Madison’s Favorite Beef Tacos (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Taco night happens once a week in my house, this is the BEST taco recipe made from scratch! We make it with beef or turkey, it’s delicious both ways.

Taco night happens once a week in my house, this is my favorite, taco recipe made from scratch! We make it with beef or turkey, it's delicious both ways.
Taco Recipe

Made in the slow cooker using my homemade taco seasoning, this makes enough meat for several nights so we usually have tacos one night and I’ll use the rest of the meat for leftovers over tostadas, taco salads or to freeze for another night. The slow cooker and pressure cooker are great for making taco meat, especially when using lean ground beef like I use here because the slow low heat makes them come out very tender. Can also be made with ground turkey or chicken or swap the taco shells for lettuce wraps to make them low-carb.

We love taco nights in my home SO much that I created an entire chapter in my new cookbook dedicated to tacos! Everything from traditional beef tacos to more creative tacos like Aji Tuna Poke Jicama Tacos, Indian inspired Cauliflower-Potato Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Chutney (my favorite!), Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Taquitos, Korean Tacos, just to name a few! Out of all my taco recipes, these are the most kid-friendly – the tacos my 6 year old daughter Madison loves!

Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow-Cooker Recipes

How To Make Beef Tacos

This recipe is a preview of what you’ll find in my second cookbook, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes  140 nutritious, flavor-packed, figure-friendly recipes—60 for the slow cooker and 80 that cook in 30-minutes or less!—so you can get a great homemade meal on the table any night of the week.

Each recipe includes nutritional information from registered dietitian Heather K Jones. Many dishes are vegetarian, gluten-free, and freezer-friendly, and these are called out with helpful icons. Even more photos than the first book, with 120 color beautiful photographs taken by Helene DuJardin.

Available from these online sellers:

Target | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Made from scratch in the slow cooker using homemade taco seasoning, this makes enough meat for several nights so we usually have tacos one night and I'll use the rest of the meat for leftovers over tostadas, taco salads or to freeze for another night.

Meal Prep Tips:

  • To make prep even more efficient, chop your veggies while the meat is cooking (instead of ahead of time).
  • After your veggies are chopped (and meat is still cooking), combine your dry spices in a small bowl.  When possible, I like to combine dry spices instead of adding them one by one because it helps ensure spices are evenly distributed.

And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!

Made from scratch in the slow cooker using homemade taco seasoning, this makes enough meat for several nights so we usually have tacos one night and I'll use the rest of the meat for leftovers over tostadas, taco salads or to freeze for another night.
Taco night happens once a week in my house, this is my favorite, taco recipe made from scratch! We make it with beef or turkey, it's delicious both ways.
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Madison's Favorite Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

9
Freestyle Points
382
Calories
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 8 Servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: American, Mexican
Taco night happens once a week in my house, this is the best taco recipe made from scratch! We make it with beef or turkey, it's delicious both ways.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 corn taco shells

Toppings:

  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced

Instructions

Slow Cooker Recipe:

  • Brown the beef in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add 2 teaspoons of the cumin along with the remaining dry spices, onion, bell pepper and garlic, stir and cook 2 to 3 minutes until soft, then transfer to the slow cooker along with 1/2 cup water, bay leaf and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on high 3 hours or low 6 to 8. Discard the bay leaf and add the remaining teaspoon of cumin.
  • Heat the taco shells according to the directions, then assemble placing 1/4 cup beef in each shell, topped with lettuce, 1 tablespoon cheese and tomato.

Instant Pot Recipe:

  • Press saute, add the beef and cook breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add 2 teaspoons of the cumin along with the remaining dry spices, onion, bell pepper and garlic, stir and cook 2 to 3 minutes until soft.
  • Add 1/2 cup water, bay leaf and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on high pressure 20 minutes; natural release. Discard the bay leaf and add the remaining teaspoon of cumin.
  • Heat the taco shells according to the directions, then assemble placing 1/4 cup beef in each shell, topped with lettuce, 1 tablespoon cheese and tomato.

Video

Notes

This recipe makes enough for 2 nights for a family of 4. You can freeze half, to freeze transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, transfer to the refrigerator the night before to thaw, then reheat on the stove or microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tacos, Calories: 382kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 744mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 4g
Freestyle Points: 9
Points +: 10

Photo credit: Helene Du Jardin