How to Microwave Ground Beef

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// How to Microwave Ground Beef

Prep Time

1 min

Cook Time

1-2 mins

Free Time

to organize the freezer

Cooking ground beef in the microwave just got easier and cleaner, thanks to one small step: By simply adding a bit of water (or chicken stock or milk) to your beef, the microwave can tenderly steam the ground beef (or hamburger, as some people call it) for a flavorful result! This method not only locks in moisture, but also keeps your microwave spotless. You won't need any extra oils or fats, making your meal prep simpler and healthier. Use this recipe as a base for ground beef tacos, quick bolognese, and so much more!.

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What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

The Small Dish

This dish’s superpower is evenly heating leftovers and cooking small portions.

The Anyhand Mitts

Handle hot Anyday dishes with care with these microwave mitts that double as trivets!
Try Anyday

Select your serving size and microwave wattage in the dropdown. The recipe will change accordingly.

4 oz (125g) ground beef

Select your microwave wattage in the dropdown. The cook times in this recipe will automatically change accordingly.


To find your microwave’s wattage, look at the front panel, the side of the door, in the back, in the user manual, or Google the model number. If both an input and output wattage are listed, use the output.

Wattage translates to how powerful the microwave is. The higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. The lower the wattage, the longer the cook time.

When in doubt, start with less time — you can always add more.

Microwave oven by power - 700w



The Small Dish


  • 4 oz (125g) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Add the ground beef and water to the Anyday and mix until the water is fully incorporated. The liquid will help break down the meat into smaller pieces as it cooks.
  2. Cover with the lid (knob lifted) and cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway to break down the meat into smaller pieces.
  3. Once cooked, break up any remaining large pieces and strain the extra liquid. Taste and adjust seasonings
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a separate serving dish, or keep the meat with the liquid and add seasoning for a flavorful sauce! Keep in mind that some lumps of meat are unavoidable.

Serving suggestions & tips

  • Add paprika, taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, or any ready-to-use seasoning packs for added flavor.
  • Add fresh herbs, chopped garlic, diced onions, and peppers for a quick sauce base or empanada filling.
  • Turn the ground beef into a topping for salads, rice bowls, or pasta casseroles.

Recipe notes

  • Swap the water for whole milk, bone broth, or stock for extra flavor.
  • Even with added liquid, some lumps may occur. Use a fork to break down the meat as it cooks.
  • Microwave ovens vary, even with the same wattages. Adjust cooking times as needed.

Ground Beef: 4 Ways

For every pound of ground beef, add 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water, plus the ingredients below:

Easy Ground Beef And Broccoli

Add chopped garlic, grated ginger, chili crunch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and broccoli florets.

Smoky Chipotle Taco Filling

Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo and chopped garlic. Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Teriyaki Ground Beef

Add Soyaki  Teriyaki sauce and chopped garlic. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Almost Fajitas

Add Taco seasoning, chopped garlic, and frozen roasted peppers and onions. Top with crema.

More meat recipes

Microwave Match Up: Ground Beef

See for yourself— microwaving ground beef is simply faster, start to finish.

Appliance Cook Time
Microwave in an Anyday dish 5 mins
Stovetop* 10-15 mins
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)* 15-20 mins
*Includes preheat time

All You Need to Know About Microwaving Ground Beef

How long does take to cook ground beef in the microwave?

Ingredient Water Cook Time
4 oz (125g) ground beef 1 tablespoon water 1-2 mins
8 oz (225g) ground beef 2 tablespoons water 3-4 mins
12 oz (350g) ground beef 3 tablespoons water 4-5 mins
16 oz (450g) ground beef 1/4 cup (60ml) water 6 mins
24 oz (560g) ground beef 1/3 cup (80ml) water 10-11 mins
32 oz (907g) ground beef 1/2 cup (120ml) water 13-14 mins
Cook time calculated for 700w microwave

It typically takes about 5 minutes per pound of ground beef to cook in the microwave. To tell when the meat is cooked through, look for firm pieces of meat that are all even in color. Taste a small portion of the cooked meat, it should be tender, hot, and without any red juices.

Is it safe to steam ground beef?

Yes, steaming ground beef in the microwave is a safe and clean way to cook beef! You also don’t need to add any additional fats or oils, making this method the leanest way to cook ground beef.

Why do I need to add liquid when cooking ground beef?

When proteins cook, they tend to seize up and stick together. Because ground beef is especially prone to sticking together, it’s important to add liquid to keep the meat separated while it cooks. This allows the final product to break apart more easily and taste better! You can drain off the excess liquid, or stir it back into the beef.

Why is there liquid in my Anyday after cooking ground beef?

The leftover liquid in the Anyday after cooking is made of a blend of the initially added liquid, steam condensation generated during the cooking process, and any juices released from the meat. Even when cooking meat without additional liquid, a small amount of liquid may accumulate. To separate it, you can either strain it or use a slotted spoon.

How to freeze microwave-cooked ground beef?

To freeze microwaved ground beef, begin by microwaving the meat and then allow it to cool. Transfer the cooked meat into 1/2 cup Anytime Freezer Trays, and freeze it for future use. While we don’t necessarily recommend freezing cooked ground beef on its own, it’s best to incorporate it into a sauce or soup before freezing. This way, the freezer won’t dry out the beef while it waits to be reheated.

Can I reheat frozen cooked ground beef?

Place as many portions of frozen ground meat as needed in the Anyday dish. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes per portion, or until heated through. Once reheated, season to taste or add to sauces, casseroles, or taco fillings.

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