ground beef in a skillet with chopped veggies in bowls surrounding it

RECIPE FOR TACO GROUND BEEF

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Perfectly seasoned taco meat is the key to any good taco. This recipe for Taco Ground Beef is packed full of flavour (thanks to the homemade taco seasoning), comes together in just a few minutes and will take any ground beef taco to a whole other level.

I get it. You live a busy life. You’ve just had a long day of work only to come home to screaming hungry kids who want nothing more than to watch cocomelon on repeat. All you want to do is get a delicious and healthy dinner on the table and then wind down for the night. Is that too much to ask? Nope, says this quick and easy recipe for Taco Ground Beef. I mean, it pretty much comes together in the time it takes you to brown a pound of ground beef and you can use it for anything from straight up tacos (obvs) and Taco Salads, to burritos and quesadillas, to eating it by the spoonful directly out of the skillet (we don’t judge). This recipe for Taco Ground Beef is packed with such flavour that you’ll want to pretend everyday is taco Tuesday.

hand holding a skillet with taco seasoned ground beef, bowls of chopped veggies surrounding it

Taco nights were a common thing in the Lagana family household growing up. Which is probably why tacos have long since been at the top of my list of favourite foods. Nowadays, tacos are a lot like cauliflower in the sense that pretty much anything can be stuffed into a shell of some sort and labeled a taco. Re: the viral Big Mac Smash Tacos. And while I have absolutely nothing bad to say about a creative taco and can confidently say that I love tacos in all of their glory no matter the filling, when I refer to the tacos I grew up eating, I’m talking about the O.G. Old El Paso tacos. If you know, you know. Ah, the nostalgia.

Making tacos in our house was like a family affair. The veggies need chopping. The cheese needs grating. The shells need warming. The meat needs browning and seasoning. And while my sisters and I would split the former, the latter task always belonged to my dad. I have countless memories sitting at the kitchen table on those very special taco nights we always looked so forward to as a family, grating a block of cheddar cheese while my dad stands over the stove stirring and browning the ground beef. His trick was to always add a jar of salsa to the mix and after all of these years, there’s never been a need to change his recipe.

ground beef in a tortilla

And now, as cocomelon plays softly in the background, you can go on with your bad self making your own memories on taco night starting with the perfect recipe for Taco Ground Beef. Thanks, Dad!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR TACO GROUND BEEF

ingredients for recipe for taco ground beef - ground beef, taco seasoning, salsa, avocado oil
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

According to my family and I, you know… the self-proclaimed taco connoisseurs, we strongly believe that a good taco starts with the filling. Let’s discuss the ingredients you’ll need to make a perfect one in a little bit more detail down below:

  • Ground Beef: Now of course you can make tacos with any kind of filling. But since this recipe is specifically for Taco Ground Beef, that’s what we’re talking about here. A simple ground beef will do the trick just fine. Something that is has a 70/30 or 80/20 lean to fat ratio is usually what I personally go for as some fat is good for adding flavour to the meat. However, you can use whatever fat to lean ratio you prefer.
  • Taco Seasoning: The perfect balance of spices responsible for packing the meat with the ultimate taco flavour. Skip the store bought stuff! Make your own homemade taco seasoning with my quick and easy recipe that is ready in under 5 minutes with spices you probably already have on hand. However, if you reeeeally wanna use the store bought packet, use 1 packet per every pound of ground beef.
  • Salsa: Optional. But my dad’s little secret! Adds flavour and moisture to this recipe for Taco Ground Beef. And eliminates the need to add any water or other liquid to the mixture. Either homemade or store bought will work in this recipe. Feel free to use mild, medium or hot salsa depending on how spicy you like your tacos.
  • Avocado Oil: A little dash used to coat the skillet and prevent the ground beef from sticking as it cooks. You can use a different oil instead, if you prefer.
side view of taco seasoned ground beef in a skillet

HOW TO MAKE TACO GROUND BEEF (KEY TIPS)

taco seasoned ground beef on a spatula over a skillet with the rest, chopped veggies in bowls around it

You can find full instructions for how to make this quick and easy recipe for Taco Ground Beef in the recipe card down below. But here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Coat the skillet with oil before beginning. This prevents the ground beef from sticking and the pan from scorching as the ground beef cooks.
  • Use the back of a spatula or a meat chopper to break the ground beef into smaller pieces. Remember, taco shells aren’t very big and the meat has to be the perfect size to fit inside. This also helps ensure the meat is properly cooked all the way throughout.
  • Stir the ground beef frequently as it cooks but not too much so that it doesn’t brown. You want it to be cooked through until no pink parts remain which shouldn’t take any more than 8-10 minutes. The right amount of stirring ensures evenly and properly cooked ground beef all the way around in an efficient amount of time. However, stirring too often prevents the meat from browning properly.
  • Drain the grease from the beef after cooking. While the fat content in the beef adds a ton of flavour, it also releases grease and moisture. You must drain this grease and moisture before adding any seasoning in order to avoid soggy/mushy tacos. EXTRA TIP: Remember not to drain the grease directly into the drain of your kitchen sink or it could clog it up and cause major problems.
  • Really coat the cooked ground beef in the taco seasoning and salsa and allow the flavours to mingle for a few minutes in the skillet for maximum flavour. Without the grease, the ground beef will begin to crisp up and as a result absorb all of the delicious flavours of the taco seasoning and salsa.
  • If you’re used to seasoning your taco meat with the store bought taco seasoning packets you can purchase from the grocery store then use 1 packet per every pound of ground beef. However, remember that you can easily whip up your own with simple spices in under 5 minutes for healthier and more flavourful results! Find my quick and easy to make taco seasoning recipe HERE.
skillet of taco ground beef with a spatula, tortillas and taco seasoning in the background
FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DO I ADD WATER TO GROUND BEEF FOR TACOS?

In this recipe for Taco Ground Beef, there is no need to add water to it. Growing up, my dad’s secret weapon aka the salsa is enough to add the perfect amount of moisture and eliminates the need to add any more. The result is flavourful Taco Beef that is not dry at all.

WHAT CAN I ADD TO GROUND BEEF FOR FLAVOR?

There are so many different ways to spice up ground beef! This recipe for Taco Ground Beef is flavoured with salsa and the perfect homemade blend of spices (aka taco seasoning). It’s perfect to elevate any taco filling or to use in tasty recipes such as this Loaded Taco Salad.

If you’re looking for a different way to flavour ground beef altogether, try my delicious 15 minute Korean BBQ Ground Beef and Rice Bowls.

WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN MY TACOS?

If you’re asking anyone in my family, the answer is going to be “what shouldn’t you put in your tacos?!” Growing up, we made sure this delicious Taco Beef was surrounded by allll the fixin’s. Therefore, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, green peppers, sliced olives, grated cheddar, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, green onions AND hot sauce were a must! We wanted it all! The beauty about easy ground beef tacos is that as long as your beef is full of delicious flavour, you can really put whatever you want in your tacos.

WHAT CAN I USE IF I DON’T HAVE ANY TACO SEASONING?

Don’t worry! That’s where I come in. You can (and should!) easily make your own taco seasoning at home with simple spices. A mix of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper is all you need to make the perfect taco seasoning from scratch yourself at home. Find my quick and easy to make recipe for taco seasoning HERE.

CAN YOU FREEZE TACO MEAT?

Yes! This recipe for Taco Ground Beef freezes beautifully. Simply allow it to cool completely. Then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer safe ziploc bag where it’ll keep for up to 3 months. Perfect for doubling (or tripling!) the batch to always have some on hand for delicious and easy meals any night of the week! To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight. Then heat in a skillet with some oil and a splash of water or broth.

ground beef in a tortilla, bowl of tomatoes, peppers and sour cream in the background
ground beef in a skillet with chopped veggies in bowls surrounding it

RECIPE FOR TACO GROUND BEEF

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

Perfectly seasoned taco meat is the key to any good taco. This recipe for Taco Ground Beef is packed full of flavour (thanks to the homemade taco seasoning), comes together in just a few minutes and will take any ground beef taco to a whole other level.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, cooked through and no pink parts remain, 8-10 minutes. Drain the grease and return the skillet with the beef back to the heat.
    raw ground beef cooking in a skillet
    ground beef cooking in a skillet
    ground beef in a skillet
  2. Add the taco seasoning and stir well to coat. Allow the flavours to mingle for a minute or two, stirring frequently.
    ground beef in a skillet with spices on top
    ground beef in a skillet
  3. Add the salsa, if using, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute or two then remove from the heat. Serve immediately in your favourite taco shells or tortillas loaded with all your favourite toppings.
    ground beef in a skillet with salsa on top
    seasoned taco ground beef in a skillet
    loaded taco on a tortilla in the center of bowls of chopped veggies

Notes

Salsa is optional but my dad's little secret. It adds flavour and moisture to the ground beef mixture. However, it will still be super flavourful without it. You can use mild, medium or hot salsa depending on how spicy you like your tacos.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 31g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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