Beef Tacos

Our favorite beef tacos with crispy taco shells, robustly seasoned taco meat, melty cheddar, and your favorite taco toppings!

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword beef tacos
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 418 kcal


  • 1 package (with 12 total) crispy taco shells (can use soft flour or corn tortillas instead!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspon minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon EACH paprika and cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional, omit if sensitive to spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH oregano, roasted garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • Toppings: freshly grated cheese (I like using equal parts of both Monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar), shredded iceberg (taco) 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


  1. PREP: 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 baking pan (all 12 should fit) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. BEEF: Heat oil in a large skillet (cast iron if possible) over high heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

  3. 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 percentages of 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.

  4. STUFF SHELLS: Divide the taco beef evenly between the 12 shells. Add cheese on top of each (eyeball it, I add about 2-3 tablespoons per taco of even mixture of monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar). Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melty.

  5. SERVE: While tacos are cooking, set out all the toppings in individual bowls or on a large platter. Our favorites: chopped cherry tomatoes, iceberg (taco) lettuce, sliced ripe avocado, chopped cilantro, fresh lime wedges, and a scoop of sour cream. Other ideas: guacamole, taco sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, chopped onions, etc. Serve hot tacos out of oven and let everyone add whatever toppings they like best! Enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lime!