Forget Taco Tuesday. Make every night a taco night! These Classic Ground Beef Tacos are easy to prepare and packed with flavor thanks to the seasoned ground beef.
As I’ve said a number of times before, a sandwich is only as good as the bread it’s made on. Assuming that’s true, then we can extrapolate and say that a taco is only as good as the taco shell it’s made on. Oh, who am I kidding? Taco meat is delicious. I’ll eat that straight from the pan! But a good tortilla is still a worthwhile investment of 30 seconds.
Do you prefer flour tortillas or corn tortillas for tacos? We go back and forth here in our house. Sometimes it’s a flour tortilla night, sometimes it’s a corn tortilla night. I do enjoy the doughy goodness of a flour tortilla, but what corn tortillas lack in doughy goodness, they make up for in toasty flavor. The key is cooking that corn tortilla in a dry cast iron skillet for 20-30 seconds per side, or until the tortilla is lightly charred.
You do have to keep a close eye on the tortillas when cooking them, though. When I was making these tacos, I put a corn tortilla in the skillet and then I turned to open that day’s mail. I must’ve gotten distracted because all of a sudden I could smell the tortilla – and it wasn’t a good smell. Sure enough, I burnt it. Ugh. No biggie in the grand scheme, but the point remains that you have to keep a close eye on them.
Classic Ground Beef Tacos
Several months back, I stumbled across a taco holder on clearance at the store. Now why would a taco holder be on clearance? It’s not like tacos ever go out of season! Maybe it was a Wednesday, and the store was dumping taco holders following Taco Tuesday. I have no idea. No matter. That taco holder ended up in my cart, and I went about my merry way. (Normally I don’t go for unitasker kitchen items like a taco holder – but in this case I just felt like I needed a taco holder. I’m sure you can identify with that feeling!)
Well that taco holder got pushed to the back of the cabinet where I forgot about it for a couple of months. But then this past week I noticed it hiding back there…and all of a sudden I started craving tacos! I figured what better way to put that taco holder into action than with a batch of Classic Ground Beef Tacos. Seasoned beef. Shredded lettuce. Cheese. Tomatoes. Sour Cream. Talk about a favorite comfort food!
The key to these Classic Ground Beef Tacos (aside from the tortilla discussion above) is how you cook the ground beef. Sure, you can open one of those taco seasoning packets and dump it into the pan with some water. Nice and easy. We’ve done that (and still do that) on occasion. But I have to say that taking the extra few minutes to make your own homemade taco seasoning is well worth the time!
In this case, the seasoned ground beef for these Classic Ground Beef Tacos started with some onions + garlic and then a handful of various spices. Ok, so far so good. But the unusual piece is the tomato sauce. We’re not making spaghetti sauce here – we’re making seasoned beef.
So what’s up with the tomato sauce? That’s the thing – the ½ cup of tomato sauce adds a tangy depth of flavor without turning the beef into a sauce. I also like to add ¼ cup of water or (if I have it around) chicken stock. All together, you’ll end up with a seasoned ground beef that is perfect – and I mean perfect – for tacos!
So why not make it a taco night sometime this week? This recipe is classic in the best way possible. It reminds me of childhood. It reminds me of being a bachelor. It reminds me of when Laura and I first moved in together. And it reminds me of, well, now. (Clearly we just love tacos around here.)
Storing Leftover Taco Meat
To store any leftover taco meat, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply place the beef mixture in a dry skillet until reheated. (You might want to add a small splash of water to the skillet to keep the mixture from drying out.)
I hope you enjoy this Classic Ground Beef Taco recipe as much as we do. It’s great for weeknight meals!
Did you make a batch of these Classic Ground Beef Tacos? Leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version – corn tortilla or flour?
Classic Ground Beef Tacos
For the Ground Beef
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup diced red onions
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 16 oz. lean ground beef can use ground turkey or ground chicken
- 2½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
For the Tacos
- 12 6” corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese I used Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- sour cream
- diced red onions
- chopped cilantro
- diced avocado
For the Ground Beef
- Using a large skillet, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic, stir and continue sautéing for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
- Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, onion powder and black pepper; stir until well combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 more minutes, or until beef is mostly cooked through.
- Add tomato sauce and broth; stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened noticeably.
For the Tacos
- Meanwhile, place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tortillas (one at a time) and cook for about 15-30 seconds per side, or until lightly charred.
- Spoon beef mixture into each tortilla and top with your favorite toppings (see ingredient list above for ideas).
Looking for more tasty taco recipes? Check out these other favorites, too!