My Homemade Ground Beef Taco Meat is the best taco meat recipe ever! Plus, you can even make this recipe with turkey or ground chicken if you’d like. Quick, easy, and perfect for tacos, burritos, or nachos!
The Best Taco Meat Recipe
This is my go-to beef taco meat recipe! And if you’ve ever wondered how to make taco meat at home, you’ve come to the right place.
I love it for so many reasons…it’s quick and easy and requires only a handful of pantry staples. Plus, there are zero packages of taco seasoning to be found!
Don’t panic, it’s just as easy as dumping pre-made taco seasoning into ground beef. Making it yourself means that you can adjust it to suit your specific tastes! It doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion.
Most of the time I make my taco meat this way instead of storing taco seasoning. I just find it easier, and it’s one less thing for me to store. That said, I do have a Homemade Taco Seasoning that is really good as well. It’s really just a matter of preference!
You can always make a batch of taco seasoning to have on hand and ready to use at any time. Or use my best taco meat recipe if you don’t want to store a jar of taco seasoning.
Why You’ll Love This Taco Meat Recipe
- Full of flavor thanks to the seasonings
- Perfect for ground beef tacos
- So easy to make
- Made with simple pantry ingredients
Key Ingredients to Make This Ground Beef Taco Meat Recipe
- GROUND BEEF – I like to use simple ground beef for this taco meat recipe, meaning 70-90% lean and 30-10% fat. You can use your preference!
- CHILI POWDER – All good taco meat has a bit of heat. Get yours from the chili powder.
- ONION & GARLIC POWDER – You can also replace the onion and garlic powder with fresh, which I also do sometimes. Use 1 small onion (chopped) and 4-6 cloves garlic (minced) in place of the onion and garlic powder.
- OREGANO – I’m using traditional oregano here, but you could also use Mexican varieties if you want a more complex flavor.
- CUMIN – This warm and earthy spice is one of my favorites.
- TOMATO SAUCE – The secret ingredient for my filling for ground beef tacos! It adds so much flavor and the consistency is just perfect.
- SALT & PEPPER – To taste.
You can also add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to boost the heat. Change up the flavors by adding smoked paprika or chipotle powder.
Instructions on How to Make Taco Meat
ADD THE GROUND BEEF TO A SKILLET: Place the ground beef in a skillet and sprinkle the seasonings on top. Brown the meat over medium heat and stir as it cooks.
DRAIN THE GREASE: If you notice that there is a lot of excess grease in the skillet, drain it out onto a paper towel.
ADD THE TOMATO SAUCE: Slowly pour the tomato sauce over the taco meat. Stir and allow it to simmer over low heat for about 3 minutes.
Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Yes! It is great to make ahead. When properly stored in a freezer-safe container, it will last 2-4 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as necessary. You can also make it ahead and store covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
I prefer to use tomato sauce. It adds so much more flavor than plain old water. You could also use beef broth!
I add all of my seasonings along with the raw ground beef. I see no reason to wait until it’s cooked, and I find that my method allows the flavors to really infuse.
The meat itself already contains fat, so I don’t recommend adding any oil to it. Make sure to use a nonstick skillet to prevent the meat from getting stuck on the pan.
What to Serve with Ground Beef Tacos
Now that you know how to make taco meat it’s time to build your tacos! I recommend adding:
- All the toppings! Lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado…you name it.
- Homemade Pico de gallo
- Quick and Easy Refried Beans
- Spanish Rice
Tips for Making Taco Meat
- This ground beef taco meat recipe also works great with ground turkey or chicken.
- Remember that you can use any type of ground beef (although you can read about my preferences above). Just drain the grease well so your taco filling isn’t greasy.
- A few extras that I like to add sometimes:
- An 8-ounce can of tomato sauce (as shown in these pictures) or 1/2 cup of salsa to make it a little spicy! This is our favorite way.
- A 4-ounce can of chopped green chilies.
- A 15-ounce can of pinto beans that have been drained and rinsed.
More Mexican-Inspired Recipes To Try
Homemade Ground Beef Taco Meat Recipe
- 1 pound (453g) ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 (8oz) (227g) can tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet brown ground beef sprinkled with seasonings over medium heat. Drain any grease and stir in tomato sauce. Simmer over low heat for 3 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
- Make ahead options: Freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 2-4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as needed. Or store covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- You can replace the onion and garlic powder for fresh which I also do sometimes. Use 1 small onion chopped and 4-6 cloves garlic, minced in place of the onion and garlic powder. You can also add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to boost the heat. Change up the flavors by adding smoked paprika or chipotle powder.
- This recipe also works great with ground turkey or chicken.
Use any type of ground beef you prefer. Just drain the grease well so your taco filling isn’t greasy.
- A few extras that I like to add sometimes:
1/2 cup of salsa instead of the tomato sauce. (This is our favorite way.) A 4 ounce can of chopped green chilies, a 15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
- Nutrition info calculated using lean (90%) ground beef.