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This is the BEST Taco Meat Recipe ever! A little unconventional, made with my homemade taco seasoning, tomato paste, vegetables like onions and peppers, plus a secret ingredient (shh…it’s potatoes!). More on that later, but I use this meat in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads…the possibilities are endless!
This is a copycat version of a taco meat I had in one of my favorite little Mexican restaurants years ago. I remember sifting through the meat trying to figure out what made it so delicious and creamy. And that’s when I found the onion, then the peppers and then…wait for it. Potatoes!! The potato skin to be exact. I asked the waiter about this and he said that’s what gives it its creaminess and that his mother used to add potatoes (and sometimes pinto beans) to their ground beef to make it go further. They had a lot of mouths to feed and potatoes were a lot cheaper than meat. Makes so much sense! I like to make it this way when I have a little more time to let it stew, and I hope you love it!
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Move aside store-bought seasonings, we don’t need you anymore! My homemade taco seasoning tastes just as good *if not better* than the store-bought kind. I will admit that I try to keep at least one or two taco seasoning packets in my pantry for when I run out of the homemade or don’t have all the ingredients on hand to make it. It is definitely a life saver in a pinch, and there is no judgement here but once you make this homemade version, you really won’t want to go back to store-bought. A quick glance at pre-made taco seasoning packet ingredients can give you an idea of how to go about making your own. Only need a few handful of Mexican spices, some salt, and yellow cornmeal.
How to Make Taco Meat
For full recipe details, including ingredients needed and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what to expect when making this ground beef taco meat recipe:
Brown Ground Beef
Add ground beef (I used grass-fed 80/20 ground beef, but feel free to use what you prefer), onion, green pepper and potatoes in a skillet over medium high heat and brown meat until cooked through, breaking meat up as small as possible along the way.
Add Garlic + Tomato Paste
Make a well in the ground beef to reveal some grease and add garlic and tomato paste, allowing to “fry” a bit before stirring throughout meat mixture.
Remove Grease, Add Taco Seasoning + Water
Tip pan to one side to allow grease to gather and dab a paper towel to remove most of the grease.
Turn heat down to medium low. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer.
Simmer Taco Meat
For best results, simmer meat for an hour or longer…adding more water as it evaporates. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Ready to Serve!
Serve hot with your favorite taco night fixins. Enjoy!
Storing Leftover Taco Meat
Store leftover taco meat in an airtight container in the fridge. Stored properly, taco meat will stay fresh for up to 4-5 days. To reheat, microwave or warm in a skillet until heated through.
Make Ahead – Because you can store taco meat in the fridge for a few days, this is a great recipe to make a day or two ahead of when you want to use it.
To Freeze – allow meat to cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight, freezer safe container with a lid. Cooked taco meat will stay fresh in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, allow meat to thaw in the fridge overnight before heating in a skillet or microwave.
More Taco Recipes to Try!
- 5-Star Beef Birria Tacos
- Taco Casserole
- Taco Dip
- Taco Pizza Recipe (with Doritos!)
- Taco Lettuce Wraps
- Crockpot Chicken Taco Meat
- Taco Rice
I’d love for you to try this and give it a star review! Be sure to save/bookmark/print/pin/share this recipe. The printable recipe card is below! Have a great week, friends! 🙂
Taco Meat Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef I used grass-fed 80/20
- 3 1/2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning or a packet of store-bought
- 1 cup onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper minced
- 1 small potato minced, not peeled
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2/3 cup water + more as you stew meat
- Add ground beef, onion, green pepper and potatoes in a skillet over medium high heat and brown meat until cooked through, breaking meat up as small as possible along the way.
- Make a well in the ground beef to reveal some grease and add garlic and tomato paste, allowing to "fry" a bit before stirring throughout meat mixture.
- Tip pan to one side to allow grease to gather and dab a paper towel to remove "most" of the grease.
- Turn heat down to medium low. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer.
- For best results, stew meat for an hour or longer…adding more water as it evaporates. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve hot with your favorite taco night fixin's.