This classic taco meat recipe served with crunchy corn shells and filled with classic taco toppings is full of flavor and easy to make.
Taco Tuesday is always a popular night at our house. But really, who are we kidding? Tacos are an excellent idea any night of the week!
This is our go-to taco meat recipe because it only takes a few basic pantry ingredients and it tastes amazing. We typically make a large batch of this, and store it in a glass jar so it’s ready to go whenever we’re hungry for tacos.
Ingredients for ground beef taco meat:
- Chili powder
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Crushed red pepper flakes
How to make taco meat with homemade seasoning
Mix all spices in a small bowl and set aside. If you like onion in your taco meat (we do!), dice an onion and set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground beef and break apart with wooden spoon. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. Drain grease, if needed. Add 2/3 cup water, stir, and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
What’s the benefit of homemade taco meat seasoning?
Yes, we know it’s easy to buy taco seasoning at the store, but we strongly recommend homemade. Why? We prefer homemade seasoning because it tastes so much better. We make a big batch and store it in a glass jar so that it’s ready to go whenever we’re hungry for tacos.
The other big benefit of DIY seasoning is that you can adjust the ingredients as needed for your family. For example, if you like more heat, add more chili powder or crushed red pepper. If you’re watching your salt intake, reduce the salt. This is a very flexible recipe.
How to adjust recipe to make a mild taco meat seasoning?
If you want to make the taco meat to be more mild, eliminate the crushed red pepper flakes entirely.
What’s the best ground beef for taco meat?
We like to use ground beef that’s about 90% lean for tacos. This 90/10 ratio provides plenty of flavor while having a minimum amount of fat to drain. Other lean-to-fat ratios work too, but there will be more fat to drain.
When deciding what ground beef is best for your tacos, keep in mind that fat equals flavor.
Here’s some background on how ground beef is labeled. The fat content of ground beef is listed on the label as a ratio, for example 80/20, 85/15, and 90/10. This number is called the lean point, and represents the lean-to-fat ratio of that particular grind of beef. The top number of the ratio indicates the leanness and the bottom number is the fat. For example, beef with a label that says 85/15 is 85% lean beef and 15% fat in the package.
- 80-89% Lean Ground Beef: This is a mid-range ratio with great flavor. It has a slightly firmer texture than beef with 73-80% leanness. It’s best in meatballs, leaner burgers, meatloaf, pizza toppings and chili.
- 90-92% Lean Ground Beef: This type of ground beef is ideal when you want to make your favorite recipes slightly leaner, such as lasagna, enchiladas, casseroles, chili, tacos and sloppy joes.
How much taco seasoning is in a packet?
Most packets contain 1 ounce or 3 tablespoons of seasoning. Use 3 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning for every packet your recipe calls for.
How much taco meat should you use per person?
Plan on using one pound of beef for four people, which will be about 2-3 tablespoons of taco meat per taco.
What are the best toppings for tacos?
Tacos can be customized however you’d like. We typically put out a toppings bar with the following taco toppings
- Shredded cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Minced red onion
- Sour cream
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced avocado
Other ways to use taco meat
When it comes to taco meat, you have lots of options in serving it. We use this taco meat in a variety of recipes:
- Spaghetti Squash Taco Boat
- Taco Spaghetti Squash
- Beef Enchiladas
- Beef Taco Skillet
- Enchilada Casserole
- Taco Salad
How to store and freeze cooked taco meat
Store: The USDA recommends using cooked beef within 3-4 days as long as beef is kept refrigerated properly
Freeze: Taco meat is easy to freeze. Once you’ve cooked the taco meat, allow the meat to cool completely and then freeze it in a freezer-safe airtight container or gallon sized resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the bag or container overnight in the refrigerator, then heat up on the stovetop over medium heat.
How to store taco seasoning
Store the taco seasoning in an airtight container for about 6 months.
Taco Meat Recipe
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- Mix all spices in a small bowl. Taco seasoning can be stored in an airtight container for about 6 months.
- When ready to use, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef for approximately 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. Drain grease, if needed. Add taco seasoning and 2/3 cup water, stir, and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Other Favorite Beef Seasoning Recipes
Kitchen products we love
One More Thing!
Do you want to learn more about beef? Join our weekly e-newsletter where we share farm happenings, recipes and beef availability. Sign-up and get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer. Or, we have an entire ebook about beef that goes through purchasing and preparing beef from a cattle farmers perspective.
Here are a few other links you may like:
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- 7 Steps to Grilling a Steak to Perfection
- How We Raise Our Grass Fed Beef
- Bonfire Burger
- Prime Rib Roast with Garlic Herb Butter
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