Quick tips on what to look for when buying ground beef

Updated: June 09, 2014

To accurately gauge the amount of fat in ground beef, look to the percentages. If the package is labeled “80% lean,” that means it’s 20% fat. Fresh ground beef goes through a number of natural color changes. The beef may look bright red on the surface, where it has been exposed to oxygen, while the inside remains purplish-red.

A. Ground chuck 20-25% Fat

B. Ground sirloin* 15-20% Fat

C. Ground round 15% or Less Fat

* What Cooking Light most frequently uses in recipes calling for ground beef. Our Test Kitchens staff considers 15% ideal.

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