How to Grind Meat in a Food Processor

Ground Chicken

With all of the diet changes happening in my life right now, I’ve become very aware of what I am putting into my body.  A month ago, I came down with a bad stomach bug after eating some homemade turkey burgers.  While I can’t exactly pinpoint the problem food, I am certain it was the ground turkey I got at the supermarket.  Since then, I’ve been grinding my own meat at home.  Now I did happen to experience a fair amount of weight loss from the stomach bug, so perhaps I should continue on eating the supermarket ground meat?  Really, I’m just two stomach bugs away from my target weight.  But, I’d rather not use up any more sick days at work for the same issue.  Also, it always seems like ground meat products are in the news wrapped up in some sort of scandal: recalls, salmonella, E. coli, and even horse meat!  So I’m going to stick with grinding my meat at home.  And let me tell you, the process couldn’t be easier.  Continue reading for the method.

Frozen Chicken Before I share with you my process for grinding meat at home, I want to tell you about some of the other benefits.  First, you will have complete control over the type of meats you add to your dish.  Try switching up your everyday burger with a mix of ground beef and ground bacon.  Grind up some turkey leg meat and chicken thigh meat for a flavorful poultry blend.  Second, the process results in a product with superior texture compared to supermarket varieties.  When making burgers or meatloaf, the loosely packed meat will help keep your meal moist and juicy.  My last benefit only applies to red meat.  Since you know exactly what’s going into your meat blend, you can cook it more on the rare side without risk of food born illness.  And if you start with super high quality beef or lamb, you can even eat it raw!

Chicken Larb Here’s how you can make ground meat at home:

  1. Start with fresh meat.  I’m going to use chicken as an example.
  2. Cut chicken in 1-inch chunks and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Be sure that the chicken pieces are not touching each other.  You don’t have to be overly precise here.
  3. Transfer baking sheet to the freezer and freeze the chicken for 20 minutes.  This will help the food processor cut the meat cleanly.
  4. Working in batches, add the partially frozen chicken cubes to a food processor, and pulse until the desired consistency is reached.  For dishes like beef tartar, you’ll want a more coarse grind.  For the Chicken Larb pictured above, a more fine grind.  Transfer ground chicken to a clean bowl.  The amount of batches will depend on how much meat you are grinding.  For 1 to 2 pounds, I usually process in 3 batches.
  5. Pick through the ground chicken to see if any larger chucks remain, and regrind those pieces.
  6. Use the ground chicken immediately or freeze until ready to use.

That’s it!  So safe and easy.

Chicken Larb

Related recipes and articles:

Grind Meat at Home for Tender Burgers

For the Love of a Good Burger

1770 House Meatloaf

50 / 50 Burger

Mexican Pork Meatballs in Tomato-Chipotle Chile Sauce


  1. says

    Whenever I try to make burgers at home they always turn out denser and spongier than what I’m trying to go for. I always blamed this on me over handling the meat but it is true that the ground meat I buy from supermarkets is already pretty tightly packed. Must try to grind my own someday!

  2. says

    It’s true. ground meat from the store can be a problem. Bad bugs live on the outside of meat. If it is not washed properly and then ground, the bad bugs end up on the inside. Buying quality meat. Cleaning it before grinding it yourself is a good way to stay in charge. This inspires me. GREG

  3. says

    Interesting that you mention having problems with your meat. I always try to get it from a farmer’s market or from Whole Paycheck, which for a grad student means always a lot, I almost always end up getting ground meats (I always buy organ meats if possible, those things are cheap!)

    Also, I’m not sure my poor Cuisinart can handle grinding the meat. It gets hot whenever I make almond or coconut butter!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      I do enjoy meat products from Whole Foods, but I have a hard time spending the money! It’s so expensive! I have an older food processor that I got at Macy’s in 2007! 6 years and it’s still doing well. It’s actually the one Ina uses all the time.

  4. cyndi says

    When my local market has angus beef chuck roasts on sale I have the butcher to grind a couple of those for me. YUMMM!!!

  5. says

    Hey Brandon! Argh, sorry that you got food poisoning. Glad that it’s led you to make your own ground meat though… much cleaner, leaner and hopefully bug free! Fantastic idea to cube and freeze the meat before processing it. My first attempt at making ground chicken consisted of me throwing cubed chicken straight into the food processor, then blending it with chilli and various herbs. It turned out quite mushy and sticky; fine when cooked in Thai chicken cakes but not ideal for other recipes. Since then, I’ve been mincing my own meats and fish by hand on a chopping board. It’s quite therapeutic actually… plus, I get to imagine that I’m some ancient housewife making San Choy Bau by an incense burner in a timber hut 😉 Definitely trying your freezing step next time, thanks!

  6. says

    Why did I never think of doing this before? I guess because I thought it would just make a big mess. That freezer trick makes all the difference. It’s a great way to get high quality ground meat and if you want you can make it low fat by cutting off all visible fat before you grind. Way better than buying the ground up parts of the animal that you don’t want to even think about. Thanks!

  7. Donna says

    I inquired with the meat market man once and he instructed that you grind your beef twice to get the consistence of the ground meat in the store. I have down this and it works. Time consuming, but works and handles beautifully

  8. says

    What a fabulous, simple idea – why didn’t I think of it? Especially as here in Sweden we can’t get turkey or chicken mince (or not as easy as in the UK) and I much prefer knowing what’s in my mince!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Yes!!! Definitely give this a try then. PS. I just posted a new article asking for Sweden foodie recommendations. Please check it out and share if you’d like. Thanks Tracy!

  9. says

    I’ve been wanting to try this for homemade burgers because most of the ground meat here in Japan is a mix of pork and beef. Grinding it myself is the perfect solution! :)

    • Brandon Matzek says

      The initial time spent in the freezer is just to firm up the meat. It doesn’t actually freeze solid. This will help you get clean cuts in the food processor.

  10. Max says

    Why grind 1/3 of the chicken at the time irrespective of weight? There’s no weight given but you say grind 1/3, then the next 1/3 then the next 1/3. So you only put a third of it in the food processor at a time regardless of whether you’re grinding 1 pound or 10? I’ll just use common sense, but not everybody has it! Thanks for the tips.

  11. Hannah says

    Hi Brandon
    This is an awesome website. I would like to slow cook meat and then puree it. Do all food processors do this? Do you have any recommendations for a brand for food processors?
    Thanks heaps :)

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Hannah, most food processors should be able to handle that; however you just have to make sure you’re not adding too much liquid. I use a Cuisinart, and it’s a work horse. I’ve had it for many years, and it’s still kicking!

  12. Lynda says

    I have several pounds of chuck that I cut into cubes when I got it a couple of months ago and froze at the time. I was thinking I may try to grind it still frozen. Have you ever tried this?

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Grinding meat that is frozen solid may damage your food processor, so I would recommend against it. Let the meet thaw until firm, then try. The freezing step here just firms up the meat, it doesn’t freeze it solid.

  13. Waltmier says

    I grind my chicken breast the day that I buy them. Take skin off and cut into smaller pieces put into freezer 1/2 hr.
    I have a Kitcken Aid with a food grinder attach. In to a large bowl with a second bowl with ice water to keep the chicken cool. Add the spices that you like & make patties then in the freezer right away. Two to a freezer bag. Take out of freezer put in refrigerator to defrost. Cook on a hot pan with a little oil. Also on a grill outside.
    Be sure to wash the grinder thoroughly and dry. I never buy ground chicken in the store you never know just what is it.WW


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>