How many calories are in 4 oz of 80 20 Ground Beef?

Ground beef is a staple ingredient in many delicious dishes, from hamburgers to meatloaf to chili. When watching your calorie intake, it’s important to understand how many calories are in the ground beef you use. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the calorie count of 4 oz of 80/20 ground beef.

What is 80/20 Ground Beef?

The term “80/20” refers to the lean-to-fat ratio in ground beef. 80/20 ground beef contains 80% lean beef and 20% fat. This is a common ratio for regular ground beef you’d find at the grocery store.

Ground beef labeled 80/20 has more fat than leaner options like 90/10 or 95/5 ground beef. The higher fat content means 80/20 ground beef will be juicier and more flavorful when cooked. However, the extra fat also means more calories.

Calories in 4 Ounces of 80/20 Ground Beef

A 4 ounce serving of raw 80/20 ground beef contains approximately:

  • Calories: 291
  • Total fat: 23g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Protein: 19g

So a quarter pound of raw 80/20 ground beef contains about 291 calories, with most of those calories (about 200) coming from fat.

Cooking Effects on Calories

The above nutrition information is for raw 80/20 ground beef. When the meat is cooked, some changes happen that affect the calorie content:

  • Water is lost, concentrating the calories and nutrients.
  • Some fat melts off during cooking.

The overall effect is a slight increase in calories when the meat is cooked. A 4 ounce serving of pan-fried 80/20 ground beef contains approximately:

  • Calories: 304
  • Total fat: 24g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Protein: 21g

If you drain off any melted fat after cooking, that will reduce the calories. But overall, expect around 300 calories in a cooked 4 ounce serving.

Comparing to Other Types of Ground Beef

How does 80/20 ground beef compare calorie-wise to leaner blends?

Type of Ground Beef Calories (per 4 cooked oz) Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g)
80/20 304 24 9
85/15 269 20 8
90/10 234 16 6
95/5 200 12 4

As you can see, the leaner the ground beef, the fewer calories it contains. 90/10 and 95/5 ground beef cuts the calories, fat, and saturated fat significantly compared to 80/20.

Ground Turkey Comparison

For an even leaner option, you could substitute ground turkey for ground beef:

Type Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat
80/20 Ground Beef (4 oz cooked) 304 24g 9g
Ground Turkey (4 oz cooked) 157 7g 2g

Ground turkey only has about half the calories of 80/20 ground beef, and significantly less fat. The tradeoff is a loss of some of the beefy flavor.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Ground Beef Dishes

If you want to keep the delicious taste of ground beef but cut some calories, here are some options:

  • Use a leaner blend. Switching to 95/5 beef trims about 100 calories per 4 oz.
  • Portion control. Reduce portion sizes to just 2-3 ounces of ground beef per serving.
  • Bulk it up. Mix in diced vegetables, brown rice, or beans to make the ground beef go farther.
  • Skip the bun. Enjoy ground beef in bowls, salads, lettuce wraps, or tacos instead of sandwiches.
  • Drain fat. Ensure excess fat drains off after cooking to remove some calories.
  • Replace half with mushrooms. Mashed up mushrooms can mimic the texture of ground beef. Replace half the meat with chopped mushrooms to cut fat and calories.

Nutrition Tips for Ground Beef

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when incorporating ground beef into a healthy diet:

  • Watch sodium levels, as ground beef can be high in sodium. Choose low-sodium beef or rinse after cooking.
  • Combine with heart-healthy fats like olive or avocado oil when cooking.
  • Pair with vegetables and whole grains to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Choose grass-fed beef for higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
  • Grill, broil, or roast instead of pan frying to reduce fat and calories.
  • Limit processed meats like sausage and bacon that are higher in sodium and unhealthy fats.

Calories in Common Ground Beef Dishes

To get an idea of the total calories when ground beef is part of a mixed dish, here are some estimates for common recipes using 4 ounces cooked 80/20 ground beef:

Food Calories
Cheeseburger 445
Taco with toppings 350
Meatloaf (4 oz meat + other ingredients) 315
Lasagna (4 oz meat + pasta, sauce, cheese) 400
Chili with beans and toppings 350

The additional ingredients like buns, cheese, rice, beans, and sauces add calories on top of just the ground beef itself. Keep portions balanced and choose lower calorie ingredients to keep the overall calories under control.

Should You Eat Ground Beef on a Diet?

Ground beef can be part of an overall healthy diet when eaten in moderation. Leaner blends like 95/5 ground beef provide protein, vitamins like B12, zinc, and iron with minimal fat and calories.

However, portion control is important, as just 4 ounces provides about 200 calories before any additional ingredients. Overdoing portions of fatty ground beef can lead to excess calories, quickly surpassing daily needs.

Substituting with ground turkey some of the time can reduce calories and fat intake while still providing a similar texture and convenience. And mixing in extra veggies helps add nutrition and keeps calories in check.

As part of a balanced, calorie-conscious diet that focuses on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and lean protein, ground beef can certainly be included in reasonable portions.


A 4 ounce serving of 80/20 ground beef contains approximately 304 calories when cooked. This is more than leaner blends or ground turkey, but the higher fat content means more robust beef flavor. There are several techniques to reduce the calories in ground beef recipes, like using leaner beef, cutting portion sizes, bulking up with vegetables, and choosing lower calorie buns and toppings. In moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, ground beef can be enjoyed while still watching calorie and fat intake.

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