This easy Mexican ground beef is the only taco meat recipe you will ever need. Tasty ground beef is sauteed and then simmered with seasoning to make a tender and delicious meat that's perfect for tacos, burritos and rice bowls.
The Easiest Taco Meat Recipe
Tacos are a staple in our house, and we eat them once a week. I always keep a stash of this Mexican ground beef in my freezer. It's perfect for tacos but also great for burritos, taco salads or lettuce wraps. You could also serve it over rice. I also keep some on hand to make my Mini Taco Bowl Appetizers which always go well at parties.
I love that this taco meat contains only a few wholesome ingredients. The way my family consumes tacos, I can never keep enough in my freezer.
- Olive Oil – Or choose your favorite light, neutral-flavored oil.
- Ground Beef – We prefer 85% beef or you can substitute the ground meat of your choice.
- Taco Seasoning – Purchase seasoning or make my Low Sodium DIY Taco Seasoning.
- Hot Sauce – Adjust the hot sauce to your preferred tastes.
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat oil in a skillet, then add the ground beef and taco seasoning. Break up the meat until it is evenly browned. Drain the excess fat from the skillet.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes (uncovered) until the water is almost completely cooked off.
- Season and add hot sauce to taste. Serve.
Best Ground Beef for Taco Meat
Fat is added to ground beef mixtures to add flavor and help keep the meat moist during cooking. I find that 85/15 ground beef has the perfect amount of fat for this recipe. That means the beef is 85% meat and 15% fat. You can buy leaner meat, but it will be drier and less flavorful.
- Ground Beef - instead of using ground beef, you can use your favorite ground meat, including turkey, chicken, and venison.
- Taco Seasoning - Taco seasoning is easy to make at home, and my Low Sodium DIY Taco Seasoning allows me to regulate the amount of salt in the recipe more carefully.
- Gluten Free - Be sure to check your taco seasoning to make sure it is gluten free.
- Spicy - Adjust the hot sauce to taste. You can also add crushed red pepper flakes to give even more heat.
- Add Veggies - Saute onions and garlic or your favorite and add it to the browned meat.
- Add Beans - Add black beans or pinto beans to bulk up this Mexican ground beef.
- Use Tomato Sauce – For a super-rich taco meat recipe, use tomato sauce in place of the water. You could also use salsa or enchilada sauce.
Choose a large skillet for this recipe. A large surface area will help the meat to cook quickly and evenly, so your dinner gets on the table faster. I prefer a nonstick pan for easy cooking and even easier cleanup.
How to Store Taco Meat
Leftover Mexican ground beef can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This recipe is perfect for meal prep, and it's easy to double, so plan to use it in multiple meals throughout the week.
To freeze, place the cooled taco meat recipe into a ziptop bag and remove any excess air before sealing. Store the taco meat in the freezer for up to three months.
After browning the Mexican Ground Beef, you want to remove the excess fat from the pan before continuing with the recipe. A leaner meat will garner less fat. To remove the fat you can transfer the meat to a strainer or simply use a folder paper towel to absorb the fatty liquid.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
We love tacos and eat them at least once a week. We often don't even wait for Taco Tuesday as any night is taco night in my house.
Mexican ground beef tacos are certainly a favorite but we also love Chicken Fajita Skillet Tacos which are a tasty combination of tacos and fajitas. Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Slaw are a favorite during the warmer months as the cilantro slaw is so cool and refreshing.
When we want something really special, quick and delicious Best Steak Tacos are on the list. It's a great way to stretch a tender cut of beef without breaking the bank.
If you like this Mexican Ground Beef recipe please give it a 5 star rating below.
Mexican Ground Beef
- 1 large skillet
- 1 tablespooon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning
- ¼ cup water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce (or to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add the ground beef and taco seasoning. Break apart with wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes or until browned. Drain any excess fat from pan if using a fattier cut of ground beef.
- Add water and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, until there is barely any liquid left (about 5 minutes).
- Add hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Mix well before serving.
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