If you are looking for the Best Taco Meat to make extra flavorful ground meat 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 tacos… or burritos, chimichangas, nachos, you name it!
Best Taco Meat Recipe
Whether you are making tacos, enchiladas, burritos or our kids’ favorite walking tacos, having a great ground taco meat recipe, that is juicy and extra flavorful, is a must! Our easy recipe is incredibly quick, just 15 minutes, but still packs a whole lot of flavor in each bite.
Being from Texas, we have been working on perfecting our taco meat recipe 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.
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.
How To Use Taco Meat
The options really are endless for this recipe. When it comes to the perfect taco meat, there’s really not a wrong way to serve it.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use and serve this taco meat:
- Tacos: From crispy tacos to soft tacos, you can’t go wrong.
- Walking Tacos: If you are having a party or have a lot of kids, you can not go wrong with our favorite Walking Tacos served in your favorite flavor of corn chips!
- Chili Con Queso: add a jar of your favorite queso with your hot taco meat and top with fresh pico! Serve with tortilla chips for one of our very favorite appetizers.
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?
- 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.
- Garlic: For optimal flavor, you want to use fresh garlic, not jarred garlic.
- Homemade Taco Seasoning: You can also use store bought, but we love our homemade version.
- Water: You can upgrade your taco meat by using beef broth!
- Tomato Paste
How to make Taco Meat:
Brown The Meat: In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Breaking apart the meat as you cook it with a spatula.
Garlic: Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Then, drain any excess fat from the pan.
Flavor: Add your taco seasoning and tomato paste to the ground beef. Stir to combine the ingredients, making sure the tomato paste is fully incorporated. You definitely don’t want and globs of tomato paste ruining the party!
Boil: Add the beef broth or water and bring your mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered. Continue cooking until the liquid is evaporated, which should take between 10 minutes.
Taste: Always taste your meat before serving it! That way, you know if you need to add any extra seasonings to it to make it just right. I always find myself sprinkling in just a tad more homemade taco seasoning… I can’t help myself! It’s just that good.
How To Freeze Taco Meat:
Freezing cooked taco meat is a huge time saver! We always try to make a double or triple batch to have some to freeze for an easy dinner in the future.
- Cook taco meat according to recipe directions below and allow to cool completely.
- Portion cooked and cooled meat out into whatever serving sizes you would like and transfer the taco meat into freezer ziploc bags.
- Remove all excess air from ziploc bags and tightly seal. I like to do this with a straw: Place a straw into the small opening in ziplock bag, with the bag sealed around the straw, and suck any excess air out of the bag through the straw. The ziploc bag will collapse tightly around the meat.
- Freeze! Freeze for up to 3 months. Lay the ziplock bags flat as they freeze to save space in the freezer.
How to thaw taco meat:
When you are ready, there are two options of thawing out your meat:
- Plan Ahead: If you are a planner and know in advance that you want meat the next night, you can transfer your meat from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you need it. It should be thawed by the next day and can be heated in the microwave or on the stove top.
- Last Minute: Remove from the freezer and take the meat out of the ziplock bag. Add it to a microwave safe bowl or skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of water to the meat and heat it until heated through.
Tips For Success
- 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, 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.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
- 1 1/2 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
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 45g