Saucy Beef Appetizer

This recipe for the saucy beef appetizer is so easy that you’ll have your hungry hordes munching away in no time. Saucy beef is nestled in phyllo cups and topped with mini mozzarella cheese pearls, making these the perfect game-day appetizer.

A plate of the appetizer with a bottle of red sauce in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

I WANT QUICK AND EASY APPETIZERS whenever I’m trying to prepare for a game day gathering. But I don’t want to serve boring chips, dip, or salsa! I want stand-out appetizers so delicious my guests will clamor for my recipe.

I’m funny like that.  You might say, competitive!

Save This Recipe form

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great new recipes from us every week!

The flavor of this beef party appetizer recipe is outstanding, and the preparation is so quick and easy that it can be on your table in less than 17 minutes.

We are a participant in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. #CommisionsEarned. You can read my disclosure here.

I also wanted to showcase this RAGÚ sauce as it has a wonderful taste and goes perfectly in this dish.

  • Even though I use cumin and oregano when I’m sautéing the meat, you can use different herbs. Some good choices are parsley, tarragon, and basil. I would still use ground cumin, regardless.
  • I’ve made this appetizer with diced onions as well. If you do, it will take about 7 minutes more while you cook the onion in the pan on high heat.
  • You can also season it differently to suit your needs. Here are two suggestions: add black pepper and or minced garlic.
a green plate with phyllo cups filled with saucy beef and a pearl mozzarella ball
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make this beef appetizer


Get out a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet. Also, get a jelly roll pan or baking sheet.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – ground beef, red sauce, frozen phyllo cups, cumin, oregano, salt, and pearl mozzarella. (A)

Step two

Heat the sauté pan on medium heat, and once that heats up, add olive oil.

Once that heats (shimmers), add the beef and use a metal spatula to break it up.

Step three

Add cumin, oregano, and salt. Mix and sauté for around 5 minutes. You want the beef to be still pink and not fully cooked. (B)

Left - Ground beef, jar of red sauce and mozzarella pearls along with a sauté pan in the background. Right - Cooked ground beef in a sauté pan with a jar of red sauce in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step four

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and pour around half the jar of RAGÚ sauce on the beef. (C)

Step five

Take the phyllo cups from the freezer and place them on a small jelly roll pan. With a teaspoon, spoon some of the saucy beef in each cup. You can heap it. (D)

(I use a 1/2 pound of beef, so you will have extra unless you buy a few boxes of the phyllo cups.)

Left - The red sauce mixed in with the pan of ground beef. Right - A pan of little phyllo cups filled with red sauce and beef with the jar of sauce
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step six

Take a mini pearl mozzarella ball and place one on each phyllo cup.

Pearl mozzarella placed on the beef appetizer with the jar of sauce in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step seven

Bake for 7 – 8 minutes. You want the cheese to be melted and the phyllo cups lightly browned.

I plate them and can’t help myself, so I pick one up.

A woman's hand holding one of the beef appetizer's over the plate of the appetizer
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

And take a bite.

The woman's hand holding the appetizer with a bite out of it over the platter with the sauce in the back
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.


You will love the sauce, beef, mozzarella, and phyllo dough combination. It makes these beef cups such a treat to eat! They will surely be a big hit at your next game-day party.

I hope you enjoyed this saucy beef appetizer recipe!

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A green plate of the beef and cheese appetizer in front of the jar of sauce - square

Saucy Beef Appetizers

Get ready to wow your dinner guests! Check out this tasty, saucy beef appetizer recipe that’s sure to be the talk of the party.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: beef appetizers, saucy beef appetizer
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 15 pieces
Calories: 54kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dash of ground pepper
  • 1/2 jar RAGÚ Old World Style Traditional® sauce (or any pasta sauce)
  • 15 mini pearl mozzarella balls
  • 15 frozen phyllo cups


Make It!

  • Heat sauté pan on medium heat. Once that heats up, add olive oil.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Add ground beef, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Chop up the beef into little pieces.
    1/2 pound grass-fed ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/8 teaspoon salt, dash of ground pepper
  • Add pasta sauce and mix until combined.
    1/2 jar RAGÚ Old World Style Traditional® sauce
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Spoon small amounts of saucy beef in the phyllo cups – you can heap it so it won't spill out.
    15 frozen phyllo cups
  • Add a mini pearl to each beef cup, I press mine down a little.
    15 mini pearl mozzarella balls
  • Bake for 7 minutes. You want the cheese to be melted and the phyllo cups lightly browned.
  • Plate
  • Eat
  • Enjoy
See all my favorite tools and gift ideas at my Amazon Store page!Check out Elaine’s Amazon Store!


If you are having a bunch of people over to watch the game, double this recipe!


Serving: 3pieces | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 44mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Get new recipes in your inbox!Click here! to sign up for our newsletter
Website | + posts

From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

Similar Posts


  1. These saucy appetizer cups look so cute and absolutely delicious!!! I love making 1 bite snack for gamedays as they are so easy to move around with. Also loving the combination of Ragu with Double Cheddar sauce 🙂

  2. Using the jarred sauces make these so fast to prepare. It’s a good thing! I’m sure these just fly off the tray at any get together.

  3. I would easily make a meal out of these cute and delicious little tasty gems. Perfect for parties….and just because.

  4. These look like such perfect party food bites! I grew up eating RAGÚ but in a much less elegant way than this. What a fun recipe!

  5. They look so pretty as well as delicious. I don’t eat meat, but I can still recognize a flavorful tasty appetizer when I see one. These are perfect little bites!

  6. You’ve got some great time savers for your Mini Saucy Beef Appetizer Cups! I’ve often used phyllo, but have never used the cups. They come like that? They look so pretty, and I’m sure they’d be a hit at any game day party!

    1. Tamara! Yes the phyllo cups come like that. So easy to use. You can even fill them with a dessert type thing and eat them within seconds of filling them.

  7. Those are so cute!

    And I love keeping the phyllo cups frozen until the last minute so they don’t go soggy…

  8. Those beefy saucy cups look amazing! I love those easy go-to appetizers too! If you have leftovers just toss it on some pasta or rice the next day!

  9. I am sure that Assunta and Giovanni loved the abbondanza, those appetizers look delicious and beside game day I am making them when my sons have friends over. The Ragu sauce looks amazing

  10. I’m always looking for new appetizers that will impress a crowd but don’t have me working in the kitchen the whole time. These are absolutely perfect!!

  11. How cute!! I bet they don’t last once you put them out!! What a great appetizer for Super Bowl Sunday or for any gathering for that matter. I always like the idea of a little help like a prepared sauce.

    1. Thanks Marisa! You are right. It’s perfect for any gathering. They are so good, hubby fights me for them. PS. I let him win because he lets me win on other things!

  12. These are so cute and easy to make! I’m going to add these to my (way too long already, but who cares because YUM) list of Super Bowl party apps!

  13. These look so amazing!! I love that you went the non-traditional route with these!!! I love a new appetizer at parties/super bowl games!!

  14. Is it wrong that I feel like when I make these I might eat them all myself! These look so good I can’t wait to make them.

  15. So, it turns out I could probably eat Phyllo cups all day. But the spicy beef and the red gravy are SPECTACULAR together. Want. Apps. For. Dinner.

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating