If I had a nickel for every time I forgot to thaw the pound of frozen hamburger that I was planning to use for dinner, I’d be a rich woman! :-) I’m sure that I forget to do it WAY more than actually I remember! Then I end up putting it in the microwave to defrost it, where it ends up thawing unevenly. So I usually end up scraping the thawed part off, then putting it back in the microwave 3 or 4 more times until it’s finally thawed all the way through. Then after that whole ordeal, I still have to cook it!
So what I ended up doing instead is cooking a whole bunch of ground beef and once, then freezing it in individual one-pound bags. That way it’s no big deal if I forget to thaw it, because it’s already cooked! I also found a time-saving way to cook all that ground beef at once—using my trusty crockpot!
Maybe this isn’t a huge revelation to many of you, but to me it has been a total game-changer! Now when I realize at 6 o’clock on a Tuesday night that it’s “Taco Tuesday,” I’m all set! I grab a bag of my cooked ground beef out of the freezer, break it up a bit, and throw it in the pan. It quickly thaws in the pan and just I add whatever seasonings I need. It saves me so much time (and not to mention irritation!)
How To Cook Ground Beef In A Crockpot
- Ground beef
- Potato masher or wooden spoon
Place ground beef into your crockpot and break it up a little with clean hands or a spoon.
Put the lid on and cook on High for 2 to 4 hours. The cook time will vary based on how hot your crockpot tends to runs and how much meat you’re cooking at once. (As a reference, we cooked 3 pounds of meat here and it cooked in about 2 hours.)
When the meat is about halfway cooked, use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to break the meat up more and give it a good stir. Replace the lid.
When the meat is fully cooked, give it another stir and transfer it to a colander to drain off the fat. To reduce the fat content even more, you can always rinse the cooked beef under warm water! (According to this paper from the University of Wisconsin-Extension, you can significantly reduce the fat content of cooked ground beef just by giving to a good rinse after cooking!)
Once the meat has cooled a bit, divide the meat into equal portions. Put the portions into freezer bags, date them, and store them in your freezer to use later.
This is such a great time-saver, especially on busy weeknights when you need to get something on the table ASAP. For ideas of quick and easy ways to use your pre-cooked ground beef, check out my blog post at the link below!
What’s your favorite way to use ground beef?