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How to cook mince meat: easy tips

Mince meat is a great ingredient because it's versatile, easy to cook and cooks more quickly than other cuts of meat. For beginners and experienced chefs alike, there are a few easy tips that can help you make the most of your mince meat. Find out how to safely store, brown and freeze mince meat here. There are also heaps of delicious mince meat recipes to try.

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Mince cooking and browning tips

Mince is high in protein, cooks fast, is budget-friendly and easy to freeze, making it a favourite ingredient for family dinners. Always get the most flavour and goodness out of your mince by following these simple tips for browning and cooking mince!

Cook mince meat in batches

Mince is best cooked in batches for optimum browning. A big batch of mince in a small pan will stew in its juices, turn grey and won’t develop the same flavour that browned beef has. Add a little more oil with each batch if needed. The same rule applies for cooking meatballs.

Don’t cook mince meat straight from the fridge

While you can cook your mince meat cold, it’s best to take out the mince from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking. This will stop it from cooling down your hot pan too much. Speaking of which…

Use a hot pan to cook mince meat

Get your pan and oil nice and hot over medium-high heat before adding the mince meat in batches, otherwise it will stew.

Don’t stir the mince constantly

While in some recipes it’s important to break up the mince as it cooks, stirring it constantly won’t allow it to brown. Place the mince in the pan and break it up, then let it sit without moving for 2-3 minutes at a time to develop a crust. Alternate between breaking up the mince and letting it sit to brown until it's coloured to your liking.

How to tell when mince is cooked

Mince is cooked when the temperature has reached 75°C. If you don't have a thermometer, ensure it's been simmering on the heat (it should be bubbling gently) for at least 15 minutes. If you're cooking meatballs or meatloaf, use a thermometer to check the temperature or cut open to check it is cooked through.

Storing and freezing mince meat

Fresh mince can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Raw mince should be stored in the coldest part of your fridge, usually in the bottom corner.
To freeze mince meat you can freeze it in its packaging, or you can put it in another container to save space and reduce thawing time using the instructions below.

How to freeze mince meat

Fresh mince meat can be frozen before its use-by date. Do not refreeze raw, thawed mince.

  1. Remove it from the store packaging
  2. Place it in a freezer bag or zip-lock bag, squeezed all the air out and flatten the mince. This is what helps it to freeze and defrost more quickly. 
  3. Keep mince in the freezer for up to 2 months. 
  4. Defrost mince in the fridge overnight and use as soon as possible once thawed.

TIP: When storing or defrosting meat, ensure it is not placed above any other produce it could drip on. Defrost on a plate to catch any liquid and ensure mince is covered at all times.

Find heaps of great mince recipes below, or click here for creative ways to use mince meat. If you're a meatball lover, check out this collection of meatball recipes.

GET THE RECIPE: Easy Family Shepherd's Pie with Cheesy Mash

This easy dinner always goes down a treat with the family. The filling freezes particularly well for meal prep, too.

GET THE RECIPE: Turkey Meatball Pad Thai

This Pad Thai has a twist in the form of tasty meatballs! Some Pad Thai sauce is added to the turkey mince, giving it lots of great flavour.

GET THE RECIPE: Chicken Meatballs in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Chicken mince makes great meatballs that pair wonderfully with a mushroom sauce. Ricotta makes these chicken meatballs light and delicious.

Turkey Meatball Pad Thai

Basic Bolognese Sauce

Stuffed peppers

One-pan Meatball Parmigiana

20 Minute Penne Pasta

Chicken and Rice Enchiladas

Mexican Lasagne

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

Veggie and Chicken Meatball Soup