Kitchn Love Letters

This New $6 Ground Beef Freezer Find Is My Smartest Dinner Shortcut

published Oct 10, 2023
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Blurred frozen food section at retail store in America. Huge glass door aisle with variety pack of processed pizza. Freezer full assortment of frozen pizza in local supermarket, defocused background.
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Even though I write cookbooks for a living, I still forget to defrost meat for dinner now and then. At hangry o’clock, I’ll be standing at the stove with a rock-hard frozen block of ground beef, urgently scraping and flipping, trying to get the meat to (finally) brown and cook through so I can get dinner on the table. So frustrating! After countless frozen-block-of-beef nights, I was thrilled when I happened across my new favorite grocery store dinner hack: Pound of Ground ground beef crumbles. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

What’s So Great About Pound of Ground Crumbles?

Pound of Ground is raw ground beef that’s individually quick-frozen in loose crumbles, instead of a dense block. The one-pound packages are super convenient because if I don’t need the whole pound for a recipe, I can take out the amount I need and keep the rest frozen. Once the frozen beef bits tumble out of the package into a hot pan, they become beautifully browned in just eight minutes and I only stir them once or twice. By comparison, a frozen brick of ground beef can take 20 minutes or longer to cook and requires near constant stirring, scraping, and breaking up of the meat. The quicker cooking time means there’s less steam, so I find the meat browns easily instead of becoming watery. 

The crumbles stay in lovely little chunks, too, so the texture is better than the mushed-up from-frozen ground beef I used to use. Bonus: My favorite version comes with onions, so I’m even closer to getting my chili/tacos/ragù done without hauling out the cutting board to chop onions. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

What’s the Best Way to Use Pound of Ground Crumbles? 

Use Pound of Ground Crumbles to jumpstart any recipe that starts with browned ground beef and onions. With a standard 80% lean to 20% fat content, it works in just about any recipe, although you may want to drain off the fat after the meat is browned. Follow your favorite recipe for guidance on the “to drain or not to drain” question. 

I use Pound of Ground to hit the ground running (pun intended!) on taco night and to make moreish Sloppy Joes. It’s also a natural for a quick spaghetti and meat sauce and I always have some in the freezer for batches of this stellar Cincinnati chili.

Pound of Ground comes in different variations: plain Ground Beef, Ground Beef with Onions, Ground Beef Hearty-Sized Pieces (good for sloppy Joes and stews), and Grass Fed Ground Beef. Look for them in the freezer section of grocery stores where frozen ground beef burgers and other meat are sold. 

Buy: Pound of Ground Ground Beef Crumbles with Onion, $5.99 for 1 pound at Kroger 

What freezer faves are cutting your cook times in half? Tell us about it in the comments below.