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

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Taco night happens once a week in my house, these are the BEST ground beef tacos made from scratch! This taco recipe is also great with ground turkey!

Taco night happens once a week in my house, these are the BEST ground beef tacos made from scratch! This taco recipe is also great with ground turkey!
Beef Tacos

Add your favorite toppings and guacamole on the side and your family will love you! I promise this will be your favorite new taco recipe! The beef is seasoned with my homemade taco seasoning, so no processed ingredients. And because it makes so much you’ll have enough meat for several nights! 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.

Taco 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.

More Taco Recipes

 

Taco night happens once a week in my house, these are the BEST ground beef tacos made from scratch! This taco recipe is also great with ground turkey!
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4.94 from 86 votes
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Madison's Favorite Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

382 Cals 31 Protein 24 Carbs 20 Fats
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, these are the BEST ground tacos made from scratch! We make this taco recipe 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
WW Points Plus: 10
Keywords: beef taco recipe, beef tacos, best ground beef taco recipe, how to make tacos with ground beef, taco recipe, tacos

Photo credit: Helene Du Jardin

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302 comments

  1. These were amazing! Honestly the best taco meat I have ever tasted. Well worth the extra step of the crockpot. I used the meat for a taco salad and plan to make the rest into beef and bean enchiladas for tomorrow’s dinner. 

  2. Made the tacos tonight on the stove and they were delicious.

  3. This is a winner! I’ve always just browned the meat and added pre packaged spices for tacos. This blows those tacos out of the water. Even my 5 year old ate them!

  4. Does the nutrition info include the beef mixture with the 2 taco shells?

  5. This beef taco mix was so good! I didn’t have any cumin, but I loved the small cut up red pepper and the tomato sauce addition. A nice change from using the taco seasoning packet all the time. I will for sure make this again. My son thought it was good too.

  6. I was skeptical that these could be better than the ones I made stove too, well I was really wrong. So good and the meat is so tender. 

  7. Absolutely my favorite! In regular rotation at our house.

  8. Gina, thank you so much! I’ve made this recipe many times and my family and I love it!  We refuse to eat tacos any other way. Your recipes are a joy and a life saver! Just curious, when is the ideal time to add the  two teaspoons of salt? I threw it into the spice mix.  Thanks! 

  9. I have made countless Skinnytaste recipes over the last several years with most of my cooking being Skinnytaste. Somehow I just found this one and it is going to be in the regular rotation for sure. So good and both kids enjoyed too! Delicious!

  10. Any adjustments if I want to double the recipe?

  11. Do you have to brown it on stove top first or can you put right in slow cooker if short on time?

    • I would think your reason for browning first would be 1. To create more flavor and 2. So that you don’t have extra fat – normally when you brown beef you pour off the fat

  12. I’m of Danish/English decent and grew up in London. We didn’t have Taco’s back in the 70’s, so never been a Taco Dude. However, my Fort Worth, TX wifey is Texan through and through. She loves to make this every week and I have been converted to Taco Night. Delicious Gina. One little question, love blue corn chips and I’m a analyst by trade. So, the calorie count includes the taco shell? And yes, I do weigh each meat portion per taco shell…. Drives Suzie nuts…

    • Is it okay to answer my own question? LOL I see further down in comments you mention that 9 points includes the shell. I apt to believe the same goes for the calories.

    • Awesome, yes it includes everything in the ingredients!

  13. This is the ONLY beef taco recipe we use.  It’s so good and reminds me of the ones my mom used to make growing up (probably using a taco seasoning packet).  

    All of my kids love this (7, 5, 1.5 years).  I generally eat it on top of a salad with all the toppings on top.

  14. This is my go-to recipe for tacos! Been making these for years!

  15. THIS WAS SO GOOD!! I made this, and I froze half.  I did not need to freeze it.  I unthawed it the next week because it was such a big hit. My husband wants me to make taco meat like this all the time!  I make double the recipe in my crockpot and make a huge batch to freeze several.  SO GOOD!!

  16. The best taco meat I’ve ever had! Better than Moe’s!! My go to recipe from now on! 

  17. I’ll never make ground beef tacos any other way now!! This meat is fantastic! I planned on using the slow cooker but didn’t have the time, so ended up making this on the stove top. I omitted the water and cooked covered for 15/20 minutes, stirring occasionally so wouldn’t burn. Such a great weeknight meal, definitely adding to the rotation!

  18. Absolutely the best taco meat I have ever had.  As I normally only cook for one, I just cut the recipe in half.  I will still have to freeze enough for at least two servings but as fantastic as this is, I will happily have a meal on hand for later..

  19. This recipe is outstanding. It has great flavor and satisfies the mexican restaurant craving without the calories. It was great to have these leftovers for lunches during the week! I used Blue Corn Ortega taco shells. So good!

  20. This recipe was a hot and so easy to make!!!! This will be a staple for our house!!!!