Easy Ground Beef Tacos
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Tacos are one of the best easy dinner ideas. This delicious taco recipe is made with perfectly seasoned ground beef and your favorite taco toppings!
Tacos are one of our favorite quick meals, and we make them almost every week. This taco recipe is fast and easy to make, with the best flavorful taco meat. Everyone loves these tacos!
This beef tacos recipe is made with ground beef, but you can also use ground turkey if you prefer turkey tacos. If you are starting from frozen meat you might want to try my Instant Pot Taco Meat recipe.
You’ll need a few common spices to season the taco meat. The seasoning blend is similar to my taco seasoning recipe, but I’ve included the individual seasonings and amounts in this taco recipe to make these tacos really easy to prepare. If you keep a batch of homemade taco seasoning on hand in your kitchen, you can use that instead of the individual seasonings in this recipe.
- Ground Beef: Both ground beef and ground turkey work well in this recipe. If your ground beef is not lean, it’s best to drain off excess grease after browning the beef.
- Taco Seasoning: To season the taco meat you will need chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper. This simple mix of seasonings makes the most flavorful tacos.
- Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce is the secret behind the scenes ingredient that makes this taco meat the most delicious. The tomato sauce adds moisture and flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t make your taco meat taste like tomato sauce.
- Taco Shells: You can serve your tacos in hard taco shells or soft tortillas. Use what your family likes best.
- Taco Toppings: Tacos are the best when you load them up with toppings! See my suggestions below or use your favorites.
How to Make Tacos
Making these homemade tacos is as simple as cooking the taco meat and then serving it in taco shells with toppings. Dinner doesn’t get any easier!
How to Cook Ground Beef for Tacos
Add your ground beef to a hot skillet and cook it over medium-high heat. Crumble the beef with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. When the beef is browned, reduce the heat and add the seasonings and tomato sauce.
Stir the taco meat and cook it for about 5 minutes more, until the meat is fully cooked and has reached your desired texture. Try not to cook it too long or the meat will start to dry out. If the meat does start to get too dry, you can add a few tablespoons of water and cook it for one or two more minutes, until most of the water has cooked off.
You can set up a taco bar and let everyone make their tacos the way that they like them. Some ideas for taco toppings include:
- Shredded cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey jack or a Mexican cheese blend
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped onion, such as red onion, green onion or yellow onion
How Much Taco Meat Per Person?
The amount of taco meat that you’ll need per person depends on who you are serving. If you’re serving a crowd of big eaters, plan for at least one pound of ground beef for every four adults. If you’re serving a mix of adults and children who eat less, one pound of ground beef will serve 5-6 people.
I also find that people tend to put less meat in crunchy taco shells, and more in soft taco size tortillas. Your taco meat may go further if you serve it in hard taco shells. Also account for what you are serving with the meal. If there are lots of side dishes to enjoy, people will likely eat less of the main course.
What to Serve with Tacos
Tortilla chips with homemade guacamole and salsa are our favorite appetizer when tacos are on the menu. On the side, serve tacos with Mexican rice, corn salad, Instant Pot pinto beans, Instant Pot black beans, or refried beans. Add in a green salad to get more veggies into the meal.
Easy Ground Beef Tacos
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey*)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 10 taco shells (either hard taco shells or soft taco size tortillas)
- Toppings, as desired: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, guacamole, cilantro, chopped onion, etc.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, crumbling with a spoon or spatula, until browned. Drain any excess grease from the skillet. (If you used 90% or 93% lean ground beef there may not be any extra grease to drain.)
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, salt, pepper and tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until taco meat is fully cooked and has reached your desired texture.
- Serve the taco meat in warmed taco shells, with toppings as desired.
- If using ground turkey, add 1/2 cup water along with the tomato sauce for added moisture. You may also want to add water if using very lean ground beef.
- Nutrition information is for taco meat only (made with 90% lean ground beef), as taco shells and toppings will vary.
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