Home > Dinner > Beef Tacos Beef Tacos August 13, 2019 | 4 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Our favorite Beef Tacos bring together crispy taco shells, robustly seasoned taco meat, melty Cheddar, and your favorite taco toppings! Kid-friendly and easy to customize. Pair these incredible tacos with this cool and crisp cucumber salad, cilantro lime rice, or roasted sweet potatoes. A few weeks ago, I bought crispy taco shells to make Beef Tacos and when I went to get them out of the pantry, the box was empty. Turns out my kiddos ate every single one of them — plain– ha! The next time I bought the shells, I had to hide them until I got around to making these tacos. At first, my kids were disappointed that they were filled up (they wanted to keep eating them plain) but after one bite, they agreed Beef Tacos are the best! They’ve got the amazing flavor, perfect textures and make for such a great, well-rounded (easy-to-make) meal. Beef Taco filling To fill up these Beef Tacos, I use lean ground beef with my homemade taco seasoning and tomato sauce. You can replace the tomato sauce with picante sauce, which is what I do in this taco bowl recipe. A few quick tips: Make sure to purchase the freshest ground beef possible (look at the furthest expiration date when purchasing) To avoid steaming (we want to brown the meat!), use a cast-iron pan, and wait for it to be HOT until you add in the meat. In order to brown (and become more flavorful), the beef has to maintain contact with the pan for a little while. Remember that as you break the meat into smaller pieces; the moisture evaporates which can cause the meat to steam instead of brown. Avoid this by giving the meat a few minutes to cook and develop a brown color before breaking it up with a wooden spoon. QUICK TIP From a legal perspective, ground beef can be anywhere from 73% to 97% lean. 80% lean is considered ‘regular’ and is what you’ll find in most burgers since the higher fat content contributes to flavor and juiciness. Lean beef is 92% lean, and extra-lean must be 96% lean or greater. After the base meat filling is done, it’s all about the toppings! Below are some of our favorite toppings, but get creative with what you like best on your tacos. Beef taco topping ideas Cheese (Monterey jack, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, or pepper jack) We like a blend of Monterey jack and extra-sharp Cheddar best! Chopped tomatoes, salsa, or pico de gallo Black beans or pinto beans Freshly chopped cilantro Fresh lime juice we like serving these tacos with lime wedges Avocado or guacamole Cooked white rice Taco sauce or hot sauce Crispy tortilla strips Creamy cilantro sauce (like the sauce in this honey lime chicken recipe) Sour cream (fat-free or low-fat works great!) Crema Mexicana by Cacique® is another one of our favorites (not sponsored) Variations Use ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork instead of ground beef. When substituting different ground meats, just keep in mind they have different moisture levels and flavor intensities. You may need to add in a bit more or less tomato sauce and compensate with more spices. Add fresh-grilled corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob and add it as a topping). See this post on elote to learn how to perfectly grill corn on the cob! Healthy Beef Tacos: To keep these on the healthier side, use fresh veggies as toppings and reduce, omit or use reduced-fat cheese. Alternatively, try these taco lettuce wraps for a healthier or low carb alternative. Beef Tacos with peppers and onions: Add a sautéed pepper and onion topping. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to a cast iron skillet, add in 1 thinly sliced yellow onion and 1 thinly sliced bell pepper (sweet or green pepper). Season with salt and pepper, sauté until crisp-tender and lightly charred. Don’t like crispy tacos? Pile the filling and toppings into soft flour or corn tortillas. Just make sure to warm through the tortillas first (more on this below). How to warm the tortillas If you opt to use soft tortillas instead of crispy, make sure to warm them through before filling them up! This not only contributes to the flavor, but it also helps them to fold and hold the filling and toppings better. My favorite tortillas for ground beef tacos are the unbaked (flour or corn) ones generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the block and grated cheese (by TortillaLand® — not sponsored). Or a few other options below: Wrap a stack of five tortillas in a damp paper towel– microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time until warmed through. Cook in a hot, dry skillet, griddle, cooktop, or grill grates — flip after 10-15 seconds. Toast on a gas stovetop over a medium/low flame — place the tortilla right on the flame on the stovetop and flip after 10-15 seconds. More delicious taco recipes Healthy Tacos black bean and corn Chicken Tacos Mexican street corn-inspired Jamaican Jerk Tacos with a creamy cilantro sauce Shrimp Tacos reader favorite Vegetarian Tacos with roasted sweet potatoes and black beans FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Beef Tacos 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe Our favorite Beef Tacos bring together crispy taco shells, robustly seasoned taco meat, melty Cheddar, and your favorite taco toppings! Kid-friendly and easy to customize. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Beef Tacos 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Our favorite Beef Tacos bring together crispy taco shells, robustly seasoned taco meat, melty Cheddar, and your favorite taco toppings! Kid-friendly and easy to customize. Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American, Mexican Keyword beef tacos Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 8 minutes Total Time 33 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 259kcal Cost $7.80 Ingredients1 package (with 12 total) crispy taco shells (or soft flour or corn tortillas instead!)1 tablespoon olive oil1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion1 teaspoon minced garlic1 pound lean ground beef or ground chuck1/2 cup tomato sauce1 tablespoon chili powder1 teaspoon EACH paprika and cumin1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional, omit if sensitive to spice)1/2 teaspoon EACH oregano, roasted garlic powder, salt, and pepperToppings: freshly grated cheese (I like using equal parts of both Monterey jack and extra-sharp Cheddar), shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream (fat- free or low-fat works great), salsa/chopped cherry tomatoes/pico de gallo, avocado or guac, chopped cilantro, taco sauce, chopped onions, lime wedges InstructionsPREP: Prepare everything for cooking the beef filling, because the process goes quickly! Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and stir together all of the seasonings. Place taco shells in a 9x13-inch baking pan (all 12 should fit) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.BEEF: Heat oil in a large skillet (cast iron if possible) over high heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until light golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.BEEF CONT.: Add ground beef and cook for 2-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as you go, until meat is no longer pink. Avoid stirring/breaking beef up too much-- allow it to brown too. If there is a lot of extra grease (from higher-fat beef), drain off. Add in all the seasonings: chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir for another 1-2 minutes or until beef is completely cooked through. Add in the tomato sauce and stir until thickened, another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.STUFF SHELLS: Divide the beef evenly between the 12 shells. Add cheese on top of each ( I add about 2-3 tablespoons of a Monterey jack and extra-sharp Cheddar blend per taco ). Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melty.SERVE: While tacos are cooking, set out the toppings in individual bowls or on a large platter. Our favorites: chopped cherry tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and a scoop of sour cream. Other ideas: guacamole, taco sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, chopped onions, etc. Serve tacos hot out of the oven and let everyone add whatever toppings they like best. Enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lime! Nutrition FactsCalories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 511mg | Potassium: 556mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 793IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 4mg DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.