Why Ground Beef Smells Weird When Cooking

Why Ground Beef Smells Weird When Cooking

When cooking your ground beef, the reason for the smell can be a point of concern and inquiry. This is one of the favorites and popular food, which is also a great accompaniment because people love to eat ground beef. It is used to make hamburgers, spaghetti, and many other mouth-watering meals. 

The reason for the smell of ground beef will depend on the type of smell. Sometimes, it may be the seasonings used in cooking the ground beef that causes the smell. This smell is not foul but should be pleasing. Another reason for the smell of ground beef when cooking is if it is rancid. If you notice that the smell is foul, the meat is bad and should be disposed of.

Ground beef or minced beef is beef that has been chopped and most times, finely processed and packaged for consumption. It is used to make burgers, meat sauces, meatballs, and many others. It is common because it is cheap and used in many restaurants to make the amazing burgers people love to eat. 

Why Does Ground Beef Smell Weird When Cooking?

Ground beef does not have a strong or significant smell associated with it but will have a strong smell once it is spoiled.

At this point, it is no longer safe for consumption and should be disposed of. You may have noticed at one time when you brought the ground beef from the refrigerator only to notice some discoloration at the sides of the pack or inside the beef.

You can smell the meat to be sure it is still good, or dip your hands into it to feel if it is tangy or slimy. If the ground beef has a foul smell or feels tacky, dispose of it immediately.

To get rid of the slight bloody smell that accompanies the raw beef, add vinegar to your beef, or add seasonings that can reduce the smell. These seasonings include ginger, lemon, garlic, onions, curry, and many others. If the smell is however foul, there is no point trying to cover it up with the seasonings.

It is most likely already contaminated with bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Why Ground Beef Smells Weird When Cooking?
Source: Chef Lola’s Kitchen

Making Sure The Ground Beef Is Safe For You

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when cooking ground beef.

1. Always Check For Signs Of Spoiling

there are three popular ways to know if your meat is still good for consumption. Firstly, if the color of the meat has turned gray or brown, it is most likely not safe for eating. Another way to check for signs of spoiling is that you can sniff to see if it smells rotten.

Once the smell is foul, no matter how faint, throw it out. Lastly, you can touch the beef to check for signs of spoiling. If it feels slimy or sticky, it is dangerous to consume.

2. Do Not Cook or Fry When The Ground Beef Is Frozen

It is not advisable to cook the ground beef when frozen, because the heat might not be able to penetrate, and your meat has to be cooked thoroughly to avoid bacterial contamination. Thaw your meat properly before cooking.

3. Do Not Buy The Ground Beef in Bulk

Unless running a restaurant where there is high demand for ground beef, we recommend that you buy in small sizes and quantities to keep. 

4. Cook The Beef To The Proper Temperature

For your beef to be safe for eating, cook to the proper temperature of about 160°. A food thermometer will help to make sure you achieve this.

5. Refrigerate The Beef as Soon as You Purchase it 

Do not purchase your ground beef and leave it in the sink except you are ready to make use of it. It is advisable to refrigerate once you purchase. This is because it is supposed to be kept in a cool and dry place. 

How To Properly Cook Ground Beef

You may have been cooking the ground beef for years, but have been doing it the wrong way. Follow these quick tips to properly cook ground beef. 

  • Start by washing your hands and the utensils to be used for cooking.
  • Dry your pan and heat the oil in the pan.
  • Add the ground beef into the pan and let it sit for some time.
  • Let the water seep out from the beef before adding anything to it.
  • Season with your favorite ingredients and press with your spatula.
  • Brown the meat by keeping on the heat for a longer time.
  • Use your food thermometer to check if it has cooked well and thoroughly before removing it from the heat.

How Can You Tell if Cooked Ground Beef is Bad?

There are different ways to tell if cooked ground beef is bad. Two important techniques are smell and texture. Once the cooked ground beef smells like it is spoiled and putrid, do not take chances, it is most likely spoiled. Also, if it becomes slimy and sticky, it is bad for consumption.

Dispose of it as soon as you notice these signs and more. We recommend that you should not taste the beef if you are in doubt as to if it is still good or not because if you do, you expose yourself to contamination or poisoning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you rid of the beef smell when cooking?

To get rid of the beef smell when cooking, put the meat in a container before cooking and add vinegar or baking soda in medium quantity to wash. If the smell is strong, but not foul, you can soak the beef overnight. If the smell is foul, we recommend that you dispose of it immediately.

Does ground beef smell like it’s bad?

No. Ground beef does not smell like it’s bad. Although it has a faint raw scent and the smell might increase when cooking, especially after adding seasonings, it does not smell bad. Once it has a foul smell, the meat has gone bad and is no longer safe for consumption.

Why does cooking meat smell so bad?

Cooking meat should normally not smell so bad. Once it has a foul smell, the meat is rancid and should not be consumed. If consumed, it can hamper the health of the consumer.


Ground beef only has a faint bloody smell before cooking. Any type of foul smell apart from that should be considered, to ascertain if the ground beef is still safe for consumption.

We have mentioned three ways to check for spoilage, which include smell, feeling, or looking at the appearance.

To cook your ground beef thoroughly, we recommend that you make use of the food thermometer which is safe and accurate. We strongly advise against eating rancid ground beef, as it causes food poisoning and other health issues.

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