Ground Beef Tacos

March 20, 2019

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These Ground Beef Tacos are made with a deliciously seasoned ground beef filling, served in corn tortillas and finished with all the best toppings. They’re likely to become a go-to weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy and you’ll love how easy they are to prepare!

Row of tacos filled with ground beef filling, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro.

The Easiest Taco Recipe

Who doesn’t love the classic, Tex-Mex style ground beef tacos we grew up eating? They’re one of the easiest, quickest dinners. I make them for my family at least twice a month.

Sometimes I go the route of just ground beef, garlic, lime and cilantro then others it’s this saucy version with a richly seasoned tomato sauce base. This is the classic homestyle version we all remember, but made even better with a simple homemade seasoning blend and fresh garlic.

You can have these tacos on the table in under 30 minutes! Including fillings, tortillas, toppings and all. Now wonder they’re a dinner staple.

Plate full of tacos.

What Ingredients are needed for Tacos?

  • Olive oil – helps brown the beef better
  • Lean ground beef – I like to use 85% lean angus. 80 – 90% lean is ideal here.
  • Garlic – use fresh chopped. Not bottled not powder here.
  • Spices – chili powder, cumin, onion powdersalt and pepper
  • Tomato sauce – this makes the taco filling rich and saucy.
  • Chicken broth – adds flavor and thins the filling.
  • Tortillas – I prefer corn tortillas but flour will work just as well, or even crisp taco shells.

Taco Toppings

  • I think these toppings are a must – shredded cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.
  • Optional toppings – avocados or guacamole, chopped onions (red or green) sour cream, hot sauce.

Ingredients needed to make tacos shown here including ground beef, oil, spices, tomato sauce, beef broth, tortillas, cheese, lettuce, garlic tomatoes.

How do You Make Taco Meat Filling?

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add beef in large chunks to skillet spacing apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Let brown on bottom, about 3 minutes then flip, break up beef and continue to sear until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Showing how to make tacos. Searing ground beef in chunks in a non-stick skillet to brown.

  • Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and cook until just cooked through, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in chicken broth and tomato sauce.

Adding tomato sauce and chicken broth to taco meat filling in skillet.

  • Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Serve taco filling warm over warmed tortillas with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and other desired toppings.

Ground beef taco meat filling in a skillet.

How do You Cook the Tortillas?

To cook corn tortillas, I like to cook them in a non-stick skillet or on an electric griddle in a little olive oil or vegetable oil over medium-high heat just briefly, about 15 – 20 seconds per side or until a few golden brown spots appear.

You don’t need much oil (maybe 3/4 tsp per side, swirl to evenly coat tortillas or brush tortillas with oil then cook).

Alternately you can just heat the tortillas without oil. Warm tortillas until they’re more pliable (about 10 seconds per side) then transfer to a plate and cover with a pan lid or foil until ready to use.

Row of tacos with taco filling.

Can I Use Ground Turkey for the Filling?

Yes. Ground turkey will work great here as well. Preferably don’t use the super lean kind or it will come out grainy and no need to sear in chunks, ground turkey doesn’t brown the same as beef.

How Can I Make Lower Carb Tacos?

Skip the tortilla and serve them the beef filling in Romaine or Iceberg lettuce leaves instead.

Want to Simplify the Recipe Even More?

  • Use a store-bought pre-shredded lettuce, pre-shredded cheese, and pico de gallo from the produce section of the store (in place of the tomatoes).
  • For the fastest, no-heat tortilla option use crisp corn tortilla shells.
  • You could even use a store-bought taco seasoning here to save time. If doing so omit the salt then use 1 package (or to taste) low-sodium taco seasoning – preferably one without cornstarch.

Long row of ground beef tacos on parchment paper finished with fresh toppings.

How to Add Even More Flavor:

  • Saute 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion with the beef then omit the onion powder.
  • Try it with different types of chili powder – Ancho, New Mexico etc.
  • Add in more spices like paprika, coriander and a little oregano.
  • Add 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the filling for a tasty kick.
  • Serve with lime wedges for a nice spritz of bright flavor.

What Sides Should I Serve with Tacos?

Meat tacos served with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Mexican hot sauce.

More of the Best Taco Recipes You’ll Love:

Row of ground beef tacos on parchment paper.
5 from 9 votes

Ground Beef Tacos

These tacos are made with a deliciously seasoned ground beef filling, served in corn tortillas and finished with all the best toppings. They're likely to become a go-to weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy, and you'll love how easy they are to prepare!
Servings: 4
Prep10 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp chili powder*
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Tacos

  • 8 corn tortillas (5 - 6 inch)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese or shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 Roma tomatoes or 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups shredded romain or iceberg lettuce

Instructions

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef in large chunks to skillet spacing apart. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Let brown on bottom, about 3 minutes then flip, break up beef and continue to cook until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and continue to cook until beef is just cooked through, about 1 minute.
  • Pour in chicken broth and tomato sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm over warmed tortillas with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and other desired toppings (see notes).

Notes

  • *In addition to the chili powder if you'd like a spicing beef filling then you can add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste.
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
  • Guacamole or diced avocados
  • Sour cream
  • Cholula or Tapatio Mexican hot sauce
  • Chopped red or green onions
  • Cilantro
Nutrition does not include optional toppings or oil for tortillas.
TO COOK TORTILLAS
  • I like to cook them in a non-stick skillet or on an electric griddle in a little olive oil or vegetable oil over medium-high heat just briefly, about 15 - 20 seconds per side or until a few golden spots appear.
  • You don't need much oil (maybe 3/4 tsp per side, swirl to evenly coat tortillas or brush tortillas with oil then cook). 
Nutrition Facts
Ground Beef Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 458 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 428mg19%
Potassium 773mg22%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 3175IU64%
Vitamin C 7.8mg9%
Calcium 236mg24%
Iron 4.6mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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32 Comments

  • Charlotte

    After reading reviews like I do, I was saddened by a few. However, I’m glad to have come here. Stock in place of water is what I’ll be doing from here on out. Also, fresh garlic was another gem found here.
    Ads are on every recipe site I’ve been on…..

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe Charlotte! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      A very easy fix, just add cayenne pepper to taste or serve with plenty of Mexican hot sauce like I do :).

  • Theresa

    This is not TEX MEX This is Mexican food The addition of a Haas Avocado makes in Mexican California food.
    Tacos in the US were popularized in California
    Enchiladas Posole burritos all Mexican not from Texas
    Your recipe sounds nice

  • Doug Reckmann

    A rhetorical question.
    Why is your taco recipe 3/4 of the way down the page?
    Are you trying to hide it?
    Or are you just unaware that most people base recipes on what they have on hand or can easily procure?
    “June Cleaver” is not around anymore.
    Doug

    • Christine M Jones

      Well Doug I don’t know about you but I have all the ingredients on hand and I enjoy the pictures that Jaclyn provides. They are attractive and take a fair amount of her time for her to put together. I personally find your comments are negative and add nothing to the post. Of course this is “just my opinion”. If you don’t enjoy her posts then just Keep Scrolling and don’t try to hurt someone else with your negative rhetoric.

        • Sheron

          In the instructions, you have add Cheyenne pepper. I don’t see that under the ingredients. Was that something that was added at the last minute or did I miss something? Can’t wait to try it

          • Jaclyn

            Jaclyn Bell

            Sorry I meant to just add the note about that. I’ve updated it at the bottom of the notes, it is just optional. Hope you love the recipe!

  • Margo

    So many pop up ads distract from this website. There are other sites with Taco recipes that are more user friendly.

  • Chuckk

    1 lb lean ground beef
    2 1/2 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp ground cumin

    Is this not a typo??
    I had 2.4 lbs of beef, so I used just over 2 tsp of cumin, and I decided to reduce the chili, and went with 5 tsp instead of over 5.
    It was BURNING HOT. My child was unable to eat it.
    You must really like spicy food. For us, this was too hot, it took away from the flavor. I will try it some other time with a fraction of the chili powder, and I bet it will be delicious.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry to hear that! Are you sure you used the standard mild chili powder and not hot chili powder? It should not be spicy.

  • Lisa

    These are so simple and soooo good. I’ve made them with beef as you have written and also with lentils and both came out great and took no time at all!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Glad to hear it works out well with lentils too! Thanks for your feedback!