Homemade Taco Meat

This simple taco meat recipe made with lean ground beef, tomato paste, garlic, and homemade taco seasoning is quick, easy, and delicious. It's ready in just 15 minutes, making it the perfect go-to for a homemade taco feast any day of the week.

by Ioana

Published :


thefoodieblogger the best homemade taco seasoning recipe

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What really sets this recipe apart is the homemade taco seasoning. It adds a burst of flavor that completely transforms the tacos into something extraordinary. I consider it my secret ingredient for taking my taco nights to impressive new levels.

Whenever I’m craving those authentic Mexican flavors in delicious taco meat, this is the recipe I turn to. It’s quick, simple, and absolutely packed with those authentic Mexican flavors. It’s the perfect answer to satisfy those taco cravings.

It’s my go-to taco meat recipe when I need a meal that’s quick yet full of flavor. Every time I make it, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy its deliciousness!

Why You’ll Love This Ground Beef Taco Meat Recipe

  • Easy to Make. This taco meat recipe it’s super easy in just 15 minutes – just a few steps, and you’re done.
  • Tastes Really Good. The flavors from this dish are amazing, making your tacos delicious.
  • It’s a Versatile Recipe. Feel free to use this taco meat for tacos, burritos, or anything else you like.
  • Few Ingredients. You will only need a handful of ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
  • Family Favorite. Kids and adults both love the tasty results.
best homemade taco meat recipe

What Is Taco Meat?

Taco meat is the tasty filling in many Mexican-inspired dishes, especially tacos. It’s a savory filling made by cooking ground meat, typically beef, though chicken or other proteins can also be used. The key to this delicious dish stays in a special blend of spices and herbs that elevate the flavor profile.

The seasoning mix commonly includes ingredients like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. This combination gives the meat a rich and aromatic quality, making everything taste better.

This versatile filling goes beyond just tacos; it can be used in burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and more. Its adaptability and delicious taste make it a favorite for home cooks and a staple in Mexican cuisine. 

Taco Meat Recipe Video Tutorial

YouTube video

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is the list of the ingredients that we need to make this easy and delicious taco meat recipe:

  • Ground Beef – you can choose lean ground beef for a healthier option or use a higher fat percentage for a richer flavor. The fat adds flavor, but you’ll have to drain it before adding the next ingredients.
  • Tomato Paste – enhances the overall taste and provides a slight thickness to the sauce.
  • Water – helps the meat stays moist and helps the sauce achieve the desired thickness.
  • Taco Seasoning – A blend of spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, taco seasoning is crucial for achieving that classic taste. I used my own homemade taco seasoning since it has a more vibrant and robust flavor than store-bought ones.
Taco Meat Ingredients

How To Make Taco Meat

  1. Heat the Skillet: Start by placing a large skillet or frying pan on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-high to get the pan nice and hot for cooking.
  2. Cook the Ground Beef: Add the lean ground beef to your heated skillet. As it cooks, use a spatula to break the meat apart. This ensures that the beef cooks evenly and gets nicely browned all over.
  3. Drain and Season: Once the ground beef is fully cooked and has a lovely brown color, it’s time to drain any excess fat from the pan. After draining, stir in the taco seasoning. Make sure to mix it well so the beef is evenly coated with those tasty spices.seasoning the ground beef with taco seasoning
  4. Tomato Paste and Water: Next, add both the tomato paste and water into the skillet with your seasoned beef. Stir everything together thoroughly, ensuring the beef is well-coated, and the ingredients are fully combined.
  5. Simmer the Taco Meat: Reduce the heat to medium-low. This lower temperature allows the taco meat to simmer gently. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. This is the magic part where all the flavors meld together, and the sauce thickens just a bit to coat the meat beautifully.
  6. Adjust the Consistency: Check the consistency of your taco meat. If it seems too dry for your liking, feel free to add more water. Do this one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition, until you’re happy with how it looks and feels.
  7. Taste and Fine-Tune: The final step is all about getting the flavor just right. Give your taco meat a taste and decide if you need any additional seasoning. If you’re craving more of that taco spice kick, don’t hesitate to sprinkle in more seasoning.

Tips For Succes

  • Use lean ground beef for a healthier option. It reduces excess fat and ensures a meaty texture without compromising flavor.
  • Ensure the skillet is properly preheated before adding the ground beef. This helps in achieving a good sear and preventing sticking.
  • Break apart the ground beef with a spatula while cooking to ensure even browning. This contributes to a consistent and appealing texture in the final taco meat.
  • When adding taco seasoning, sprinkle it gradually, stirring and tasting as you go. This allows you to adjust the seasoning to your preferred level of spiciness and flavor.
  • If using homemade taco seasoning, create the spice mix to your liking. Experiment with ratios to achieve the perfect blend of flavors.
  • Let the taco meat simmer for the suggested time. This allows the flavors to meld, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive dish.
  • Taste the taco meat before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. Don’t hesitate to add more taco seasoning for an extra kick.
easy taco meat recipe with ground beef

How To Serve

Now that your taco meat is ready, let’s talk about serving. So let’s dive into the joy of serving up your delicious taco meat!

  • Taco Shells or Tortillas: choose your favorite taco shells or tortillas. Corn or flour, crunchy or soft, the choice is yours.
  • Toppings: choose a variety of toppings for customization. Include shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and chopped cilantro.
  • Cheese: feel free to choose between shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or crumbled queso fresco.
  • Fresh Greens: add fresh greens such as shredded lettuce or cabbage for a crisp texture.
  • Diced Vegetables: onions and bell peppers for added crunch and flavor.
  • Hot Sauce or Salsa: include hot sauce or a variety of salsas.
  • Lime Wedges: place lime wedges on the side for a zesty burst of citrus flavor.
  • Serve Warm: ensure that both the taco meat and toppings are served warm for the best taco experience.
  • Side Dishes: complement your tacos with side dishes like Mexican rice, refried beans, or a simple salad.

Storing Ideas

  • Fridge: Store leftover taco meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer: For longer storage, freeze taco meat in a freezer-safe container or sealed bag for up to 2-3 months.

Storage Tips

  • Label containers with the date to keep track of freshness and ensure you use the oldest portions first.
  • When ready to use frozen taco meat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.


Reheat taco meat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water to maintain moisture.


Here are some common issues you might encounter when preparing taco meat and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Dry Taco Meat: If the taco meat appears dry, add a small amount of water during cooking to maintain moisture.
  • Lack of Flavor: Adjust the taco seasoning or add a pinch of salt if the meat lacks flavor. Taste and adjust gradually.
  • Uneven Browning: Ensure the ground beef is spread evenly in the skillet for uniform browning. Stir consistently while cooking.
  • Consistency Issues: If the taco meat is too runny, let it simmer longer to allow the liquid to evaporate. If it is too thick, add water gradually until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Overcooking: Be cautious not to overcook the taco meat, which may result in a dry texture. Remove from heat as soon as it’s fully cooked.

Homemade Taco Meat Recipe

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This simple taco meat recipe made with lean ground beef, tomato paste, garlic, and homemade taco seasoning is quick, easy, and delicious. It's ready in just 15 minutes, making it the perfect go-to for a homemade taco feast any day of the week.
Author: Ioana
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
4 servings


  • 1 lb lean ground beef 85/15
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste or 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup water


  1. In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the lean ground beef over medium-high heat. Break the meat apart with a spatula as it cooks to ensure it browns evenly.
  2. Drain any excess fat from the pan once the ground beef is fully cooked and browned. Sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly over the meat.
  3. Stir the taco seasoning into the ground beef, ensuring it coats the meat evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Add in the tomato paste and water. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the taco meat simmer for 5-7 minutes. This allows the flavors to blend and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  6. If the mixture appears too dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Taste the taco meat and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can add more taco seasoning if you prefer a stronger flavor.


My Go-To Ground Beef: I always use 85/15 ground beef. It’s got just the right amount of fat to keep the meat moist and flavorful, but it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy. It’s my secret to really yummy tacos.
Veggie Boost: I love sneaking in extra veggies. My favorites to add are finely chopped peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. I sauté them right with the meat, and honestly, it adds such a lovely crunch and color to the tacos.
Extra Flavor: Sometimes, I add the diced onion to the skillet right when I’m browning the meat. As the meat cooks, the onion softens and caramelizes slightly, infusing the meat with its sweet and savory flavors. 
Topping Ideas: Get creative with your toppings! Some classic options include shredded mild cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, jalapeños, and onion. Mix and match to create your perfect taco.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 169 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 25 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0.4 g, Cholesterol: 70 mg, Sodium: 290 mg, Potassium: 483 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 298 IU, Vitamin C: 3 mg, Calcium: 18 mg, Iron: 3 mg

The nutritional information provided on this website is intended to be a helpful reference and convenience for our users. It is offered as a courtesy and is based on data primarily sourced from the USDA Food Composition Database.

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