Taco meat is super easy to make at home using ground beef and just a few other ingredients. Make your own taco seasoning, too, in just a few minutes! Add the savory meat to tacos, burritos, casseroles or even a simple salad!
Why This Recipe Works
I’m not a huge freezer meal gal, only because I rarely make the time for it. One thing I do make and freeze often, though, is homemade taco meat. It is the easiest thing in the world to make and it can be used in about a hundred different ways. And it freezes great! Win win win.
We love all kinds of Mexican food in our home. Bring it on, all of it. We could literally do taco night and burrito night and taco salad night repeatedly. We are constantly making taco meat with both chicken and ground beef to use as a taco filling and in various other ways and it never goes to waste.
If there are extras, I zip the leftovers up in a plastic bag and throw it into the freezer for another time!
How To Make Taco Meat Easily
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook 1 pound of ground beef until no longer pink. Drain the grease from the pan.
Add a packet of taco seasoning mix and 1/2 cup of beef broth or water and cook until the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes.
- To make your batch of taco meat spicy, add cayenne pepper, black pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes to the mixture.
- Replace the ground beef with ground turkey for a leaner recipe.
- Replace the beef with ground sausage for a more flavorful recipe!
- Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce for a creamier sauce. This is a really tasty tip!
- Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to the meat mixture for extra flavor.
- Chili powder, cumin and paprika are the stars of the spices in taco meat, so for an extra punch of flavor add a touch extra of each of them.
How To Freeze Taco Meat
Freezing taco meat is super easy, which makes it one of my favorite things about it! Once it has cooled, spoon it into a resealable freezer bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal tightly. Arrange the meat within the bag so that it is in a flat layer. Place the bag in the freezer so that it lies flat. Freeze for 3-4 months.
When you are ready to enjoy the meat allow it to thaw completely, preferably in the fridge overnight. Add the contents to a skillet and heat over medium heat until just heated through. Add a few tablespoons of broth or water, if needed.
How to Make Homemade Taco Seasoning
If you cook with taco seasoning regularly, the homemade version is worth making. It is super affordable (you probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your spice cupboard!) and a little bit really does go a long, long way. Plus you have control over exactly what you are seasoning your meat with. No more store bought taco seasoning, people!
In a small bowl, combine the following:
- Chili powder
- Paprika (use smoked paprika for a smoky flavor)
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
Mix well and that is IT!
If you know you will be using a lot of this, make a big batch! Double or even triple the recipe to have a ton on hand. Once I started making my own seasoning, I couldn’t believe how often I was reaching into the cupboard for it.
Also, if you find that it is too salty for your taste, feel free to cut the salt, garlic powder and onion powder in half.
Uses For Taco Meat
I love that there are so many different recipes to put taco meat into and so many ways to use it to make food tastier. Here are a few ideas for you!
- Make Taco Cups! This is one of my favorite finger foods to serve at parties. Enjoy a taco in just a few bites!
- Spoon into taco shells to make traditional tacos. Burritos, quesadillas, tostadas and enchiladas were made for taco meat, too!
- Add it to chili for an extra kick!
- TACO SALAD! Or throw some into your next batch of Taco Ranch Pasta Salad for a meatier party food.
- Add it to your next batch of Mac & Cheese!
- Throw it on top of a plate of nachos.
- Replace ground beef with taco meat in Shepherd’s Pie.
- Use it to make this delicious Beef Bean Dip from Hot Pan Kitchen.
Uses For Taco Seasoning
If you grow tired of taco meat, we need to have a chat. Kidding, but here are a few other ideas for ways to use taco seasoning.
- Stir it into any creamy dip (yum).
- Really, you could add it to just about any meat-based meal to transform it into a tasty, spicy food. I’m thinking meatballs, burgers or even chicken.
- Use it as a rub on your next Rotisserie chicken or batch of ribs!
- Add it to salad dressing for an extra zing.
Affordable Dinner Ideas Using Ground Beef as a Main Ingredient
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Homemade Ground Beef Taco Meat
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 oz packet taco seasoning or 2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup beef broth or water
- Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add taco seasoning and broth or water and cook until liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes.