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Hearty, simple, and flavorful, this one-pot ground beef and beans with potatoes, bacon, and a side of skillet cornbread is sure to become a staple in your family’s weeknight dinner routine. It’s the perfect cross between a stew, a soup, and a pot of baked beans!

Close up front shot of a bowl of ground beef and beans.
Table of Contents
  1. Easy Ground Beef and Beans Recipes are Perfect for Cheap Dinners
  2. Ingredients
  3. The Best Dutch Oven to Use
  4. How to Make Dutch Oven Beef and Beans
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Ground Beef and Beans Recipe
  9. One-Pot Ground Beef and Beans with Potatoes and Bacon Recipe

Easy Ground Beef and Beans Recipes are Perfect for Cheap Dinners

If you’re watching your family’s budget, or if you’re just looking for hearty, down-home comfort food that will fill you up and keep you satisfied, then you can’t go wrong with easy ground beef and beans recipes. Add some potatoes to the pot, along with plenty of smoky bacon, nutritious veggies, and a side of cornbread, and you’ve got a delicious, affordable dinner that everyone at the table can agree on. Perfect for a cookout, too!

Adding chopped vegetables to a Dutch oven.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of ground beef and beans. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Thick-cut bacon: creates a rich, smoky base for the dish.
  • Ground beef: gives the stew hearty, satisfying taste and texture. Substitute with ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground sausage if you prefer. Diced hot dogs would also be good!
  • Onion, celery, carrot, and garlic: fresh veggies that bulk up the stew, add nutrition, and lend great flavor to the dish.
  • Beef broth: the cooking liquid that flavors the ingredients as everything simmers and cooks together in the pot.
  • Pinto beans: we’re using canned beans here for convenience (no pre-soaking necessary). Sub with other varieties of canned beans if you like! There’s no need to drain the beans before stirring them into the pot.
  • Russet potatoes: hearty and filling, potatoes pair nicely with the beef and bulk up the stew for an affordable meal that feeds a crowd.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: for even more flavor and great texture.
  • Barbecue sauce: or use ketchup instead.
  • Brown sugar: for a hint of sweetness that balances the savory ingredients nicely. Both light brown sugar and dark brown sugar will work, so use whichever you have on hand.
  • Worcestershire sauce: for salty, umami flavor that pairs well with beef.
  • Thyme: fresh herbs are my preference, but you can sub with a smaller amount of dried thyme when necessary.
  • Chili powder and smoked paprika: for zesty, smoky flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper: use this optional ingredient for a little bit of spicy kick!
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.

The Best Dutch Oven to Use

We rounded up the best Dutch ovens you can buy, including 3 (yes, 3!) that I personally own and love! It was difficult to choose my favorite, but the Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven (5.5 quarts) earned the top spot. You can buy it on Amazon or at Walmart for $334.95. That said, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch oven was a close second that’s just a little bit larger (7.5 quarts). It’s available on Amazon for $459.95.

For this recipe, I’ve shown the Smithey Dutch oven, which I absolutely love, but’s a bit smaller than I would like for a stew of this size. It’s definitely easier to stir the pot when you’re using a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 6-7 quarts.

Pouring beef broth into a Dutch oven.

How to Make Dutch Oven Beef and Beans

This convenient weeknight dinner comes together in a single pot with minimal prep work! It’s like a cross between an easy baked beans recipe (or our favorite cowboy beans) and a classic beef stew. I’ve included the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here’s the quick version:

  • Cook the bacon in the pot.
  • Brown the meat and soften the veggies in the bacon drippings. Drain off excess grease.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot with the ground beef mixture, and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped fresh herbs, and serve with a side of cornbread.
Overhead image of two bowls of ground beef and beans with potatoes and a side salad and cornbread.

Serving Suggestions

A hot skillet of buttermilk cornbread is the perfect companion for soaking up any extra broth in each bowl. If you’d like to round out the meal with other side dishes, here are some additional options that pair well with ground beef and beans:

Square side shot of two bowls of one-pot ground beef and beans with potatoes and bacon on a table.

Preparation and Storage

Stored properly in an airtight container, the leftover ground beef and beans will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the dish in airtight containers for up to 3 months; however, it’s important to know that the texture of the potatoes and vegetables will likely be mushier when thawed.

How to Reheat

When chilled, the fat will rise to the top and harden. You can use a spoon to scrape off most of the fat, or you can simply leave it in the pot and stir it back into the dish when it heats up. Place the cooked stew in a saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop. Cover and warm over low heat, just until the mixture reaches the desired temperature. If it seems dry, you can add more beef broth to thin, as necessary.

You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Side shot of two bowls of ground beef and beans with potatoes and bacon on a dinner table with cornbread.

Recipe Variations

  • Just about any canned beans will work here. Try navy beans, Great Northern beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, or any other variety that you prefer. A mix of different beans is also great!
  • Swap out 1-2 cans of beans and replace them with cans of corn.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top just before serving.
  • Add diced sweet bell pepper to the skillet with the beef and onion mixture for even more veggies in your dish.
  • Swap out the ground beef and use ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground sausage.
  • Instead of brown sugar, sweeten the dish with maple syrup.
  • Use ketchup in lieu of the bbq sauce for a more mild taste.
  • Make it spicy by adding more cayenne pepper, or serve each bowl with a side of hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes.
Overhead shot of two bowls of ground beef and beans on a table with a side of cornbread

Tips for the Best Ground Beef and Beans Recipe

  • For a thicker stew with less broth, use just 2-3 cups of beef broth.
  • Garnish each bowl with chopped fresh parsley, other fresh herbs, or sliced green onion for a colorful, flavorful finishing touch.
  • If using gold potatoes or red potatoes instead of the russets, you do not need to peel them.
  • Pick a thick bbq sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray’s brand) for a richer, bolder flavor, or use ¼ cup ketchup for a more mild option.
  • Add a dollop of mustard or a splash of apple cider vinegar towards the end for an acidic touch that brightens up the dish.
  • Adjust the heat to suit your family’s taste preferences. For instance, omit the cayenne for a mild meal, or increase the amount of cayenne for a spicy pot.
Side shot of two bowls of ground beef and beans with potatoes and bacon.

More Easy Ground Beef and Beans Recipes to Try

Square side shot of two bowls of one-pot ground beef and beans with potatoes and bacon on a table.

One-Pot Ground Beef and Beans with Potatoes and Bacon

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 604 kcal
Hearty, simple, and flavorful, this one-pot ground beef and beans with potatoes, bacon, and a side of skillet cornbread is sure to become a staple in your family’s weeknight dinner routine!

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, chopped (about 6 slices)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 4 cups beef broth (or reduce to 2-3 cups for a thicker stew)
  • 3 (15.5-ounce) cans pinto beans, not drained (or sub with other beans)
  • 1 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite-size pieces (about 2 potatoes)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
  • ¼ cup bbq sauce (or use ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves (or about ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (or more to taste)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional, for serving: cast iron cornbread; chopped fresh parsley or sliced green onions

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.
    Fried bacon on a plate.
  • Add the ground beef, onion, celery, and carrot to the bacon drippings, and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are starting to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Drain off excess fat.
    Adding chopped vegetables to a Dutch oven.
  • Return the bacon to the pot. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
    Pouring beef broth into a Dutch oven.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or sliced green onion and serve with cornbread.
    Close up front shot of a bowl of ground beef and beans.

Notes

  • For a thicker stew with less broth, use just 2-3 cups of beef broth.
  • Garnish each bowl with chopped fresh parsley, other fresh herbs, or sliced green onion for a colorful, flavorful finishing touch.
  • If using gold potatoes or red potatoes instead of the russets, you do not need to peel them.
  • Pick a thick bbq sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray’s brand) for a richer, bolder flavor, or use ¼ cup ketchup for a more mild option.
  • Add a dollop of mustard or a splash of apple cider vinegar towards the end for an acidic touch that brightens up the dish.
  • Adjust the heat to suit your family’s taste preferences. For instance, omit the cayenne for a mild meal, or increase the amount of cayenne for a spicy pot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipeCalories: 604kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 34gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 888mgPotassium: 1638mgFiber: 18gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1745IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 140mgIron: 7mg
Keyword: beef and beans, ground beef and beans
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Barbara says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it is delicious!!
    Another great recipe, Blair!! Dinner tasted even better when I got hubby to chop all the vegetables! Lol! Made as written without changes except my bacon was regular slice.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Barbara! We’re so glad you enjoyed it.