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Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot

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Learn how to cook frozen ground beef in the instant pot: it’s easy and takes less than 30 minutes. Then, serve the ground beef as it is, or use it for other recipes. This is an easy recipe perfect for busy days or meal prep.

square white bowl full with crumbled browned ground beef.

Did you forget to thaw the beef you needed for dinner tonight? No problem! Cooking frozen ground beef in the instant pot is super-fast and easy. All you need are ground meat, a little water, and seasoning. And should you crave more delicious meals cooked in this pot, see Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Thighs or Instant Pot Chicken Stew.

If you don’t have an instant pot, you can still learn How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef; it’s easy to do it on the stovetop as well. And you could also learn How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs, How to Boil Frozen Chicken, How to Bake Frozen Chicken Breast, or make some Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer.

Recipe ingredients

frozen ground beef, water, oil, spices in bowls.
  • Ground beef: One frozen block of ground beef. Usually, I buy one pound of beef (450-500 g), but if you have a thicker block, you can still cook it in the pot. In this case, you will have to increase the cooking time slightly.
  • Cold water
  • You will need some spices and one tablespoon of oil for further cooking. For spices, salt and pepper are enough if you want to use the meat for another recipe. Otherwise, season the ground beef with the seasoning of your choice. For example, I used Homemade Ground Beef Seasoning to season the meat.
  • Optional: One medium onion and one red bell pepper.

How to cook frozen ground beef in the instant pot?

  • Prepare: Pour one cup of water into the inner pot. Check the instructions for your pot; larger pots might need 1 1/2 cups of water. Fit the trivet into the pot and lay the block of frozen beef on top of the trivet (1).
  • Cook: Close the lid. Press the High pressure button and select the time (20 minutes). The pot will need several minutes to come to pressure. Once the cooking time is up, allow 5 minutes of natural release. Release the remaining pressure (2).
collage of two pictures of a block of frozen ground beef in instant pot before and after cooking.
  • Transfer the cooked meat to a large plate and crumble it with a fork or potato masher (3). The meat should be fully cooked, but if it’s not, you can sauté it lightly in the instant pot until it’s cooked through.

Optional steps

  • Sauté: Remove the trivet. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and discard the rest. Press Saute button, add the oil and let it get hot for about 1 minute. Add the crumbled beef and the seasoning of choice. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the meat. If necessary, add a bit more from the reserved liquid (4).
  • Alternatively, you can sauté one finely chopped onion and one chopped pepper first and then add the ground beef. Cook the meat breaking the lumps with a wooden spoon until nicely browned and cooked through.
  • You can also brown the meat in a pan.
block of ground beef on blue plate and then crumbled in instant pot.

How long does it take to cook instant pot frozen ground beef?

The general rule is frozen meat needs about 50% more cook time than fresh meat.

In this case, it depends on how much meat you have. 1 lb/ 500 g will need about 20 minutes, and 2 lbs/ 1 kg will need about 23 minutes. Always check if the meat is cooked through and sauté it to finish the cooking process. Don’t pressure cook the meat again!

The safe internal temperature is 160°F/ 75°C. You can check the temperature with a meat thermometer (Amazon affiliate link).

What spices should I add?

  • The above-mentioned ground beef seasoning is excellent. Otherwise, use store-bought beef seasoning or some other blend, like Cajun or Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, curry powder, garam masala, ras-el-Hanout, and so on. You could also try this spicy Peri Peri Seasoning.
  • Or add simple spices like fine sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin and coriander, chili powder, red pepper flakes, a pinch of ground fennel, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.
  • Add fresh (or frozen) chopped herbs like parsley, dill, chives, or cilantro. Stir in 1-2 thinly sliced green onions.

What to do with the cooked ground beef?

  • Sauté the cooked beef with onions, garlic, peppers, or other vegetables, and serve it with mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Add about ½ – 1 cup of sauce. Add to taste; the meat should be evenly coated with sauce but not swim in it. Simple marinara sauce, sweet and sour sauce, salsa, etc., are all delicious. Serve it with rice, or pasta, make tacos or filled tortillas, and so on.

Expert Tips

  • Ensure you use the trivet; if you place the meat directly into the inner pot, it will be watery.
  • Use the natural release for 5 minutes only, then release the remaining steam. If not, the meat will get dry.
  • Check that the meat is cooked and sauté it shortly if there are still raw spots in the middle.

Recipe FAQ

What does instant pot ground beef taste like?

Directly after cooking it in the instant pot, the meat will be bland. That is why it’s essential to add spices and, ideally, to sauté it in the pot or a frying pan. Cooking a small onion and a small bell pepper with it improves the flavor even more.

Can I brown frozen meat in the instant pot?

No, it will not work. The surface of the frozen block will stick to the bottom of the pot, while the insides will remain frozen. Therefore, it only works as described in the recipe.

Can I cook other types of ground meat in the instant pot?

Sure, follow the same cooking instructions. Ground pork, mixed ground meat, ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground sausage are all fine.

How to store?

Let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for about 3 days.
Reheat on the stovetop or microwave. Add 1-2 tablespoons of broth when reheating.

More food cooked from frozen

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
square white bowl full with crumbled browned ground beef.

Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot

Learn how to cook frozen ground beef in the instant pot: it’s easy and takes less than 30 minutes. Then, serve the ground beef as it is, or use it for other recipes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Beef, Pork and Lamb, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 298kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Instant pot

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb frozen ground beef 500 g, Note 1
  • 1 cup water 250 ml
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning of choice optional, Note 2

Instructions

  • Pour 1 cup (250 ml) of water into the pot. Use more water if required by the instructions of your instant pot. Fit the trivet and lay the block of frozen ground beef on top.
  • Pressure cook: Close the lid and seal the pot. Press High Pressure and select the time – 20 minutes (Note 3). The pot will need about 7-10 minutes to come to pressure.
  • Natural release: Once the cooking time is up, allow 5 minutes of natural release. Release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to the Venting position.
  • Transfer the meat to a large plate and crumble it with a fork. This will allow you to see if it’s cooked through. If it’s not, don’t pressure cook it again! Instead, sauté it lightly in the instant pot until it’s cooked through.
  • Add salt and pepper and/ or seasoning to taste.

Optional steps

  • Remove the trivet. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and discard the rest.
  • Press Sauté, add the oil, and let it get hot for about 1 minute. Add the crumbled meat, the seasoning of choice, and 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the meat. If necessary, add a bit more liquid. Sauté the beef breaking the lumps with a wooden spoon until nicely browned and cooked through.
  • Alternatively, you can sauté one finely chopped onion and one chopped pepper first and then add the ground beef. You can also brown the meat in a pan.

Notes

  1. Ground meat: You can use these instructions to cook other types of frozen ground meat in the instant pot (mixed ground meat, pork, chicken, or turkey).
  2. Seasoning: I use Homemade Ground Beef Seasoning. Use other seasoning blends you like, for instance, Cajun, Italian, or taco seasoning, curry powder, garam masala, ras-el-Hanout, etc. Or add your favorite spices like garlic, onion powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, chili, or dried herbs.
  3. 2 lbs of ground beef (900 g) will need about 23 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion from 4 | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 670mg | Potassium: 354mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 4mg
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