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Ground Beef Tacos Recipe

These ground beef tacos are a flavorful and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love. The combination of perfectly seasoned beef, crisp taco shells, and your favorite toppings creates a delicious and satisfying meal.

Ground Beef Tacos with shredded cheese, green salsa verde sauce, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion on a black plate with lime
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Photos of Ground Beef Tacos Recipe

You might not always have tomato paste and red pepper flakes in your pantry. These ingredients add depth and a touch of heat to the dish. Make sure to pick them up at the supermarket if they’re not already in your kitchen.

Ingredients for Ground Beef Tacos Recipe

Ground beef: This is the main protein for the tacos. Choose a lean variety for a healthier option.

Tomato paste: Adds a rich, concentrated tomato flavor to the beef mixture.

Water: Helps to create a sauce and blend the seasonings with the beef.

Taco shells: These crunchy shells hold the seasoned beef and toppings.

Chili powder: Provides a mild spice and deep flavor to the beef.

Cumin: Adds a warm, earthy flavor to the seasoning mix.

Onion powder: Gives a subtle onion flavor without the need to chop fresh onions.

Garlic powder: Adds a mellow garlic taste to the beef.

Red pepper flakes: Introduces a touch of heat to the tacos.

Oregano: Adds a bit of herbal freshness to the seasoning.

Salt: Enhances all the flavors in the beef mixture.

Pepper: Adds a bit of sharpness and depth to the seasoning.

One reader, Brent Mclaurin says:

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This ground beef tacos recipe is fantastic! The seasoning blend is perfect, and the tacos come out flavorful and delicious. Easy to follow and quick to make, it's a hit with the whole family. Definitely adding this to our regular meal rotation!

Brent Mclaurin

Techniques Required for Making Delicious Ground Beef Tacos

How to brown ground beef: Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, breaking it apart with a spatula, until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat.

How to simmer: After adding the seasoning mixture, water, and tomato paste, bring the mixture to a simmer by heating it until it just starts to bubble. Let it cook gently for 5 minutes or until thickened.

How to preheat oven: Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to reach the desired temperature before placing the taco shells inside.

How to bake taco shells: Place taco shells on a tray and bake them in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or until they are heated through.

Ever since I took a trip to Mexico, ground beef tacos have definitely become one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Locals call it tacos de asada, from the Spanish word “asada” which means grilled or roasted beef. I could say it’s one of the BEST dishes I’ve had and so I had to ask the locals how to make this succulent dish. The secret? It’s all in the spices. The tender ground beef is generously seasoned with savory, spicy, and earthy spices. No wonder each bite is bursting with flavor!

For a delicious dish like this, cooking ground beef for tacos is fairly easy to make. The tender ground beef is moist but not greasy and it has the right amount of kick that will wake up your taste buds. To make the best ground beef for tacos, choosing the right meat is crucial. You should go for flank or skirt steaks. Flanks are quick to cook and at the same time, it’s lean meat so it has less fat. Skirts, on the other hand, are known for their beefy flavor. Either meats you go, they’ll be perfect for hearty beef tacos.

The ingredients and steps for these ground beef Mexican tacos are simple. All I had to do was brown the ground beef, then cook it in water and tomato paste to make it more juicy. After that, I added a liberal amount of spices which mainly consists of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Simmer it for a few minutes to let the flavors seep into the meat then it’s done!

Personally, I like having mine with crisp tacos by baking the taco shells in the oven. But you can totally enjoy that ground beef with soft tacos as well! Whenever I prepare this, I usually top it with onions, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes, along with a few squeezes of lime. I made these homemade tacos for my family and friends. And let me tell you, they’ve been requesting me to prepare these every get-together! I highly recommend that you try out this ground beef taco recipe too for your next barbecue or casual dinner party.

How To Make Ground Beef Tacos

No need to travel all the way to Mexico if you’re craving for ground beef tacos. You can easily make this flavor-packed dish at home using simple ingredients.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 8 hard taco shells, or soft

For Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper, to taste

For Serving:

  • lettuce, chopped
  • Mexican cheese blend, or cheddar cheese, shredded
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • red onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  2. Add seasoning mixture, water, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the taco shells on a tray and bake for 5 minutes or until heated.
  4. Fill the taco shells with meat and desired toppings such as lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and onions.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • For added tang and creaminess, try serving your beef tacos with some crunchy cabbage slaw.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 427.92kcal
  • Fat: 28.74g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.48g
  • Trans Fat: 1.38g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11.98g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.20g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.93g
  • Fiber: 3.12g
  • Sugar: 1.57g
  • Protein: 22.00g
  • Cholesterol: 80.51mg
  • Sodium: 442.86mg
  • Calcium: 70.09mg
  • Potassium: 515.79mg
  • Iron: 3.84mg
  • Vitamin A: 41.95µg
  • Vitamin C: 1.91mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting Your Taco Technique

To enhance the flavor of your ground beef, consider blooming the spices. After browning the ground beef and draining the fat, add the taco seasoning directly to the meat and cook for about 1-2 minutes before adding the water and tomato paste. This allows the spices to release their essential oils and deepen the overall flavor of the dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Tacos on Busy Nights

Prepare the seasoning mix ahead: Combine the chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper in advance and store in an airtight container.

Use pre-shredded cheese: Save time by using pre-shredded cheese instead of shredding it yourself.

Pre-chop toppings: Chop your lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings the night before and store them in the fridge.

Double the recipe: Cook extra ground beef and freeze half for a quick meal next time.

Microwave taco shells: Instead of baking, microwave taco shells for 30 seconds to save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Ground Beef Tacos Recipe

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner option and has a similar texture to ground beef.

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground chicken: Ground chicken is another lean protein that works well in tacos.

  • ground beef - Substitute with black beans: For a vegetarian option, black beans provide protein and a hearty texture.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with ketchup: Ketchup can add a similar tomato flavor and sweetness, though it is less concentrated.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes can be used, but you may need to cook them down to thicken.

  • water - Substitute with chicken broth: Chicken broth adds more flavor than plain water.

  • water - Substitute with beef broth: Beef broth enhances the meaty flavor of the dish.

  • taco shells - Substitute with flour tortillas: Flour tortillas are a soft alternative to crunchy taco shells.

  • taco shells - Substitute with lettuce leaves: For a low-carb option, use lettuce leaves as a wrap.

  • chili powder - Substitute with paprika: Paprika provides a milder heat and a similar color.

  • cumin - Substitute with ground coriander: Ground coriander has a different but complementary flavor profile.

  • onion powder - Substitute with dried minced onion: Dried minced onion offers a similar onion flavor.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with fresh garlic: Fresh garlic can be used, but adjust the quantity to taste.

  • red pepper flakes - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper provides a similar heat level.

  • oregano - Substitute with thyme: Thyme has a different but still aromatic flavor that works well in tacos.

  • salt - Substitute with soy sauce: Soy sauce adds saltiness and umami flavor.

  • pepper - Substitute with white pepper: White pepper has a slightly different flavor but can be used similarly.

How to Beautifully Present Your Homemade Tacos

  1. Use artisanal taco shells: Opt for handmade taco shells to elevate the texture and flavor, giving a more authentic and gourmet touch.

  2. Perfectly browned ground beef: Ensure the ground beef is evenly browned and finely crumbled to provide a consistent and appealing texture.

  3. Homemade taco seasoning blend: Highlight the use of a custom taco seasoning blend, emphasizing the balance of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper.

  4. Simmer to perfection: Allow the ground beef mixture to simmer until it thickens, ensuring the flavors meld together beautifully.

  5. Preheat and crisp taco shells: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the taco shells for 5 minutes to achieve a perfect crispness.

  6. Elegant plating: Arrange the taco shells in a fan shape on a pristine white plate, ensuring they are evenly spaced and visually appealing.

  7. Garnish with fresh toppings: Offer a selection of fresh toppings such as diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco to add color and texture.

  8. Drizzle with gourmet sauces: Provide small pipettes or drizzles of crema or salsa verde for an added layer of flavor and sophistication.

  9. Serve with lime wedges: Include lime wedges on the side to allow diners to add a fresh, zesty finish to their tacos.

  10. Attention to detail: Ensure each element is meticulously placed, demonstrating a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail expected in a 3 Michelin star presentation.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Tacos

  • Skillet: Used to brown the ground beef over medium heat until no pink remains.

  • Wooden spoon: Ideal for stirring the ground beef and mixing in the seasoning, water, and tomato paste.

  • Measuring spoons: Necessary for accurately measuring out the taco seasoning ingredients such as chili powder, cumin, and others.

  • Measuring cup: Used to measure ⅔ cup of water.

  • Baking tray: Needed to place the taco shells on for baking in the oven.

  • Oven: Preheated to 350 degrees F to heat the taco shells.

  • Colander: Useful for draining any fat from the browned ground beef.

  • Mixing bowl: Handy for combining the taco seasoning ingredients before adding them to the beef.

  • Tongs: Helpful for handling the hot taco shells after they come out of the oven.

  • Serving spoon: Used to fill the taco shells with the seasoned meat mixture.

  • Cutting board: Useful for preparing any desired toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, or cheese.

  • Knife: Essential for chopping any toppings you want to add to your tacos.

How To Store and Freeze Leftover Taco Ingredients

  • Let the ground beef taco filling cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • To store in the fridge, transfer the cooled filling to an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • For freezing, place the cooled filling in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
  • Freeze the ground beef taco filling for up to 2-3 months.
  • To reheat, thaw the frozen filling overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer the thawed filling to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
  • If the filling appears dry, add a splash of water or beef broth to help reconstitute it.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed, as flavors may change slightly after freezing and reheating.
  • Serve the reheated ground beef taco filling in fresh taco shells or tortillas with your favorite toppings.

How To Reheat Leftover Tacos

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover taco shells on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are crispy and heated through. This method helps to restore the crunch and texture of the shells.

  • While the shells are warming up, reheat the ground beef filling in a skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating and to prevent the meat from drying out. If the filling seems a bit dry, you can add a splash of water or beef broth to help moisten it.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the ground beef filling in the microwave. Place the meat in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat it in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the filling is heated through. This method is quicker, but be careful not to overheat the meat, as it can become tough and dry.

  • Once the taco shells and filling are heated, assemble the tacos with your favorite toppings, such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve the tacos immediately to enjoy the best texture and flavor.

  • If you have leftover toppings, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This will help to maintain their freshness and prevent them from becoming soggy when reheated with the taco shells and filling.

  • For a crispy alternative, you can transform your leftover ground beef tacos into a taco salad. Break up the shells into bite-sized pieces and scatter them over a bed of fresh lettuce. Top the salad with the reheated ground beef filling and your favorite taco toppings, then drizzle with a zesty lime vinaigrette or salsa for added flavor.

Random Fact about Ground Beef Tacos

A fun fact about this ground beef tacos recipe is that the combination of spices used in the taco seasoning not only adds flavor but also has health benefits. For example, cumin is known for its digestive properties, and oregano has antibacterial and antioxidant effects.

Is Making Tacos at Home Cost-Effective?

This ground beef tacos recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. With basic ingredients like ground beef, tomato paste, and common spices, it keeps expenses low. The use of homemade taco seasoning further reduces costs compared to store-bought mixes. Overall, this recipe scores an 8 out of 10 for cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10-$12 USD, making it an affordable and delicious option for family meals.

Are Ground Beef Tacos Healthy or Unhealthy?

This ground beef taco recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • The recipe relies heavily on ground beef, which is high in saturated fat and calories. Consuming too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
  • The taco shells are likely made from refined flour, which lacks fiber and nutrients compared to whole grain options.
  • The recipe doesn't include any vegetables, which are essential for a balanced and nutritious meal.
  • The seasoning mix contains a significant amount of salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure when consumed in excess.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the ground beef for a leaner protein source, such as ground turkey or chicken. You can also use a mix of ground meat and plant-based proteins like lentils or black beans to reduce the overall fat content and increase fiber.
  • Choose whole grain or corn taco shells instead of those made from refined flour. Alternatively, use lettuce leaves as a low-carb, nutrient-dense option.
  • Incorporate a variety of colorful vegetables into your tacos. Some great options include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, and chopped onions. These will add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your meal.
  • Reduce the amount of salt in the seasoning mix by half, and rely on other spices and herbs to add flavor. You can also use fresh garlic and onion instead of powdered versions for a more potent taste and added health benefits.
  • Top your tacos with nutrient-rich additions like sliced avocado for healthy fats, fresh cilantro for antioxidants, and a squeeze of lime juice for vitamin C.
  • Use low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt as a sour cream alternative to cut down on calories and fat while increasing protein content.

Editor's Opinion: Why This Taco Recipe Is a Winner

This ground beef taco recipe is straightforward and efficient, making it perfect for a quick weeknight meal. The homemade taco seasoning adds a depth of flavor that surpasses store-bought mixes. Baking the taco shells ensures they are warm and crispy, enhancing the overall texture. However, consider adding fresh ingredients like diced onions, cilantro, and lime juice to elevate the dish further. The simplicity of the recipe allows for easy customization, making it a versatile option for various palates.

Enhance Your Ground Beef Tacos Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mexican Street Corn Salad: Imagine a vibrant corn salad bursting with flavors of lime, cilantro, and a hint of chili powder. This side dish will add a refreshing crunch to your ground beef tacos.
Black Bean and Mango Salsa: A delightful mix of black beans, juicy mango, and zesty red onions. This salsa brings a sweet and savory twist that perfectly complements the savory taco meat.
Cilantro Lime Rice: Fluffy rice infused with the tangy zest of lime and the aromatic touch of fresh cilantro. This side dish will elevate your taco experience to a whole new level.
Avocado and Tomato Salad: Creamy avocado chunks paired with juicy tomatoes, drizzled with a light vinaigrette. This salad adds a refreshing and creamy element to your taco night.
Spicy Mexican Slaw: A crunchy cabbage slaw with a kick of jalapeño and a tangy lime dressing. This side dish provides a spicy and tangy contrast to the rich ground beef tacos.

Other Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try

Chicken Fajitas: Sizzling chicken fajitas are a fantastic alternative to ground beef tacos. Marinate strips of chicken breast in a zesty blend of lime juice, garlic, and spices. Sauté with colorful bell peppers and onions, then serve with warm flour tortillas and your favorite toppings.
Shrimp Tacos: For a seafood twist, try shrimp tacos. Season plump shrimp with a smoky spice mix and quickly sear them in a hot pan. Pair with a tangy cabbage slaw and a drizzle of cilantro lime crema for a refreshing bite.
Vegetarian Black Bean Tacos: Go meatless with vegetarian black bean tacos. Sauté black beans with corn, onions, and a medley of spices. Load up your taco shells with this hearty filling and top with avocado, salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese.
Pork Carnitas Tacos: Indulge in the rich flavors of pork carnitas tacos. Slow-cook pork shoulder with orange juice, garlic, and spices until tender and juicy. Shred the meat and crisp it up in a hot skillet before piling it into taco shells with pickled onions and cilantro.

Appetizers and Desserts to Serve with Your Taco Feast

Appetizers:
Stuffed Jalapeños: Kick off your meal with a burst of flavor by preparing stuffed jalapeños. These spicy peppers are filled with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and cheddar, then wrapped in crispy bacon. Bake them until the bacon is perfectly crispy and the cheese is melted and gooey. The combination of spicy, creamy, and smoky flavors will tantalize your taste buds and set the stage for a delicious meal.
Mini Quesadillas: Delight your guests with mini quesadillas, a perfect bite-sized appetizer. Use small tortillas and fill them with a blend of monterey jack and cheddar cheese. Add a touch of sautéed onions and bell peppers for extra flavor. Cook them on a hot griddle until the tortillas are golden and the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for dipping. These little quesadillas are sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Desserts:
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the decadence of a Chocolate Lava Cake. Imagine a rich, molten center that oozes out as you take your first bite. This dessert is perfect for those who crave a luxurious finish to their meal. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream to elevate the experience. The contrast between the warm, gooey chocolate and the cold, creamy ice cream creates a sensory delight that is hard to resist. For an added touch, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top or garnish with a fresh mint leaf.
Lemon Meringue Pie: Delight your taste buds with a Lemon Meringue Pie. This classic dessert combines a tangy lemon filling with a light, fluffy meringue. The crisp crust provides a perfect base, balancing the zesty lemon and the sweet meringue. Serve it chilled for a refreshing end to your meal. The contrast of textures and flavors makes this pie a crowd-pleaser. For a touch of elegance, add a few lemon zest curls on top or a sprinkle of toasted coconut. This dessert is sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Why trust this Ground Beef Tacos Recipe:

This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, perfect for a quick and delicious meal. The blend of ground beef with homemade taco seasoning ensures a burst of flavor in every bite. Using simple ingredients like tomato paste and spices, it delivers a rich, savory taste. The step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow, even for beginners. Plus, baking the taco shells adds a delightful crunch. Trust this recipe for its simplicity, flavor, and ease of preparation.

Share your thoughts on the Ground Beef Tacos Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance this classic dish!
FAQ:
How can I make the tacos spicier?
If you like your tacos with a bit more kick, you can increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of hot sauce to the meat mixture.
Can I use a different type of meat instead of ground beef?
Absolutely! Ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based meat substitute can work well in this recipe. Just follow the same steps for cooking and seasoning.
What toppings go well with these tacos?
Some great toppings include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Feel free to get creative with your favorites!
Can I make the taco seasoning in advance?
Yes, you can mix the taco seasoning ingredients together and store them in an airtight container for up to six months. This way, it's ready to go whenever you need it.
How do I prevent the taco shells from getting soggy?
To keep the taco shells crispy, make sure to bake them as instructed and fill them just before serving. You can also add a layer of cheese at the bottom to create a barrier between the shell and the meat.

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