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EASY Ground Beef Tacos

Crispy and delicious tacos filled with homemade taco meat and all your favorite toppings. These easy ground beef tacos are a simple family meal loaded with flavor and ready in just 20 minutes! 

Ground beef tacos cooked in a white baking dish.
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Best Beef Tacos Recipe

This ground beef tacos recipe is a super easy dinner to whip up when the family is craving Mexican food. You only need 5 simple ingredients (plus any extra toppings) and it’s ready in under 30 minutes. The tacos taste authentic and are warm, cheesy and filled with flavor in every bite.

This would also be the perfect dinner to make for a crowd and can easily be kept warm in the oven until serving. You could even double or triple the taco meat recipe if needed, depending on how many guests you’re serving.

For taco Tuesday, we like to set up a taco bar with lots of different toppings in bowls on the counter. That way family members can grab a taco or two and pile it high with all of their favorites. So simple and delicious!

Why You’ll Love These Tacos

  • Family friendly. Kids love tacos and they love it even more when they can top it how they like!
  • Homemade seasoning blend. Skip the store bought packets and make your own seasoning at home. It’s simple to do with common spices and you can control the salt and heat to your family’s preferences.
  • Easy to make. Perfect for busy weeknights this dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes!
  • Crowd pleaser. Serving these buffet style is perfect for gatherings!


  • Ground beef: I like to use 80-90% lean which has a little fat to flavor the meat but I don’t have to spend a lot of time draining the grease.
  • Onion: Onions are sauteed with the beef to add additional flavor.
  • Salsa: I like a little more spice so I use salsa, but feel free to use plain canned tomato sauce.
  • Taco seasoning: I like to use my homemade taco seasoning which is a mix of cumin, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano but feel free to use your favorite blend.
  • Tortillas: I like to use yellow corn taco shells but feel free to use white corn tortillas or your family’s favorite.


These tacos are pretty customizable, so feel free to make any of the below swaps or additions.

  • Use ground turkey instead of beef for a lighter alternative.
  • Swap hard taco shells for small corn or flour tortillas that are around 6 inches.
  • Add a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne in with the meat for some heat. Or use hot salsa instead of mild.
  • Spread a layer of refried beans (about 1-2 Tablespoons) in each taco shell before adding the meat.
  • If you are watching your carbs, wrap your taco meat in lettuce leaves like I do in taco lettuce wraps, swap the chicken in this taco bowl or make a Mexican salad.

How to Make Ground Beef Tacos

If you’re looking for an easy and tasty dinner recipe for your next taco night, these beef tacos are perfect for you! They’re simple, quick and taste absolutely delicious.

Showing how to make beef tacos in a 4 step collage.
  • Brown ground beef. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and onion and cook until browned, stirring occasionally to break up any large pieces. Once browned, drain off any extra grease.
  • Season meat. Add in the taco seasoning, salsa and water. Bring to a light simmer, adding more water as desired. 
  • For cheesy baked ground beef tacos. Place taco shells in a 9×13″ dish to bake, add a layer of cheese and refried beans. Top with about 2 tablespoons of your beef mixture and more shredded cheese. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. 
  • Serve: Serve the tacos with all your favorite toppings!  

Expert Tips

  • Ground beef. I like to use 90% lean ground beef. The meat still has great flavor, but doesn’t get overly greasy. Always make sure to drain any excess grease after browning the meat before you add in your seasonings.
  • Meat ratio. This recipe calls for a pound of ground beef, which will make about 12 tacos. Once the taco meat cooks down, you’ll be left with about 12 ounces of meat. So you should put about 1 ounce (or 2 Tablespoons) of beef in each taco.
  • Bulk it up. You can mix in some black beans and/or rice to stretch the meat even further. I do this sometimes when I want to have leftovers the next day.
  • Warm the shells. After assembling the tacos, I love to bake mine in a pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to get them extra warm and crispy. The cheese melts and gets super gooey, which tastes amazing.
  • Leftovers. When warming up leftover ground beef taco meat, try adding a dash of broth of water so that the meat stays moist. You can use leftovers to make more tacos, or make a totally new dish like stuffed peppers or a taco salad.
Ground beef tacos with cheese.

Toppings for Tacos

Some may argue that the toppings are the best part! I keep it classic with shredded cheddar cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions and sliced olives. Any of the below toppings would taste delicious when assembling your tacos.


How do you keep taco shells warm for a crowd?

If you’re making these beef tacos for a large crowd, there are several ways you can keep them warm. I like to place them in a baking dish and bake them at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

Then turn on the “keep warm” setting and let them sit in the oven until serving. This will ensure they stay warm, but don’t overcook and get too crispy. You can also cover them tightly with aluminum foil to help keep them warm as well.

Do you drain ground beef before adding taco seasoning?

Yes, drain any excess grease before adding seasoning. I like to pour out into a jar, or use a paper towel to get the extra grease off.

How many tacos will 1 lb ground beef feed?

One pound of ground beef will make about 12 tacos and feed 6 people. A good ratio is to plan for each taco to be filled with 2-3 tablespoons of ground beef.

What do I serve as a side dish for ground beef tacos?

I love to serve a side of Mexican rice or refried beans year round. In the summer, Mexican street corn or street corn salad are favorites!

Ground beef tacos stacked in dish.


Place leftover taco meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When reheating, add a splash of water to rehydrate meat. Store leftover taco shells separately from the meat. They are best store in an airtight container in the pantry.

To freeze leftover meat, cool completely then place in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy it in a taco shell.

Try these other Tex-Mex favorites such as fajita bowls, beef burritos or ranch chicken tacos!

More Taco Recipes to Try

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Ground beef tacos stacked in dish.

Ground Beef Tacos

5 from 15 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Crispy and delicious tacos filled with homemade taco meat and all your favorite toppings. These easy ground beef tacos are a simple family meal loaded with flavor and ready in just 20 minutes! 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6



  • 1 pound ground beef , 80-90% lean
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning , more to taste
  • ½ cup salsa or tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup water , more as needed
  • 12 taco shells , or small tortillas

S&P to taste

    Toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cilantro


      • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until browned, stirring occasionally breaking up any large pieces. 
      • Once browned, drain off any extra grease. Then add in the taco seasoning, salsa and water. Bring to a light simmer. Add more water as desired. 
      • Serve in taco shells as-is or place in a 9×13" dish to bake. Then add cheese and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. 
      • Add desired toppings. 


      Optional: You can also add 1-2 Tablespoons of refried beans to the base of the tacos. If I’m adding them, I like to place them in a zip top bag and then snip the top off and place it on the bottom of the shell. 
      This recipe should make enough for about 2 Tablespoons of meat in each taco. 
      You can mix in some cooked rice and black beans to stretch the meat even further. 


      Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 313mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1.8mg

      Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

      Course: Main Dish
      Cuisine: Mexican

      Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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