This southwestern inspired ground beef and sweet potato skillet is an easy one-pan meal everyone will love. This recipe works great for meal-prepping, the leftovers are delicious!
Skillet meals are highly coveted in our house. Mainly because I cook, he does the dishes and anytime there’s only one pan to clean up, he’s a happy camper.
It’s hard to complain about a meal like this that takes 30 minutes from prep to plate, uses one dish and tastes just as good leftover days later as the night it’s made.
If that sounds good to you, you’re going to love this ground beef and sweet potato skillet recipe. It’s filled with Southwestern Tex-Mex flavors so it will appeal to most. It can be served a variety of ways or repurposed for any meal of the day.
Check out this Mexican ground beef skillet too for a similar recipe that uses rice instead of sweet potatoes.
It’s worth mentioning since we’re only a couple of weeks out from Thanksgiving and leftover turkey, this turkey sweet potato skillet recipe is very similar.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE GROUND BEEF SWEET POTATO SKILLET
- olive oil
- red onion
- ground beef
- red bell pepper
- sweet potatoes
- green chiles (swap out finely diced jalapeños if preferred)
- canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted or regular)
- Southwestern spices – cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper)
- cheddar cheese
- cilantro, avocado and lime for garnish
Ground beef – I personally think ground beef goes the best with sweet potatoes but if you prefer ground turkey, chicken or pork, any of those can be swapped out for the beef in this recipe.
Another ground red meat like lamb, elk, bison or venison will also work. Check out these bison stuffed peppers for a great use for ground bison!
HOW TO MAKE THIS GROUND BEEF AND SWEET POTATO RECIPE
Once all the ingredients are prepped, place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and beef and cook until the beef is browned breaking it up into smaller pieces with a spatula.
Add the garlic and spices, stir to combine and cook for a minute until fragrant.
Add the bell pepper, green chiles, sweet potato, tomatoes and water to the pan. Stir to combine then cover with a lid and cook on a low simmer for about 15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the lid, top with the cheddar cheese then cover again and cook until the cheese is melted.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, avocado slices and lime wedges before serving.
THE BEST WAY TO SERVE THIS SWEET POTATO AND GROUND BEEF SKILLET
Keep it as is – this skillet recipe is a good balance of protein, carbs and fat and certainly doesn’t require anything else to make it feel like a satisfying whole meal. Feel free to enjoy the dish as is!
Over rice – cook up some white or brown rice and make this meal more like a rice bowl. This spicy beef and red pepper rice bowl is another delicious bowl recipe to try.
Cauliflower rice – if you want the satisfaction of serving the skillet meal over rice without the carbs, cauliflower rice is a great option. Curry cauliflower rice is one of my favorite side dishes to top with protein for lower-calorie and carb meals.
Other grains – quinoa, millet or farro are also other grains that would work well to pair this with.
Tacos – add a couple of taco toppings like pickled red onions or fermented red cabbage and turn the sweet potato beef skillet into a taco filling.
Make a hash – if you want to enjoy this for breakfast, take any leftovers and reheat in a pan. Crack an egg or two on top and serve it hash style. Reminds me of this oldie but goodie harissa sweet potato hash recipe.
Alternatively, enjoy something with a similar Mexican flair alongside as a light side dish like this mango black bean salad.
IS THIS RECIPE SPICY?
Not really. There’s a good amount of spice used for flavor but the heat level is relatively mild.
If you’re sensitive to heat, lessen the amount of chili powder or just omit it entirely. Smoked paprika lends smokiness not spice and cumin is the quintessential Mexican flavoring spice.
Canned green chiles add a little bit of heat but nothing extreme. If you plan to swap them for fresh jalapeños, the dish will be spicier.
You can also add a dash of sriracha (it’s a key ingredient in this ground beef stir fry recipe for a touch of heat) to level up the spicy flavor.
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?
This recipe is ideal for meal-prepping. It tastes great as leftovers and is easily doubled if you want to make an even bigger batch.
This pork and cabbage skillet is another meal-prep worthy recipe too.
HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE
Any leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If you want to freeze this, let it cool completely to room temperature then store in a freezer safe container. I would recommend omitting the cheese if freezing and adding it once you plan to serve.
MORE SKILLET RECIPES TO TRY:
Tex-Mex Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Skillet
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4 ounce can green chiles, drained
- 2 cups peeled and finely chopped sweet potatoes, about 1 large potato
- 15 ounce canned diced tomatoes, fire roasted if desired
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Fresh cilantro for garnish, optional
- Sliced avocado for garnish, optional
- Lime wedges
- Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and ground beef. Cook until the beef is browned, breaking up into smaller pieces with a spatula.
- Add minced garlic and spices and stir to combine letting cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the bell pepper, green chiles, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and water. Stir to combine then cover with a lid and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove the lid, top with the cheddar cheese then cover again with the lid until melted, about 1-2 more minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and serve with lime wedges.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.