To Oil or Not to Oil: How I Decide Whether to Cook Ground Beef with or Without Oil

ground beef with or without oil
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ground beef with or without oil

We all wanna eat healthy, but it’s just so difficult to sometimes. Especially when it comes to things that are made with oil, right? They tend to be just the right taste and texture. Plus, they’re always just such comfort foods if made the right way and not just loaded with unhealthy ingredients. But, no matter how tempting, you’ve gotta avoid eating too much oil, regardless of what kind of oil it is.

If you’re struggling with that recently and don’t know which foods to add oil in or not, I can help out. Today’s topic is all about ground beef, and whether or not you should cook it with oil or without it. I’ll be comparing how both of them turn out when cooked with oil or without it. That way it’ll be easier for you to decide which of the two is better suited to you, whether you wanna eat healthy or just want to know how different they turn out.

Cooking Ground Beef with Oil

Like I said, I’m going to prepare them in both ways and compare them as best as I can so that it’s easier for you to make your own decision. That said, let’s start with how ground beef turns out when you cook it with oil. I’ll go through a quick and tasty recipe of mine that you can follow too, if you want to test out how both options are for yourself.

ground beef on plate
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  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 250 grams of ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper

Since I’m just showing you how it’s made with oil to test out how it turns out, these are the only ingredients I’m going to use instead of making a full-fledged meal. It’s simple, to the point, and it’ll give you more than a good enough idea of how ground beef is gonna turn out when you cook it with oil. Now for the cooking part!


  1. Heat Up A Pan

heat up pan
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Dump 2 tablespoons of cooking oil inside of a pan and let it heat up until the oil is noticeably hot/bubbling.

  1. Cook Ground Beef

cook ground beef in oil
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Once the oil is warm enough, you can add your ground beef to the pan. Put all 250 grams of the ground beef on the pan and let It cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure that you regularly stir everything during this, so that the meat gets cooked equally on all sides.

  1. Add Salt & Pepper

add salt and pepper
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Sprinkle half a tablespoon of both black pepper and salt on top of the ground beef, which will give it some added seasoning. Then, cook it for another 2-3 minutes while stirring regularly.

  1. Cover and Cook

cover and cook ground beef
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After you’re done stirring for a couple of minutes, you can cover the pan up and let the meat inside cook for 7-8 minutes. That’ll be enough time for it to really cook and be almost ready to eat!

  1. Finishing Touches

cooked ground beef with oil
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You’re pretty much done with this whole thing. Now all you’ve gotta do is to uncover the pan and let the meat cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes while you stir the whole thing from time to time. After that, you’re all done with this particular recipe and can try how ground beef is with oil for yourself!

My Thoughts

Honestly, ground beef is delicious and really well-cooked when you do it with oil. That’s especially true if your beef has plenty of fat in it. It’s great for browning the meat and it brings out more of the flavor. Not everything is completely positive though. I’ve cut out oil enough from my diet to know when it actually is there. Despite not using much of it, the oil seeps into the meat and has a distinct taste of its own.

Plus, it’s generally unhealthy too. I don’t think that should be a problem though, as long as you make sure that you don’t eat too much oil in your regular diet. Just an amount as little as I used should be perfectly fine, but of course there is an alternative if you don’t want even that much.

Cooking Ground Beef Without Oil

Now that we’ve talked about cooking ground beef with oil, let’s look at the alternative, which is cooking it with some water instead. It comes out a little different obviously, so you can follow this recipe if you want to see just how different, or check out my thoughts at the end!


  • ½ cup of water
  • 200 grams of ground beef

Like I mentioned earlier, this is just for testing so I won’t bother with any other ingredients. If you’re making some yourself, you can add salt and black pepper to give it some extra taste, but I’ll be keeping the recipe to just these two simple ingredients.


  1. Boil Some Water

add water in pan
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Get ½ cups of water and dump it into a medium-sized pan.  Bring the water to a boil before you move on to anything else.

  1. Cook The Beef

cook beef in water
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After the water is boiled, you can add 200 grams of the ground beef inside. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes while regularly stirring during this entire time, same as with the oil. But, in this case, 3-4 minutes might not be enough depending on some circumstances. So, make sure that you keep stirring and cooking until the beef changes its colors on all the sides.

  1. Cover and Cook

cover and cook the ground beef
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Once you’re done stirring, you can cover the pan and cook for another 7-8 minutes.

  1. Wrap it Up

ground beef with and without oil
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Now it’s just time to apply some finishing touches after 7-8 minutes from the previous step have passed. Uncover the pan and stir the ground beef for 2-3 minutes while it cooks on low heat. Then, you can take it out and try some if you’ve been following this recipe with me!

My Thoughts

The first thing I’ll say is that this is significantly healthier than cooking ground beef with oil. When you boil it instead of frying it, there’s none of the unhealthy disadvantages of oil, and you’re not left with much fat either. The fat is reduced and the meat is much leaner, which is a big bonus for a lot of people.

I will say that the taste and texture is a little different, and that it feels a bit better when cooked with oil. But, with the right recipe and ingredients, it’s nothing that will ruin your meal! This is a great way of preparing ground beef and it’s perfect for those that want to eat healthy while cutting out oil from their diet.

The Bottom Line

I’ve said pretty much everything I can say about preparing ground beef with oil or without it, and even gave you an idea of how you can cook it either way! So, with everything kept in mind, it’s all up to you to make a decision for yourself, since I can’t choose for you.

You know your preferences and diet goals best, so choose between either method depending on what you need. I hope this little guide was able to help you out, and that you make the best decision for you, and for your gut!

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