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I make this easy, homemade Taco Meat recipe for my family weekly! It’s the perfect ratio of ground beef to seasoning and blend of spices. Make this in bulk to freeze or use in all kinds of Tex Mex recipes.
4 Reasons to Make This Recipe (in Bulk Preferably)
- Easy: Our Homemade Taco Seasoning only takes minutes to make. After that you’ll saute onions and brown up the meat and let it simmer to perfection in the seasoning blend.
- Healthier: Making taco seasoning at home minimizes the sodium, sugar, preservatives, and additives that come in store-bought packets.
- Versatile: Use it for a Taco Bar, Beef Burritos, Baked Nachos, Ground Beef Quesadillas, or even on a Baked Potato Bar. Taco meat can be used in SO many ways.
- Easy to double and freeze: Taco meat freezes and thaws beautifully. Because of its versatility, it’s an ideal recipe to stock the freezer with. We’ll show you how.
Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer and then grab any remaining ingredients from this list.
Scroll to the bottom to see the full, printable recipe card that gives all the taco meat ingredient amounts.
You may also want to grab the ingredients for some of these fun, homemade taco toppings while you’re at it:
Variations and Substitutions
Ground Beef Sub – Use ground chicken or ground turkey in place of beef. You can also slow cook a beef or pork roast that’s been well seasoned and then shred it.
Broth Sub – If you don’t have broth on hand, use water instead and add a pinch of salt.
How to Make Taco Meat
I’ve been using this method and seasoning blend for my family for many, many years now. Check out how easy it is…
In a small bowl or Mason jar, combine all of the taco seasonings and whisk or shake them together.
Brown the Ground Meat
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté diced onion, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more.
Add ground beef (or chicken or turkey) and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it browns. Drain off excess grease.
Add the Seasoning and Broth
Sprinkle the taco seasoning mixture over the meat and stir until coated.
Add in broth OR water and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced some, about 5 minutes.
Serve It Up!
There are SO many ways to utilize the homemade taco meat you just made. Here are some ideas:
- Taco Bar – Lay out a variety of ingredients and let everyone assemble their own tacos. We’ll give you loads of topping ideas.
- Baked Nachos – Sprinkle your taco meat over tortilla chips and top with cheese. After baking you will add toppings galore.
- Ground Beef Quesadillas – Spread the taco meat and cheddar cheese between two tortillas to make a delicious quesadilla.
- Add it to Crock Pot Tortilla Soup or Instant Pot Tortilla Soup.
Can You Freeze Taco Meat?
Freezing Taco Meat is a great use of your time. In fact, making freezer meals in general is a huge time-saver, money-saver, and sanity-saver!
Here’s how to freeze and thaw taco meat:
Freeze For Later: Cook the meat as directed, then let the mixture cool completely. Place it in a freezer bag, seal and freeze. Optional: In separate bags, freeze about 2 cups of shredded cheese and soft tortillas along with the meat, to complete your taco kit.
Prepare For Later: Let all ingredients thaw in the refrigerator. Warm the meat in the microwave and serve as directed. (Note: You can also use the defrost setting on the microwave to thaw the taco meat.) Add a little broth if the meat is too dry.
Ground beef is the most popular meat to cook and season for tacos. It cooks and absorbs the seasoning quickly, fits nicely in any kind of taco shell, and tastes rich and flavorful even underneath the taco toppings.
While ground beef is most popular, you can use other types of ground meat, such as ground chicken or ground turkey. You can also slow-cook a chuck roast or pork roast that’s been seasoned well and then shred it, like in our Shredded Beef Tacos. Each type of meat will have a slightly different flavor, but the seasoning can be adjusted to suit your taste preferences.
Yep. I do this all the time. It’s a perfect meal for nights when everyone eats at a different time. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-6 months in a freezer bag. Just reheat when you want to serve it.
Fully cook and then let the taco meat fully cool. Place it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container with lid or a freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out as possible, label, and freeze for 3-6 months.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
Taco Seasoning Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less for sensitive palates)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Taco Meat Ingredients
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 small white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (sub: ground turkey)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
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Make It Now:
- In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, ground cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, and optional sugar until well combined.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the diced onion, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 3-4 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula as it browns. Drain off excess grease.
- Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of taco seasoning over the meat and stir until coated. Add in 1 cup of chicken/beef/vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced some, about 5 minutes.
- Serve however you’d like–in Tacos, Ground Beef Quesadillas, Baked Nachos, Beef Burritos, Taco Soup, or on a Mexican Chopped Salad.
Freeze For Later: Cook the meat as directed, then let the mixture cool completely. Place it in a freezer bag, seal, and freeze.
Prepare For Later: Thaw meat in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on the microwave. Warm in a microwave safe bowl or over low heat on the stovetop. Add a little beef or chicken broth if it’s too dry.
- Where We Get Our Beef: We get our beef from ButcherBox. The beef is grass-fed and curated from trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, chicken, and wild salmon–and have used it for years ourselves.
- Taco Seasoning Ratio: Use about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning for every 1 pound of meat. Use more or less depending on your preference.
- Pro Tip: Triple or quadruple the batch of seasoning and store in a jar. I almost always have a batch of our Taco Seasoning stored with my other seasonings.
Photos and video by Whitney Reist of Sweet Cayenne.