When most of us think of the month of May and food, our minds immediately go to Memorial Day and the kickoff to summer backyard barbecue season. But let’s not forget we don’t have to wait until the end of the month for a tasty foodie celebration! Nope, not Mother’s Day Brunch either. Only a few days until Cinco de Mayo! My family can’t get enough of all things tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, salsa and more. Most Mexican restaurants have specials on May 5th, and maybe even patio parties with margaritas flowing. However, if you want a simple celebration at home, it doesn’t get easier than this classic Ground Beef Taco recipe.
Related: 40 Crock Pot Dishes for Cinco de Mayo
Best Ground Beef Taco Recipe
This recipe couldn’t be easier, takes almost no time at all and is perfect for a small family or big crowd. It can easily be doubled or even tripled. It can be made on the stove top and then kept warm in a slow cooker for those nights when everyone is eating at different times, or a great take-along dish for a tailgate. Plus, it’s actually two recipes in one with the use of homemade taco seasoning.
Related: 35 Best Salsa Recipes
Ground Beef Taco Seasoning
We’ve all used those pre-made packets from the grocery store and there is no shame in that! Homemade versions just allow us to control the ingredients a little more, especially the sodium level. Or you can make your taco meat as spicy as you like with the addition of a few extra ingredients. The basis of any taco seasoning is usually chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion, then you build the flavor from there.
How To Make Taco Seasoning For Ground Beef
For this recipe, the taco seasoning is a simple mixture of pantry ingredients. I use chili powder, cumin, garlic and onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. The amounts listed make a little over two tablespoons, but it can easily be doubled or tripled and kept in an airtight container in the cupboard for a couple months. Many store bought mixes also contain corn starch to help thicken the meat mixture when combined with water, but I find the homemade seasoning doesn’t need it because this recipe uses less water and will thicken as the water evaporates.
If you like things a little spicier, add red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper. Paprika is also a common addition to homemade taco seasoning both for flavor and color.
How To Make Taco Meat With Ground Beef
Using seasoned ground beef in tacos is a timeless tradition. Browning ground beef, adding water, a seasoning blend and letting it thicken up a little is as easy as 1-2-3. I like to make sure the beef is broken up into as small as pieces as possible for easier stuffing of taco shells. Also, be sure to drain the meat well of any extra fat. It won’t mix with the seasoning and water as well if it’s still coated in grease.
- ground beef
- chili powder
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- dried oregano
- taco shells/tortillas
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cheese
- taco sauce
- large skillet
- spatula or wooden spoon
- small bowl
- measuring cups/spoons
- chef’s knife
- slotted spoon
How To Make Ground Beef Tacos
1. In a small bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to make taco seasoning.
2. In a large skillet brown beef until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add water and 2 tablespoons seasoning. Mix well.
3. Bring beef mixture to a simmer and cook 5-7 minutes until liquid has evaporated and it is slightly thick.
4. Use a slotted spoon to fill taco shells. Add favorite toppings and serve!
Ground Beef Tacos are such a classic supper, but these get a little update with the homemade taco seasoning. These will be such a winner on your dinner table either for Cinco de Mayo or weekly for Taco Tuesday!
- You need 2 tablespoons for each pound of ground beef. This recipe makes just over 2 tablespoons.
- Ground turkey is a great substitute in tacos.
- My favorite taco shells for little hands: stand and stuff hard shells, street taco size flour tortillas, soft taco boat shells.
- Additional topping suggestions: pickled jalapeños, sour cream, sliced black olives, chopped avocado, hot sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, nacho cheese.
- Serving a crowd? Make taco meat according to recipe and keep warm in slow cooker!
- Other uses for this taco meat: burritos, nachos, taco salad, tostadas or even casseroles.
- Save some time and work—look for pre-shredded lettuce in the produce section.
What To Serve With Ground Beef Tacos
More Great Recipes For Cinco de Mayo:
Ground Beef Tacos
- 1-lb ground beef
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp cumin
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- shredded lettuce
- taco shells
- taco sauce
In a small bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to make taco seasoning.
In a large skillet brown beef until no longer pink.
Drain if necessary.
Add water and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning to beef.
Bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat and cook for 5-7 minutes until liquid as evaporated and mixture is slightly thick.
Spoon into shells and add favorite toppings.
Krista Marshall is the creator of Everyday Mom’s Meals and a full time stay at home mom. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband of 19 years and their two amazing and busy sons, age 17 and 5. Everyday Mom’s Meals is for everyone from the novice cook to the experienced home chef. Krista wants to get families around the table with simply made, delicious food. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too!