7 Keto-Friendly Recipes That Start with a Pack of Ground Beef

updated Nov 13, 2019
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If you’re following a ketogenic diet, ground beef is meal plan staple you’ll want to keep on hand. Not only is it thrifty, but it’s also super versatile and can be turned into a huge variety of different meals. And don’t stop at recipes that specifically call for ground beef — it can almost always be used in place of other ground meats, such as turkey, pork, or chicken.

Although it’s different for everyone, to get your body into ketosis, you need to consume roughly fewer than 20 grams of net carbs per day. Break that out even further, into three meals a day, and you’re looking at around six to seven grams of net carbs per meal. Of course nutritional requirements can vary from person to person, so we have a range of recipes to choose from, including chili, stir-fries, and stuffed vegetables. Some naturally clock in with six to seven grams of net carbs per serving (some lower!), while others are a touch higher. We’ve also included smart ingredient swaps for some recipes to help make them a more keto-friendly choice.

1. Keto-Style Chili

Keto or not, this chili is just plain delicious. In addition to ground meat it gets some serious bulk from sugar-free bacon and chopped mushrooms.
Estimated carbs per serving: 8.8 grams

Get the recipe: Keto-Style Chili

2. Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice

Part of the reason I love this recipe so much is because it’s so versatile. While it calls for shredded pork, browned ground beef makes a really great substitute. The meat swap shaves off less than a half gram of carbs (0.3 grams, to be exact), although you can trim the carbs even more (by about one gram per serving) when you forgo the onion.
Estimated carbs per serving: 7.3 grams (6.1 grams without onion)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Whole 30 Meatballs

Make a big batch of these grain-free meatballs and stash the extras in the freezer — they are easy to defrost and reheat. This recipe calls for finishing the meatballs in a pot of sugar-free sauce, but if you skip it, you shave off about six more grams of carbs per serving. You can bake the meatballs at 400°F until they’re browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve them up over a bed of zucchini or kohlrabi noodles, or with some sautéed lemon-garlic kale, and you’ve got dinner.
Estimated carbs per serving: 11.2 grams with sauce (5.2 without sauce)

Get the recipe: Whole 30 Meatballs

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. The Juiciest Burger Patties

Thanks to mixing in grated butter (yes, butter!) with the ground beef, these are guaranteed to be the juiciest burgers you’ve ever tasted.
Estimated carbs per serving: 0 grams

5. Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Meet our favorite way to get all the best parts of lasagna, minus the carb-heavy pasta. It’s the most delicious reason to buy spaghetti squash this season.
Estimated carbs per serving: 9.8 grams

6. Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid’s Lettuce Salad with Hot Beef Dressing

Just about every time I make this salad I double the beef and dressing, and reach for whatever greens I have on hand. The recipe makes four servings, although my husband and I have no problem polishing off the whole thing ourselves. Want to bulk it up even more? Double the ground beef and use a full pound.
Estimated carbs per serving: 3.9 grams (for four servings) or 7.8 grams (for two servings)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Spicy Ground Pork and Zucchini Stir-Fry

Swap the ground pork for ground beef (or try a combo of the two!) in this super-fast weeknight stir-fry. Serve on its own or partnered with some cauliflower rice.
Estimated carbs per serving: 5.5 grams (without cauliflower rice); 10.8 grams (with 1 cup cauliflower rice)