Ground Beef Tacos- the BEST ground beef taco recipe made with homemade taco seasoning. The taco meat is juicy, full of flavor, and served in crispy taco shells. Top the tacos with your favorite toppings! This easy weeknight meal is a family favorite and takes less than 30 minutes to make!
Tacos are always a favorite weeknight dinner. We love making fun tacos like cauliflower chickpea tacos, steak tacos, turkey tacos, sweet potato tacos, and more BUT you can’t go wrong with traditional Ground Beef Tacos. They are a classic and this is the BEST ground beef taco recipe.
The taco meat is spiced with homemade taco seasoning which is made with basic spices you already have in the pantry. The meat is juicy and full of lots of delicious flavor!
We like to serve the tacos in homemade crispy taco shells that are easy to fry up. They are crunchy, salty, and so much better than store bought shells.
Top the tacos with lettuce, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream…or whatever toppings you like. We love setting up a little taco bar so everyone can build their own tacos.
And the best part? The tacos can be made in less than 30 minutes, making them the ideal weeknight meal. Everyone loves a good taco night!
Table of Contents
Taco Meat Ingredients
- Ground Beef– we recommend using a 80/20 ground beef for taco meat (80% lean, 20% fat). It has the best flavor and is super juicy. You will drain off excess grease.
- Spices– chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano.
- Water– add a little water to the meat and spices to help it create a sauce that will keep the taco meat juicy. If you want to use tomato sauce instead of water, you can, it will give the meat a richer tomato flavor.
How to Make Taco Meat
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Brown the ground beef for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess grease.
- Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.
- Pour in the water and let simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Turn off heat and set aside.
How to Make Crispy Taco Shells
You can serve the ground taco meat in fresh corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or store-bought crispy taco shells, but we like to make homemade crispy taco shells. They are easy to make and SO good!
- To make the crispy tortillas: Add avocado oil or vegetable oil to a small skillet until it is ½ inch up the sides.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot (350 degrees), this will take about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Line a plate with paper towels and place by the skillet. When the oil is hot, carefully place a tortilla in the hot oil and cook until it is blistering but still soft, about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Using tongs, turn tortilla over and then immediately fold to form a taco shell. Once the tortilla is holding its shape, turn until crisp and golden all over, 15 to 30 seconds longer.
- Transfer to the prepared plate and sprinkle with cotija cheese and a little salt on the inside and outside of the taco shell.
- Make sure you sprinkle the cheese on when the tortillas are hot so it will stick. Continue frying the tortillas. If the oil starts to smoke, it is too hot, turn down the temperature and wait a bit.
- Lettuce– finely chopped!
- Cheese– You can use shredded Mexican cheese blend, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack, pepper jack, or a mix of cheeses!
- Quick Pickled Onions– easy to make and SO good. I always have a jar in the fridge.
- Pico de gallo– so fresh! You can also add plain diced tomatoes.
- Guacamole– you can’t go wrong with guacamole. Diced avocados are also good.
- Sour Cream– a classic taco topping. You can also use plain Greek yogurt.
- Black Olives
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Sliced jalapeños– candied jalapeños are good too!
- Salsa– our homemade blender salsa is the best!
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing– you can drizzle a little dressing over the tacos for an extra boost of flavor.
Assembling the Tacos
- To assemble the tacos: Fill the crispy tortilla shells (or tortillas of your choice) with the warm taco meat.
- Top with lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole or avocado, pickled red onions, and whatever other toppings you like. I love that this taco recipe is customizable. Everyone can build their favorite taco.
- Serve immediately!
What to Serve with Tacos
- Mexican Rice
- Easy Refried Beans
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Best Bean Dip
- Chips & Salsa
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Black Bean Salad
How to Store Taco Meat
- Refrigerator: Store leftover taco meat in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Cool the meat completely. Place in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 4 months. To thaw, pull it out of the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Taco Recipes
- Turkey Tacos
- Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos
- Easy Chicken Tacos
- Easy Vegetarian Tacos
- Grilled Steak Tacos
- Black Bean Tacos
- Shrimp Tacos
Ground Beef Tacos
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 corn or flour tortillas, can make crispy tortillas, see note
- Lettuce, finely chopped
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
- Pickled Red Onions
- Pico de gallo
- Guacamole or avocado
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- To make the taco meat: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess grease. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Pour in the water and let simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Turn off heat and set aside.
- To assemble the tacos: Fill the tortillas with the warm taco meat and top with lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole or avocado, sour cream or your favorite taco toppings. Serve immediately.
Have you tried this recipe?
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I wanted the Potato Soup recipe but the tacos come up. I have a 10 lb bag of potatoes and soup sounds good today.
Here is our classic potato soup recipe: https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/potato-soup/
Do you use corn or flour tortilla for frying?
We prefer corn.
Do you have a favorite corn tortilla brand? I tried frying them but they never got crispy or held shape. Also, another tortilla question, ha! I have your bean and cheese burritos on the menu but we only use tortilla land uncooked ones from costco- I saw that you prefer them too but they aren’t 8″ – more like 5-6″ so I’m wondering if there are burrito sized uncooked ones somewhere?
We usually buy corn tortillas at the Mexican market by our house. We buy the Tortilla Land tortillas at Costco. I think they are close to 8-inches.