Ground Beef Tacos

Make the best ground beef tacos with just three ingredients. This easy dinner makes taco night fun and delicious!

Ground beef tacos in flour tortillas.
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Ground Beef Tacos Recipe

I wanted to share the family favorite recipe with you! Taco Tuesdays are a staple in our home and ground beef tacos are something the entire family enjoys. You can make so much ground beef taco meat so easily and use it in a variety of different ways.

If we're not making tacos, then we use this flavorful and juicy beef in many other ways. It's perfect for Mexican tostadas and even delicious on top of a bed of lettuce as a salad.

This really is the best ground beef taco recipe. So simple, so flavorful and a great meal for busy weeknights. But you can even make a large batch of meat for a taco bar that would be wonderful for parties.

Make this protein packed meal and serve it on soft shells, hard shells, or any other way you want. A perfect go-to recipe when you're craving Mexican food.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

There are so many reasons to love a quick and simple recipe like this one:

  • This is a wonderful meal prep recipe! It's a great thing to make in bulk with multiple pounds of ground beef and then store leftovers until needed.
  • It only takes about 10 minutes to make taco meat. Truly the most simple meal for busy families or those that don't want to spend much time in the kitchen for dinner time.
  • You can use this as a base recipe for dozens of different Mexican recipes. Make ground beef enchiladas with the meat, taco salad, taquitos and so much more.
Ingredients for ground beef tacos on a blue countertop.

Ingredients

Use these simple ingredients to make the easiest taco meat recipe:

Taco Meat Ingredients

  • ground beef
  • taco seasoning
  • tomato paste
  • water (if needed)

Taco Ingredients

  • flour tortillas
  • shredded lettuce
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • shredded cheese
  • other desired toppings (e.g., tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, cilantro)

Substitutions and Variations

For a more lean option, you can swap the beef with ground turkey or ground chicken. Lean ground beef will also produce less greasy results.

You can eat this ground beef taco meat on soft shells or hard taco shells. It would also be delicious on a taco salad or served over rice as a taco bowl.

Feel free to omit the tomato paste if you prefer to eat your taco meat without it. Just keep in mind that you'll need some kind of liquid to help incorporate the taco seasoning into the meat.

Homemade taco seasoning and store-bought taco seasoning packets will both work in this recipe. You can also add tons more flavor with spices like onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

If you want to get creative with your tacos, you can add different sauces like this white enchilada sauce!

How to Make Ground Beef Taco Meat

Follow these step by step instructions so that you can make the best tacos ever:

To make the homemade taco meat, begin by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Ground beef in a cast iron skillet.

Once browned, drain off the grease and then place it back into the same skillet. Sprinkle taco seasoning evenly over the cooked beef, then add tomato paste and stir to combine.

A skillet filled with ground beef and spices and tomato paste.
A skillet filled with ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning.

If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to help combine the seasoning into the meat.

Simmer on low heat for two minutes. Then you can begin assembling the tacos!

Warm tortillas briefly in a skillet or in the microwave.

A plate of ground beef tacos with meat and cheese on it.

Then spoon taco meat in the center of each warm tortilla. Layer lettuce, red onion, shredded cheese and any other desired toppings.

How to Store Leftover Ground Beef Tacos

Transfer leftover ground beef to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. To freeze this homemade taco meat, place it into an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Allow to thaw before reheating.

Store toppings and tortillas separately from the taco meat.

Reheat leftover taco meat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. Then warm tortillas and build the tacos with your favorite toppings.

What to Serve with Ground Beef Tacos

Serve these classic ground beef tacos with sides like Mexican rice or cauliflower Mexican rice and refried beans or charro beans. This Mexican fruit salad or a corn and tomato salad would also be a fabulous side.

You can also add tons of different toppings. Here's a few of my favorite taco toppings:

  • guacamole
  • jalapeños
  • hot sauce
  • onion
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro
  • tomatoes
  • pico de gallo
Ground beef tacos in flour tortillas.

Tips for Success

Ready to make sure this easy dinner goes off without a hitch? Then check out these simple tips for success:

  • Don't add too much water to the beef. Instead, use just enough to make it the consistency that you want. Watery taco meat will make your tacos soggy.
  • Be sure to drain the beef well so that the final product is not greasy. If you leave too much of the cooked off fat, it can effect the flavor of the taco meat.
  • Feel free to adjust the levels of seasoning in this recipe by adding or reducing the amount of spice mix that it used.

FAQ

Do you brown taco meat before seasoning?

It is best to brown taco meat before seasoning so that you can drain it before you season it. This way, the meat retains the seasoning instead of losing it in the cooked off fat. However, you can also season the meat simply with salt and pepper while you cook if you'd like to add extra flavor. Then add the taco seasoning after cooked and drained.

Why is my taco meat bland?

If you end up with bland ground beef tacos, then you likely did not use enough seasoning. Make sure that you are using a proper ratio of seasoning to pound of ground beef.

Two ground beef tacos on a plate with cheese, chopped red onion and shredded lettuce.

More Mexican Inspired Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Ground beef tacos in flour tortillas.

Ground Beef Tacos

These easy ground beef tacos are just perfect for taco night. Quick, simple and flavorful!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 tacos
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

Taco Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • water if needed

Taco Ingredients

  • flour tortillas fajita size or smaller
  • shredded lettuce
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • shredded cheese
  • other desired toppings e.g., tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, cilantro

Instructions

  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until browned (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Drain ground beef and place it back into the skillet, then sprinkle taco seasoning evenly over the beef.
  • Add tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • If needed, add a small amount of water (1-2 tablespoons at a time) to achieve your desired consistency and sauciness.
  • Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes.
  • To assemble the tacos, warm tortillas briefly in a skillet or microwave.
  • Spoon taco meat onto the center of each tortilla.
  • Layer with lettuce, red onion, cheese, and any desired toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

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