This Taco Meat Recipe will become a regular in the weeknight dinner rotation when you see how delicious it is and how easy it is to make. It gets it’s delicious flavor from my Homemade Taco Seasoning that has measurements for a big batch so you can always have it on hand to make taco night easy!
I think you all can tell that I’m obsessed with taco night. Anything that could be taco is taco at my house. Instant Pot Chicken Tacos happen almost once a week around here (not an exaggeration). I’ve made Taco Stuffed Peppers. And I even turned soup into taco night with my Crock Pot Taco Soup. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I just named some of my personal favorite Wine & Glue recipes.
I absolutely love all of those recipes for two main reasons. The first is that they are ridiculously easy to make on busy weeknights. The second is that they are jam packed with the perfect taco flavors thanks to my Homemade Taco Seasoning.
WHY MAKE HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING
So let’s talk about homemade taco seasoning for a minute. I know all of you are busy people like me. I know that it is a lot easier to just buy a packet of taco seasoning rather than make it. But let me tell you why I insist on making my own:
- I can control what goes in it. That means the flavor is perfect, the spiciness can be controlled, and it is literally just spices with no preservatives.
- It takes very little time to make. I’m serious when I say that making my own taco seasoning takes almost as much time as checking the pantry to see if we have a packet and adding it the grocery list.
- I can make it as a big batch. Truth be told, if I had to make it every time I wanted to use some, I probably wouldn’t do it. Which is why my recipe for it has the measurements to make a big batch (the equivalent of 8 packets!).
So while this recipe will give you the measurements for the spices (so you don’t have to print out the other recipe if you don’t want to), I encourage you to make the big batch and have it on hand all the time. The flavors are perfect.
If you do make the big batch, you will want to replace the spice measurements listed in this recipe with three tablespoons of the big batch Homemade Taco Seasoning.
WHAT IS IN TACO MEAT SEASONING
Now that I have waxed and waned about why I love making my own taco seasoning, let’s talk about what is in it:
- chili powder
- kosher salt
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- ground cumin
- cayenne pepper (vary the amount depending on the level of spiciness you want)
Now that you have made your big batch of taco seasoning, we can make some amazing tacos with this taco meat recipe.
HOW TO MAKE TACO MEAT RECIPE
Besides the great taste, I love how easy this recipe is!
- Place a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef (I use 80/20 in this recipe) and break apart. I love this tool for that.
- When the beef is no longer pink, drain.
- Add tomato sauce and spices and simmer on low for five minutes.
It literally doesn’t get any easier than this.
So easy in fact, that you can probably have a margarita while it’s cooking and help with homework. In my house those two things totally go together.
TURKEY VS. BEEF
We cook a lot with ground turkey in my house. You can definitely do this taco meat recipe with ground turkey. If you are using an extra lean gourd turkey, you are going to want to spray the pan liberally with cooking spray before adding it. There will be minimal to no fat to drain, so once the turkey is no longer pink, just add the tomato sauce and spices.
I love that this recipe works perfectly with both beef and turkey.
HOW MUCH TACO MEAT FOR EACH PERSON
This recipe makes approximately 3 cups. Each taco pictured has roughly 1/4 of a cup of taco meat in it. So that is about three tacos for each person, making a total of 12 tacos for four people. Each person gets about 3/4 a cup of of taco meat.
Please note that the nutritional information on this recipe is for 3/4 a cup of taco meat and does not include toppings or taco shells.
WHAT ELSE TO SERVE ON TACO NIGHTS
Obviously I have a plethora of recipes to go with taco night.
My HOMEMADE GUACAMOLE is always a hit. It would be perfect on top of these tacos.
I always love to have a side of CILANTRO LIME RICE. And if you are trying to go a little healthier you could make CILANTRO LIME QUINOA.
My PICO DE GALLO and some chips are a great thing to make when you are having tacos.
And you can’t go wrong with my STRAWBERRY MARGARITAS.
If you make this taco meat recipe, or any of the other recipes I shared here, please leave me a comment and let me know! Hearing from you makes my day.
Taco Meat Recipe
- 1 tablespoon chili powder See note
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound grounnd beef I used 80/20
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- In a small bowl, mix together the spices. (Or use three tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning.) Set aside.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef, breaking it up as you cook.
- When the beef is no longer pink, drain the fat.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and the taco seasoning. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for five minutes.
I do add some finely diced onion, red and green bell pepper while browning the meat and maybe sometimes a splash of hot sauce.
Made the lg batch of Taco Seasoning; using it for taco salad for a crowd of 30. Do I still add tomato sauce since I’ll also be using Catalina dressing?
Lisa Longley says
It depends on the recipe of Taco salad you are using. The Taco Salad I serve over lettuce I use it, the Taco Pasta Salad I make with it I don’t.