Ground Beef For Tacos

9

Ground beef for tacos, I have heard it all before. You say you don’t need no manual for cooking simple ground beef for tacos? Well I am here to disagree with you good sir. There is a plethora of things specific to making the best tacos possible. Do you want ground beef tacos or just plain ol’ ground beef? That’s what I thought. Tacos are made with ground beef and the best kind of taco starts with ground beef.

BEST GROUND BEEF TACO RECIPE

SERVINGS: 4

22 MINUTES

The absolute BEST ground beef Tacos! An easy to make homemade taco seasoning and a secret ingredient that makes this the most flavorful and juiciest taco meat EVER! The perfect family weeknight meal that can be ready in less than 30 minutes!

These classic Ground Beef Tacos feature homemade taco meat loaded into freshly fried taco shells. Serve up with all your favorite toppings for an easy family meal that takes less than 30 minutes!

Plate filled with ground beef tacos with a bowl of salsa and guacamole on the side.

WHY MAKE THIS GROUND BEEF TACO MEAT RECIPE?  

  • Quick and easy: this meal can be ready on the table in under 30 minutes, making  this a perfect family weeknight meal.  
  • Homemade seasoning blend: skip the packets and make your own seasoning!  This allows you to control the salt and heat to suit your family’s needs.  
  • Family Friendly & Perfect for Gatherings: cook up the meat and serve this buffet style so guests/kids can get the toppings they want!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:  

Ingredients needed to make ground beef taco meat and tacos laid on the counter.

NOTES ON SOME INGREDIENTS:  

  • Ground Beef: The best meat to use for taco meat is a simple ground beef, a  70-80% lean. The fat is going to help give flavor to the meat and we are able to  drain the grease prior to serving.  
  • Tomato Sauce: grab any kind of canned, pureed tomato sauce. Or if you want  more spice you could use a thick salsa instead. 
  • Oil: this is used for frying up the tortillas. Use either a canola or a vegetable oil.
  • Tortillas: white corn tortillas fry up perfectly to make a crisp taco shell. If you would prefer you could use flour tortillas and not fry them. I would recommend using tortillas that are 6 inches.

HOW TO MAKE (STEP BY STEP) 

Step by step how to make ground beef taco meat showing ground beef in a skillet, cooked, adding seasoning, then cooking with tomato sauce.
  • Step 1: Cook the ground beef, cook it up until it’s completely browned. Drain the  grease. Then when we return to the heat to the stove lower the heat, add the  homemade taco seasoning and a small amount of tomato sauce. 
  • Step 2: Allow the taco meat to simmer briefly in the sauce to give more flavor.
Step by step how to make ground beef tacos, showing fried corn tortillas then filling the tortillas with taco meat and toppings.
  • Step 3: Fry the corn tortillas in a small amount of oil in a medium size skillet. Once fried  on both sides, remove the tortillas and fold in half to form their shape. 
  • Step 4: Fill the taco shells with the cooked beef and any toppings desired. 
Best ever ground beef taco meat loaded into fried corn tortillas.

F.A.Q’S

How much meat should I use per person?

Plan on using 1 lb of meat for 4 people. This will yield about 2-3 tablespoons of meat  per taco.

What are some good topping ideas?

Some suggestions are: Shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour  cream, guacamole, salsa, diced cilantro.

How can I add more heat to the seasoning blend?

Add a bit of crushed red pepper as needed for more heat.

Homemade ground beef taco meat loaded into fried corn tortillas.

EXPERT TIPS:  

  • Fry your own tortillas: White corn tortillas, or even yellow corn tortillas can be easily  fried in a small amount of oil. These turn out so much better than store bought crunchy  shells. 
  • Skip the water: The tomato sauce thickens it up and helps the spices stick to the meat.  It’s so flavorful and you will never go back to using water with your seasoning again!
  • Variations/Modifications: If you want to use flour tortillas I would recommend using a  smaller, 6 inch size. You can also switch out the ground beef for ground turkey or  chicken.  
  • Extra Veggies: looking to add some more veggies? Chop up some peppers, zucchini,  and carrots to sauté with the meat while it cooks.  

Easy Ground Beef Tacos

These Ground Beef Tacos are filled with juicy flavorful taco meat made with my homemade taco seasoning – it’s an easy weeknight recipe for the whole family!

Ground Beef Tacos are one of my our favorite weeknight family meals, especially on Taco Tuesdays! I have a quick homemade taco seasoning that I love to use for this recipe so I can cook the taco meat in 10 minutes. Give it a try and it’ll be your new go-to for taco night too!

top down shot of beef tacos on white background

HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING

Making taco seasoning from scratch is super easy and can be cheaper than buying the prepared taco seasoning. Here are the spices I include in my recipe. Feel free to also add paprika, coriander, onion powder and crushed red pepper to give it some heat.

  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Mexican oregano
  • Salt and pepper

I provide suggested amounts in the recipe card below because usually there’s more of the chili powder and cumin compared to the other spices. However, feel free to adjust the quantities, or use your favorite prepared taco seasoning.

seasoning for making homemade tacos: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper

HOW DO YOU MAKE GROUND BEEF TACO MEAT

  1. Place the ground beef in a skillet with olive oil.
  2. Brown the beef with olive oil and then drain any fat.
  3. Add the spices along with the tomato paste and water (or tomato sauce)
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.
Step by step shots to show how to make the beef in a skillet

And the end result is flavorful juicy homemade tacos that’s ready to be served in less than 15 minutes.

homemade taco meat in a skillet

TOPPINGS FOR TACOS

I like to keep it simple with usually a few different toppings when I’m making these just for the family on weeknights. However, I love having DIY taco bars with friends and family and I usually include the following toppings for tacos:

  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
  • Red onions
  • Guacamole (store bought or homemade) or avocado
  • Olives
  • Jalapeños
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa or my Bean Tomato Salsa

Starting to assemble the tacos with lettuce

TIPS FOR MAKING GROUND BEEF TACOS

  1. Be careful not to dry out the taco meat when you add the sauce. Once the beef is cooked, you want to cook it with the seasoning and liquid on medium low and just until the sauce starts to thicken. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t dry out.
  2. Heat up the tortillas before adding the ground beef on top. You can heat them up in the microwave, oven or on a skillet for 1-2 minutes per side. This makes the tortillas soft, pliable and much less likely to break.
  3. Add onions to the mixture to make it more savory. You’ll want to cook the onions until they soften before adding the ground beef. It gives the taco meat a deeper flavor, but it’s totally optional. Adding onion powder is a quick easy update as well.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE BEST GROUND BEEF FOR TACOS?

I prefer to use 90% lean ground beef for tacos for the best flavor and consistency. If it’s any more lean, it may be too dry. If you use a less lean kind, make sure to drain off the fat after cooking the ground beef, before adding the seasoning.

HOW CAN MAKE THE TACOS LOW CARB?

The actual ground beef taco meat is low carb, so you can use low-carb tortillas or skip the tortillas all together as serve it as a taco salad or in a taco bowl.

HOW MUCH TACO MEAT DO YOU NEED PER PERSON?

Using a traditional 6-inch tortilla or traditional size hard taco shell, you can use about 2-3 tablespoons of taco meat per taco. That means that depending on how much you load up the ground beef tacos with other ingredients, one pound of beef could serve between 8 and 12 people.

OUR FAVORITE WEEKNIGHT GROUND BEEF TACOS.

I have ground beef tacos for us that can come together in about 15 minutes.

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

Our favorite seasoned ground beef for tacos is here! This is what I prep on super busy weeknights – and I even prep it ahead of time too. In 15 minutes this seasoned beef will be done and you’ll want to eat a taco or nacho every single night.

In case you don’t want to already.

(If you don’t, how are we friends?)

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

I grew up eating ground beef tacos almost every single week.

IF YOU WERE A KID OF THE 90S, DID THESE KIND OF TACOS MAKE THEIR WAY ON TO YOUR WEEKLY MENU?

My mom used the grocery store spice packets to season the beef and served them with both soft tortillas and hard shells, tons of lettuce, tomato and sour cream. Just like you’d think in the 90s.

I loved them then. But now?

Those seasoning packets taste like straight cumin + salt. They are actually the reason I don’t love cumin. I don’t enjoy side dishes or meals that are heavily flavored with cumin. Because all I can taste is those old school tacos! Not into it at all. It may just be my weird taste buds, but the overwhelming cumin flavor and scent is permanently etched in my senses.

My control freak ways probably play a part in wanting to use my own seasoning blend. So there’s that.

I’ve been seasoning my own ground beef for tacos and enchiladas for years. Week in and week out, I don’t measure a thing because I’ve been making them for so long that I can eyeball the spices and judge by tasting. I have a ground beef seasoning in these enchiladas and it’s how I do it for tacos too!

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

IT’S THE MOST BASIC RECIPE EVER – ANOTHER EMBARRASSINGLY EASY ONE!

But here’s the thing. In my family, there are two very distinct camps when it comes to ground beef. Some people like it to be saucy. You know? I think that with the old school seasoning packet, you’d fill it up with water or something and dump it in – and the seasoning would have a thickener already added. As a result, you’d end up with super saucy taco meat. That’s how we grew up eating it!

I’ve seen some recipes add tomato sauce or even a can of salsa.

These days, however, I prefer a slightly “drier” ground beef. I hate to even use the word dry because that is not exactly what I mean. It’s just not… saucy. It’s a seasoned, crumbled beef. It almost reminds me of a chorizo!

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

When I make these in our house, each dish can be a little different. The beef and the seasonings stay the same, but sometimes I add a diced sweet onion and bell pepper. That stretches the beef a bit and also makes it a bit juicier. I also use this exact same recipe with ground turkey. And often, I mixed ground beef and ground turkey to double it!

While it may not be authentic at all, it’s the way we love to eat ground beef tacos best!

IT’S THE PERFECT WEEKNIGHT MEAL.

This seasoned beef freezes well. It lasts a few days in the fridge. I absolutely LOVE it over taco salads. If I make this for dinner, I often use it up for lunch leftovers, throwing it on top of lettuce, some avocado, any extra pico and a few crumbled tortilla chips. Those are key.

And another reason that this non-saucy beef is so delicious? You can use lettuce leaves for it too. If it’s not overly saucy, that means it isn’t as heavy and will sit nicely in an iceberg or butter lettuce leave, leaving room for toppings. It’s incredible!

Finally, it’s also the beef that I use for nachos, any sort of quesadilla and to stuff those mini sweet peppers. Adore it.

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

With these weeknight chicken tacos being one of our most used recipes (and one of your favorites too!), I’ve wanted to share our beef version for a long time. Of course, if we ever have shredded pork or beef on hand, we love to make tacos with that too. Same with seafood, usually going with shrimp or cod.

THE RECIPE FOR GROUND BEEF TACOS BELOW IS AS BASIC AS IT GETS.

It’s the simplest recipe for seasoned ground beef – just the beef and seasonings! You can sauté minced garlic, diced onion and bell pepper in the skillet before adding the beef if you wish. Make it your own.

These days, I’m more of a quick pico-and-cilantro person when it comes to toppings, and of course I’ll never pass up a little grated cheese. If I have pickled onions in the fridge, I love to throw those on top too!

And the truth is that I will NEVER tire of tacos. Never ever.

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings! I howsweeteats.com #groundbeef #tacos

WEEKNIGHT GROUND BEEF TACOS

OUR FAVORITE GROUND BEEF TACOS

 yield: 4

prep time: 10 MINS

cook time: 10 MINS

total time: 20 MINS

Weeknight ground beef tacos that are anything like the 90s! These are made with a homemade taco seasoning and served with the perfect toppings!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound 85% to 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

QUICK PICO

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • pinch of salt and pepper

FOR SERVING

  • corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • hard shells or tortilla chips, if desired
  • sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • avocado, diced
  • fresh cilantro
  • quick pickled onions

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. With ground beef, I rarely add any oil to the skillet because it tends to be fattier. If needed, you can add 1 teaspoon of olive oil (of your oil of preference). Once the skillet it hot, add the ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon.
  • Cook, stirring and breaking apart the beef often, until it begins to brown. Add in the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir well to disperse all the seasonings. Cook until the beef is just browned.
  • I love the seasoned beef like this – it’s a personal preference. If you’d like it saucier, follow the directions below. You can also add in a tablespoon of beef or vegetable stock, or even tomato sauce, to make it saucier.
  • Serve the ground beef in tacos (warm corn or flour tortillas in the oven for a few minutes), on nachos or in salads. We like to top ours with a quick pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, white cheddar cheese, diced avocado and pickled onions.
  • If you’d like to add peppers and onions: heat the skillet over medium heat and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add in 1 diced onion, 1 diced bell pepper and a few minced garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. Toss well and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Proceed with browning the beef above!

FOR A SAUCIER GROUND BEEF

  • I use a slurry to make my homemade ground beef saucy. Fill a shaker cup with ½ cup cold water or beef/vegetable stock. Add 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour, masa or whole wheat flour to the liquid and cover it. Shake for at least 30 seconds. With the skillet on low heat, slowly stream in the slurry while stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir often and cook over low for about 10 minutes.

QUICK PICO

  • Toss the tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime juice together in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like
Close
TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Close