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How To Add Fat To Lean Ground Beef

Stuck with a load of lean ground beef and not sure how to fatten it up?
Don’t worry.
I’ve been in this exact situation more times than I care to remember.
In this recipe, I’m going to show you 7 quick and delicious ways to add that all-important fat to your ground beef.
4.5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lean ground beef
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 286kcal
Cost: $5


  • 1 portion beef back fat (tallow) optional
  • 1 portion bacon optional
  • 1 portion bacon fat optional
  • 1 portion chorizo optional
  • 1 portion butter optional
  • 1 portion sausages optional
  • 1 portion pork mince optional
  • 1 portion cheese optional


Add beef back fat (tallow)

  • Adding beef fat to lean ground beef can transform it into something truly magical.
    The trick to using beef fat is to use BACK FAT specifically.
  • Ensure both the tallow and beef are COLD before adding to your food processor. I recommend placing them in the freezer for around 20 minutes before your ready to process them. If the meat is too warm it will smear and you’ll end up with mushy ground beef.
  • The same applies to your grinding equipment. Place it in the freezer at least one hour before you need to use it.
  • Work out how much tallow you need to get the desired lean to fat ratio. If you’re unsure, skip to this section where I cover it in detail.
  • Grind together the ground beef and the tallow just until they’re both properly mixed. Don’t overdo this step. Too much handling can also result in a mushy texture.
  • If you don’t have a grinder or food processor at home, you may have some luck asking your butcher if they’d be willing to work in the fat for you.

Add bacon

  • You have three options when it comes to adding bacon to ground beef.
  • Grind the bacon and mix with the ground beef before cooking/making patties.
  • Add cooked bacon to your ground beef.
  • Use the bacon fat/drippings to cook the ground beef.
  • Warning: adding bacon in this way requires you to cook the meat ALL the way through. Food poisoning is a real thing and even more important when it comes to dealing with pork products.
  • Another open is to cook the bacon BEFORE grinding it and adding it to the ground beef. Cooking the bacon first still allows you to have your burgers rare to medium-rare without having to worry about any foodborne illnesses.
  • You can also add bacon fat to lean ground beef. Once you've calculated how much fat is required (see matrix), add the bacon fat to the lean ground beef before cooking.

Add sausage

  • Sausages are a great way to make your ground beef more juicy and fatty.
    And the best part?
    You don’t need any additional equipment or hassle to mix them together.
  • Work out how much fat you need to add, and then mix the sausage meat and ground beef together in a bowl.

Add chorizo

  • Keep it simple when adding chorizo. Providing the ground beef is around 90% lean, I recommend adding 1 part chorizo for 3 parts ground beef.

Add cheese

  • Adding cheese is a foolproof way to add fat and oozy-juicy-ness (is that even a word?). All without needing to add any other meats.
  • Choose your cheese. Blue cheese, Feta cheese, and Cream cheese all work well here.
  • Add a generous helping of your chosen cheese into the raw ground beef and gently mix by hand.
  • If you’re using a solid cheese I recommend cutting it into small chunks or use a cheese grater if you’re feeling lazy.
  • Cold cheese works best for this task. I recommend freezing the cheese for 20-30 minutes before mixing it into the raw beef.

Add butter

  • Adding butter to ground beef elevates the beef’s flavor profile while not adding any other distractions (flavors). Butter also adds moisture and tenderness to the beef.
  • Dice or grate the butter into small pieces (too big and you’ll have pockets of air in the beef once the butter melts).
  • Ensure the butter is cold (like ice cold) before adding to the beef. I recommend freezing both the butter and beef for about 30 minutes to make sure they’re at a similar temperature.
  • Gently work the butter pieces into the ground beef and form individual patties. A light touch is crucial here to prevent the ground beef from turning mushy.


Calories: 286kcal