Ground Beef Taco Recipe {without the packet}

This Ground Beef Taco Recipe is made from all real food ingredients - no packets! It's easy to throw together on a busy weeknight. Kids gobble it up!

We love tacos in our house. It’s one of our favorite easy weeknight dinners, but of course like to make my own beef because I’m not a fan of the seasoning packets at the store — who knows what crazy chemicals are in those things!??

While the meat is simmering, I wash and chop the lettuce and tomatoes, and I’m persnickety about my cheese so I like to shred my own in the food processor. (Freshly shredded grated cheese is key!)

Usually we eat family style, but when I serve tacos, I just set it all out on the counter and let everyone make their own. Easy peasy!

The best thing about making tacos, though, is having leftover meat for my Ultimate Nachos. For that reason, I always double this recipe.

Here’s the recipe I use for the taco meat. Enjoy!

Homemade Beef Tacos

Recipe Type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican-American
Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4-6


  • 1 box taco shells (I recommend organic. Just say no to GMO!)

Taco Meat Sauce:

Taco Toppings:

  • cheddar and/or Monterey jack cheeses, shredded
  • diced and seeded fresh tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • hot sauce or taco sauce


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the minced onion and sauté until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add the garlic and stir around for just about 30 seconds. Careful, garlic burns quickly.
  4. Stir in the seasonings and cook for another 30 seconds or so.
  5. Crumble the ground beef into the pan, mixing occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until it’s totally cooked and there’s no pink left.
  6. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and thick and happy.
  7. Taste it and adjust your seasonings.
  8. While the meat is cooking, prepare your toppings. Cook taco shells according to package directions.
  9. Serve buffet style or prepare tacos individually with meat and cheese and pass the rest of the toppings.

Join The Conversation

6 Responses

  1. I make a very similar seasoning recipe. We have turkey tacos, on average, once a week. We have turkey meatloaf once a week too. Two meals that my kids will consistently eat.

  2. I have a similar recipe. Our family loves tacos and nachos too. I have used this in the slow cooker with chicken to make shredded chicken tacos. It’s pretty good, but if given the choice, we prefer the ground beef in the skillet!

  3. I completely agree about the whole taco meal being tiresome. Because what’s a taco without all the toppings??? I like to use ground turkey in place of ground beef. (I think it’s sweeter…as weird as that sounds.) Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

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