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Ground Beef Tacos | Stovetop- Instant Pot

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These ground beef tacos start with a low and slow-simmered ground beef sauce and end with a party for your tastebuds. They are easy and incredibly delicious. It’s terrific for Cinco de Mayo or just a regular taco Tuesday.

Three hard shell tacos in a taco holder with a side of salsa.Pin
Ground Beef Tacos. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

This vintage recipe has been in the family for generations and is still one of our favorites.

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Why should you make it?

  • It’s economical, but it can satisfy your family’s appetite. At just $1 per serving, this meal is just what your budget ordered.
  • Kid-friendly: Kids and adults gobble these tacos at about the same rate. Fast.
  • Easy: You don’t need any special culinary skills to make it.
  • Minimal ingredients: It has only eight ingredients, and if you like Mexican food, they are most likely in your pantry.

What You Need

  • Ground Beef: The best ground beef for this recipe is 80%, sometimes called ground chuck. Using very lean ground beef will result in a less-than-perfect meal.
  • Onion: Use a whole medium white or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are best, but you could substitute granulated or garlic powder.
  • Tomatoes: You can use diced, crushed, or whole tomatoes
  • Cumin: Adds a mild, spicy, earthy flavor to your dish.
  • Coriander: Has a bit more of a floral note, as compared to cumin.
  • Chili powder: You can use a chili powder blend or ground cayenne pepper. Adjust the heat to your family’s tastes.
  • Salt: Kosher salt or sea salt adds a nice flavor.
  • Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper will add the best flavor.
Lots of ground beef taco mix on hard shell tortillas.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

How to Make Them

On the Stovetop

Step One:

Add a splash of oil to a Dutch oven just to get it started.

Oil added to a stainless steel Dutch oven.Pin
Add a splash of oil to the pan. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Brown the meat in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Ground beef added to the Dutch oven.Pin
Add some of the beef to the pan. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Pro Tip: The mistake most people make is to stir the meat too soon. All of the juices from the first side of the meat have to evaporate before you stir it. If you stir it too soon, the meat will steam rather than brown.

Step Three:

When all the juices have evaporated, turn the meat to brown it on the other side.

When a batch finishes, remove it to a bowl and continue with the next batch of meat.

If excess grease is in the pan, drain it between batches.

Flip the meat when the first side is done browning.Pin
Flip the meat when the first side is done browning. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Four:

After all the meat is brown, reduce the heat slightly. Add the onions.

Onion added to the beef in the pan.Pin
Add the onion to the beef. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Five:

When the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Stir for 3-4 minutes.

Garlic added to the meat in the pot.Pin
Add the garlic. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Six:

Add the can of tomatoes. Rinse out the can with water and add that to the pot as well.

Tomatoes added to the meat in the pan.Pin
Add tomatoes to the pan. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Seven:

Add the spices. Mix well. Crush the tomatoes with your spoon.

Bring the covered pot to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat. Remove the lid. Simmer for at least three hours until you can break the tomatoes apart with a spoon and the liquid is almost gone.

The longer it simmers, the better; the next day is always better.

Spices added to the pan.Pin
Add the spices. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

In the Instant Pot

Turn the instant pot on sauté mode. Add a little oil to the pot.

Brown the ground beef in batches. Remove a batch to a bowl when it is done, and continue with the rest of the meat. If the pot gets too dry, add a bit more oil. If there is a lot of grease, drain it in between batches.

Once all of the meat is browned, put all of the meat back into the pot and add the onions. Sauté the mixture until the onions are opaque.

Add the garlic and continue sautéing for a couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes and spices.

Seal the instant pot and turn the vent to the closed position. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Let the pot naturally release. Carefully open the lid.

If the beef sauce is too runny, switch it back to sauté mode and cook until the liquid is reduced.

To build the tacos, prepare your tortillas how you would like. Here is an article with eight ways to prepare tortillas.

Place a few tablespoons of meat on your tortilla. Top with any of the suggested toppings below.

What Toppings to Use

  • Lettuce: Shred lettuce to serve on your tacos.
  • Tomatoes: Dice the tomatoes.
  • Cheese: Use a mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, a Mexican cheese blend, or a crumbly cheese like queso fresco or cotija.
  • Avocado: Slice avocado to serve on the side or dice it into bite-sized chunks. Or make a quick guacamole.
  • Peppers: Finely diced jalapeños or serrano peppers will add a bit of kick. Red pepper flake can add a zing, too.
  • Salsa: Choose your favorite salsa, like this smoky chipotle salsa. You could use a fruity salsa like the peach salsa, too.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream or Mexican creme will add a slightly sour, creamy texture.
  • Coleslaw: This spicy coleslaw is great for topping tacos. If you’d like to try a totally different flavor, this pineapple coleslaw is always a hit.
Three hard shell tacos in a taco holder.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

What to do With Leftovers

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Freezing: This taco meat freezes exceptionally well. Spoon it into freezer bags or a freezer container. Freeze for at least six months. Vacuum packed, it will last a year. Make a double batch and freeze some for busy weeknights.

Reheating: Reheat your leftovers in the microwave for 1½-2 minutes on high. You can also reheat it in a small, covered saucepan for five minutes until hot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make them ahead?

Yes. In fact, it’s better to make the beef the day before you need it. It gives the flavors a chance to mingle.

How often should I stir the meat when browning?

When you are browning meat, turn the burner on medium-high to high. Break pieces into the pan a few at a time so that the pan doesn’t lose heat. Don’t overcrowd the bottom of the pan. Now, wait until you hear the juices that were released in the pan have evaporated. Then, you can stir and flip the meat to the other side. If you overcrowd the pan or stir too early, the meat will steam in its own juices.

Can I Make Them Without Tomatoes?

Yes, you can. We call these quick tacos and make these when we don’t have time to make the sauce. Just know they are really not the same dish- not nearly as good.

What kind of tortillas should I use to make the tacos?

You can use hard or soft corn or flour tortillas to make your tacos.

How to Use the Taco Meat

With this taco meat, you can make tacos, tostadas, burritos, taco salads, or huevos rancheros.

What Sides to Serve with Ground Beef Tacos

More Mexican Recipes

Ground beef tacos in hard taco shells.Pin
Ground beef tacos in hard taco shells. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

This ground beef tacos recipe is easy and delicious to make for your family. It makes lots, so there will be enough to freeze for another day. A perfect meal prep recipe for your collection.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

Binky's signature
Hard shell tacos with ground beef.Pin

Ground Beef Tacos

These ground beef tacos start with a low and slow-simmered ground beef sauce and end with a party for your tastebuds. They are easy and incredibly delicious. It's wonderful for Cinco de Mayo or just a regular taco Tuesday.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 15 tacos
Calories: 187kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or a large skillet. Heat over high heat.
    1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Once the oil smokes, add the meat, a little at a time. Don't overcrowd the pan. Brown the meat until all the juices have evaporated. With a wooden spoon, stir and flip the meat to brown the other side. Once browned, remove it to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
    1½ pounds Ground Beef
  • If there is a lot of grease, drain it off in between batches. Continue brownig until all of the meat is done.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion and garlic. Lower the heat to medium. Add all of the meat back to the pan. Add the onion and stir it together. Continue cooking the onions, stirring often until they are translucent.
    1 medium onion, 4 garlic cloves
  • Once the onions are done, add the garlic and stir it together. Just cook the garlic for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the can of tomatoes and the spices. Mix well.
    1 can Whole Tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, 1 Tablespoon Chili powder, 2 Teaspoons ground coriander, 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt, 1 Teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Put the lid on the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and remove the cover.
  • Simmer for about three hours until most of the juices have cooked down and the tomatoes break up easily.

To assemble the tacos

  • Heat oil in a small skillet until it smokes. Carefully place a tortilla in the hot oil. Fry until the top bubbles all over.
    olive oil
  • Flip the tortilla with tongs. Fold it in half immediately to make a taco shape. once that side is crispy to your liking, flip it over with the tongs and fry the other side.
    15 corn tortillas
  • Add a few tablespoons of taco meat to the tortilla. Top with your favorite toppings.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

What to do with leftovers
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freezing: This taco meat freezes exceptionally well. Spoon it into freezer bags or a freezer container. Freeze for at least six months. Vacuum packed, it will last a year. Make a double batch and freeze some for busy weeknights.
Reheating: Reheat your leftovers in the microwave for 1½-2 minutes on high. You can also reheat it in a small, covered saucepan for five minutes until hot.
Some delicious toppings
    • Lettuce: Shred lettuce to serve on your tacos.
    • Tomatoes: Dice the tomatoes.
    • Cheese: Use a mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, a Mexican cheese blend, or a crumbly cheese like queso fresco or cotija.
    • Avocado: Slice avocado to serve on the side or dice it into bite-sized chunks. Or make a quick guacamole.
    • Peppers: Finely dice jalapeños or serrano peppers.
    • Sour Cream: Sour cream or Mexican creme will add a slightly sour, creamy texture.
    • Coleslaw: This spicy coleslaw is great for topping tacos. If you’d like to try something really different, try this pineapple coleslaw.
    • Cilantro: Chop cilantro or Italian parsley to garnish your tacos.
Substitute this easy homemade taco seasoning for the spices in this recipe.
You can substitute garlic powder and onion powder for the onions and garlic in this recipe, but fresh is best.

Nutrition

Serving: 1taco | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 556mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 197IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg
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Beth Neels

Author: Beth Neels

Title: Owner

Expertise: canning, game meat cooking, smoking

Bio:

Beth Neels is an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, author, and recipe developer. She founded Binky’s Culinary Carnival in 2014, focusing on “Crafting delicious recipes with sustainable ingredients.” She has been featured in multiple online publications, including MSN, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, and Parade.

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