Taco Bowl

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An easy-to-make Taco Bowl recipe! This meal is filling, packed with good ingredients, and is a great make-ahead weekly meal prep option. 

Taco Bowls are so easy to customize to your personal preference. Pair your bowl with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, an easy Fruit Salad, or add all the ingredients on a bed of lettuce with this dressing.

Taco Bowl meal prep

Taco Bowl

These Taco Bowls are everything you know and love about (easy) tacos, but in a bowl form instead. I shared these meal prep chicken burrito bowls last year and so many of you have requested similar recipes. 

This recipe is multi-functional: use it as a delicious hot dinner, use it for weekly meal prep, or instructions below to quickly transform this recipe (or leftovers) into a simple taco salad. The taco salad can be made fresh or I’ve also included tips to making a meal prep taco salad. Enjoy!

Spices for Taco Bowls

How to make a Taco Bowl:

  • Cilantro-lime rice: While plain rice works great in this recipe, this cilantro-lime rice takes it to another level. It doesn’t take long to add a huge flavor punch to your rice! To make it, simply stir in some lime juice, lime zest, and finely chopped cilantro to your cooked rice.
  • Ground beef: Brown and crumble the beef with a few taco spices (SO good!) and add a little picante sauce for flavor.
  • Beans/corn: Drain and rinse black beans and roasted corn. If you’re meal prepping, just spoon them in the containers as is. If you’re eating these Taco Bowls hot, toss them in a skillet (or even with the beef) to warm through.

What to put in a Taco Bowl:

After you’ve made the basic base for the Taco Bowl (rice, beef, beans/corn), it’s all about topping your bowl! Whatever you generally like in a taco is going to be great here. Here are some ideas:

  • Cheddar cheese: We like freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese.
  • Sour cream: Fat-free or low-fat work great! Add a bit of lime juice and Sriracha or hot sauce for a quick taco cream sauce. See my favorite creamy sauce that would pair great with these tacos bowls here.
  • Fresh lime: A few squeezes of fresh lime add so much flavor.
  • Avocado: While not great for meal prepping, we love avocado in fresh Taco Bowls. An avocado adds a nice creaminess while keeping the meal healthy.
  • Pico de gallo: Or even just a few chopped tomatoes if you prefer! I make a shortcut pico for these Taco Bowls — just tomatoes, jalapeño, red onion, and lime juice.


What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa? Pico is made from fresh veggies like tomato, pepper, onion and cilantro. Salsa takes those same ingredients and cooks them. The flavors are similar (because of the same ingredients) but different (because one is cooked and one isn’t).

Ground Beef and Cilantro-lime rice for Taco Bowls

How to meal prep this recipe:

Transform this Taco Bowl into a taco salad:

To serve fresh: Omit the rice, and serve the meat (slightly cooled), corn, and beans plus whatever toppings you’d like (I’d suggest pico, avocado, sour cream, and cheese) over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce. Whip up the dressing shown below and pair it with your taco salad.

To transform leftover Taco Bowl into a taco salad: Make a taco bowl one night and a salad the next! Simply take all your leftovers and add them to a big bed of chopped romaine lettuce. Whip up the dressing and drizzle on generously!

To serve as a meal prep: Omit the rice and follow all other directions to meal prep these Taco Bowls. Chop romaine lettuce and store it separately in a plastic bag. Prepare the dressing and store it separately. When ready to enjoy, place the lettuce on a large plate, add your beef, corn, and black beans, and the stored toppings (I’d suggest pico, sour cream, and cheese); drizzle dressing over everything.

Taco salad dressing

  • 1 lime, juiced and zested to get about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice
  • 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix (do not prepare it, use dry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tomatillo, husk removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 of a large bunch of cilantro (cut off long stems, but the rest is fine)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño, optional
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (fat-free works great)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  1. Zest and juice a lime and add juice and zest to a blender along with ranch seasoning mix, garlic, tomatillo, and cilantro
  2. Add 1/2 jalapeño (or full one for more kick) and mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.)
  3. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust to personal preference (more lime, garlic, salt/pepper).
  4. Whisk or blend in the sour cream. Serve over taco salad or store separately for meal prep.Taco Bowl with toppings

More Taco Favorites:

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Taco Bowl

5 from 6 votes
An easy-to-make Taco Bowl recipe! This meal is filling, packed with good ingredients, and is a great make-ahead weekly meal prep option. 
Print Recipe

Taco Bowl

5 from 6 votes
An easy-to-make Taco Bowl recipe! This meal is filling, packed with good ingredients, and is a great make-ahead weekly meal prep option. 
Course Dinner, lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword taco bowl
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 513kcal
Author Chelsea


Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 1 cup rice and 2 cups chicken stock, chicken broth, or water
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock or water, for cooking the rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large lime (2 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Taco Meat

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef 85/15 or higher
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: paprika, cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: oregano, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup mild picante sauce (found right next to salsas in the grocery store)


  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn, rinsed
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese (grated), sour cream (fat-free or low-fat is great!), fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, fresh avocado, fresh tomatoes, or quick pico de gallo (See Note 1 for recipe)


Cilantro-Lime Rice

  • Bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the butter and rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked through and tender. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and salt + pepper to taste.

Taco Meat

  • Heat a large skillet and add in the ground beef. Cook and crumble until browned through (draining off and discarding any grease). Stir in the seasonings (chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, salt, & pepper), and heat until fragrant. Mix in the picante sauce; stir, and cook until warmed through.

Assembly/Meal Prep

  • To serve as a meal: Layer the rice, taco meat, beans, and corn (warm beans and corn by tossing with hot rice or hot taco meat) and your favorite toppings such as grated Cheddar cheese, a spoonful of sour cream, fresh lime, fresh cilantro, fresh diced/sliced avocado, and fresh tomatoes or easy pico de gallo in individual bowls or plates.
    To see how to repurpose the meat, beans, and corn into an amazing taco salad, see the last paragraph of the blog post.
  • Meal Prep: Add cooked and cooled rice, cooked and slightly cooled beef, beans, and corn to your meal prep container. Separate toppings into individual containers or plastic bags. Cover/seal everything tightly and refrigerate for 4-5 days. Warm rice, beef, corn, and beans mixture in a microwave or skillet together and add the prepared toppings.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: To make a quick pico de gallo: 
Combine 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 994mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 829IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 6mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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.


An easy to make taco bowl recipe! This meal is filling, packed with good ingredients, and is a great make ahead weekly meal prep option. via chelseasmessyapron.com #taco #bowl #easy #quick #meal #prep #dinner #salad #fast #toppings #weekly #recipe


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Recipe Rating


  1. Made and separated into 5 containers for my lunches this week. So so good! I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow! Also this was really easy to make!

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