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.” I put that in quotes because, quite frankly, I find tacos tiresome to make. I 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!?? Then there’s all the washing and chopping of the lettuce and tomatoes. And I’m persnickety about my cheese and usually opt to grate my own. By the time I get everything on the table, I’m exhausted. Then comes the passing and the loading  . . . I dunno. It all seems like a lot of hassle, quite frankly.

But it truly is fairly quick and easy to make, and my family loves tacos so I make them often.

I usually put everything out on the counter and let everyone make their own. Of course, that means everyone is hopping up and down throughout the meal, but it’s better than being asked to pass the 155 toppings while I’m trying to eat.

The best thing about making tacos, in my opinion, is having leftover meat for my Ultimate Nachos. Now, nachos I can get excited about.


I usually double this taco recipe, which provides enough for our family of 5 to have taco dinner and nachos for the rest of the week. My kids often make a plate of nachos when they get home from school.

Here’s the recipe I use for the taco meat. We like ground beef, but I suppose you could use this recipe with cooked shredded chicken as well.

Homemade Beef Tacos
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican-American
Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
This beef taco recipe is delicious and quick to throw together . . . no packet needed!
  • 1 box hard or soft taco shells (I recommend organic. Just say no to GMO!)
  • Taco Meat Sauce:
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease (I recommend bacon, if you have it)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 or 2 tsps salt
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 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 thoughts on “Ground Beef Taco Recipe {without the packet}

  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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