How to Drain Ground Beef? (5 Easy Ways)

Ground Beef

Ground beef is usually used to prepare hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaves, stews, sauces, casseroles, stuffed peppers, and many other dishes.

If you are preparing these dishes then you know that ground beef often has a high-fat content. Therefore, If you want a healthier dish you should drain the ground beef.

The first step is to brown the ground beef so you can extract the fat and make it less fatty. Then you can drain the grease from the ground beef and use it to make other dishes or throw it in the trash.

Do You Need to Drain Ground Beef?

Draining is recommended if you have purchased a ground beef with high-fat content and you want to eat a healthier dish.

However, if you don’t want to bother with draining the ground beef, you can spend some extra money and buy lean ground beef with less fat.

Can I Drain Ground Beef in the Sink?

Draining ground beef in the sink is not recommended. The fat from the beef is in liquid form when you drain the ground beef. However, as soon as it gets into the pipes it gets solid and can clog the pipes.

Do You Drain Ground Beef Before Adding Taco Seasoning?

Yes, you can drain the ground beef before adding taco seasoning. Simply brown the ground beef, drain it, and add taco seasoning, stir the mixture and you can use it as a filling for burritos, tacos, enchiladas, or casseroles.

Ground Beef

How Do You Brown and Drain Ground Beef?

Place the ground beef in a pan, cook it at medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, and stir occasionally. When the meat turns brown you can drain the fat from the ground beef using any of the following ways.

1. Using a colander

Place a colander over a glass bowl and pour the cooked ground beef.

When the fat is drained return the meat to the pan and continue with the making of your dish. You can throw the cooled fat in the trash or save it for some other recipe.

2. With a spoon

After the ground beef is cooked push it on one side of the pan.

Lean over the pan and with a spoon remove the fat from the pan into a cup or a bowl lined up with aluminum foil so you could clean it easier.

When the fat is solid dispose of it in the trash.

3. Using a turkey baster

If you have turkey baster you can use it to soak up the fat from the pan.

Just be careful not to burn yourself. Place the fat in a cup and when it is cold you can save it for some other dish or throw it in the garbage.

4. Paper towels

Place the cooked ground beef on one side of the pan and use paper towels to remove the fat from the pan. Let the paper towels cool and throw them in the garbage.

5. Hot water

After you brown the ground beef place it in a colander with a glass bowl under it and pour one cup of hot water over the cooked ground beef. The hot water will rinse the fat from the ground meat and you will get less fatty ground beef.

When the water in the bowl is cooled you can put it in the refrigerator until the fat is hardened. Skim the fat from the water dispose of it in the garbage and pour the water in the drain.

Should You Drain Ground Beef for Spaghetti?

You should drain ground beef for spaghetti. Otherwise, the sauce will be too greasy. But if you don’t mind the fat from the ground beef and you want to use a part of it you can drain just some of the fat.

Do You Season Ground Beef Before or After You Drain?

It is better to season ground beef after you drain the meat. If you season the ground meat before you drain it the spices and the flavor will begone with the fat.

Some of the spices that pair well with ground meat are cayenne pepper, mustard powder, curry powder, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.

How to Drain Grease From Ground Beef Without a Strainer?

If you don’t have a strainer you can drain grease from your ground beef with a few paper towels, turkey baster, or a spoon. The easiest way is to drain the grease from the ground beef with paper towels, just be careful not to burn your fingers. Leave the paper towels to cool down and when the grease is solid dispose of them in the garbage.

How Much Fat is Removed by Draining Ground Beef?

According to the Minnesota research team, if you cook and drain the ground beef you can reduce the fat by 31-35%. That means you will lower the fat in a serving of 3-oz to 11-12g.

However, if you rinse the drained beef with hot water you will additionally lower the fat content by another 25-30% or 8-9 g fat of 3-oz (85 g) per serving.

Therefore, if you cook, drain, and rinse ground beef with hot water, you can remove about 50% of the fat.

This research was made with a 3-oz serving of 80% lean ground beef that has 17g fat and 60mg cholesterol. Keep in mind that even after the ground beef was cooked, drained, and rinsed the cholesterol levels remain the same.

Last Tips

There are different opinions about draining ground beef.

Some say meat will lose the flavor if you drain its fat. Others think that too much fat in the dish is bad for you and you should drain the ground beef.

If you don’t want to bother with draining the ground beef you can buy more expensive ground beef with a lower fat content like lean ground beef which is 90-95 %lean and 10-5% fat. Or you can do whatever you want. It is your choice and your money.

Remember that saturated fat is not good for your health. It can increase your cholesterol levels and clog your arteries. And that can lead to heart and brain attacks.

Do you drain ground beef and how? Share your cooking tips below!

1 comment
  1. I found an even easier way to drain grease. The easydrain colander fits onto an empty tin can. you pour in the grease and can then throw it away. Love it!

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