Prepare Taco Meat with Ease

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The ground beef in these tacos is tender and full of flavor. In just 20 minutes, you'll have delicious, tender meat that can be used to make any number of dishes, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, and more.

Cooked Ground Beef for Tacos in a skillet surrounded by taco toppings.

Simple Ground Beef Taco Meat Recipe

This Easy Ground Beef for Tacos is perfect for making tacos, but it's also great for other meals that kids will enjoy. The simple ingredients in this ground beef recipe make it ideal for stuffing a wide variety of dishes, such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, etc.

No taco seasoning packets from the store are required, and dinner can be on the table in under 20 minutes.

ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS: Increase your dose by a factor of two or three Make a large batch of this recipe and store it in the freezer for those nights when you don't feel like cooking but you know you'll be craving a home-cooked meal.

Some of my favorite ground-beef-based dishes to make are Easy Eggless Meatloaf, Bolognese Sauce, and Easy Shepherd's Pie. Here are some ideas for what to do with leftover beef.

Mexican Style Ground Beef for Tacos in a skillet.

Listed below (scroll down) is a printable recipe complete with measurements. To get started, you'll need:

  • To get the best results, use ground beef that is 90% to 10% lean.
  • Tender onion, diced very small
  • Minced garlic cloves
  • For the chili powder, use only American-style chili powder, not chile powder.
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Oregano, Dried
  • Black pepper if you can't handle the heat of cayenne
  • Ketchup with tomato paste
  • Beef broth
  • To taste, season with Kosher salt.
  • Leaves of cilantro
Ingredients needed to make ground beef for tacos.

Recipe for Taco Filling

Below (scroll down) you'll find a printable recipe with detailed instructions.

FIRST, BROIL THE MEAT

Turn the heat up high and get a skillet ready (one that won't stick, if possible). Ground beef should be cooked in a hot skillet, broken up with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula to ensure even cooking, until it is no longer pink.

2) Enhance the flavor with aromatics

Stirring occasionally, cook the onion and garlic for about three minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Browned ground beef in a skillet.

Step 3: Season to Taste

Spruce it up with some smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, tomato paste, and beef broth. Continue mixing until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. To adjust the saltiness, taste the dish.

Browned ground beef in a skillet with spices Cooked Ground Beef for Tacos in a white skillet

4 — ADD FINISHING TOUCHES AND SAVOR

Season with chopped cilantro and use to stuff tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, etc.

Cooked Ground Beef for Tacos in a white skillet with a white serving spoon.

Instead of draining the fat that renders after browning the meat, I use ground beef that is 90-10% lean.

IS THERE SALT IN THE TACO MEAT?

Leave the seasoning packet in the cupboard. In reality, all you need is some onion, garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and, if you like things spicy, some cayenne pepper to season meat for tacos.

Try my recipe for Homemade Spicy Taco Seasoning if you're in the market for a spicy taco blend.

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TACO MEAT: HOW MUCH DOES ONE PERSON NEED?

A two-pound package of ground beef can fill about eight tacos.

What are some good ways to prepare this ground meat?

Tacos, tostadas, burritos, quesadillas, empanadas, and a whole lot more can all be stuffed with this Easy Ground Beef.

STORING

Extras can be frozen for later use or enjoyed throughout the week. How to store taco meat in the fridge

LEFTOVERS

Once the ground beef for the tacos has cooled, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to three days.

FREEZER

Taco meat can be frozen for up to three months if you let it cool, then store it in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. Taco meat should be stored in a freezer and kept well-sealed to prevent freezer burn.

REHEAT

The ground beef can be defrosted in the microwave or the refrigerator overnight before being used. Warm it up by drizzling a few tablespoons of beef broth over it, placing it in a covered skillet over medium-low heat, and cooking until it reaches an internal temperature that suits your tastes.

Serving taco ground beef into a taco shell.
Mexican Style Ground Beef for Tacos in a skillet
It's Oriana Romero.
Delicious and juicy, this ground beef is perfect for tacos. Make tacos, burritos, or anything else your heart desires with this adaptable meat. There is no need to buy taco seasoning, and it can be made from scratch in under 20 minutes.
  • For high heat, prepare a skillet (ideally nonstick). After the skillet is hot, add the meat and cook it until it is no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula as it cooks.
  • Incorporate the garlic and onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring occasionally, or until the onion is pliable. To taste, sprinkle a little salt and stir to combine. A word of caution: the broth already contains a lot of salt, so you don't need to add any more.
  • Mix in the beef broth, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Combine in a mixer until smooth.
  • Cover the skillet, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. It's best to taste as you go and add more salt if desired.
  • Fill tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, etc., and top with chopped cilantro, if desired.
  To save time, I use ground beef that is 90% to 10% lean. Using ground beef with a higher fat content is fine if you prefer; however, I would advise draining any excess fat after browning (step 1). Ground beef, lamb, or veal also works well.   For seasoning, I usually rely on the salt already present in the chicken broth rather than adding any more. In step 4, I suggest tasting the dish and adjusting the salt to your liking.     In place of canned or boxed beef broth, I like to use beef bouillon dissolved in a cup of hot water for a deeper beef flavor. If you don't have time to make your own beef broth, store-bought will do.     REFRIGERATE any leftover ground beef for up to 3 days in an airtight container.   Allow the meat to cool to freezing temperatures. Then, you can store any leftover ground beef in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag for up to three months. It's important to make sure it's properly sealed to prevent freezer burn.   WISE CHOICES:
  • You can substitute ground pork, chicken, or turkey if you don't have any ground beef on hand.
  • Keep in mind that any beef that requires draining cannot be poured straight down the sink.
  • If you don't feel like chopping onions by hand but still need them finely chopped, a food processor is your best bet.
  Is this the recipe you used? Make sure to rate it down below.   The nutritional information provided is an approximation and may change depending on the ingredients.
Calories: 313 kcal Carbohydrates: 5 g Protein: 21 g Fat: 23 g Animal Fat: 9 g Cholesterol: 81 mg Sodium: 239 mg Potassium: 446 mg Fiber: 2 g Sugar: 1 g Vitamin A: 1130 IU Vitamin C: 2.6 mg Calcium: 47 mg Iron: 3.3 mg

First published in May 2019, the post's content has since been updated to include additional helpful information; the recipe itself has not changed.  

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