This kid friendly Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet recipe takes just 7 basic ingredients, is budget friendly and deliciously satisfying! What’s not to love?! One of our favorite simple ground beef recipes.
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Skillet meals such as my Creamy Sausage and Potatoes and Speedy Spanish Rice and Ground Beef Skillet have been making an appearance on our menus ridiculously often the last several weeks.
It’s partly because it’s just so incredibly hot that I don’t feel like baking anything (and we have no grill). Partly because I just haven’t been in the mood to spend much time in the kitchen and skillet meals are the best for being fast and easy.
And it’s also partly because I have a bunch of skillet meal recipes that we simply really like and I know that they’ll always be a win with the kids for dinner. So, it just kind of feels like a no-brainer to make them often right now!
This Ground Beef and Rice Skillet is another one of the recipes that has been getting made a lot too.
I actually considered calling it Busy Day Beef and Rice Skillet because it’s one of those recipes that I find myself falling back on when I’m having a crazy day, don’t have much time for dinner prep and just need a simple, family-friendly meal.
Other than frying up the ground beef, it’s really a hand’s off dish. And I love that!
It’s is also a great recipe for using up leftover cream cheese. Anyone else struggle to know what to do with just a couple of ounces of cream cheese? Unfortunately, more times than I care to admit, mine would end up getting thrown out because it got moldy. (Clearly, I need to do better at following my own advice regarding how to avoid food waste!)
That is until I discovered this recipe! Now, leftover cream cheese is just my sign that it’s time to make this super easy ground beef recipe. 🙂
And don’t be scared to experiment! Recently, I only had 2 oz. of cream cheese so I added a big spoonful of cottage cheese to make up for the missing ounce and it ended up being very tasty. I’m guessing that you could also sub sour cream for a little bit of the cream cheese too.
I also love that this Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet is budget-friendly! I mean, who can’t appreciate that? 🙂 In fact, going by Aldi’s prices, you can make this whole recipe for right around $5. That means it costs less than $1.00 a serving!
One more thing. Because this is made with just a few simple, basic ingredients, using a quality, flavorful pasta sauce is key to giving it a good flavor.
I originally made it with just plain old tomato sauce, and while it was good, I discovered that it’s a lot tastier if the sauce is seasoned well. I often have the Classico Roasted Garlic pasta sauce on hand and it is my favorite for this recipe!
Easy Hamburger and Rice Skillet
Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 c. onion, chopped
- 1 c. uncooked long grain rice
- 2 1/2 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 oz. cream cheese, cubed
- 2 c. pasta sauce/tomato sauce (see Note below)
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- In skillet, cook ground beef and onion until browned; drain.
- Stir in rice, water and salt. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed; about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in cream cheese, pasta sauce and chili powder.
- Cover and heat through.
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This was a very tasty recipe and not too heavy. My young daughters really enjoyed learning following along to help make it, too. The only reason I am giving it a 4 star rating is because ended up with too much liquid, hacing to add more rice, which then required it to simmer in the pasta sauce for a bit longer and then sit on the stove for about 10 minutes with no heat to get that rice to not be crunchy. Next time I will know to maybe add a half cup more from the beginning. Otherwise, the flavor was excellent!
So glad that your daughters could enjoy helping you make this. That’s the joy of easy, simple recipes, isn’t it? Also, thanks so much for the feedback on why you gave the 4 star rating. That’s always really helpful and appreciated! I’m so puzzled as to why it would have been that way for you as I’ve made this literally probably 50 times and have never had an issue. But I wonder if different varieties of rice would affect, or how thick or thin the pasta sauce is or even how hot a stove cooks? At any rate, I’m glad you enjoyed it over all and have figured out how to make it work well for you next time around!
I loved this recipe. Very quick and easy and hearty too! I added some garlic powder and lots of black pepper.
Delighted that you enjoyed it, April! And your additions sound delicious too.
Has anyone tried adding cheese to the top? Maybe some kind of cheddar?
I’m going to try this recipe tonight. We generally like these one skillet dinners, but most that I have made have cheese on too.
You can definitely add cheese, Kim! And yes, cheddar would be delicious. I hope you enjoy it!
I am making this but doesn’t have pasta sauce, I used tomato sauce and velvetta cheese instead of cream cheese because my kids isn’t a fan of cream cheese in every food. I am hoping it turned out good dinner for my kids.
I’m sure those changes worked well. I hope your kids approved!🙂
My youngest is a little picky. She loved it! I doctored tomato soup as I was missing the pasta sauce, and used Velveeta instead of the cream cheese. Fabulous!
I love hearing that this met a picky eater’s approval! Always high praise! And I also love how you made it work with ingredients that you on hand. Such a great way to save money and make eating at home work (instead of getting take out etc.).
My daughter loves this meal it’s a mix of her favorite things except I can’t seem to get the rice correct it’s always a bit crunchy and I follow the directions 😭 (iv never been good at making rice)
Ugh, I’m sorry, MaryEllen! That’s frustrating! I would try to adding a bit of extra water as it sounds like the rice is using up all the liquid before it is completely done cooking. It might be because your stove cooks hotter than mine or do you not cover the pan? At any rate, if the rice is still a bit crunchy, I think a bit of extra liquid should do the trick.
Hey there! I only have instant white rice on hand. If i plan on using 1 cup of it, I should adjust the water to 1 cup, right? And I would cook it for less time?
I don’t really use instant rice, so I’m not sure how you would adjust the recipe to accommodate it. So sorry, Randa! If you tried it and it worked out well, I’d love to know as other reader’s would find it helpful too, I’m sure.
I was wondering the same so I just did it. I used 1 cup instant rice and about 1 and 1/4 cup water. I also added a can beans that was a mixture of kidney, pinto, and black beans. It was very yummy and the kids are chowing down as we speak.
Thanks so much for sharing that, Tabby! So good to know. And the bean additions sound really delicious too. We love beans and I think I’ll try it with those added next time.