Photo Credit: Cast Iron Keto
From burgers to casseroles, to tacos, to Shepherd’s pie, we use ground beef in many major kitchen staples. It’s the go-to protein source for so many of us, and you may be wondering where it fits into your keto journey.
Ground beef is a keto-approved food. In fact, it’s one of the most popular meat sources on keto, and we advise keeping some around for easy and keto-friendly meals.
There is a catch, though. Many common ground beef recipes aren’t keto-friendly due to the pasta, bread, and dairy added alongside the beef. This means you have to use a discerning eye and make sure the recipes you choose are low in net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber).
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to pick a good keto ground beef recipe and then give you 10 of our favorites.
What makes ground beef recipes keto-friendly?
In the world of keto, the fewer carbs, the better. Most people are aiming for between 20g and 50g a day, so you have to be very careful about what you choose to eat.
Without anything added, ground beef is completely keto-friendly. This means that ground beef’s natural carbohydrate count is 0g. That’s standard across all-natural meats, including chicken, turkey, pork, etc.
It gets tricky when you start to look at recipes that use ground beef. Lots of common ground beef recipes have high carbohydrate counts.
Here’s what you need to watch out for when planning your keto ground beef meal.
Some meats (and we would argue the lower quality kinds) add in sugars, preservatives, and other additives to their meats that can increase their carbohydrate counts. Take a look at the package or recipe — if you see added sugars or carbohydrates, you should avoid it unless you’ve created enough space in your daily carbohydrate count to accommodate it.
Traditional bread or pasta
Any recipe that uses pasta, breading, or any other carb-packed ingredient needs to be avoided, or at the very least approached with caution. That means pretzel buns, hamburger helper, flour tortilla tacos, etc. aren’t keto-friendly.
High dairy content
While dairy isn’t as big of a carb carrier as bread, the carbs in milk, creams, and cheeses can add up. One cup of whole milk has around 12g of carbs, which for most ketoers is around 20% – 50% of their daily carb allowance[*].
This means a ground beef alfredo without pasta or tortilla-less ground beef cheesy tacos can still have a significant number of carbs.
The 10 Best Keto Ground Beef Recipes
We’ve been around the keto rollercoaster a few times now, and we’ve collected a lot of recipes along the way. Here are our 10 favorite keto ground beef recipes. Choose one and cook away with the knowledge that you won’t be adding much to your carb count!
Think of this recipe like a keto taco bell experience. Cheese shells + homemade taco seasoning? Sign me up. Subbing the cheese shells for flour drops the carbs significantly, and you can plug and play with the meats and veggies any way you see fit. Don’t forget your favorite sugar-free hot sauce!
Per serving: 432 calories, 33g fat, 5g net carbs, 28g protein
Eating burgers on keto usually means skipping the bun and swapping it for a lettuce wrap. This recipe shows you how to do just that! As long as you use keto-friendly toppings, you can dress it up any way you’d like. We love making an avocado and hot sauce version of this burger wrap with our keto-friendly ground beef patties!
Per serving: 443 calories, 34g fat, 4g net carbs, 25g protein
With a name like that, do you really need any other information? This meatloaf recipe is so tasty. Pair it alongside cauliflower or a leafy vegetable to make it a complete meal. Enjoy your bacon meat deliciousness!
Per serving: 450 calories, 27g fat, 4g net carbs, 46g protein
Looking to entertain or make an easy weeknight meal that you can eat for a few days? This keto ground beef and broccoli casserole from Savory Tooth will do the trick. You can swap the broccoli for cauliflower as well.
Per serving: 370 calories, 19g fat, 5.5g net carbs, 37g protein
This is a spin on the famous Mediterranean breakfast dish, shakshuka. You basically poach eggs over a mixture of tomato sauce and ground beef. It’s so delicious and can be enjoyed for any meal — not just breakfast!
Per serving: 450 calories, 29g fat, 2g net carbs, 41g protein
I’d argue that Koreans do some of the best cooking in the world with beef. Diving into a rich bowl of Korean-spiced beef and rice is a crowd-pleaser any time of the year. Even though ground beef isn’t super common in Korean cuisine, these spices get the job done!
Per serving: 370 calories, 27g fat, 6.7g net carbs, 22g protein
There are few things more comforting than a homemade Shepherd’s pie, and going keto doesn’t mean you have to give it up. By subbing cauliflower mash for potatoes, you knock out a ton of the carbs. Even if you are on the fence about cauliflower mash, you should give this a shot! It’s so good.
Per serving: 402 calories, 28g fat, 9g net carbs, 23g protein
If you didn’t know cheese noodles were a thing, well neither did we until we tried this low-carb keto lasagna. Once all of the pieces are together, you’ll be surprised at how close to lasagna this tastes and feels!
Per serving: 633 calories, 43g fat, 8g net carbs, 49g protein
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t love In-N-Out. It’s a simply perfect franchise, right? Well, now you can bring that same magic to your keto lifestyle. This recipe even shows you how to make your own fry sauce!
Per serving: 605 calories, 52g fat, 6g net carbs, 26g protein
You can never have too many burger recipes. This one has another spin on the thousand island or animal fry sauce and marries it with bacon and jalapenos. What more could you ask for?
Per serving: 608 calories, 46g fat, 4g net carbs, 42g protein
If you’re a beef stroganoff fan, then this keto alternative is perfect for you. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, so it’s perfect for a quick meal or when you want to make something simple for guests. You can also mix and match any veggies as you see fit!
Per serving: 364 calories, 27g fat, 8g net carbs, 22g protein
If you want to go big with the protein, then these burger bakes will make about the most nutrient and protein-packed snack imaginable. By using a combination of ground beef and oysters, you can get a great tasting snack that will get you through any keto craving you may have.
Per serving: 434 calories, 25g fat, 3.3g net carbs, 45.5g protein
Meatloaf always reminds me of home, and you definitely get that feeling from this keto-friendly Italian style meatloaf recipe. With only 1.3 net carbs per serving, you can eat this alongside some greens instead of potatoes as pictured to make a delicious and filling keto meal.
Per serving: 351 calories, 14.5g fat, 1.3g net carbs, 50.7g protein
It’s hard to go wrong by slow cooking ground beef and bacon together, and this chili skips the beans to deliver a delicious batch of beefy, tomatoey goodness. You can get creative with your meats and spices here — we like to add a bit of chipotle chili powder and cayenne for some extra kick.
Per serving: 434 calories, 25g fat, 3.3g net carbs, 45.5g protein
Pork rind nachos may seem like overkill, but if you’re watching a game on keto we guarantee these will be a crowd-pleaser. Don’t skimp on the toppings and buy high-grade pork rinds for the best results.
Per serving: 441 calories, 25g fat, 7.3g net carbs, 45.6g protein
The best ground beef for keto
It’s easy to fit ground beef into your keto-lifestyle. While lots of ground beef recipes are high in carbs, there are fortunately delicious and easy substitutes for any recipe you love.
It’s no secret that grass-fed, non-GMO beef tastes better. We have a variety of amazing lean and ultra high-fat, keto-friendly beef (55%!) options that keto dieters cannot get enough of.
Here are a few of our products that die-hard ketoers LOVE:
- 55% Lean Ground Beef
- 75% Lean Ground Beef
- 75% Lean Ground Beef Patties
- 75% Lean Ground Beef with Liver, Heart, and Kidney
Nathan Phelps is a writer, ethical foodie, and outdoors-aficionado hailing from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.