOne pot meals are perfect for a busy night and an easy clean up ! Impress your family with the delicious all-in-one meal, healthy and tasty, using ingredients you have right in your pantry and freezer. Make meals faster then take-out with Big Batch Beef and 20-minute rice.
Rainbow Beef Stir-FryThe colours alone could knock this one out of the park, but the sweet, savoury and somewhat exotic flavours carry it the extra mile. This is a fantastic dish for any occasion, any time of year.
Golden Rice & BeefThe colours alone could knock this one out of the park, but the sweet, savoury and somewhat exotic flavours carry it the extra mile. This is a fantastic dish for any occasion, any time of year.
Beef Koftas with Tzatziki Bean DipKoftas are a traditional beef on-a-stick street food from the Middle East. Beef is high in easy-to-absorb heme iron to help fight fatigue. The beans are high in fibre, so they will help keep you feeling full. The meat and beans work perfectly together. Known as the meat factor, the meat increases the absorption of the non-heme iron from the bean dip by 150%. Talk about a great team!
Blended SlidersBeef and beans are a perfect match both nutritionally and flavour-wise in these delicious sliders! The protein from the beef and the fibre from the beans makes a dynamite combination that helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. Both beef and beans provide iron – beef provides heme iron while beans provide non-heme iron.
Huevos Rancheros OmeletteThis omelette style of ranchers eggs is packed full of protein and fibre for a heathy breakfast or meal any time of day!
One Pot French Onion Meatballs with Egg NoodlesComforting and delicious, this one pot recipe is full of beefy flavour. The best part only one pot to clean up after dinner! The meatballs are poached in the liquid which means no more waiting, checking and worrying about burning the meatballs.
Speedy Pasta PieSimple as pie… This recipe is way faster to make than lasagne, and you have the option of making two pans, so you can freeze one for a future meal (baking from frozen for about 1-1/2 hours). You can also assemble it ahead and refrigerate to bake later, baking for 10 minutes longer. When baked in a single lasagna pan, this recipe is perfect for potluck and buffet-style dinners.
Cheeseburger Roll UpsNo problem getting the family to the table when you make these super simple Cheeseburger Roll-ups. This is a perfect weeknight recipe.
Middle Eastern Kidney Bean Meatballs with Herbed SlawGround beef and smashed kidney beans are seasoned with warm spices and formed into a delicious meatball packed with protein and fibre – perfect for make ahead lunches and quick weeknight dinners. Use white kidney beans if you don’t want the kids to spot them.
Egyptian Rice Beef BowlInspired by Koshari, a traditional street food in Egypt, this weeknight rice bowl features a hearty mixture of protein and fibre-rich whole grain, beans and ground beef, all topped with a zesty tomato salsa. This meal gets an iron boost with the synergy-effect of combining meat, beans, chard and whole grain.
Tourtière MeatballsThis easy-to-make meatball recipe incorporates the flavours of a class Tourtière. These meatballs can be served as a main dish or perfect as an appetizer.
Smashing BurgerThe Smashing Burger is a great way to enjoy burgers in the winter season without firing up the grill in the snow! Enjoy burgers that are extra crispy on the outside, while still juicy on the inside. Crispy is the key! Chef Mathieu Paré of the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence shows Canadian Women's Hockey Player Haley Irwin how to make these Smashing Burgers at home.