Ground Beef Tacos are the perfect dish for easy weeknight dinners. This quick taco recipe is not only tasty but it uses spices you likely have on hand!
Add your favorite toppings like guacamole and pico de gallo and serve in soft or crisp taco shells (or add the taco meat to lettuce for an easy taco salad)!
Quick Beef Tacos
Traditional Mexican tacos are one of my all time favorite foods and the thing I search out the minute I land in Mexico! I often fill them with either carnitas or salsa crockpot chicken but when I’m home we make ground beef tacos!
Tacos are a terrific way to stretch your meal budget. For a family of four or five, you can get by with just a pound of ground beef.
How Much Ground Beef Per Person for Tacos? Considering that it takes 2 ounces of filling max, per shell (about 4 tablespoons, or ¼ of a cup), a single pound can make up to eight tacos. If you add diced onion, cilantro tomato rice, beans or other fillings, you could make a pound of taco meat stretch even more.
Favorite Taco Seasoning
The great thing about tacos is that you can whip up a big batch of homemade taco seasoning to have on hand for a quick meal and it’s the perfect way to season homemade taco meat!
Taco seasoning is a mélange of classic Mexican herbs and spices (and you can add a little heat if you’d like). Ingredients include chili powder, garlic and onion powders, ground cumin, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. If you are short on time, use prepared taco seasoning.
Toppings for Tacos
Fill the warm shells with meat and serve with your choice of toppings. Wondering what to serve with tacos? An array of toppings including shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Sour cream and guacamole, sliced jalapenos and salsa are also great on ground beef tacos. Cilantro, olives… the sky’s the limit!
Sides to serve with ground beef tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice and beans for complete and hearty meal.
How to Make Tacos
Ground beef tacos are super simple, especially if you make your taco seasoning in advance. Tacos are literally as easy as 1,2,3!!
- Brown Beef: Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat (I sometimes add diced onion and garlic too). I like to use lean (but not extra lean) beef (85/15) to get a bit of flavor from the fat. Drain any fat before adding seasonings.
- Add Seasoning: Add the tomato paste, water and taco seasonings, and simmer until thickened. The water rehydrates the spices and allows the sauce to coat every morsel of the meat.
- Heat Taco Shells: Hard shells should go in the oven (to make them crisp and warm) and soft shells can be cooked either in the oven or microwave.
You can also serve this over a bed of lettuce to make a great Taco Salad!
To Make Tacos Ahead of Time
You can definitely make taco filling ahead of time! It will keep in the freezer for up to four months, or in the refrigerator for up to four days!
Batch Cook: A good way to make use of those family packs of ground beef is to batch cook taco meat. You can prepare several pounds at once and freeze what you don’t use.
Freeze: Separate into freezer bags or containers, and you’ll have taco filling at your fingertips. I do some single portions for lunches and some family sized portions.
Reheat: Reheat the meat in a frying pan (add a splash of water so it doesn’t dry out) or in the microwave. Frozen taco meat makes a great (and super easy) Taco Soup as well!
More Awesome Tacos
- Easy Fish Tacos – Healthy and delish!
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos (Pressure Cooker) – quick and easy
- Beef Taco Casserole – kid approved
- Crock Pot Chicken Tacos – super easy
- Shrimp Tacos – so fresh
Easy Ground Beef Tacos
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅔ cup water
- 8 hard taco shells or soft
- toppings as desired
- 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
- ½ tablespoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ teaspoon Oregano
- ½ teaspoon Salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Brown ground beef over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Add seasoning mixture, water and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and let simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 350°F. Place taco shells on a tray and bake 5 minutes or until heated.
- Fill taco shells with meat and desired toppings.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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We love Mexican food but seldom try making it at home. Your tacos look amazing so that’s what I’m making with the ground beef I have thawed. One question though, I just noticed the green stuff in the meat mixture and wondering if an ingredient is missing from the recipe? Thanks.
Hi Diane, the taco meat in these photographs is garnished with parsley but cilantro would be great too!
Hi! Would this work with tomato sauce instead of tomato paste? We currently don’t have some at home and I would love to make these for dinner today. If so, what else do I have to do to have it taste as close to the original recipe as possible? Thank you :3
Hi Liz, that would work in this recipe. The tomato paste would help thicken the ground beef mixture but since the sauce is thinner I would recommend reducing the water a little to accommodate. We would love to hear how you adapt it!
This seasoning is really very very good I have been looking through ground beef recipes for 30 minutes looking for something to make and I found this and it’s perfect for tonight at the last minute
So happy to hear that, Peggy. Enjoy!
Quick & Delicious