If you're looking for the best way to cook ground beef, you've gotta try Air Fryer Ground Beef! It's the easiest way to cook ground beef, and the meat ends up full of flavor. Perfect to use in tacos, pastas, breakfast dishes, and more.
We use our air fryers (yes, plural!) in our home several times a day, every single day. With two teenagers in the house, and since my husband and I both work from home, we do a lot of home cooking.
And while I love cooking ground beef in the Instant Pot, I have to share that my newest favorite way to cook ground beef is in the air fryer. Air fryers are great time-savers, and we love sharing our air fryer recipes.
Air frying is an easy peasy method for cooking ground beef to then use in so many different ways. Perfect for a quick meal and easy dinner on busy weeknights that the entire family will love!
🌟 Why this recipe works
If you've never tried to air fry ground beef before, prepare to be amazed! This is truly the best way to cook ground beef -- and I think it's also the easiest way to cook ground beef!
- Easy - Cooking ground beef in the air fryer seriously could not be easier. Just a few steps in the cooking process, and you've got amazing meat for so many different dishes.
- Fast - You won't believe how fast the cooking time is for this ground beef recipe is, thanks to the air fryer! You can cook up a pound of ground beef in just 10 minutes.
- No fuss - This easy recipe requires very little hands on time, and less clean up. There's no stirring over a hot stove constantly watching the meat!
- Delicious and healthier - I think the best part is that cooking beef in the air fryer gives you beef with great taste compared to sautéing, deep frying, or other cooking methods. The fat drains to the bottom of the air fryer, and the meat is cooked by the circulating air. So the result is flavorful, tender (not tough!) ground beef that's not sitting in excess oil or fat.
🛒 Ingredient notes
Gotta love a 3-ingredient recipe that requires just simple ingredients!
- Ground beef - I use an 85/15 ground beef mixture. This lean ground beef gives you just enough fat to give the beef big flavor and turn out juicy, but not too much fat that it is heavy and greasy.
- Kosher salt & ground black pepper - Start with the measurements in the ingredient list, and continue to season to taste after the meat is fully cooked.
Depending on how you are going to use the ground beef, you can also add a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, and/or some chopped fresh herbs or dried herbs for additional flavor.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Ingredient measurements are in the full ingredient list along with the detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But here's a visual guide with step-by-step photos to help make this easy ground beef recipe even easier.
First, make sure you have thawed ground beef. If using frozen ground beef, thaw the meat fully before cooking.
- Place the ground meat into the air fryer basket. Break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon or meat chopper.
- Season the meat with salt and black pepper.
3. Air fry the meat mixture at 400°F for 5 minutes.
4. After 5 minutes, stir the beef and break it up more, mixing it up.
5. Air fry at 400°F for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the beef is fully cooked. Serve the cooked beef immediately.
Note: the last two pictures above show how much meat goes through the air fryer basket holes. Not a lot of meat falls through. You can also see the excess grease and oil that has dripped down from the cooked meat.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
See the last two photos above in the Step-by-Step section. You'll see that not a lot of meat falls through. But all of the excess grease falls through, which is a good thing! You can always spoon out some of the cooked meat that has fallen through the holes in the air fryer basket if you want.
Ground beef is done cooking when all of the beef is browned and there are no pink spots visible. The USDA also states that ground beef cooked at home should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F.
Allow the meat to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes! You can freeze cooked ground beef. Be sure to allow the beef to cool completely, then store in a freezer bag or in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to two months.
🍽 Serving ideas
This flavorful beef is a great option to use in so many different recipes! Here are some ideas that are absolutely delicious using ground beef:
- Creamy ground beef pasta
- Toss with homemade taco seasoning to make beef tacos or on taco pizza
- Use it in a side dish or a tasty appetizer like Taco dip with ground beef
- Stuffed shells with ground beef
- Toss with bell peppers to make Thai basil beef for an easy weeknight meal.
- Use the meat to make juicy burgers and serve with french fries.
🍷 🥂 Wine pairings
The wine you choose to serve with air fryer ground beef really depends on how you use the ground beef.
In general, ground beef pairs well with a red wine. Lighter dishes tend to pair well served with a glass of light-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay. Richer beef dishes, like the Creamy Ground Beef Pasta or Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef tend to pair well with rich, full-bodied red wines, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make this recipe? Here are the kitchen tools and equipment you'll need:
- Air fryer - This recipe works best in an 8-quart or larger air fryer. It also works best with basket-style air fryers. I make this in my Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL multicooker, or in my Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer.
- Wooden spoon or meat chopper - You'll need a sturdy tool to break up the meat. A wooden spoon works well, but I prefer using a meat chopper. I use the meat chopper a lot more than I thought I would when I first got it. It chops up ground beef like a champ!
Do you have an Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or other electric pressure cooker? Check out how to cook ground beef in the Instant Pot, too!
More delicious ground beef recipes
Ready to make more air fryer ground beef recipes? Use the cooked ground beef to make any one of these delicious recipes:
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Air Fryer Ground Beef
- Place the ground beef into the air fryer basket. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or meat chopper.
- Air fry at 400°F for 5 minutes.
- At 5 minutes, remove the basket and break the meat up more with the wooden spoon or meat chopper, mixing the meat up. Return the basket into the air fryer and air fry at 400°F for another 3 to 5 minutes, until cooked through.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.