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Loaded Ground Beef and Potatoes Skillet

This bacon cheddar ground beef and potatoes skillet layers thinly sliced potatoes with seasoned ground beef and is baked potatoes au gratin style.

It’s basically the epitome of comfort food. But thanks to a few lightened up ingredients, the nutrition facts are a bit friendlier than you might expect. One serving of cheesy ground beef and potatoes has 22 grams of protein and will only run you 215 calories, 8 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, and 6 WW Smart Points.

You probably won’t need much help with this recipe, but I’ll walk you through everything below and touch on ingredient modifications as well. You can find the printable ground beef and potatoes skillet recipe at the bottom of this post.

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Loaded Ground Beef and Potatoes Skillet Recipe Walkthrough

The stovetop portion of this recipe cooks fast so I’d start with slicing your taters. I went with the same red and gold mini potatoes I used in my rosemary parmesan potatoes and cheesy air fryer potatoes recipes, but you’re welcome to use any tater you’d like.

If you use a starchier potato like a russet, you may need to extend the bake time or cut thinner slices. As you may be able to tell from the photo below, I did a rough 1/4-1/2″ slice with a knife. Don’t sweat perfection here.

thinly sliced red and gold potatoes

Cooking the Bacon and Ground Beef

If I could change one thing about my ever popular sticky sweet ground beef and broccoli recipe it would be cooking raw bacon in the pan before the beef instead of using precooked bacon. Though it was meant to be a super fast recipe, I guess. 

Anyway, that’s what you’ll do for this ground beef and potatoes skillet. Cook a bit of bacon in a cast iron skillet, drain the grease, then cook some ground beef to soak up all that flavor.

chopped bacon pieces before and after cooking in a cast iron skillet

You can see in the photos above that I like to chop my bacon raw before pan frying. I find this allows the bacon to cook faster and more evenly. Feel free to throw the slices straight in the pan and crumble later, though.

I’ve made some slight seasoning adjustments based on reader feedback to pack a bigger flavor punch. You can always salt and pepper to taste at the end, too.

seasoning the ground beef

Since I just gave my spiel on browning ground beef in yesterday’s sweet chili ground beef and brussels sprouts recipe, I’ll spare you that and give you the cliffs notes. Don’t be afraid to leave the ground beef alone in the skillet to develop a little crust before breaking apart to finish cooking.

If you’d like to add even more flavor to your beef, check out the burger sauce I used in my low carb bacon cheeseburger skillet.

Adding the Potatoes, Milk, and Cheese to Bake

adding the potatoes to the skillet with the cooked ground beef

In my first test of this ground beef and potatoes skillet I simply tossed the potatoes in the cooked ground beef. It was fine, but I found taking the extra step to add a bottom layer of potatoes made the finished product much easier to serve and eat.

The recipe calls for skim milk and unlike some other recipes of mine, I wouldn’t recommend making substitutions here. A lack of protein content in something like almond milk could make things a bit soupy.  And the same goes for beef or chicken broth—you may need to cook forever to reduce the broth enough.

adding the milk and cheese to the ground beef and potatoes

If you’re using a lower fat cheese or hard cheese like parmesan, you might want to cover with foil or save the cheese for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

P.S. Don’t use a lower fat cheese. The extra calories are worth it.

Final Ground Beef and Potatoes Recipe Notes

The recipe mentions using paper towels to blot excess grease with fattier cuts of ground beef, but you might want to do this regardless to make serving a bit easier. There’s meant to be a small amount of moisture remaining in the bottom of the skillet, but it should be minimal.

If you use a smaller skillet or don’t have an oven-safe skillet, cook the bacon and beef on the stovetop before transferring everything to a baking dish. You can find the cast iron skillet and other kitchen equipment I recommend on my Amazon storefront, if you’re interested.

And I think that’s all you need to know! If you have a question about this ground beef and potatoes skillet, leave a comment below or join my Facebook group with more than 10k healthy home cooks that would love to help you out! 

loaded ground beef and potatoes skillet

Loaded Ground Beef and Potatoes Skillet

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A one-pan recipe for cheesy potatoes with crispy, seasoned ground beef and bacon.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef, 96/4
  • 20 (500g) Red and Gold Mini Potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices Center Cut Bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 C (60mL) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 C (480mL) Skim Milk
  • 1 C (112g) Shredded Cheddar
  • 1 Tbsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cook the bacon in a 12" cast iron skillet (or a large oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat before transferring to a paper towel. (Crumble and save for later.)
  3. Drain the remaining bacon grease and place the ground beef in the skillet. Add the dry mustard, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce towards the end of cooking. Cook until no pink remains and turn off the heat.
  4. Push the ground beef to one side of the pan and place the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the skillet before covering with the beef and repeating on the other side, creating a bottom layer of potatoes covered with the ground beef. Top with remaining potatoes.
  5. Add the milk to the skillet and top with shredded cheddar.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until very little liquid remains and the cheese begins to bubble and slightly brown around the edges. (If you use a fattier ground beef or full fat milk, you may want to tilt the skillet and use a paper towel to blot any extra grease runoff towards the end of cooking.)
  7. Let the skillet cool briefly before serving. Top with the crumbled bacon and chopped green onion. Enjoy!

Notes

Each serving has 6 Smart Points.

Troubleshooting Notes

  • Different skillet sizes may affect bake time. If you use a smaller skillet and need to extend bake time, you can cover the top to avoid burning the cheese if necessary.
  • Be sure to reduce any liquid from cooking the ground beef (the skillet should be mostly dry) before adding the potatoes.
  • If all else fails, you can use paper towels to blot any remaining grease/liquid or tilt the skillet over a container to drain any remaining liquid before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 160g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 22g

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If you're a meat and potatoes lover, this recipe is for you. It's the epitome of comfort food but lower calorie thanks to a few key ingredients. Every serving has 22 grams of protein with just 13 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fat, and 6 WW SmartPoints!

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