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Taco Meat Recipe


posted: 07/15/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

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!

close up of homemade taco meat recipe in a staub gray pain that is fully cooked

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.


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.

overhead view of taco meat in a gray staub pan on a whicker mat with a napkin on the left side


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
  • paprika
  • 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.

overhead view of hard shell tacos (8 in a row), filled with taco meat recipe and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese


Besides the great taste, I love how easy this recipe is!

  1. Place a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the ground beef (I use 80/20 in this recipe) and break apart. I love this tool for that.
  3. When the beef is no longer pink, drain.
  4. 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.


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.

front view of a row of hard shell tacos with taco meet, and topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese


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.


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.

close up view of a taco made with homemade taco meat recipe and topped with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese

close up view of a taco made with homemade taco meat recipe and topped with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese
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Taco Meat Recipe

Serves: 4 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
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. Made with just a few simple ingredients and totally homemade, you'll family will love it!


  • 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.


If you made a big batch of my Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe, you can disregard the measurements for all the spices and uses 3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning, the ground beef, and the tomato sauce, making this a THREE INGREDIENT recipe.
Please note that the nutritional information for this recipe is 3/4 a cup of the taco meat and does not include the taco shells or any toppings.
Calories: 210kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 7g (2%) Protein: 19g (38%) Fat: 12g (18%) Sodium: 657mg (29%) Potassium: 292mg (8%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 1400IU (28%) Vitamin C: 6.6mg (8%) Calcium: 30mg (3%) Iron: 1.6mg (9%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
close up view of a taco made with homemade taco meat recipe and topped with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese

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Taco Meat Recipe

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. ColleenB.~Tx. says

    I do add some finely diced onion, red and green bell pepper while browning the meat and maybe sometimes a splash of hot sauce.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners