Make the best taco meat for mouthwatering beef tacos and other recipes with this EASY step by step recipe. It's perfectly juicy, family-friendly, and even customizable for spicy food lovers!
Cooking taco meat from scratch has never been easier with this simple, 20-minute recipe. Nothing complicated here. In fact, it's as easy as the popular taco kits we made when I was a kid, only it's homemade and so much better! Just sauté onions with ground beef, then add taco seasoning, tomato sauce and water, then simmer a few minutes. Boom – taco heaven!
What you’ll need
- olive oil - or other cooking oil
- onion - use white, yellow, or red onions
- ground beef - I recommend 80/20 ground beef for this recipe because it stays juicy while cooking and I simply drain the excess fat.
- taco seasoning - Use a store bought packet or this super easy taco seasoning substitute.
- water - This keeps it low sodium but feel free to use beef broth or chicken broth instead.
- tomato sauce - or canned crushed tomatoes
- salt and pepper
How to cook taco meat on the stove
Heat OIL in a skillet. Add ONIONS and saute until translucent. Add BEEF and saute until browned. Drain excess grease, if necessary.
Add TACO SEASONING, WATER, TOMATO SAUCE, SALT, and PEPPER. Stir to combine. Continue cooking to bring everything just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low to simmer about 5 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly.
How to season taco meat
This recipe uses store-bought or homemade taco seasoning, but if you don't have either, simply combine 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder and use it the same way. To make spicy taco meat, add very small amounts of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper, to taste.
Use a (1-ounce) packet or 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning for 1 pound of ground beef. For bolder taco flavor, double the seasoning and increase the liquid amount by a few tablespoons.
½ cup taco meat (4 ounces) per person will make two tacos filled with ¼ cup (2 ounces) each. You can adjust up or down accordingly.
Yes! Allow cooked taco meat to cool completely and package into airtight freezer-safe containers. Freeze up to 3 months, or longer if vacuum sealed. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator for an overnight stay, then heat and serve.
Taco meat serving ideas
Scoop this juicy taco meat into your favorite Mexican foods and watch it get devoured!
- ground beef tacos
- taco salad, taco bowls, or taco pizza
- quesadillas, burritos, or enchiladas
Best Homemade Taco Meat
- Heat OIL in a skillet. Add ONIONS and saute until translucent.
- Add BEEF and saute until browned. Drain excess grease, if necessary.
- Add TACO SEASONING, WATER, TOMATO SAUCE, SALT, and PEPPER.
- Stir until well-combined.
- Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the juices reduce to your liking.
- Serve warm as taco meat or use as a filling for your favorite Mexican food.
- To store, allow taco meat to cool down and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 90 day, or longer if vacuum sealed.
- 11 inch skillet or dutch oven
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.