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Best Taco Meat

If you are looking for the best taco meat to make extra flavorful ground beef tacos, then this is the recipe for you! Made with simple ingredients like homemade taco seasoning and tomato paste, this recipe is a surefire way to kick things up a notch with your favorite tacos … or burritos, chimichangas, nachos, you name it!

Why You’ll Love This Easy Taco Meat Recipe

Whether you are making tacos, nachos, enchiladas, or burritos, having a juicy and flavorful taco meat recipe is a must! Here’s why you’ll love ours:

  • So Easy: Our easy recipe is ready in just 15 minutes, and still packs a whole lot of flavor in each bite.
  • Freezer-Friendly: Being from Texas, we have been working on perfecting our ground beef tacos for years and years. It’s something we use almost weekly and we even make large batches to freeze for extra easy weeknight dinners. It saves so much time being able to pull a bag of taco meat out of the freezer to microwave for a quick family-friendly dinner.
  • Versatile: One of the best parts of making this recipe is the flexibility of it. There are an abundance of dishes that can be made with taco meat, so you never get tired of it! Once you see how unbelievably easy and tasty this recipe is, you’ll be adding our favorite taco meat to your dinner agenda ASAP.
Ingredients for Taco Meat.

What You’ll Need

We cannot stress enough the importance of making your own homemade taco seasoning if you have the time. It adds way more flavor to your meat than store-bought seasonings do. Plus, you can customize it to your taste so your taco meat will be exactly the way you like it. What’s not to love? Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Ground Beef: You can use any type of ground meat you personally like best. For the most traditional taco meat, we recommend using lean ground beef (70/80 ground beef). However, ground turkey is a good substitute if you don’t like ground beef.
  • Onion
  • Garlic: For optimal flavor, you want to use fresh garlic, not jarred.
  • Taco Seasoning: You can use a store bought blend, but we love our homemade taco seasoning WAY better.
  • Water: You can upgrade your taco meat by using beef broth!
  • Tomato Paste
A skillet is filled with ground beef and is being stirred with a wooden spoon

How to Make Taco Meat

With just a few steps, you’ll be ready to enjoy your favorite beef taco recipes for dinner tonight! Check out the recipe card at the end of this post for detailed directions and ingredient amounts.

  • Brown: Brown the ground beef and onion over medium beat until it’s no longer pink.
  • Flavor: Add the garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Drain any excess fat from the pan and then add in your homemade taco seasoning and tomato paste. Stir it all together until it smells amazing.
  • Boil: Add water (or beef broth) and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Taste and Serve: Take a (little!) bite of the taco meat and adjust the seasoning as needed. We always wind up adding just a bit more homemade taco seasoning for a little extra kick! Serve it in your chosen way and enjoy.
Tacos are on a white plate, placed next to a sliced lime

Tips for Success

This taco meat recipe couldn’t be easier, but here are a few tips and tricks to make it foolproof.

  • More Heat: If you like your meat spicy, we recommend adding crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste. You can also add extra cayenne pepper.
  • Ground Meat: We recommend using a fattier meat when possible and not the extra lean. You can use any type of meat you like, from ground beef to ground pork to ground chicken.
  • Toppings: If you are looking for some good topping ideas for your tacos, here are a few of our favorites: cheese (shredded or queso), shredded lettuce, pico (or diced tomatoes), cilantro, salsa, sour cream and avocado/guacamole.
Taco meat is presented in a skillet with cilantro, pico de Gallo and taco shells around it

How to Use Taco Meat

The options really are endless for this recipe. When it comes to the perfect taco meat, there’s no wrong way to serve it. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy it:

  • Mexican Food: The obvious choice here is any kind of amazing Mexican foods like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. We love pretty much every version of crispy or soft tacos, but our family is partial to walking tacos served in a bag of Doritos or corn chips! We also love beef enchiladas, Mexican street fries, and burrito bowls.
  • Party Food: Any time we have a crowd over, we always want something easy, but impressive. Our chili con queso makes a pretty great impression as would any kind of nacho bar!
  • Potatoes: If you’ve never tried great taco meat over a baked potato, you’re missing out! Use our air fryer baked potato recipe for a super easy option.
Hard shell tacos are on a white plate with sliced limes

Can I Store and Reheat Leftovers?

You sure can! In fact, taco meat does great as leftovers and in the freezer. We usually make a double or triple batch of this so we can enjoy ground beef tacos for dinner and put some away for later.

  • Refrigerate: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat. Be sure to add a bit of water or broth to the meat to prevent it from drying out. If reheating frozen meat, we recommend letting it thaw in the freezer overnight and then heating in the same way. If you forgot to thaw, you can defrost the meat in a bowl of warm water (keep it in the freezer bag!).
  • Freeze: Let the taco meat cool completely and then portion it into whatever serving size you’d like. Transfer the meat into freezer safe bags and remove as much air as possible. We like to use a straw to do this. Taco meat will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Taco Recipes

Hard shell tacos are on a white plate with sliced limes
4.6 from 31 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Best Taco Meat

If you are looking for the best taco meat to make extra flavorful ground beef tacos, then this is the recipe for you! Made with simple and delicious ingredients like homemade taco seasoning and tomato paste, this recipe is a surefire way to kick things up a notch with your tacos!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste


  • In a large skillet, brown beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Use a spatula to break apart meat into small pieces. Drain any excess fat from pan.
  • Add taco seasoning and tomato paste, stir to combine. Add water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  • Taste meat to ensure it’s seasoned enough. If the flavor isn’t there, add more salt or taco seasoning as needed.


To turn up the heat, we recommending adding any of the following if you like your Taco Meat spicy!
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot Sauce


Serving: 1, Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 45g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 136mg, Sodium: 400mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g

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