The Best Homemade Tacos

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Homemade Tacos are the perfect busy weeknight dinner.  These Easy Ground Beef Tacos are better than take-out and ready in minutes.

2 homemade tacos with traditional toppings

Mexican Tacos

Traditional Mexican beef tacos are made with marinated sliced or shredded beef on soft corn tortillas.  Those are great!  But, that’s not what most Americans think of when we think of classic tacos.

Best Ground Beef Taco Recipe

Most of us grew up eating ground beef tacos in a crispy corn shell or a soft flour tortilla, with lots of toppings.  That’s the traditional taco we’re making in this recipe.  But, we’re not using a pre-packaged taco seasoning mix.  This recipe uses a flavorful homemade taco seasoning.

What Kind of Ground Beef For Tacos?

Lean ground beef is the best beef to use for making tacos because you don’t need to drain off any fat after cooking it. There is just enough fat in the beef to make it super flavorful, but not so much to make it greasy.  Skipping the step to drain the fat makes this a quick and easy taco recipe.

Of course, if you have ground beef with more fat, you can still use it in this recipe.  Just cook the beef and drain off the fat before you add the taco seasonings.

How To Make Tacos

*Note:  The full printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

  • Break apart lean ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.
  • Cook until the beef is browned.

Homemade taco seasoning on ground beef in a skillet

  • Add tomato sauce and water to the meat.

homemade taco seasoned beef in a skillet

  • Cook until some liquid has evaporated, but the meat is still saucy.

Cooked taco meat for homemade tacos

  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of the taco meat into hard taco shells or small soft tortillas.
  • Top the tacos with your favorite traditional taco toppings.

2 classic tacos with homemade taco seasoning and classic toppings

Taco Toppings

  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Diced onion
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole

How Much Taco Meat Do You Need Per Person?

If you use the traditional size hard taco shell, or small 6-inch flour tortillas, 2 tablespoons of taco meat per taco is the perfect amount.  This recipe, using 1 pound of lean ground beef, will make 12 tacos.  I tend to serve 3 tacos per person.  So I use 1 pound of taco meat for 4 people.

Watch the step by step recipe video for The Best Homemade Tacos Recipe below.

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

homemade tacos with classic taco toppings

The Best Homemade Tacos Recipe

4.99 from 91 votes
The Best Homemade Tacos - Ground beef and homemade taco seasoning make the best taco meat in this classic easy recipe that's better than take out.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes


Servings 12 tacos
Calories 129 kcal


  • 1 lb. 90% to 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 12 taco shells - either hard shells or small 6-inch soft flour tortillas will work
  • Optional Taco Toppings: shredded cheese shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, taco sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.


  • Add the beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break the meat apart with a wooden spoon. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper to the meat. Stir well. Cook until the meat is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomato sauce and water. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, until some of the liquid evaporates but the meat mixture is still a little saucy. Remove from the heat.
  • Warm the taco shells according to their package directions.
  • Fill the taco shells with 2 heaping tablespoons of taco meat. Top with desired taco toppings: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, taco sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.


Serving: 1/12th | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 265mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Course Dinner, Main Course
Keyword fish taco recipe, homemade tacos, the best tacos
Cuisine American, Mexican
Author Amanda Finks

Try These Great Ground Beef Recipes

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  1. 5 stars
    So far all the recipes that I have prepared following your instructions are wonderful! Can’t wait to try others.

  2. 5 stars
    Found this recipe today and tried it tonight. It was wonderful. Much better then what you get in the store and will be making this from now on. Family loved it.

  3. I have a couple of questions. I would like to make this for a graduation party for my great grand. He loves Tacos.
    Can I put the hamburg in a slow cooker after I cook it to keep it warm? What kind of cheese to use? Also can I use a taco seasong mix? Also sour cream and salsa for on the top? Thanks for any advise you can give. This is my first time making these.

  4. 5 stars
    Dear Friends:
    I tried this recipe last night. All I can say is you don’t have to spend hours for food that tastes good. I loved this recipe and since I fixed it late last night, I will have this for lunch today. Can’t wait! Thank you for sharing.

  5. 5 stars
    I just made this recipe this morning for a party tomorrow. Truly great flavor and super easy. Hoping it will be even better after the spices meld overnight

    1. 5 stars
      I tried this dish and it could be my go to
      Quick dinner. I thank you for sharing

      J Williams

  6. 5 stars
    I tried this when I realized we had no packets of taco mix. It was very good. And not hard. Luckily I had all of the ingredients of the spices. I will do this again. Thanks

    1. Hi guys,
      What do you usefor “tomato sauce”?
      Is this ketchup, concentrated tomato puree, or chopped tomatoes?
      Thank you

      1. 5 stars
        Tomato sauce is different than the others you asked about. You’ll find it in a can with other canned tomato products

      2. 5 stars
        I use passata 500ml (UK measures). No idea what that is in cups. (Passata is pureed strained tomatoes used to make tomato based sauces)
        The family love this recipe (with just a little less chilli) we tend to have this at the weekend – I make a large pot of the sauce and it is an easy get together meal.

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely incredible! So tasty super simple to make and I enjoyed it more than the packaged seasoning taco mix. Definitely will be making this from now on when I make tacos (pretty much weekly) boyfriend loved them too. Great hit!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I left out the chili powder only because I do not care for the flavor, but was still delicious. My husband never liked taco seasoning in the packet, but this passed. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    These home made tacos are great! I have multiple food allergies and during covd the McCormick glutten free tacos mix couldn’t be found in my area. So I searched for glutten soy gummie free recipe found this and it’s safe and terrific. So happy to have nachos again. Thanks

  10. 5 stars
    Bloody brilliant! This recipe was a hit with the husband and the kids. It’s now a part of my weekly rotation!

    Instead of the 1/4 cup water, I like to add either vegetable broth or beef broth for more flavour.

    Thanks a bunch!

  11. 5 stars
    I found this recipe 5/5/2021 and have making it almost every week since.
    Simple, just follow the steps. Huge hit with friends and family…

  12. 5 stars
    I’ve made this so many times and it’s an all-time favorite! Do you think this would work for chicken tacos too?? I need a good chicken taco recipe

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe is wonderful. I used half ancho and half regular chili powder which gave them a bit of a kick.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Can you cook this in advance and reheat? Worried it will dry out but would prefer to prepare in advance if possible.

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve cook this for twice and will cook more in the future. The recipe is very simple and I’m lucky that I always have all the ingredients in my counter.
    First try I didn’t have tomato sauce so I changed it with ketchup and still taste great! After this I never buy instant taco’s seasoning anymore!!!
    Thank you!!!!!

  16. 5 stars
    I just made this for our taco salad. All I can say is…. Absolutely delicious! Much better than the store bought taco mix. I will be using this for all my taco seasoning. Thank you for sharing.

  17. 5 stars
    My husband happen to find this recipe about 6 months ago. It is so delicious that we have thrown out all our other taco recipes because this is the only one we make now.

  18. 5 stars
    Excellent, excellent, excellent! No more store bought taco seasoning for my family. This is so much better tasting than store bought mix and my family loves it!

  19. 5 stars
    This was actually my first time making tacos! They came out great and my kids loved them. Thanks for an easy and tasty recipe!

  20. 5 stars
    This recipie was the 1st time I ever made homemade. My kids absolutely loved it but then I lost this recipie thankfully I found it again because no other recipie compares. Best recipie ever!!

  21. 5 stars
    I love the recipe, perfect for taco Tuesday and the seasoning is perfect and the tacos are so tasty 😋.
    Easy to follow recipe 👌🏾

  22. 5 stars
    Simple and tasty! My family of 6(including four boys) loved them. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  23. 5 stars
    The spices in this recipe are spot on! I added chopped onions and green chiles to the ground beef and diced tomatillo to the toppings but this was out of the park good! We will make this again.

  24. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious! I struggle with recipes that have allot of ingredients because I live alone. This was perfect!

  25. 5 stars
    Delicious and simple. Much better than the typical packaged product available in the grocery store. I made my own Taco sauce, too, which was ridiculously easy and so much better.

  26. 5 stars
    Oh how we LOVE tacos at our house, along with chips and salsa. queso, and guacamole. This is a great recipe that we will use again and again and again. Thank you for sharing it!

  27. 4 stars
    Overall it is a great basis for making tacos, my only complaint is that a tablespoon of chili powder is a bit overpowering and takes over some other great flavors. In the future I will adjust the amount of chili powder to maybe half of that. Thank you for a solid recipe.

  28. 5 stars
    I have made your “The Homemade Tacos Recipe” a couple of times now. It is delicious and easy to make. Your recipe format and Nutrition information is very helpful. I highly recommend this to others. Thanks very much. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  29. 5 stars
    This recipe tastes a lot better than that taco packet from the supermarket. My only suggestion would be to drain off some of the fat rendered from the ground beef before you add the tomato sauce and water.

  30. 5 stars
    Great recipe. but i was expecting homemade tacos. it could easily be a tomato beef with mexican spices recipe. But yeah it looks great !

  31. 5 stars
    Very good recipe. I doubled the recipe, added 1/2 chopped white onion, sautéed and processed into a smoother “taco” consistency. The spice to meat ratio is right on, easy to double and freeze for future meals. Much better than taco seasoning packs sold in the store. Well done!

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe turned out perfectly. (Next time, though, I’ll add some hot sauce to give it a kick.). Six hours later, My stomach is still reeling with happiness!

      In response to what one person wrote, it wasn’t at all greasy, but I used 5% fat beef.

      Thank you for this simple yet perfect recipe!

  32. 5 stars
    I tried this easy recipe, using meatless ground “beef”, with all the ingredients I have as staples. It is was delicious. So no more using commercial taco seasoning!

  33. 5 stars
    No need to look for any other taco recipe. This is the one, the only one you’ll ever need. All natural ingredients that you easily have on hand, low sodium and no heartburn. We have taco Tuesday every week and this is our one and only recipe for taco filling.

  34. 5 stars
    Very yummy! Made this on Wednesday night for the first time and my husband loved it so much that he requested again for tonight’s night. No more taco packets for us.

  35. I made this last night for my family & some of the meat in an Ezekial 4:19 tacos & the other half in half of a baked potato, along side a yummy collard green dish for hubby & I & carrots for my son. My 5-year-old & picky eater husband loved it! I paired it with chunks of avocado, jalepeno shredded cheese, Forager sour cream, sauteed onions, garlic & yellow bell pepper for the potato & taco & a little bit of melted butter mixed with coconut oil. They cleaned their plates! Definitely a keeper.

  36. 5 stars
    These a delicious. I’m in the midst of canning tomatoes from my garden so I used homemade tomato paste instead of sauce. It was so much better than taco seasoning from a mix and was a huge hit with my family. I also made a triple batch of filling, divided into meal-size portions, then tossed them in my freezer. This is a keeper.

  37. 5 stars
    Perfect everything! My eight year old son and hubby loved this tonight. Lots of flavor, really well balanced taste and consistency! If you prefer spicy you’ll want to up it a bit. This will be my go to for taco night! Thank you 👍🏽

  38. 5 stars
    So delicious! I always make it for my siblings and they all eat it up so fast! Defintly my #1 choice when making burritos or tacos.

  39. 5 stars
    Great flavor and easy prep! Added diced fire roasted green chilis to the pan for the last 5 minutes or so of simmering.

  40. 5 stars
    Made it tonight, it was delicious! My husband loves the prepackaged taco seasoning but he said this was better! So happy to make one of our favorites a bit healthier and it was easy too!

    1. You can just buy a can that specifically says “tomato sauce” from the grocery store near the canned tomatoes.

  41. 5 stars
    So delecious, and so very easy to make.This is a keeper.My husband said one of the best !!!

    Thanks Vicki Hartye

  42. This was so simple to make and super tasty. Everyone loved it including my picky kid and husband. Definitely a keeper!

  43. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely amazing and I love it. I did add less cumin and salt, but everything else was amazing!

  44. 5 stars
    It is terrific! The only way I will ever make taco meat again for all of time. All ingredients easily on hand, low sodium, great tasting, no heartburn!

  45. 5 stars
    I cooked this yesterday for my family and they absolutely LOVEDDD it !!! I was even able to make prawn tacos, as well as beef tacos using the same recipe, it was absolutely DELICIOUS, it tasted so good ! If only I could attach some pictures, because they came out so great ! Thank you so much for this recipe, I will definitely try it out again !!! x

    1. 5 stars
      Just tried and quite impressed. I usually make tacos with a flavour sachet and cook a load of veges in the mince. This was just as good and a lot easier. I was worried it would be too spicy but I ended up adding more chili.
      Great easy tacos. Thanks for the recipe!

  46. 5 stars
    I followed your recipe and we really enjoyed them tonight. The flavor was very good.
    I added 1/2 can of reffried beans Thank you

    1. Just wandering can I add can of black beans to this recipe. Will this recipe enough to serve 6 adults and two kids

    1. Think she covered that In the intro. If your using really lean meat, no need to drain ,if using fatty meat, drain. Please read

  47. It is the one Friday night dish my son loves. This recipe is very easy. I was using spaghetti sauce. I think next time I ‘ll try fresh chopped onions, bell peppers and garlic ; trying to add more fiber.

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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