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What are the Different Types of Ground Beef?

Kasey James
Kasey James

There are several different types of ground beef, or beef mince. The various types include traditional ground beef, ground chuck, ground round, ground sirloin and lean ground beef. All cuts can be used to make tasty beef dishes.

Beef that has been ground up contains meat and fat, and most beef distributors label their products according to the amount of fat it contains, using percentages. The different percentages of fat in beef might give the meat a specific taste and can be a factor in consumer preference. Some cuts cook better for certain beef dishes.

Ground beef is typically labeled according to its fat content.
Ground beef is typically labeled according to its fat content.

Traditional ground beef contains the largest amount of fat, usually between 25% to 30% fat. It can come from different parts of the cow, and it tends to work well when making beef patties such as hamburger or meatballs. It is high in fat, so it usually is a less expensive choice.

Ground chuck is beef that contains about 20% fat and comes from the front of the cow around the shoulder areas. Chuck is lower in fat, so it usually is a bit more expensive than full fat options.

Meatballs made with ground beef.
Meatballs made with ground beef.

Ground round is another form of minced meat, with about 15% fat. It comes from the lower end of the cow, around the tail area. Round still contains enough fat to make meat patties, but it is much leaner. It is a good choice of beef to add to casseroles and other beef dishes that mix meat with vegetables and pasta. Round has less fat, which makes it more costly.

A cheeseburger made with ground beef.
A cheeseburger made with ground beef.

Ground sirloin is beef with an average of 10% to 14% fat. Sirloin is a choice beef that comes from the midsection of the cow. Many people cook with sirloin because its low fat content makes it a healthy choice, but it can also be an expensive choice.

There also is extremely lean ground beef that contains less than 10% fat. This kind of beef usually does not work well for patties because it has such low fat that the meat can become very dry. Lean beef is a good choice to aid in a low-fat or heart-healthy diet. It usually has the highest cost of all of the types.

Ground beef can be purchased at grocery stores, from farms that raise cattle, or at butcher shops, where it usually is purchased by weight. It continues to be popular around the world because it can be inexpensive, quick to cook and filling.

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Discussion Comments


Cougars- Both chili and nachos are really easy to make with ground beef! For both, just brown the meat, add spices, and take it from there.


I am Jamaican and I grew up eating patties. My uncle makes the best Jamaican beef patties. I guess in the States people would call them empanadas.

Beef patties are basically pastries filled with curried ground beef and onions. The pastry that the patties are made of is also curried, giving them their distinct yellow color. My uncle also uses crushed scotch bonnets in his patty recipe, but if you don't like the heat, you can go without.

You can find recipes for patties online, and they are pretty easy to make. This would probably be a big hit with most families with kids. If you want to serve them in their traditional fashion, serve them with some salad and rice and peas. This is definitely a ground beef recipe you should try.


What are some other recipes for ground beef other than burgers and meatloaf? I like buying ground beef because it is so cheap, but I get a little sick of burgers and the likes. Can anyone recommend some new recipes that I could look up that will give me a little change of dietary scenery?


Ground beef can be made with almost any cut if you grind your own, or ask your butcher to grind it for you. Each different cut of beef has different characteristics and different flavors, so you can customize your grinds to suit your needs.

One of my favorite dishes to make with ground beef is what I call poor man's beef Wellington. I make a meatloaf (carrots, onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, etc.), brush it with a mixture of brown sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, and bake. Once the meatloaf is cooled, I cut it into thick slices, wrap it in flaky puff pastry, brush with egg yolk and bake until the crust is golden brown. This ground beef recipe takes a little time, but you can make large batches that freeze well and make great lunches.

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    • Ground beef is typically labeled according to its fat content.
      By: sumnersgraphicsinc
      Ground beef is typically labeled according to its fat content.
    • Meatballs made with ground beef.
      By: martinlee
      Meatballs made with ground beef.
    • A cheeseburger made with ground beef.
      By: Gena
      A cheeseburger made with ground beef.