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

4.98 from 101 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
    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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…

  11. 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

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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