Cheap and Easy Beef Recipes You Can Make for Dinner

Mexican Taco Meatloaf

The Real Simple Good Life

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Mexican Taco Meatloaf
The Real Simple Good Life

Here's the Beef

Beef comes in so many forms — ground, roast, shank, steak, and so on — and is an ingredient that many have in our freezers a lot of the time. But finding inspiration for how to prepare it can be tough. With that in mind, we scoured the internet for reader-loved beef-centric recipes that can help you put dinner on the table. From stews and stroganoffs to chilis, chuck roasts, and — of course — meatloaf, here are some beef meals that you're destined to come back to again and again. 

Related: 20 Essential Barbecue Dishes Every Meat Eater Should Devour

Beef in red wine stew
Barbecue Beef Shank
Martin Turzak/shutterstock

Barbecue Beef Shank

Forgo the short ribs and use shank. The latter is similar but costs less and generally comes with the bone in. Separate the bone for a quick and easy recipe like the one below, which packs in additional flavor with brown sugar, Hungarian paprika, garlic powder, thyme, and more. You can use the bone later to make a hearty homemade beef stock.

Recipe: Sunny Anderson

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Inexpensive vegetables bring down the overall cost of this dish, which includes onion, mushrooms, and plenty of herbs. Use leftover wine — even from various bottles — to avoid one of the bigger expenses in the recipe.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: Cheers to Julia Child: 11 Recipes for Leftover Wine

Mexican Taco Meatloaf
The Real Simple Good Life

Mexican Taco Meatloaf

This recipe combines taco flavor — via a homemade seasoning mix using chili powder, cumin, garlic, and paprika — with a simple meatloaf recipe. The spices give the dish a robust Tex-Mex flavor, while jarred salsa makes an easy sauce. Serve it with your preferred taco toppings like sour cream, avocado, and lime.

Recipe: The Real Simple Good Life

Steak-Lover's Meatloaf
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Corned Beef and Cabbage

This stick-to-the-ribs dinner is at least half cheap and healthy vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Ingredients such as fresh seasonings and herbs creates complex flavors without relying on expensive store-bought sauce.

Recipe: Food.

Flap Steak Salad

Flap Steak Salad

Flap steak — which is sourced from a bottom sirloin butt cut — is a thin and cheap cut of beef. It can be tough, though. Cooking it medium rare and cutting against the grain helps achieve a tenderness ideal for topping salads. If you can't find flap steak, skirt or flank steak can be substituted in this recipe. 

Recipe: Shockingly Delicious

Related: 22 Quick and Easy Cold Salads for People Who Hate Lettuce

Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
cheeseburger casserole
Ground Beef Burritos

Ground Beef Burritos

When combined with other cheap fillings, such as beans and spices many already likely have on hand, ground beef goes a long way in this Tex-Mex staple. Consider making a large batch and freezing some for another meal.

Recipe: The Pioneer Woman

Shepherd's Pie
Sicilian Style Rolled Meatloaf with Deli Ham, Basil and Mozzarella

Meatloaf Mexicana

Southwestern flavors lend themselves to all kinds of meals, including meatloaf. Crushed bread crumbs act as filler in this recipe, while a bottle of taco sauce adds heat along with jalapeños. 

Recipe: My Recipes

Beef and Black Bean Chili

Beef and Black Bean Chili

Black beans add low-cost nutritional bulk to this recipe with cubed beef and a variety of hot and smoky chili powders, onion, and garlic. The simmering sauce contains beer, tomatoes, and chicken stock, with  squeeze of lime to finish things off. The crowning jewel of this recipe, according to its many fans, is a dollop of cumin cream and avocado relish.

Recipe: Bobby Flay

Related: These Hearty Fall Soups Are Perfect for a Chilly Day

Beef and Broccoli
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Beef and Broccoli

This iconic Chinese takeout dish is easy to create at home  for less money. Making it from scratch also allows those with dietary restrictions to customize the amount of salt and spices. 

Recipe: Tasty

Beef Tongue Tacos

Beef Tongue Tacos

For the culinarily adventurous, beef tongue is inexpensive and authentic as can be in Mexican cooking. These tacos, which include vegetables and peppers and use corn tortillas, are flavorful and tender in texture.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Related: 30 Cheap, Delicious Ways to Fill Your Tacos

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Even traditional beef meatballs include cheap ingredients such as eggs, veggies, and bread, making them an affordable choice. This classic family dinner is especially low-cost because half the plate is filled with inexpensive pasta.

Recipe: Natasha's Kitchen

Beef Shish Kebab

Shish Kebab

Mixing marinated beef with veggies is a smart and nutritious way to maximize portions from one piece of meat — and it can feel as indulgent as an entire steak. This recipe maximizes flavor with unexpected spices like nutmeg, green cardamom, and allspice. 

Recipe: The Mediterranean Dish

Skirt Steak With Chimichurri
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Skirt Steak With Chimichurri

Skirt steak is a less expensive cut of beef, and it can be paired with an also-inexpensive flavorful homemade sauce such as chimichurri that uses healthy ingredients such as garlic and herbs. This Argentinian-inspired recipe gets great reviews from those who have made it. 

Recipe: Food & Wine

Related: The Best Under-the-Radar Steakhouse in All 50 States

Beef Stroganoff
robynmac / iStock

Easy Beef Stroganoff

This simple beef stroganoff is inspired by a similar dish made on Viking Cruises. A popular choice for family dinners, this stroganoff is made with fresh ingredients like stewing beef, scallions, mushrooms, and white wine. 

Recipe: Food Fun & Faraway Places

Homemade Thai Beef and Rice Bowl

Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl

The beef marinade in this recipe is full of umami-packed ingredients like oyster sauce and fish sauce, making the beef taste even beefier. Tenderloin is great, but flank steak or skirt steak are less-expensive substitutes, and all of the fresh herbs and vegetables are a great foil to the rich meat.

Recipe: Half-Baked Harvest

Related: 50 Cheap and Easy Chicken Recipes

Moroccan Ground Beef and Potato Pie
Rimma_Bondarenko /iStock

Spicy Moroccan Ground Beef and Potato Pie

This recipe features ground beef and hash brown potatoes seasoned with a Moroccan-inspired spice blend. Add a homemade pie crust for a dinner your family will demand again and again.

Recipe: Scotch & Scones

Skillet Chicken & Biscuits
MSPhotographic / iStock

Beef & Vegetable Biscuit Bake

Talk about scrumptious and comforting — this biscuit bake combines the warmth and richness of biscuits and gravy while sticking to lean beef and veggies to keep things healthy and cheap.

Recipe: BHG

Related: 26 Easy Breakfast Casseroles to Start Your Morning Right

Easy Meatloaf

Easy Meatloaf

There's not a meal more comforting than meatloaf and mashed potatoes. This recipe uses bottled barbecue sauce to add flavor and, as the glaze on top, it cuts down on the ingredients you need to prep, too.

Recipe: Jo Cooks

African Beef Stew

African Beef Stew

Take a (virtual) trip to Africa with this stovetop beef recipe that's gluten-free to boot. It features flavor-packed ingredients like paprika, cinnamon, and curry powder along with bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Coconut milk adds a creamy finish.

Recipe: Only Gluten-Free Recipes

Related: The 17 Spiciest Foods Around the World

Beef Ragu With Polenta

Beef Ragu With Polenta

Slow cookers allow typically tough and cheaper cuts of beef to become tender. Braised with spices and vegetables, deeply flavorful ragu is a complete meal when paired with creamy and cheesy polenta, which tastes much more expensive than it is.

Recipe: Living Sweet Moments

beef taco casserole
Meatball Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff Meatballs

This twist on beef stroganoff has all the flavor of the original in a simple recipe that people of all ages can love. Frozen meatballs and canned mushroom soup are real time-savers in this option.

Recipe: The Seasoned Mom

Pasta casserole with barbecue chicken breast, cheese and vegetables
Beef Stew

Georgian Beef Soup

This hearty soup — also known as kharcho — slow-simmers beef and add in plenty of herbs, plus a tomato-chili mixture for depth. The one specialty ingredient is tkemali, a sour plum sauce, that can be found for a few dollars per bottle at specialty shops or online, or substituted with tamarind paste.


Related: Exotic Condiments to Add Zing to Meals

Dolsot bibimbap - Korean mixed rice, Include steamed rice, vegetables, pork and fried egg on top, served in a hot stone pot.
Food Photographer/istockphoto

Korean Beef

Sweet, savory, and spicy all rolled into one, this slow-cooker flank steak recipe is actually very simple, requiring around 10 minutes of prep time. 

Recipe: The Recipe Critic


Coca-Cola Meatloaf

No need to pour a soda when eating this dinner — it's an ingredient in the straightforward recipe. A blogger's grandmother got it from her younger sister, and the family's been enjoying this not-your-everyday meatloaf ever since. 

Recipe: Just a Pinch

Related: 40 Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

Beef Stew
Slawomir Fajer/shutterstock

Instant Pot Persian Beef Stew

Beef stew meat, split peas, and savory spices combine to create this meal that's billed as "like beef stew's exotic, spicy cousin — spiked with lots of yummy spices like cumin, cinnamon, saffron, and turmeric." 

Recipe: Platings & Pairings

Mexican Rice and Beans

Mexican Beef 'N Rice Skillet

The foundation of this dish is ground beef, black beans, white rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a few spices, all joined by a hearty helping of shredded cheddar and Monterey cheeses. Note: Some reviews note this dishes spiciness, so it might not be great for the heat-afflicted. 

Recipe: Delish 

Related: 30 Cheap and Easy Recipes From Canned Foods

Make a Feast At Home

Simple Crock-Pot Italian Beef Stew

Extra virgin olive oil, six garlic cloves, a hefty can of peeled tomatoes, and a pound of mushrooms — white or cremini — are the telltale signs that this recipe has its roots in the heart of the Mediterranean region. An easy prep yields a hearty, rustic meal ideal for a chilly night in. 

Recipe: The Mediterranean Dish

Chili Con Carne
Eggplant, chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce casserole on a light background, top view

Ground Beef Casserole

This recipe uses ground beef, rice, and canned ingredients and then heaps on the flavor with seasonings and cheese. Especially good if you're needing to get dinner done quickly, this one requires just 10 minutes or so of prep. 

Recipe: The Seasoned Mom

Related: 30 Celebrity Chefs’ Favorite Burger Recipes

Thai Beef with Peanut Sauce

Thai Beef With Peanut Sauce

It's hard to beat a good Thai peanut sauce, which can easily be made at home with peanut butter, soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, and water. Add in flank steak and noodles or rice drizzled with said peanut sauce and mixed veggies and voila — a home-cooked meal at a fraction of the price of takeout.

Recipe: Damn Delicious

Related: 40 Foods That Americans are Missing Out On