This tasty and cheesy ground beef casserole is keto and low-carb. One of my easiest ground beef recipes and ready in just 30 minutes, it's perfect for a weeknight dinner.
This casserole makes excellent leftovers that taste even better the next day and can be quickly reheated in the microwave.
Whenever I'm not sure what to make for dinner, I make this tasty casserole. Making it couldn't be easier! Brown some ground beef, add cream cheese and spices, sprinkle with shredded cheddar, and bake.
This ground beef casserole is keto and low-carb, low calorie too if that's a concern to you. But most importantly, it's delicious! Leftovers are great too, so you can double the recipe if you wish.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients when making this tasty casserole. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Ground beef: I use extra-lean ground beef in this recipe. Normally I prefer lean, not extra lean. But here, I drain the fat anyway, plus I add other creamy ingredients.
Salt and pepper: I use fine sea salt. If you use coarse kosher salt, you can increase the amount you use.
Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Cream cheese: I use reduced-fat, but full-fat is fine if that's what you prefer.
Shredded cheddar: I love using extra-sharp cheddar. It's so flavorful!
Parsley: Used mostly for garnish, but it also adds a nice layer of flavor.
Making this ground beef casserole is truly easy. I included detailed instructions in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to quickly brown the ground beef with a few spices.
Now, mix in some cream cheese and shredded cheddar.
Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle it with a little more cheese, then bake until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Easy!
Frequently asked questions
I used to always buy lean ground beef (85% lean). But recently I've started experimenting with using extra lean ground beef (93% lean).
In many ground beef recipes, including this casserole, I end up draining the fat anyway. So it actually makes sense to use leaner ground beef.
I also find that reduced-fat cream cheese gives me excellent results in recipes, so I sometimes opt for using it.
So you'll see that in this recipe, I use extra lean ground beef, reduced-fat cream cheese, and a relatively small amount of shredded cheddar, with excellent, tasty, and creamy results. However, if you wish, by all means, use full-fat ingredients!
Yes. Traditional casserole recipes include a starchy component. However, I've been making low-carb casseroles for many years now.
I have found that they are excellent without any starch and with just a protein ingredient, a creamy ingredient (sour cream, mayonnaise, heavy cream), spices, and sometimes a vegetable.
Fatty ground beef is tastier than lean ground beef. But you can greatly improve the flavor of even extra-lean ground beef by salting and seasoning it liberally and by adding creamy and/or dairy ingredients such as sour cream or cheese.
When initially browning the ground beef, it's OK if it remains a bit pink. After all, it will finish cooking in the oven. And leaving it a bit pink in the first stage of cooking will help it remain nice and juicy.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- I intentionally don't include chopped onions in this recipe, because it's very tasty with the onion powder and it's so much easier not to deal with chopping an onion. But you can add a medium chopped onion when browning the beef! Maybe you're not as lazy as I am. 😉
- Another nice variation is to mix some hot sauce into the beef mixture.
- You can also add more spices, including smoked paprika and chili powder.
- Provolone works well as a substitute for the cheddar in this recipe.
Any side dish goes with this casserole. It's so very versatile. I most often serve it with an easy salad of tossed greens (this arugula salad is very good), or with a simple vegetable dish such as steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus.
This casserole makes excellent leftovers that taste even better the next day and can keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
I reheat the leftovers in the microwave, covered, on 50% power. Sometimes I freeze individual servings. They can be frozen for up to three months and reheated in the microwave.
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Keto Ground Beef Casserole
- Olive oil spray for pan
- 2 lb. extra lean ground beef (93% lean)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese cubed
- 1 cup shredded cheddar divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a 2-quart casserole dish with olive oil and set it aside.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly spray it with olive oil.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until the meat is no longer raw, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and return it to the skillet.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne into the beef, then slowly and patiently mix in the cream cheese until fully melted and incorporated.
- Turn the heat off, and mix ½ cup of the shredded cheddar into the beef mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheddar on top.
- Bake the casserole until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
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