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The Most Popular Ground Beef Recipes from Every Decade

Salisbury steak. Swedish meatballs. Cheeseburgers! Find out when the most popular ground beef recipes appeared on dinner plates across America.

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1900: Salisbury Steak

Salisbury steak was a low-cost recipe to make with beef that became popular in the late 1800s. The recipe consists of ground beef, seasonings and bread crumbs shaped into a patty and roasted or fried.
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1910: Meat Pie

While our favorite pies these days are mostly sweet, this savory version was popular first. Not only did it make a filling meal, but the crust of the pie was actually served as the baking dish!
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1920: Hamburger

Though hamburgers were created earlier in the 20th century, their popularity soared as the Great Depression began, thanks to their affordability. From there, the hamburger would arguably become one of America’s all-time favorite foods. See how this Depression-era hamburger stretches the ground beef.
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1930: Cheeseburger

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the ’30s that people realized how delicious a slice of cheese melted onto a hamburger could be. Fortunately for us, people have been experimenting with hamburger toppings ever since.
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1940: Meat Loaf

Meat loaf was a go-to dish during WWII, as it helped people stretch their protein and feed more mouths with less. Who would’ve thought a meal created out of necessity would turn into such a staple comfort food? Find more thrifty recipes from WWII.
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1950: Lasagna

In the ’50s, soldiers who had served in Europe brought back ethnic flavors to the United States. It wasn’t long before home cooks started churning out American versions of Italian food, like lasagna. It also became a top choice for TV dinners.
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1960: Swedish Meatballs

The fact that Swedish meatballs might not even be Swedish is neither here nor there—Americans love them regardless! This dish was particularly popular during the ’50s and ’60s as an appetizer.
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1970: Hamburger Helper

Hamburger Helper came to the rescue of frazzled home cooks everywhere during the ’70s. By mixing ground beef with some prepackaged additions, moms could have a meal on the table quickly and easily.
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1980: Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes became very popular in the 1980s. Not only are they a hit with kids because of their fun name and potential to make a mess everywhere, but they’re easy to make, too! Don’t miss the other iconic recipes we made in the ’80s.
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1990: Taco Salad

Practically all casual dining restaurants across the country listed a taco salad on their menu during the ’90s, and people ate it up. (Literally!) The simple combination of lettuce, cheese, spiced ground beef and tomatoes was (and still is) a crowd-pleaser.
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2000: Sliders

Mini foods were big in the first part of the 21st century. The sliders could be anything from grilled cheese to pulled pork and hamburgers. Find more slider recipes to share.
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2010: Cottage Pie

This recipe isn’t new—but it became unusually popular during the 2010s. There’s something about a hearty meat-and-veggie dish topped with mashed potatoes that’s comforting, especially at the end of a busy day.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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