These ground beef tacos are the easiest weeknight dinner you can make. They take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. They’re kid friendly, and the adults like them just as much. In my house they’re referred to as “plain tacos” and that’s just what they are, simple and delicious.
I have other taco recipes like shredded pork tacos and chicken tacos and while they’re great, these ground beef tacos are the family favorite. I say, “it’s taco night” and my son says,” just make the plain tacos”. Sometimes simplicity is what we crave!
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What ingredients go in beef tacos?
- Spices: chili powder, salt (we use kosher salt), garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin and black pepper (preferably fresh ground)
- Oil: Use a neutral (flavorless) oil with a high smoke point – we use canola oil
- Ground Beef: use a lean beef so it’s not too greasy, but not too lean so we get some flavor – we used ground sirloin
- Canned goods: tomato sauce and beef broth
Homemade taco seasoning
For these beef tacos we put together the easiest homemade taco seasoning. No fancy ingredients here. You should have everything you need in your spice cabinet, or you’ll easily find it in the spice aisle at your local grocer.
This taco seasoning is our go to. While the quantity gets adjusted depending on the recipe, like in this easy turkey taco soup, the ingredients remain the same. It’s a combination of chili powder, salt, garlic, onion, cumin and black pepper. We also use it in these shredded beef tacos and chicken taquitos. It’s a simple seasoning mix for tacos, but it adds a ton of flavor.
Suggested taco toppings
The taco toppings are just as important as the filling. Put out some options (buffet style) and let everyone customize their own. Here are some great topping ideas:
- Salsa – Is always a favorite and there’s no shortage of prepackaged varieties. But, if you want to make your own, this fresh salsa recipe is fantastic.
- Cheese – A must with tacos right? Try cheddar jack or Monterey jack. Queso fresco is really good too. There are plenty of options so choose your favorite.
- Green onions or chives – They add a mild, oniony flavor and a pretty pop of color.
- Limes – A squeeze of citrus wakes up the flavor of the toppings.
- Cilantro – Chopped or torn a few cilantro leaves add a special flavor and visual interest.
- Shredded Lettuce – Cool and crisp lettuce is perfect for these tacos.
- Diced tomatoes – Adds a little freshness and they look so pretty.
- Guacamole or avocado slices – They’re some pretty decent pre-packaged guacamole options, check the produce aisle or the deli section of your market.
- Sour cream or crema – Adds a little creaminess and a cool touch to tacos.
- Hot sauce – Choose your family’s favorites, put out a few ranging from mild to hot so there’s something for everyone.
Seriously, this is the easiest recipe I make. The prep work consists of making the seasoning mix. Oh, and gathering the taco toppings, but you can get most of those prepped and ready from the market.
- Make the seasoning mix: Add the chili powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Gather and measure out the ground beef, tomato sauce, beef broth and oil.
How to make the best taco meat
- Use a large skillet, preferably non-stick with a tight fitting lid. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not quite smoking, add the ground beef. Sprinkle it with the prepared seasoning mix.
- Stir, to mix well and arrange the beef in a single layer. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir well and arrange in one layer again. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until browned. Stir and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Add the tomato sauce and beef broth, stir well to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes enough meat for approximately 10 tacos.
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days. In the freezer for 4 months. To reheat: Add a tablespoon or two of beef broth to the ground beef while reheating to loosen it (if desired), stir well. Use up leftovers by making more tacos, or switch it up by making a taco salad or a taco wrap.
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Ground Beef Tacos
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt we used kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper or to taste
- 1 tablespoon Oil use a neutral oil with a high smoke point we used canola oil
- 1 pound Lean Ground Beef we used ground sirloin
- 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Beef Broth
- 8-10 Taco Shells use hard or soft tacos
- Make the seasoning mix: add the chili powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sprinkle with the seasoning mix (chili powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and black pepper mixture). Stir, to mix well.
- Arrange the ground beef in the skillet in a single layer and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Stir, arrange in a single layer again and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until browned. Stir and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Add the tomato sauce and beef broth, stir well to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with warm tortillas, hard taco shells and your favorite taco toppings.