If you’re like most people, you season ground beef by sprinkling some seasoning over the ground beef as it cooks. Most people don’t measure out how much seasoning they use with this method, nor do they season the food consistently.
This works okay sometimes, making a surprisingly delicious beef dish from time to time. Other times, you end up with too much salt or too much spice, and you have to try to fix it. Of course, it’s really hard to fix an improperly seasoned dish.
The best way to make sure that your food is seasoned properly is to plan and measure out how much seasoning to use ahead of time, before you go to apply the seasoning to the food. That’s important if you are going to have consistently good food and not end up with something that is occasionally disappointing.
If you want ground beef to turn out great every time rather than just some of the time, then you have to know how to season ground beef and how to season it appropriately for each dish you are making.
I use different seasonings for ground beef depending on what dish I am making. I’ll show you how to season ground beef for hamburgers and other dishes below so you can get those proportions just right.
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How to Season Ground Beef for Rice
Let’s start with one of the most basic kinds of ground beef dishes to make- that would be simple ground beef in rice. Now, you could flavour this up in tons of different ways, but if you want to keep things as simple as possible, then a little salt is all you need.
How much salt to season ground beef with? That’s an excellent question, and I’m glad you asked. A lot of people mess up their ground beef seasoning right here, at this step. They put too much salt and make their beef taste unpalatable.
This is especially true when adding ground beef to rice since most people cook their rice with some salt too. If you add too much salt from the beef to the salt from the rice, you get an overly salty dish that will make you very thirsty.
The right amount of salt for ground beef alone is about half a teaspoon of salt for each pound and a half of ground beef. If you are adding the ground beef to salted rice, though, you can cut that down to about a quarter of a teaspoon. So, you halve your recipe.
Keep in mind that other seasonings you add could have salt as well. If you are adding taco seasoning, a dry rub, or just about any other mixed seasoning that combines a few spices and herbs, then you probably get salt with that as well. Be sure to consider that possibility and adjust your salt proportions accordingly.
How to Season Ground Beef for Burgers
There are two schools of thought on how to season ground beef for burgers- you can either mix together a bunch seasonings and make the beef very flavourful or you can keep it simple and let the authentic, natural taste of the burger come out.
So, if you go the natural, simple way, you would just use a couple seasonings- perhaps some salt and pepper. If you are going simply, then just use the half a teaspoon of salt for a pound and a half of ground beef, along with a tablespoon of black pepper. Scale back the pepper a bit if you feel that is a bit much for you.
To make a more robust seasoning for your ground beef, you could buy any number of rubs or seasoning mixes available. Sprinkle them liberally on your burger patty before it cooks and feel free to add some as it cooks. If you want to make your own seasoning for burgers, just mix together the following:
- ½ tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of blackpepper
- ¼ tsp of brown sugar
- ¼ tbsp of garlic powder
- ¼ tbsp of onion powder
- ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp of cumin
When people ask me how to season ground beef for burgers on the grill, I give them this recipe, and then advise them to make their own modifications to make it more to their liking, if needed.
How to Season Ground Beef for Tacos
What if you are making tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or some other Mexican wrap? I will sometimes use store bought taco sensing, but you can also make your own. You want to use this liberally when you season your ground beef for wraps, since the wrap is bland and will dilute a lot of your flavour.
Make sure you use enough taco sensing so that it can be tasted through the wrap and though other bland addition to your dish like lettuce.
I want to share with you my recipe for homemade taco seasoning, and you can use this as well if you are wondering how to season ground beef for nachos:
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- 2 tsp of dried onion, minced
- 1 tsp of dried garlic, minced
- ½ tsp of ground cumin
- ½ tsp of cornstarch
- ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp of dried oregano
You can use this same seasoning mix for just about any of your Mexican foods, so if you are looking up how to season ground beef for burritos or how to season ground beef for enchiladas, this is an easy go-to mix to use. I like to make up lots of it at once and keep it stored in my cupboard for when I need to use it.
How to Season Ground Beef for Spaghetti Sauce
When I am making an Italian dish, I will use a different kind of seasoning for my ground beef. I want to bring out authentic, traditional Italian flavours, which are of course different from Mexican seasonings or the seasonings I would use to simply grill beef with.
How to season ground beef for pasta? The seasoning I use for spaghetti, lasagna, and just about any other pasta is the same when it comes to making the ground beef flavourful. I start with Italian seeding mix, and while I could stop with just that, I usually don’t.
I add a pinch of salt to it, along with a teaspoon each of minced garlic and minced onion. This gives it a bit of added flavour and a little more complexity, which I love in my pasta.
If you are wondering how to season ground beef for lasagna, this is how I do it. You can make adjustments as necessary to make the beef to your liking, and keep in mind the kind of seasonings used in your pasta sauce or in the pasta itself.
Did you salt the pasta to cook it? You might want to hold off on or reduce the salt used in the ground beef. Once again, just be careful of overdoing it with the salt, not just for flavour’s sake but also for your health.
How to Season Ground Turkey to Taste Like Beef
I want to share one more of these little seasonings tips with you before I leave you. I already told you how to season ground beef for hamburgers, but what about when all you have is ground turkey and you want to give it a beefy flavour? You can do that with the right seasoning, and I will show you how.
It just takes adding two ingredients to your turkey burgers to give them a taste similar to that of a beef patty. Impossible, you say? Just give it a try, and I think you will find that it makes for a good beef facsimile.
I add steak sauce and onion soup mix to the beef patties, and that turns them into a beef-like dish that I really adore. Mix all that in with your ground turkey and form it into a patty. You should use two tablespoons of steak sauce and one packet of onion soup mix for each pound of ground turkey.
There you go- a bunch of different ways to season ground beef no matter what you are making. If you are ready to move beyond a dash of salt and pepper on your ground beef and give them the right flavour for any dish, then you now have a few ideas to get you started.
Try some of these out and make modifications to suit your tastes and do more with your ground beef than ever before.
What seasonings work best with ground beef?
The best seasonings for ground beef often depend on the dish you’re preparing. In general, salt and pepper are essential for enhancing the natural flavors of the beef. For a basic seasoning blend, you can add garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of paprika. For a more flavorful profile, you can include cumin, coriander, chili powder, or Italian seasoning. Always remember to season to taste!
Can I season ground beef ahead of time?
Yes, you can season ground beef ahead of time. Doing so allows the flavors of the seasonings to penetrate more deeply into the meat. However, avoid adding salt until just before you cook the meat, as salt can draw out moisture from the beef, potentially making it tough and dry.
How can I season ground beef for different cuisines, like Mexican, Italian, or Middle Eastern?
The seasonings you use can easily adapt ground beef to different cuisines. For Mexican dishes, try using a blend of chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. For Italian dishes, consider using garlic, onion, basil, and oregano, with a bit of fennel seed for a sausage-like flavor. For a Middle Eastern flavor profile, use spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, and sumac, and consider adding fresh herbs like parsley or mint.