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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.

What do I serve as a side?

Mexican Rice and refried beans are always great options. Other ideas include: charro  beans, Mexican Street Corn, or Street Corn in a Cup.

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.  

More Recipes To Enjoy:

Best Ground Beef Taco Recipe

4.98 from 1697 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Serene
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!
Plate of ground beef tacos on fried corn tortillas topped with sour cream and served with salsa.

Ingredients  

  • 1 lb ground beef 70-80% lean*
  • 1 tbsp chili Powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp granulated onion
  • ½ cup tomato sauce

Taco Shells

  • 8 white corn tortillas
  • ½ cup oil avocado or vegetable

Instructions 

  • Cook Ground Beef: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef. Break the beef up with a wooden spoon while cooking. Cook the ground beef fully, until browned and no longer pink.
  • Drain: Drain any excess grease from the skillet. Then return to the stove and reduce the heat to low.
  • Season: Add the 1/2 cup tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Stir together until the meat is coated in the sauce.
  • Simmer: Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Fry Tortillas: Pour 1/2 cup oil in a medium size skillet, heat over medium high heat. Carefully dip a tortilla, if the oil sizzles and bubbles then it's hot enough. Gently lay the tortilla in the oil and fry each side for about 30 seconds, just enough to give some color and add some crispness.
  • Shape Tortillas: Remove the tortilla to a paper towel to absorb oil, and carefully fold the tortilla over to create a taco shape. I do this with my tongs, or two forks, whatever I'm using to lay the tortillas in the oil and remove them.
  • Toppings: Fill the tortillas with the ground beef taco meat and add desired toppings

Video

Notes

  • Ground Beef: Using 80/20 ground beef, this keeps the meat flavorful, but not greasy.
  • Ground Beef Substitution: instead of ground beef use ground chicken or turkey.
  • Extra Veggies: looking to add some more veggies? Chop up some peppers, zucchini,  and carrots to sauté with the meat while it cooks. 
  • Control the Heat: if you are wanting to add more heat to this recipe sprinkle some crushed red pepper into the seasoning blend according to your preference. 
  • Tortillas: Taco shells shown are white corn tortillas that have been fried in canola oil. 
  • Topping ideas: shredded mild cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced grape tomatoes, diced cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, jalapeños, and onion.
  • How much meat per person? Plan on using 1 lb per 4 people. This is approximately 2 tablespoons of meat per taco.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 363IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first published March 23, 2018. Updated June 25, 2021 with new images and information.

Photography done by the talented @KJandCompany.coSaveSave

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Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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Recipe Rating




350 Comments

  1. I followed your instructions and the shells came so greasy that they were like oil sponges. After they were blotted many times they were still too saturated to eae.

  2. Can’t wait to try, hope someone sees this, the tomato sauce, will any can sauce work? I always used the packets and water, so this is what intrigued me. Very novice in the kitchen, my gf loves homemade tacos and wanted to surprise her.
    Any details, experience, or specifics on the tomato sauce would be very much appreciated.

    1. My son loves to cook. I substituted his pizza night leftover San Marzano organic peeled tomatoes for tomato sauce. Used the remaing 3 lbs of ground beef from his smash burger night. The homemade taco seasoning recipe came in clutch. We had all spices in stock. Thanks for posting a quick and easy recipe. Worked for Taco Tuesday for 5!

  3. Made this last night and it was a hit! I actually had added the Del Taco? Old Taco? One of those taco seasoning packets into the meat first, and still added your recipe ingredients, and it was tasty- I definitely want this on our weekly meals! Thank you!

  4. Best taco meat recipe. Thank you!! I didn’t have tomato sauce so used a half cup of salsa instead. Yum.

  5. Easy and yummy! And I love making my own taco seasoning instead of that salty stuff you can buy. And I used turkey and some diced tomatoes as was delish.

  6. Super tasty, added more spices to my tastes (1.5x the cumin amount and added coriander seeds too). Came out EXCELLENT! Very very good! I expected this to taste too tomato-y because it only simmered for 5 minutes but the spices overpower the boring bland tomato flavour making this a very good dish! Thank you very much for the recipe

  7. Ben… When you said tastes like spaghetti, did you use pasta sauce (like Ragu) instead of plain tomato sauce (sold with the other canned tomato products, like diced tomatoes and tomato paste)? If so, that might explain the Italian flavor you are suggesting.