Instant Pot Taco Meat – From Frozen or Fresh


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


This Instant Pot Taco Meat is an easy way to make tacos for dinner. How to cook fresh or frozen ground beef in your Instant Pot with taco seasonings for a quick meal.

taco meat in instant pot

My family loves tacos for dinner. Sometimes I forget to thaw the ground beef in time for taco night, and that’s when this Instant Pot taco meat recipe comes in really handy!

When you cook ground beef in your Instant Pot, you can cook the meat from frozen. It’s quick, it’s easy, and with this recipe, you’ll have delicious seasoned taco meat, perfect for crunchy or soft tacos.

If you’re making tacos and your ground beef isn’t frozen, you can still use this Instant Pot taco recipe. However, I recommend that you try my stove top taco recipe instead because it is faster to make if you have fresh ground beef.

two beef tacos on a plate

Cooking meat from frozen is one of the best benefits to using an Instant Pot. You might also enjoy my Instant Pot frozen chicken, Instant Pot chicken tacos and Instant Pot pot roast recipes. All can be cooked from frozen into a delicious meal for your family.

This Instant Pot tacos recipe is so simple, you’ll want to keep it on hand for busy days! It’s a perfect recipe for beginners to pressure cooking. My Instant Pot instructions for beginners can help you to get started.

How to Make Instant Pot Taco Meat

Here is a quick overview of how to cook fresh or frozen ground beef in your Instant Pot for tacos. You will find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions at the end of this post.

  1. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot, add the metal trivet to the pot, and place the ground beef (frozen or thawed) on top of the trivet. frozen ground beef on trivet in instant pot
  2. If the ground beef is frozen, pressure cook it for 20 minutes. If the ground beef is not frozen, pressure cook it for 15 minutes.
  3. Quick release the pressure when the cook time ends.
  4. Remove the beef from the pot and clean out the inner pot. It is ok that the beef is not fully cooked, as you will finish cooking it on sauté.
  5. Use the sauté function to finish cooking the beef, crumbling it as it browns.
  6. Add the taco seasonings, tomato sauce and water to the pot and continue cooking until the meat is fully cooked. ground beef with seasonings and tomato sauce

Tips for Cooking Ground Beef in the Instant Pot

  • If using frozen ground beef, make sure that it is frozen into a 1 pound flat. A larger piece of frozen meat will take longer to cook.
  • Be sure to remove all packaging from the ground beef before pressure cooking. You can put a package of frozen ground beef in cool water for a few minutes to help loosen the packaging from vacuum-sealed meat.
  • The ground beef will not be fully cooked after pressure cooking. This is what we want, so that we can crumble and brown the beef using the sauté function. Pressure cooking starts the cooking process, and thaws your meat if it is frozen.
  • If you have a handled trivet, the handles make it easy to lift the meat out of the pot and onto a plate after pressure cooking.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Taco Meat

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • You can double this recipe to feed more people. Lay two 1-pound flats of ground beef side by side on top of the trivet. Keep the pressure cooking time the same, with 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Double the amounts of the remaining ingredients.
  • This recipe can be made with ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • Instead of the individual seasonings, you can use 2 tablespoons of my taco seasoning recipe to season the taco meat. Store-bought taco seasoning can also be used.
  • Be sure to wash and dry the pot well after pressure cooking the meat. You never want to put a wet inner pot into your Instant Pot base.

two crispy ground beef tacos with lettuce, tomato and cheese

Also try these delicious Instant Pot Beef Recipes!

Instant Pot Taco Meat

Cook this Instant Pot Taco Meat from fresh or frozen ground beef for a quick meal. So flavorful, and perfect for a family dinner!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword instant pot frozen ground beef, instant pot taco meat, instant pot tacos
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 5
Calories 174kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound ground beef* frozen or thawed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder for slightly spicy, use 2 teaspoons for mild taco meat
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • For serving: soft tortillas or crunchy taco shells, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, etc.

Instructions

  • Put 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot. Place the metal trivet in the pot and put the ground beef (frozen or thawed) on top of the trivet.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the pressure cook time to 20 minutes at high pressure for frozen ground beef, or 15 minutes at high pressure for thawed ground beef.
  • The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, immediately quick release the pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position. Once all of the steam has escaped and the pin drops down, open the Instant Pot lid.
  • Remove the beef to a clean plate. Remove the trivet and wash out the Instant Pot inner pot. Dry the inner pot well and return it to the Instant Pot base.
  • Put the ground beef in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Turn on the saute function and cook the beef, crumbling it with a spoon, until it is mostly browned. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, salt, pepper, tomato sauce and ½ cup water to the pot. Cook on saute, stirring often, until the meat is fully cooked and most of the liquid is gone. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Serve taco meat in tortillas or taco shells, with toppings as desired.

Notes

  • You can also use ground turkey in this recipe.
  • You can double this recipe to feed more people. Lay two 1-pound flats of ground beef side by side on top of the trivet. Keep the pressure cooking time the same, with 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Double the amounts of the remaining ingredients.
  • Nutrition information is for taco meat only, not including taco shells or toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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