How To Cook Ground Beef in Microwave (9 Easy Steps)

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
How To Cook Ground Beef in the Microwave

I love to cook! It’s such a fascinating and truly rewarding experience. But as an extremely busy mom with multiple jobs, kids to take care of, and a never-ending list of things to do each day, I find myself strapped for time, and my microwave becomes my savior.

There are many foods that you can prepare in just minutes using your microwaves, such as bacon, macaroni & cheese, and quesadilla. But what about cooking ground beef? Is it possible to cook ground beef in the microwave?

Can You Cook Raw Ground Beef in the Microwave?

You can cook raw ground beef in the microwave. To make it safe, you need to make sure the meat is cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a food thermometer.

Take a look at the color of the ground beef once it is cooked. There should be no pink left after cooking.

Here’s a short guide on how to use the microwave for cooking ground beef:

First, crumble up the ground beef into small pieces and place it in a microwavable container. Microwave on medium power for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a fork to break the beef apart and stir.

Put it back in the microwave and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. After the beef is cooked, drain off the fat.

Why I Like To Cook Ground Beef in the Microwave

Cooking ground beef in the microwave is a quick and easy way to prepare it. In just under 10 minutes, you can be chowing down on a delicious burger or taco.

Moreover, there is little preparation time involved. All you need is a microwave-safe dish, ground beef, a fork, and a meat thermometer.

Best of all, if you hate cleaning up afterward with the microwave, there’s very minimal cleanup. So you don’t need to worry about the greasy mess that comes with cooking ground beef on the stove and pan.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Beef in the Microwave?

Typically, it takes about 7-10 minutes to cook a pound of ground beef in most microwaves. However, since different microwaves have many different wattages, cooking times may vary. Just keep checking on it halfway through to make sure it is not overcooked.

The most sure-fire way to check for doneness is to look for the color of the meat and use a meat thermometer.

How To Cook Ground Beef in the Microwave

Now, we are going to learn in more detail how to cook ground beef in the microwave. Before we cook our meat, we’ll need to prepare the following:

  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Raw ground beef
  • A for or wooden spoon
  • A meat thermometer

Quite simple right? After you have prepared the items, let’s get started with the cooking process by following the steps below:

1. Defrost the Ground Beef First

If your ground beef is frozen, you’ll need to thaw it first. There are three ways to do this:

  • You can leave it in the refrigerator overnight and allow it to defrost naturally.
  • Or, you can soak your ground beef in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes and replace the water every 30 minutes until it is thawed.
  • Lastly, you can microwave the ground beef on defrost setting or medium power for about 2-3 minutes until it is thawed.

2. Pick a Microwave-Safe Bowl

While the ground beef is defrosting, you will need to find a microwave-safe bowl or container in which to cook it, either glass or ceramic dish; both are good containers that can withstand the heat of the microwave.

Don’t even think about using a plastic container. Even if it is microwave-safe, you still run the risk of chemicals leaching into your food while it is being cooked.

Pick a shallow, circular bowl if you can. The shallow bowl will allow the microwaves to cook evenly on all sides. Aside from the shape, you’ll also want the bowl to be large enough to hold all your ground beef. If you don’t have a large enough bowl, you will have to cook in batches.

3. Place the Ground Beef in the Bowl

Take your ground beef out of its packaging and put it in the bowl. Use your hand or a spoon to break it up into smaller pieces and spread them evenly across the container.

4. Cover the Bowl with a Lid

Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid. You can use a glass or ceramic lid, especially if it matches the container you are using. Make sure that the cover has a vent opening.

If you don’t have a lid that matches your container, a tight plastic wrap is acceptable. Just don’t forget to cut some vent holes in it to allow steam to escape.

5. Microwave the Beef on Medium for 5 Minutes

Set your microwave to cook on medium power. Set the timer for 5 minutes and press start.

A low heat setting can’t cook the beef thoroughly, whereas a high heat setting runs the risk of burning the outside before the center of the beef is fully cooked, leaving you with uncooked hard lumps in your finished dish. So the medium is the best setting.

On the other hand, microwaving in a high setting does speed up the cooking process. So if you don’t have the time to spare, it’s fine to microwave your beef on high heat, just be cautious about it.

If you use a high heat setting, consider cooking the beef for short bursts, no more than 2 minutes at a time. This will ensure that the heat is evenly distributed throughout the beef. Stir after each interval and check the temperature before serving.

6. Break the Beef Apart and Stir

This is when our fork or wooden spoon comes in handy. After 5 minutes or after every minute (if you microwave on high), take your fork or spatula and break apart the ground beef and stir. Stirring is an important step as it ensures that the beef is cooked evenly since the microwave cannot heat all sides of the beef evenly.

Then, rearrange it in the container so that the pinker parts are now on the outside and the browner parts are in the center.

7. Cook the Beef Again

Put the beef back in the microwave and cook for another 2 to 5 minutes, or until done. Take it out and repeat step no six above—breaking up the beef and stirring it.

After the second round is finished, your beef should be wholly browned and reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If it isn’t, put it in the microwave again for 2-minute intervals until fully cooked.

8. Drain the Beef in Colander

The eighth step is to drain the beef in a colander. Set out a colander and hold it over a pot or another container. Then, dump the beef into the colander to drain the fat.

If you don’t have a colander, you can also use paper towels. Just dump the cooked beef on a couple of paper towels, cover it with another layer, and pat to absorb the excess fat.

9. Add the Cooked Meat to Your Favorite Dish

Now that your beef is cooked, you can add it to whatever dish you’d like. Here are some of my favorite dishes for your inspiration:

  • Tacos
  • Sloppy joes
  • Beef Stir fry
  • Braised tofu
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Beef dumpling
  • Cheeseburger

Why Is my Ground Beef so Dry?

If your beef is too dry, it usually means that you overcook it. To fix this, you can add a dash of olive oil to the beef while it’s cooking. Adding oil will help keep the moisture in, adding that extra bit of juiciness your food needs.


Ground beef is so versatile. You can use it to make the most mouth-watering dishes imaginable, whether you are cooking up tacos or spaghetti sauce, or barbecue. Follow the steps above to ensure that your cooked ground beef is perfect and doesn’t turn out dry, overcooked, or undercooked.

If you’re looking for more information on reheating cooked ground beef in the microwave, be sure to check out our other articles. We have tips on how to prevent your beef from drying out, as well as how to avoid overcooking it.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!