3-in-1 Hamburger Mix – Betty Crocker Favorite


I used to love my mom’s cooking.  I grew up in the 70s which was a 3 square meals a day era – and dinner always had a meat, a starch, a vegetable, rolls and salad.  One of my favorite things my mom used to make was a 3-in-1 hamburger mix that can make chili, sloppy joes, or my favorite, the cheese-broiled bbq sandwich.  I always thought my mom made these recipes up, or had them stored away in her olive green recipe box because they were handed down from her mother, and her mother’s mother for generations of us gals.  Imagine my suprise when this recipe, and about 20 other things we ate all the time showed up in one cookbook – Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two, 1964. I do remember my mom having this book – I think she got it as a wedding gift, but I had no idea our entire dinnertime repertoire was from this tiny cookbook.

Anyway, this recipe is one of my all-time favorites, and be sure to try at least one of them, as they are all good in that non-sophisticated 60s type of way.


1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tbsp. butter
2lb. ground beef
2/3 c. catsup (hee hee)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. chopped celery
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. MSG (cleverly called Accent Seasoning now)
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Saute onion in butter.  Add beef and brown lightly.  Drain off excess fat.  Add rest of ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Cool for use in other recipes below.  Makes 4 cups.

(This is what I thought chili was forever – it is not hot – it is very sweet.  It tastes nothing like any other chili I’ve had, but I still love it.)

1 1/3 cups 3-in-1 Hamburger Mix
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, including liquid
3/4 cup tomato juice
3 tsp. chili powder

Heat hamburger slowly in sauce pan.  Add rest of ingredients; heat through.  Makes 2 generous servings.

Heat 1 1/3 cups of  3-in-1 hamburger mix slowly in skillet.  Use as filling for hot buttered hamburger buns.  Makes 4 sloppy joes.

CHEESE BROILED BBQ (my favorite!)
Heat 1 1/3 cups 3-in-1 Hamburger Mix.  Butter 8 english muffin halves lightly – toast in oven or broiler until browned.  Top each half with some of the beef mixture and one slice of American cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese bubbles and is lightly browned.

15 thoughts on “3-in-1 Hamburger Mix – Betty Crocker Favorite

  1. zig ziglar used to tell this story of the mom teaching the newlywed daughter to cook the “traditional sunday dinner” of baked ham with all the trimmings. “first you cut off the ends of the ham before you put it in the baking pan.” The daughter asks, “why do you cut off the ends?” The mom says, “I don’t know, you just do. That’s what my mom taught me when I was a newlywed.” The daughter says “well, let’s check with Grandma and find out.” They call Grandma, who says “that’s what my mom taught me to do when I was a newlywed, why?” Long story short, they go ask Great-grandma, who gives them an odd look, and says “that’s the only way it would fit into my pan….”

    You’re welcome.

  2. Thanks very much for this recipe. I lost mine, and since it makes the best sloppy joes, I have been looking for it for a long time. I still have the cookbook, but that particular worn page disappeared. Actually found the cookbook itself in a consignment shop and copied the recipe on an envelope I had in my purse (did not want to buy the entire book). But I carelessly tossed the envelope into the trash! Thank goodness for “google”.


    Had the book as a new bride and lost it somewhere over the decades. I wanted to fix
    this tonight and lo and behold you had the recipe I needed.

    Many thanks again 😉

  4. My mom has this cookbook and let me borrow it as a newlywed, until I got my “kitchen legs”. We both love this recipe.

  5. My wife bought this cookbook when we got married in 1965 and it has a special place in our pantry. We just had chili from this recipe this evening. It makes tremendous eats. So glad you have shared the recipe with others.

  6. My Betty Crocker cookbook is long gone, but I really love this 3-1 recipe. I just knew it would be available on the Web somewhere. Thank you so much for posting.

  7. I found out about this cookbook after searching “classic 60s cookbooks” on Google. I wanted to find something that would have been considered a “must have” for newlyweds and housewives in the 60s. Call me crazy, but having recently moved to a rather “retro” apartment, I thought it would be fun to make a “retro” dinner to suit the surroundings one night.
    My used copy came in the mail yesterday, and to my delight it is in excellent condition and I love how many coloured pictures there are of the finished meals. Needless to say I will be using this cookbook for more than just ‘one’ night as previously thought.
    What’s more interesting, is how similar the meals photographed in this book resemble the table settings and meals prepared in 60s sitcoms, for example, Bewitched, which has always been a favourite show of mine. I know this cookbook came out right when Bewitched premiered, and it’s just really neat to see the images come to life on the show.
    I also loved reading about your experiences with your favourite recipes from this book. It’s all well and good to read the recipes, but to hear of what favourites people had along with their memories, well that just adds life to a 50 year-old book!

  8. This is my absolute favorite recipe for sloppy joes, from my old Betty Crocker cookbook. I had torn it out, used it many times, then lost the recipe, and was so very glad to find it here!! Now I can make it again – Thank you!

  9. I grew up in the 60’s and got this book as a wedding gift in 1965. Marriage fell apart and so did the cookbook, but I saved this recipe. Had the sloppy joes last night (YUM), and will be throwing together the chili to use up the remainder after work tonight. As the recipe above states, this is the only chili I had when I was growing up. Sweet and delicious! Not too spicy.

  10. I also received this cookbook for the wedding gift. I have used it for years and years. Some of the best recipes come from this cookbook. I winter in Florida and do not have that book with me so thank you for posting this recipe I have been making it from heart and was able to get all the ingredients correct, just the measurements were wrong.

  11. I have been looking for this recipes for years! I received the cookbook as a wedding gift in 1968. The cookbook fell apart and the recipe was lost. So glad I found it again!!
    My kids and husband loved this recipe.

  12. Thanks for posting this recipe. I received this cookbook for a shower present in 1967 and since I was in graduate school I had neither the time or money to spend on cooking. Now some 53 years later I still use some of the recipes from that book especially the three in one hamburg and the chicken a la king.

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