Taco night right! Who loves it but does not want to spend hours in the kitchen? Ground Beef Tacos are easy and quick to make for dinner!
The taco meat can be made ahead of time, frozen, and then you just have to warm it when ready. Without a lot of time, you will have dinner on the table for the whole family to enjoy.
What I love the most about this recipe is that leftovers can be stored for next-day lunch and converted into Beef Taco Bowl or Nacho Fries with a cheesy creamy sauce.
The ground beef taco recipe is so basic but can be so versatile to impress the whole family during weeknights.
Also, one reason I don’t make the ground beef too saucy is to keep the tacos from being too wet and drippy. Feel free to add more sauce if you prefer.
Overall this recipe is packed with flavor. It is hearty, delicious, loaded with good ingredients, easy, and quick to make. So here is my version of Ground Beef Tacos.
Best Ground Beef for Tacos
Ground beef is the traditional meat for tacos. When you purchase it, you will see different varieties. I recommend 70-80% lean.
Having a bit of fat will give flavor to the beef. It will be tender and not overly greasy. You can drain the fat at the end of the cooking if you prefer.
Tacos are the perfect midweek dinner. Everyone from kids to adults loves them, but perhaps the one person who is thrilled when taco night rolls around is the family cook. Tacos are easy and quick to make from items you probably already have in your kitchen; plus, they are pretty inexpensive to boot. In less than 20 minutes, you can have a delicious dinner on the table that no one will complain about eating. The next time you feel like Mexican, give this Ground Beef Taco recipe a try.
What Type of Ground Beef is Best for Tacos?
While it is possible to use any ground beef (or even a vegetarian substitute) for your tacos, you can save money and help ensure the most flavorful filling by staying away from lean meat. Most people find that using an 80/20 mix, 80 percent meat to 20 percent fat, gives the best results. You may want to go a bit more lean with an 85/15 ground beef, but anything with less fat than that tends to produce a dry filling. If you are using a fatter ground beef, you may want to cook the ground beef before adding the taco seasoning to allow you to drain off any residual fat.
You will probably want to stay away from ground beef marketed as “organic” or “grass-fed” since these words on the label typically increase the price significantly without adding much in the way of taste to the taco. If you have the option, look for a coarser grind of meat, but a regular hamburger grind will work just fine.
Time to Wrap it Up
This recipe calls for soft flour tacos, but there are other options, including hard shells and corn tortillas. There is a big divide between hard shell and soft shell eaters. While soft shells are more traditional, the crunch of a hard shell is difficult to resist. Choose the variety you like the most.
Tacos are even better when you use a warm wrap. You can heat a flour tortilla for about 10 seconds in the microwave or in a dry pan over medium heat until warm. For a corn tortilla, try charring both sides over high heat in a dry pan to develop a deeper taste. While you can eat a hard taco shell straight from the package, you can soften the shell and help prevent it from cracking along the bottom after the first bite by heating it in the oven at 325-degrees for about 5 minutes.
After your warming up your wrapper, it is time to stuff it. Use about a quarter cup of the beef mixture and an equal amount of mixed toppings per taco.
Tips for Making and Storing Ground Beef Tacos
- Plan for between 2–3 tacos per person. You will probably need at least two packages of tortillas for a family of four.
- Store any leftover meat for up to three days in the fridge. Keep extra toppings separate in airtight containers.
- Serve as a burrito. Eating tacos can be messy, so why not switch out the taco-sized tortillas for larger ones and roll your burritos?
How to Prepare the Tortillas
I have chosen soft flour tortillas here. You can also choose hard shells or corn tortillas. But to prepare the soft tortillas, heat a non-stick skillet with a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Lay tortillas and warm both sides for 5 seconds. Until a few golden spots appear on them. Keep them warm by stacking them on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.
Can I replace the ground beef with another meat?
You can use ground turkey or chicken as a substitute. For ground turkey, don’t go for super lean, you will need a bit fat. It will also not get the same color as beef. In both choices, you can 1-2 teaspoons of beef bouillon.
Can these tacos be made vegan?
Absolutely! You can substitute the meat with firm tofu or quinoa. Both are great sources of protein. Some other choices are mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas, white rice, and vegan meat substitutes.
Also use vegan cheese instead of cheddar cheese.
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Ground beef, lean
- Taco seasoning mix
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh cilantro
- Tomato purée
- Flour tortillas
- Red cabbage
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sweet corn
- Grated cheddar cheese
Why Make Ground Beef Tacos?
There are lots of reasons! These tacos are:
- quick to make
- full of flavor
How to Make Tacos with Ground Beef
- In a large bowl, mix beef with taco seasoning mix.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with oil. Add beef to the pan and break with a large wooden spatula by keeping some space in between them. Reduce heat to medium. Let cook until the bottom is brown then flip.
- Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and tomato purée and mix to combine.
- Decrease heat to medium-low then cook for about 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat.
- Warm each tortilla in a nonstick skillet for about 10 seconds.
- Start the filling by adding lettuce and red cabbage then ground beef.
- Place cooked ground beef on the lettuce and cabbage.
- Top with cherry tomato, sweet corn, guacamole, lime and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Serve immediately.
How can I make taco low carb?
Everything in the recipe is low carb except the tortillas. You can use low carb tortillas or large lettuce leaves to replace them. Another way to enjoy your tortillas is to serve as a taco bowl or taco salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Allow grounded beef has to cool down completely at room temperature but not longer than 2 hours before storing leftovers. Wrap in foil or place in an airtight container. Leftovers will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To reheat, you can warm beef in a pan with a bit of beef broth or tomato purée to get back the moisture. You can also use the microwave but I prefer the pan option. Don’t reheat the vegetables.
How to Freeze
Freeze only the ground beef in a plastic zip-top bag. Label it and place it in the freezer. Freeze up to 1 month.
Defrost completely, cook a bit in tomato purée and beef bouillon to get back the moisture. Prepare tortillas or taco shells then add the meat with your favorite toppings. Dinner is served!
Love tacos and Mexican food? Try these recipes!
- Best Cheese Enchilada Recipe
- Chipotle Barbacoa
- Fresco Tacos
- Simple Taco Soup Recipe
- Sopapilla Mexican Dessert
- Taco Bell Crunchwrap
- Taco Ring
- Taco Sauce Recipe
Favorite Ground Beef Recipes
- Cornbread Casserole with Ground Beef
- Ground Beef Cabbage Rolls
- Ground Beef Casserole
- Tater Tot Casserole with Ground Beef
- Velveeta Cheese Dip with Ground Beef
Ground Beef Tacos
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix homemade, or your favorite pacage mix
- 1/2 cup chopped white onion
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 3/4 cup tomato puree
- 8 white tortillas
- 1 cup lettuce cut into ribbons
- 1/4 cup sliced red cabbage
- 1 ear grilled sweet corn optional
- 1/2 cup guacamole
- 2 limes quartered
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, mix beef with Taco seasoning mix.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat with oil. Add beef in the pan and break with a large wooden spatula by keeping some space in between them. Decrease heat to medium. Let cook until the bottom is brown then flip. It will take about 3 minutes.
Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and tomato purée and mix to combine.
Decrease heat to medium-low then cook for about 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.
Prepare taco. Warm each tortilla in a nonstick skillet for about 10 seconds. Start the filling by adding lettuce and red cabbage then ground beef. Top with cherry tomato, sweet corn, guacamole, lime and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper