Reducing the fat in cooked ground beef

Reducing the Fat in Cooked Ground Beef

There is good news for ground beef eaters.  By making a few good choices, you can reduce the fat in ground beef meals.  Choose good quality meat when the budget allows it, don't cook with additional fat, and rinse or blot cooked ground beef.

For recipes where rinsing and blotting aren't feasible, use the 90% lean 10% fat ground beef.

Nutrition researchers found that a simple rinsing process reduced the fat content of cooked ground beef crumbles by as much as 50 percent.  Blotting of cooked burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf also helps reduce the fat.

Here are some simple steps to follow for rinsing cooked ground beef.  You will be amazed at how much fat comes out of the cooked meat.  This is great when using cooked ground beef for chili, soups, Sloppy Joes, spaghetti meat sauce and tacos.  This method will allow you to take advantage of lower priced higher fat ground beef and still enjoy less fat.

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink.  Stir occasionally to break beef into large pieces.
  2. Heat 4 cups water in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup on high for 5 to 6 minutes.  You want the water very hot but not boiling. You can also heat the water in a saucepan or tea kettle.
  3. Remove the cooked beef from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a large plate with paper toweling, about 3 layers thick.  Let sit for 1 minute.  Blot the top of the beef.
  4. Place the meat in a colander.  Set the colander on a ½ quart or larger sturdy bowl.  Pour the hot water over the cooked ground beef.  Drain 5 minutes.

Wondering about when you cook garlic or onions with the meat?  There is very little flavor loss.  You will want to add other seasonings such as salt and pepper along with any desired herbs after the rinsing process.

Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Meatloaf


  • 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ c. soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper


  • 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. salt (optional) and 1/8 tsp. garlic powder


  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • ¼ c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl, combine meatloaf ingredients mixing lightly but thoroughly.  In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients; mix well.  Set aside.

Place beef onto waxed paper and pat into a 14x10 rectangle.  Spread filling over beef leaving ¾" border around edges.  Place the seam side down on the rack in roasting pan.

Bake for 1 hour.  Spread ketchup over loaf.  Return to oven and continue baking for 15 minutes.  Top with ¼ c. mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning if desired.

Tip:  Make soft bread crumbs by placing 1 ½ slices of bread torn into pieces into a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse on and off for about 30 seconds.  Makes 1 cup.

For more information, contact:

Nancy A. Freeman, County Director
Harrison County Extension Service 
(228) 865-4227