Are you a taco lover who’s looking for a quick, delicious recipe? Our ground beef taco recipe takes just 20 minutes to turn out a flavorful crowd-pleaser that will leave your guests demanding seconds.
Plus, once you’re used to the process, you’ll be making these tacos in just 15 minutes. We’ll show you tips and tricks so you, and your crowd, needn’t wait for long.
Is Ground Beef Taco Healthy?
It depends greatly on what the taco is made of, but our tacos are certainly healthy.
We specifically went for 85% lean ground beef, which has a low amount of fat. It makes for a juicy filling that’s not too greasy, bringing the saturated fat content to an acceptable level.
Tortillas of different brands will have various amounts of sodium, so you can end up consuming more sodium than you should be. But don’t worry, we looked and picked out the one with the least amount of sodium for you.
Apart from the fat and sodium, the tacos are pretty well-balanced in terms of nutrients. If you feel like you need more vitamins and minerals, you can always fit more salsa inside your taco.
Our ground beef taco recipe calls for simple ingredients.
1. The Best Ground Beef for Tacos
Saturated fat is indeed unhealthy, but choosing 95% lean beef isn’t exactly the best choice as it’ll be really dry. That’s why the 85% lean option is the best. Besides the reasons mentioned above, it’s also easy to find.
2. Seasoning for the Beef Filling
One of the crucial steps is to begin the cooking process with sautéing onions and garlic. They add a hint of sweetness and complex aromas to the filling.
The following popular Mexican seasonings are added to the beef: cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Cumin gives Mexican food that distinct, mouth-watering fragrance while the other two give the filling a serious kick and an appetizing red shade.
Then, the beef is seasoned with half a teaspoon of salt and pepper. You can go crazy with pepper, but keep in mind that the salt will up your sodium intake.
Finally, and these are optional, thyme and Dijon mustard. Although they’re not traditionally called for, they’ll bring out the flavor from the beef even more.
3. The Taco Shells
Unlike other types of tortillas, corn tortillas have a special aroma of “masa”, a specially-treated corn flour that yields amazing flavor. Plus, most of them are gluten-free.
Tortillas come in flat sheets, so here’s a nifty trick to easily shape them like taco shells:
Take a muffin tray, flip it upside down, tuck the shells into its crannies, and slide the whole thing into the oven. They’ll come out firm and ready to hold any filling.
4. Toppings for Tacos
We’ve seen tacos topped with lettuce and tomatoes, but we thought a salsa is way better. Ours has crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and pungent red onions, all cut into small cubes and tossed in pure lime juice.
The other important topping is cheddar — yellow, white, or both. For the same reason as the salt, you don’t want to pile heaps of cheese over the tacos.
Finally, we sprinkled some chopped cilantro on top for freshness. We also added radish slices. Optional, but a great pungent twist to the tacos.
How to Cook Ground Beef for Tacos
Start by heating olive oil, and sauté the onions and garlic. We need to get the onions translucent and the garlic golden. Once that happens, spread your ground beef all over the skillet and leave it to sear for a good 2 minutes:
Scatter the seasoning on top while the bottom’s searing. After that, break the meat up into pieces with your wooden spoon or spatula, and stir everything around until the filling takes on a gorgeous brown color:
The browning took us 3 minutes, but our stovetop may be different from yours so it’s crucial that you’re supervising the meat. It’s demanding, but after this, the rest is a breeze.
If you want, you can make a large portion of filling in advance and freeze it so you and your crowd can have tacos in less than 10 minutes. We’ll show you how in the “store, freeze, and reheat” section.
How to Make Ground Beef Tacos
Once the filling’s ready, you only need to:
Bake the shells
Make the salsa
Serve and enjoy!
For measurements, timing, and tidbits, refer to the full version of this easy ground beef taco recipe down below.
Tips for Making These Beef Tacos
To save time, you can preheat the oven before dealing with the beef. As it cooks on the stovetop, the oven should be ready to bake the tortillas.
If you don’t have a muffin tray, you can use the oven rack as well, but this should be done before the oven is heated:
- Slide the tortilla into one space of the rack, skip the next space, and slide the other end of the tortilla into the third. It’ll be draped over two metal bars, which is what we want.
- Repeat with the rest of your tortillas, and they’re ready to bake. Turn the heat to 430 and bake them for 4 minutes.
Can You Cook Frozen Ground Beef?
Yes, you can, and besides the fact that it needs approximately 2 minutes longer, it’s really simple. Here’s how:
- Allow the meat to sear on both sides for 2 minutes, taking 4 minutes in total.
- Break the meat up into smaller pieces and stir the meat around. Add the seasonings and cook them until they’re brown, which takes another 3 minutes.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Beef Taco
If you serve the meat, the shells, and the toppings separately (which you should), cover all of the leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate them. Remember to eat them within the week — they won’t last for longer than that.
To reheat, bake the taco shells at the same temperature for 2 minutes and heat the meat filling in a skillet over medium heat. The toppings don’t need to be reheated.
We don’t recommend freezing leftover tacos because the salsa doesn’t thaw well.
If you’re planning to make the beef filling in advance and freeze, that’s brilliant. Remember to allow it to cool to room temperature before storing.
Once it’s cool, add it to a large Ziploc bag, close it, spread it out into a sheet, and freeze it. Doing this allows you to break the meat into smaller pieces, which makes for easier reheating.
If you love taco recipes like this one, we also have Instant Pot chicken tacos recipe, buffalo cauliflower tacos recipe, blackened salmon tacos recipe that you may like.
What to Serve With Beef Tacos
Tacos and guacamole are besties — one is savory and tangy, the other is creamy and lightly sweet. We also love the crunchy crackers that are served with guacamole.
Love This Recipe? There’s More!
Here are some tasty, easy ground beef meals that we just couldn’t help but fall in love with:
- Ground Beef and Cabbage Recipe
- Ground Beef Casserole Recipe
- Ground Beef and Broccoli Recipe
- Thai Basil Beef Recipe
- Beef Quesadilla Recipe
Ground Beef Taco Recipe
Our ground beef taco recipe is a fool-proof and quick way to make tacos at home. The beef filling can be made in advance.
- cook TIME 15 mins
- prep TIME 5 mins
- total TIME 20 mins
- COURSE Main Course
- CUISINE Mexican
- CALORIES 496 kcal
- 18 oz 85% lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
- 2 oz onions (chopped)
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 oz red onions (finely chopped)
- 4 oz tomatoes (seeded and cut into small cubes)
- 4 oz cucumbers (same as tomatoes)
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 oz radish (sliced)
- 1.5 oz cheddar (shredded)
- 2 tbsp coriander (roughly chopped)
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop a piece of garlic in and if it sizzles, add the rest of the garlic (1 tbsp garlic) and 2 oz chopped onions. Sauté for 1 minute.
Add 18 oz ground beef to the skillet. Add the seasonings on top: 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp Dijon.
Allow the bottom side to sear for about 2 minutes, then break up the meat and stir to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside.
Flip a muffin tray upside down and place 4 tortillas into its crannies to form a taco-shell shape. Slide into the oven to cook for 3 minutes, and repeat with the remaining 4 tortillas.
While the shells are baking, place into a bowl 1 oz red onions, 4 oz cubed tomatoes, 4 oz cubed cucumbers, and drizzle over 2 tsp lime juice. Give everything a quick toss and set aside.
As the shells finish baking, serve them with cooked beef, salsa, radish, and cheese, all kept in separate bowls. Enjoy.