best leftover hamburger recipe ideas
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These leftover hamburger recipe ideas come in handy if you made too many grilled burgers (or smashburgers) this Labor Day. They not only help you use up your food before it goes bad but make your next meal even faster.

And they’re so delicious you’ll probably plan on cooking extra burgers every time from now on.

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Since the meat is already cooked, you’ll just want to be careful not to overdo it; adding it to sauce or soup will help keep it moist, but for some of these recipes, you’ll basically only be warming up your leftover patties.

1. Sloppy Joes

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This cafeteria staple is so much better when you make it from scratch instead of opening a can. Tomato paste, bell peppers, onions, garlic, Worcestershire, spices, and cider vinegar add delicious depth to the sauce, but it’s still a simple dinner. Get our Sloppy Joe recipe.

2. Wendy’s Copycat Chili

crock pot chili recipe for slow cooker

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You can make a quick version of any chili with leftover hamburger, but why not a Wendy’s copycat recipe? It’s been claimed they use leftover patties for their beloved chili, but even if it’s not authentic, it’s convenient (and tasty too). Get the Wendy’s Copycat Chili recipe.

3. Tacos or Beef Taco Salad

taco salad in edible bowl recipe

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If your hamburgers are plainly seasoned, here’s an easy trick to make them taste perfect for tacos: Bloom the spices or taco seasoning you normally use in oil or butter and then mix in the crumbled, cooked beef. Pile it into classic crispy tacos, soft shells (like in our Picadillo Breakfast Taco recipe), or make our Beef Taco Salad recipe—edible tortilla bowls optional.

4. Cheeseburger Pie

easy cheeseburger pie recipe

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If you’re still in a burger mood are out of buns, crumble your leftover beef for this easy Cheeseburger Pie recipe. Or if you’re craving something more custardy like bread pudding, use the buns too and make this Cheeseburger Pudding recipe.

5. Ground Beef Pierogies

beef pierogies

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These Eastern European dumplings are easy to make thanks to the forgiving sour cream-enriched dough, and cooked beef makes a hearty filling that you can also mix with roasted veggies or mashed potatoes if you have any. These are boiled first, then fried in butter and oil. Serve with more sour cream for dipping. Get our Ground Beef Pierogi recipe.

6. Picadillo Meat Pies

Picadillo Empanada recipe

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For another take on beef encased in tender dough, make empanadas with your crumbled burger patties. Our Picadillo Meat Pie recipe adds olives and raisins to the meat for a piquant, sweet, and savory combo, but you can leave it plainer if you prefer.

7. Red Curry Sloppy Banh Mi

red curry sloppy banh mi sandwich

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Sauteed garlic and shallots plus red curry paste and coconut milk make leftover ground beef taste brand new. Put it on a baguette or roll for a banh mi-inspired sandwich with fresh herbs and crisp carrot and cucumber slices (which you can quick pickle in rice vinegar first). Get our Red Curry Sloppy Banh Mi recipe.

8. Quick Beef Ragu with Cheesy Polenta

beef ragu with cheesy polenta recipe

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Regular crushed tomatoes will work well here, but we suggest you keep a can or two of fire-roasted tomatoes in your pantry for this sauce (among other things) for the extra depth of flavor they add to a quick dish. You can serve this sauce over noodles if you like, but this rich, cheesy polenta is pretty fabulous (and a great way to use up a little leftover cream cheese too). Get our Quick Beef Ragu with Cheesy Polenta recipe.

9. Ground Beef Gyros

ground beef gyro recipe

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Use the same spice blooming trick for this recipe; briefly fry the seasonings in hot oil or butter to bring out their flavor, then mix with your burger chunks and wrap them up in pita or flatbread with a simple yogurt sauce and whatever fixings you lie. Get our Ground Beef Gyro recipe.

10. Moussaka

moussaka recipe

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This Greek casserole combines seasoned ground beef with veggies; it often has a layer of potatoes, but this Moussaka recipe sandwiches the meat layer between tender slices of eggplant and zucchini. The creamy bechamel on top is bolstered with cheese and egg for an extra rich and fluffy finish.

11. Beef Taco Soup

beef taco soup recipe

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Think of this as a thinner chili, ready in under an hour (even faster when you start with crumbled burger meat). Top it with cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and tortilla chips—or Fritos for extra crunch. Get our Beef Taco Soup recipe.

12. Beef Enchiladas

Beef Enchilada recipe

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Those fire roasted crushed tomatoes come in handy here too; add beans to the beef and cheese filling if you only have a little leftover hamburger and need to bulk it up. Get our Beef Enchilada recipe.

13. Joe’s Special

Joe's Special ground beef spinach scramble recipe

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Ground beef isn’t the first breakfast meat you think of (chances are that’s bacon or ham), but it’s a surprisingly good addition to scrambled eggs, along with spinach for some roughage. This San Francisco diner dish is great for dinner too. Get our Joe’s Special Scramble recipe.

14. Beefy Macaroni Casserole or Tex Mex Mac and Cheese

Tex Mex mac and cheese recipe

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A quick mac and cheese plus crumbled patties equals a homemade Hamburger Helper, but you can do even better than that. Our Beefy Macaroni Casserole recipe is one habit-forming option. Or try our Tex Mex Mac and Cheese recipe but use your leftover burgers in place of chorizo (to make up for the spice difference, add a little smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and garlic when the onion is almost cooked, then crumble in the beef).

15. One-Pot Beef Stroganoff

Easy One-Pot Beef Stroganoff recipe

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Using ground beef makes Stroganoff easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but you can use crumbled cooked burgers to make it even quicker. Egg noodles are ready in no time and can cook right in the same pan, making this an ideal one-pot meal. Get our One-Pot Beef Stroganoff recipe.

16. Mini Tamale Pies

Mini Tamale Pies recipe

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These tiny tamale pies are the perfect size for a snack or appetizer, but any kid would be happy to find them in their lunchbox (without the onions if they absolutely refuse, but they might not mind in this dish). The easy masa crust is simply pressed into place, and the richly spiced beef filling is topped with melted cheddar. Get our Mini Tamale Pie recipe.

17. Dolmathes

dolmathes recipe

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Greek stuffed grape leaves are easier to make than you think (and you can cook them in the Crock-Pot too), but you don’t have to turn out 50 at a time. If you only have a little burger meat left, combine it with some cooked rice (save the rest of that for fried rice) and fill as many leaves as you can. Eat them for lunch with hummus and flatbread, or serve with Greek BBQ for dinner. Get our Dolmathes recipe.

18. Salisbury Steak

salisbury steak recipe

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Using leftover hamburger patties won’t be quite the same since you can’t mix in the breadcrumbs and eggs to lighten the texture, but smothering them in this savory sauce still tastes great. Add a dash of Worcestershire to the mushrooms and shallots when they’re almost cooked since it’s missing from the meat. Get our Salisbury Steak recipe.

19. Stuffed Peppers

stuffed bell pepper recipe

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Stuffed bell peppers are something of a blank canvas, so along with your crumbled burgers, add whatever else you want to the filling (cooked rice or whole grains, onions, herbs, cheese, and so on). Just don’t forget the salt. Get our Stuffed Pepper recipe.

20. Patty Melt

patty melt recipe

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A patty melt is pretty much a grilled cheese-burger hybrid, so it’s an ideal way to use leftover hamburgers, though if yours are particularly thick, you may want to slice them in half lengthwise first. Caramelized onions and swiss cheese harmonize especially well with rye bread, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Get our Patty Melt recipe.

21. Shepherd’s Pie


Mashed potato topped shepherd’s pie (or cottage pie) is one of the best cold weather comfort foods around. You can make it with leftover hamburger but since you won’t get the browned bits from cooking the meat in the pan, add a dab of beef bouillon to deepen the flavor. Get our Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

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Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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