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13 Budget Friendly Ground Beef Recipes for Cheap Eats with Big Flavor

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Are you on the hunt for wallet-friendly ground beef meals that don’t skimp on flavor? Look no further! These 13 easy recipes can save both your dinner plans and your bank account. Let’s face it, ground beef is the unsung hero of the budget cooking world, versatile enough to be the star of any meal without costing a fortune.

top view of cracker barrel meatloaf on a plate with carrots.
Classic Meatloaf. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

From hearty classics to innovative new twists, this collection of recipes will transform this humble ingredient into delicious family dinners. These dishes prove proving that ‘cheap’ can actually taste like a million bucks. So, add some affordable pizzazz to your meal rotation with these budget friendly ground beef favorites.

Classic Meatloaf

This classic Meatloaf is the MVP of budget-friendly, homestyle cooking. It’s seasoned like a pro and baked to what we like to call ‘perfection on a plate’. An ideal recipe for when you want comfort food flavor without a big price tag.
Get the Recipe: Classic Meatloaf

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Air Fryer Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs on a plate
Air Fryer Meatballs. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Air Fryer Meatballs: because who has time for anything else? Pop them in, cook for 20 minutes, and bam – you’ve got meatballs that can go with literally anything. Make meatball sandwiches or open a jar of spaghetti sauce. Perfect for pretending you slaved away in the kitchen (I won’t tell if you don’t).
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Meatballs

Instant Pot Dirty Rice

closeup of bowl of Instant Pot dirty rice
Instant Pot Dirty Rice. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Instant Pot Dirty Rice is like a Mardi Gras parade in a pot – beef, rice, spices, and all that jazz. It’s the one-pot wonder that’s easy on your wallet but big on Cajun flavor. Just the thing when you want to make something different and exciting with your pound of ground beef.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Dirty Rice

Slow Cooker Chili Mac

Crock Pot chili mac in the slow cooker with a spoon.
Slow Cooker Chili Mac. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Slow Cooker Chili Mac is what happens when chili and mac & cheese have a delicious love child. Throw everything into the pot, let it do its thing, and serve up a fusion of flavors that’ll make your taste buds thank you. Budget-friendly? Check. Delicious? Double check. Kid Friendly? Triple check.
Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Chili Mac

Taco Rice Skillet

taco skillet dinner - beef, tomatoes, cheese, rice and beans
Taco Rice Skillet. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Taco Rice Skillet is the quick, easy, and cheap hero of weeknight dinners. With just 8 ingredients and 20 minutes, you can whip up a meal that’ll make you forget about takeout. It’s like a taco night, but without the mess.
Get the Recipe: Taco Rice Skillet

Instant Pot Meatball Soup

bowl of meatball soup in front of an Instant Pot
Instant Pot Meatball Soup. Photo credit: .

Turn humble ground beef into a lwarm and comforting Instant Pot Meatball Soup. It’s the perfect way to warm up your soul without freezing your bank account. This soup is so good, you’ll want leftovers on purpose.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Meatball Soup

Air Fryer Meatloaf

slice of meatloaf ready for serving
Air Fryer Meatloaf. Photo credit: .

Air Fryer Meatloaf is your classic meatloaf’s hip younger sibling – same great taste, but with a modern twist. It’s like discovering that something you love can get even better (and quicker). Plus, it’s easy on the wallet, which is always in style.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Meatloaf

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash stuffed with ground beef.
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is where comfort food meets ‘I’m trying to be healthy’. It’s spiced ground beef and cheese tucked into a squash. Low-carb and wallet-friendly, it’s like your favorite pasta dish went on a health retreat.
Get the Recipe: Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Instant Pot Pineapple Chili

Instant Pot Pineapple Chili - Upstate Ramblings
Instant Pot Pineapple Chili – Upstate Ramblings

Instant Pot Pineapple Chili is the wild card of your kitchen. Sweet pineapple meets spicy beef in a budget-friendly bowl of wonder. It’s the kind of dish that makes you question all your past chili choices.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Pineapple Chili

Fajita Burgers

fajita burger on plate
Fajita Burgers. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Fajita Burgers are like a fiesta on a bun, and your wallet is invited. It’s all the flavor of fajitas without the hassle of sizzling pans and high restaurant prices. Cook these up and bring the spice to your life, economically.
Get the Recipe: Fajita Burgers

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs with Italian bread
Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Why not have a fancy Italian dinner on a budget? Homemade meatballs, sauce, pasta – all made in one pot. It’s like hitting the culinary jackpot without spending a dime.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Air Fryer Frozen Burgers

air fryer burger topped with cheese, tomato, bacon and more
Air Fryer Frozen Burgers. Photo credit: .

Air Fryer Frozen Burgers is the perfect homemade meal when you don’t feel like cooking. They’re quick, they’re tasty, and they’re proof that fast food doesn’t always have to come from a drive-thru. A simple, cheap and satisfying solution to your burger cravings.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Frozen Burgers

Crockpot Chili

chili in a bowl
Crockpot Chili. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Crockpot Chili without the beans is your budget-friendly bowl of joy. Extra veggies, all the flavor, and none of the legume-induced side effects. It’s the kind of slow-cooked goodness that makes you forget you’re saving money.
Get the Recipe: Crockpot Chili

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13 budget friendly ground beef favorites.
anne

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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