Best Beef Tacos are loaded with the most flavorful taco meat using a simple homemade seasoning!  A favorite ground beef recipe that comes together in 15 minutes!

beef tacos on a plate with toppings

Beef Tacos:

Ground beef tacos are a weeknight dinner staple in so many households!  We always had taco night once per week when I was growing up, and I’m happy to say we carry on the same tradition. I am personally obsessed with our Best Fish Tacos, but ground beef is always a winner too.  Of course we love all Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes like our Machaca and easy Chicken Tinga, but this ground beef recipe keeps things really simple and easy.  The reason that these tacos are really the best is the homemade taco seasoning that uses pantry staples!  We also know after testing, that it’s really best to use an 80-90 percent lean meat.  Using a ground beef with a higher fat content gives you tacos with more flavor, and you won’t have an issue with it drying out while cooking!  If you’re looking for a leaner meat, try out our Ground Turkey Taco Meat too.

Taco Seasoning:

Our very best seasoning uses chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  The amounts have been tried/tested over the years to make sure these tacos have the most flavor possible!  The beef is cooked with diced onion and garlic for even more goodness.  Then, we add salsa, a very small 1/4 cup of water, and a big squeeze of lime!  The reason for the small amount of water is not to dilute the seasonings, and the salsa and lime really perk the meat up even more.

ground beef tacos on a plate

Ground Beef Taco Recipe Notes & Toppings:

  • Don’t be tempted to add more than 1/4 cup of water to the recipe!  One “pet peeve” of mine is the amount of water called for on a pack of taco seasoning, it’s way too much and dilutes the seasonings!
  • This recipe (one pound of ground beef) will make about 8-10 tacos total.  Of course this depends on how hungry every one is, but it always feeds our family of four with no leftovers.  You can easily double or triple this recipe with no other changes made if you wish.
  • As far as salsa goes, use your favorite.  Hot, Mild, or Medium to preference.  You can use red or green salsa, and even add in a few dashes of hot sauce like Cholula if you like things spicy!
  • For serving, you can use any tortillas you wish!  I like to use warm soft corn and flour tortillas, but we do sometimes pull out tostada or crunchy taco shells as well.  You can also use burrito sized tortillas and stuff them with this beef and Spanish Rice!
  • Also for serving and topping:  we love our easy Red Blender Salsa Recipe and our newest on the blog Salsa Verde!  If you have fresh veggies on hand, this is great with Pico De Gallo or my personal favorite Black Bean Salsa!
  • For our taco bar I always have out plenty of shredded cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese! We also do shredded lettuce like romaine, chopped tomatoes, black olives, sliced red onions, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream or plain greek yogurt.  If you want you can also add some cilantro, or extra limes for squeezing if you really love citrus.

ground beef taco meat in taco shells



5 from 13 votes

Best Beef Tacos

Best Beef Tacos are loaded with the most flavorful taco meat using a simple homemade seasoning!  A favorite ground beef recipe that comes together in 15 minutes!
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Servings 8 Tacos


  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 Small Yellow or White Onion Minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Optional
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime About 1 Tablespoon


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot add the beef, onion, and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat as you go for 6-8 minutes until the beef is cooked through.
  • Thoroughly drain the grease from the beef, return the meat to the pan and the pan to the stove.
  • Add the seasonings, salsa, water, and and lime juice, and stir well to coat the beef.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid has absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite tortillas, salsas, and taco toppings! Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


NOTE ON BEEF:  It is best to use 80-90 percent ground beef if you have it! The higher fat content will give you the best flavor.
NOTE ON SERVINGS:  One pound of ground beef makes around 8-10 tacos once you include toppings for each taco.  You can easily double or even triple this recipe for a larger crowd!


Serving: 2Tacos, Calories: 304kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Like this? Rate & review this recipe below!



Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

Related Recipes

Rate & Review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This really is an easy, delicious recipe. I think adding the salsa is what makes it way better than other recipes.