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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4.93 from 83 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.


  • 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


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


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.



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.


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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  1. 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. 

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

  3. 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! 

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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!!

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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..

  14. 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!

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

  16. Made these in the instant pot with chopped chicken breast and they were delicious. Thank you!

  17. Sounds so good! I’m going to make it this week. When you say “tomato sauce”, is passata acceptable or do you think the “sauce” used in this needs to have all the seasonings like a canned sauce has? I have passata but no actual “tomato sauce” so just curious. TIA!  🙂 

  18. My family was tired of my bland old beef taco meat and requested I find a new recipe. This is the best beef taco meat recipe I’ve ever tried. My family loves this.

  19. Amazing flavor! I used ground turkey. These are my favorite tacos now too! I served yellow rice and re-fried beans as the sides. Thank you!

  20. Our favorite tacos ever! Excited there are instapot directions now too. 

  21. Hands down the best taco recipe. We make this in the slow cooker every Tuesday for Taco Tuesday! My 10 month old and 3 year old love these tacos. 10/10 recommend. 

  22. I am not a fan of chili powder. If I omit it would it still be just as flavorful? 

  23. This is an absolutely delicious taco meat recipe and very easy to make. We’ve made it once and will make again this Tuesday for Taco Tuesday. I used a pork, turkey and beef combo because that’s what I had. I think it would be great at with any combination of ground meat so you can have it as lean as you want or add higher fat if that is your pleasure. 

    • This is my absolute favorite taco recipe!! I have made it many times with beef, but most recently with Turkey and I have to say that is amazing too! I add extra onion and red pepper. Highly recommend!

  24. I made this tonight in the slow cooker – Delicious!!!!! So easy to prepare and simmering for 6 hours in the slow cooker made the taste so much better than on the stove.  I added tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, 5% fat sour cream and avocado – yum!!!  It has become one of our favorite recipes!! Thanks Gina (and Madison).

  25. Could you please let me know how much cumin to put in. The ingredients say 1 tablespoon and 3 teaspoons are required in the recipe.
    Thank you.

    • Dina, you put 2 teaspoons of cumin with the beef mixture before putting it in the slow cooker.  Then the other 1 teaspoon of cumin is added after the cooking is done – you remove the bay leaf and add the rest of the cumin.

  26. This is so good, the meat becomes just the right consistency and the heat/spicy-ness can be moderated by pouring off liquid, especially the oil/grease layer.

    First time made exactly as given.  Second time left out the onion as one person can’t handle any onion.  Third time for a potluck poured the cooked meat through a colander and served the liquid on the side so people could adjust the heat to their taste.  Every time I make this it turns out great.  I do it in my multipot so only one pot to clean up!

  27. I made this recipe the other night and it came out great!  I used the slow cooker method and pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, except instead of using tomato sauce, I substituted it with a can of Hunt’s Chili Starter.  If you haven’t found this stuff in the grocery store yet, I highly recommend it.  I use these chili starter cans in all kinds of taco dishes, chilis, etc.  BTW – My husband loved this dish.  

  28. Love it. Thank you for sharing!

  29. My family loves this taco meat recipe. Cooking it low and slow in the crockpot with the tomato sauce and water tenderizes it’s and brings the flavor to the next level. So easy and delicious. 

  30. We are currently renovating our kitchen so I don’t have a stove.  Can I just cook the raw meat in the crockpot from start to finish? 

    • I never pre-cook ground beef in a skillet. I just add it raw to the crock pot and cook it low for at least 8 hours. I think it actually tastes better. 

  31. could I just cook this on low on the stove top for a few hours?

  32. that’s my question also!

  33. This is the BEST taco recipe EVER! My kids love the meat filling!!!!

  34. Is the 9 points weight watchers blue points with the shell or is it only the beef?

  35. Everyone likes these tacos even our picky kids!

  36. We LOVE this recipe at our house! Any tricks/suggestions if we wanted to double this recipe? Thank you in advance!

  37. Getting ready to make this using turkey. Do you know what the blue points are for the turkey version? THANK YOU for making my life so much less stressful!

  38. Gina., is there any reason I can’t cook the meat liw and slow in a covered skillet or small Dutch oven?

  39. Has anyone tried this in a slow cooker using salsa instead of tomato sauce and water? Recipe looks great and want to test it out, thanks!

  40. Absolutely the best taco meat I’ve EVER had! Thank you for another amazing recipe!!!

  41. My boyfriend and I are obsessed with this taco meat recipe! We make beef and turkey taco meat at least once a week to use for meals and we used this meat in your enchilada recipe and they were amazing! We generally use low carb tortillas when making our tacos/enchiladas though. Do you have the nutrition info for just the beef taco meat by any chance? Thanks so much for all your amazing recipes. They’re lifesavers!!

  42. I love this recipe and was planning to make it this week. I totally forgot the red bell peppers (or any bell peppers) at the market though! Any suggestion on what to substitute so that I don’t need to go back to the grocery store?

  43. If i just want to use 1lb of meat, should i half the seasonings?

  44. Sorry I see the answer now

  45. How much is 1 serving of taco meat? Best tacos ever!  Also Gina, my daughter is 25 and has lost 50 pounds of her college weight on your recipes!  She  is a walking billboard for you! We are so thankful for you!

  46. Hands down the best beef tacos recipe that I have ever encountered. I usually put the whole red pepper in. The beef + seasonings taste sooo good after simmering in the crockpot for a few hours. PERFECTION!

  47. Perfect every time. We add jalapeños, radishes and scallions when building the tacos for extra veggie contact.  They are a touch watery out of the instant pot but just let them sit for a few mins and perfect.   Reheats incredibly well too.

  48. What brand and where do you find 93% ground beef?

  49. My 84 year old dad loved these!  Great way to get some veggies into his regime. Tell Madison they are the best!!!

  50. What a huge difference it makes to let the meat simmer to get all that yummy flavor! I also added some (Rotel) diced tomatoes/green chiles to mine because my family likes those. But Gina, this is such a perfect (yet simple) recipe for tacos that I’ll be using from now on. Thank you!

  51. So yummy! I have one child that is super sensitive to spicy food and I proactively cut the chili powder in half and it was delicious! The kids and the adults loved it!!! Thank you!

  52. OUTSTANDING, Gina. I will never use store bought seasoning packet again!!♥ LOVE your recipes.

  53. I want to make this but wondering what tacos everyone uses??  Can’t wait to try another SkinnyTaste recipe 👍

  54. Just wanted to say thank you Gina for continuing to post the Points + values on your recipes.  I am still doing WW Points Plus and use your recipes so often.  I have this recipe in my slower cooker right now. Thank you so much for all the fabulous recipes and your wonderful site.

  55. Such a good and easy meal!!!

  56. We love this one! But HELP! Feeding a large group tonight and want to double it. Is that doable in the IP and would cooking times change? THANK YOU!!!

  57. Do you happen to have the nutrition info for just the meat, no shells?

  58. This was amazing!! Best tacos ever. I used the instapot and halved the recipe. I cooked for 20 minutes then did a quick release because I was short on time. So delicious! I added half the water it called for so it wasn’t soupy. 

  59. It was delicious . I love her simple cooking idea, easy to understand.

  60. SOS!! Every recipe I’ve tried in the Instant Pot comes out with a ton of liquid that then has to be boiled off (def not ideal). The first couple of time I thought it was user error…just made this taco recipe again EXACTLY as instructed and the flavors are amazing but what i have is taco meat soup 🙁 Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?!

  61. Good recipe, easy to make and loved coming home to dinner ready.  In my crockpot, after 4 hours on low, it was done.  No way 2 pounds of meat needed 6 hours – it would have been burnt.  Was bland originally, but spiced it up to our taste. 

  62. Gina, Thank you so much for this recipe. A friend turned me onto it as she has your cook book. I have two kids that I have to cook for on my own and have recently made an investment in an Instant Pot and I’m loving it. Once I made this Taco Recipe with Turkey they request it every “Taco Tuesday”. I have recently been advised by my doctor that I should cut down the meat intake for myself and go more plant based. So I took this recipe and removed the meat and instead tried 2 Cans of Black Beans and 2 Cans of Garbanzo beans in their place. I put them in a blender with the water and tomato sauce and got them mostly ground up. It turned out great but you could definitely taste the black beans. So I did a second batch that I used 2 Cans of Pinto Beans and 2 Cans of Garbanzo beans, that turned out even better. My kids still prefer Turkey the most but they said the Pinto/Garbanzo is acceptable. However I found out the Pinto/Garbanzo version goes fantastic on a bed of lettuce and with some tortilla chips crumbled up to make a Taco Salad (No dressing needed). And the Black Bean/Garbanzo version works great as a Taco Dip (Add in some Cheese/Guac) or to be used on Nachos. I just thought I would share and thanks again I can’t even count how many times I have made this or variations of it. Almost forgot even did one version where I only had 1.5 lbs of 90% Lean Meat and so I added in chopped up Zucchini and Corn and the kids never even noticed the Zucchini in it since it had mostly broken down during the cooking. They rate that as the second best to the Turkey version of your recipe.

  63. I made this recipe for a taco bar at a game night I hosted recently. It was a great success and everyone enjoyed the meal. I can’t wait to use the leftovers and will definitely be making this recipe again.

  64. This is a regular in our dinner rotation.  Madison has great taste!! My husband is such a huge taco fan that he even requested this meal for his special Father’s Day Meal. We use the leftovers for taco salads or taco bowls for our lunches.

  65. This was delicious! Hubby made it and texted me at work on how great it turned out. Leftovers good o baked potatoes, on a taco pizza….. Thanks, Gina!!!

  66. I feel like I’ve been making tacos all wrong my entire life, because after making these, I will never make tacos any other way!

    I’ve just discovered your weekly meal plans, and I’m not looking back. Much better than the meal plans that require you to pay a monthly fee. Thank you so much!

  67. I really loved the flavors of this and will make again. I just covered with a lid and simmered for 10 minutes and did not use my slow cooker or instant pot as I didn’t have that much time. It turned out great!

  68. This was so easy and tasty! So glad I made a couple recipes for the week!!

  69. What kind of snacks I can eat?

  70. Just want to say I *really* appreciate you putting extra nutrition info in for these! Really helps with the meal plan / being compatible with MyFitnessPal or other foot tracking app. Not
    to mention these were AMAZING!!!

  71. I made these for dinner last night in my instant pot with Turkey instead of beef and made a taco salad with it. it was by far one of the best taco nights we’ve ever had. I don’t think i’ll be making tacos out of a packet anytime soon!

  72. I just made these tonight and they were delicious!!! I have made one of your recipes every night this week and they have all been so flavorful and filling. Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us!!

  73. Do you need to drain the grease before adding all of the dry seasonings? 

  74. We really enjoyed this!!! Thank you.

  75. I make this all the time! Tonight I was out of tomato sauce so added salsa verde instead. So delicious!!

  76. Hi! I’ve made this recipe before and its amazing! I’m just wondering if the nutrition facts include the Taco Shells? Just trying to figure out how to make it keto.

  77. I’m a huge fan of all of Gina’s recipes. Tacos are my absolutel favorite – which is why I can’t believe I didn’t try this recipe sooner! Best. Homemade. Tacos. Ever. 

  78. Absolutely the best tacos I have ever made. 

  79. Really yummy. Followed the recipe exactly for the instsnt pot! 

  80. Do you drain the fat after cooking the ground beef? 

  81. can lentils be used to make this vegetarian?? I love your meal plans… use them faithfully

  82. I’m not sure if I did something wrong but my meat was very very bland. I cooked it on high for three hours and used 93% beef and the exact seasonings. 😞

    • Mine was bland as well, to my taste.  I added A little more salt, Cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Tastes much better.  

  83. Is this recipe spicy? I haven’t made it yet but was just asking because my 4 year old doesnt like spicy foods.

  84. Do you have the calories/fat etc for just the meat mixture without the taco shells? Would like to make this into a salad instead but use your taco meat recipe. Thanks in advance.

  85. There is not enough good things I can say about this recipe, it is wonderful, I will never, ever use packaged taco seasoning again. I have shared this recipe with so many friends, and they all love it. This is probably one of my favs from the site.

  86. I made mine on the stove. Best tacos I’ve ever made. 

  87. I made my meat in the Instant Pot. The flavor of the taco meat was delicious. But, it came out really soupy. I cooked it exactly per the instructions. The only difference is I didn’t use 93% lean ground beef; I think it was 15%. And I didn’t drain the fat after browning it (not east to drain the fat in the Instant Pot). I guess that was the difference, I don’t know. I had to transfer my meat to the stovetop for an additional 15 minutes to evaporate most of the liquid. 

    • Sometimes when I make it it’s liquidy. I add a slurry with a little water and cornstartch and summer it for a few minutes and it thickens up nicely. 

  88. I made this recipe tonight since I needed something quick and easy. I made it on the stovetop and also used 1% ground turkey. Tacos are always a big hit, but using the spices instead of the packages of taco seasoning really made this recipe stand out! I will definitely make it again! Thanks Gina!

  89. I’m sorry if someone else has asked and I missed this, but if I want to freeze 1/2 after cooking, what would the best way be to reheat from frozen?

  90. Love this blog! I’m making this now and am thinking I made a mistake by draining the beef. It’s really dry in the crockpot. I just added some more sauce and water, so hopefully that takes care of it!

  91. what would the calories be if we used lettuce vs taco shells?

  92. Love this recipe. Daughter requests it every week. I do either ground beef or ground Turkey in the instant pot. So glad that I finally found a good homemade taco recipe which can fit into paleo / whole 30 lifestyle (obviously without the shells)

  93. We’re having this tomorrow so I made it today. I find that taco meats taste even better the next day. This is DELISH!! Like someone else said, it’s totally reminiscent of the “lunch lady tacos” from school, but better. I love how tender the ground beef is. The taco seasoning in this beats the store bought kind for sure. I’m glad I found this recipe. Super excited to have this for dinner tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

  94. We liked this so much that it’s replaced using taco seasoning packets. I prepared it entirely on the stove top, and simmered it for about 15 minutes,

  95. If I was making for a larger group, and wanted to add a 3rd pound of meat, would I also add an extra half of other ingredients (water and spices)? 
    And would I have to add extra time?

  96. Incredible recipe, my family will eat nothing else! 

  97. These are the best tacos ever! 10 times better than any taco seasoning packet and so much healthier! This is my new go to taco recipe! 
    My son and husband loved the tacos as is while I made a taco salad for myself. 

  98. Best crunchy beef tacos I’ve ever made! One child said he wasn’t going to eat any & he ate 1 entire taco. (picky eater). I”m glad I purchased your cookbook. Makes WW more enjoyable. 

  99. Best tacos ever. I used ground turkey & made 3lbs so I could use half to create enchiladas later this week. Everyone loved the flavor & I loved the extra veggie! 

  100. I’ve made quite a few of your dishes over the years and really enjoyed them. This, however, is my favorite! I made it in my brand new slow cooker about a month ago, portioned it into serving sizes and froze most of them. This tastes even better out of the freezer than it did when I first made it. It is so easy to have a quick, healthy and easy meal ready when I come home from work. Thank you for all of your creative recipes! I just noticed the Greek Macaroni and Cheese — I think I’ll try that next!

  101. WOWWWWWW! I’ve been reading about how great this beef is and have wanted to try it for taco Tuesday for a while now. Did NOT disappoint! Family demands we have this beef for allllll our tacos henceforth, and I am happy to oblige. Picky eater did not notice the onion & red pepper in it. Great stuff!

  102. Loved this recipe, seasonings just right. I was never a super fan of tacos (amazing) due to the seasonings in most prepared mixes perhaps, they would seem oily and salty to me, so I have been all this time without making this recipe, as I just don’t do tacos or gravitate to those recipes. Decided to try it. This has wonderful flavor, and I enjoy all the toppings over shredded lettuce and maybe crumbled tortilla chips on top optional. I made it also as a casserole (a vegetable taco casserole) variety of cooked veggies in bottom< (fresh corn, black beans, zucchini, peppers etc.) meat on top and a sprinkle of cheese on top and then heat in oven. I let people add what ever toppings and more cheese on their own. I am now a believer in great tacos , and it will be a regular recipe. Thank You.

  103. Does anyone know how many calories it is for just the 1/4 cup of meat, no shell or toppings? Thanks!

  104. Oops, I added in all the cumin at one time, with the other spices. Hopefully it will still come out great, and also going my 2yo will finally eat tacos!! ?

  105. Hi Gina!
    Is it necessary to brown the beef before putting in the crockpot?

  106. is it possible to make this recipe without instant pot or slow cooker ? on the stove or in the oven ? If it’s possible how long for cooking ?

  107. I am looking forward to making this recipe! I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a side dish to go with these tacos? I would like to avoid rice as we will be using some in a different recipe this week.

  108. Can you update the instructions to say when to add the bay leaf? It only says when to discard. I’ve screwed this up twice when trying to cook w a toddler around because I’m just following the directions and then realize at the end that the bayleaf is supposed to come out, but never went in!

  109. I made these last night using the Instant Pot directions.  These were easily THE best tacos I have ever made.  They were FANTASTIC.  I’ve found lately that if I use the packets of taco seasoning from the grocery store (regardless of brand) I develop some sort of strange allergic reaction.  Not with these and they tasted FAR better than any packet I’ve ever purchased (AND I forgot the garlic!  haha)  

    I made extra so there are lots left over and tonight we are having a HUGE taco salad!  Thank you for the recipe.  I have used several of your recipes now and I have not been disappointed.  

  110. Is there a substitute for the tomato sauce in this recipe?

  111. If I half the recipe is the cook time the same?

  112. I made this twice over the weekend. First time, family declared it the best taco meat ever. I used the Instant Pot. According to recipe builder on WW, the meat alone is 3 freestyle points (1/2 cup). Also, it was a bit too liquidy for our taste. The second time I made it to freeze into handy grab and go batches, did not add 1/2 cup water and the consistency was perfect for us.

  113. This was an amazing recipe taste like taco meat from restaurants family loved it ! Will make this again and again going in my favorites 

  114. This is one of our very favorite recipes! We love it as tacos, taco salad, nachos…the possibilities are endless for a Mexican food lover! Gina do you have the Freestyle point value without the taco shells?

  115. We hosted a taco night for some immediate family and everyone really enjoyed these.  The meat came out delicious in the Instant Pot, not dry like some ground beef can came out for tacos.  Our toppings were lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and diced avocado and salsa.  One comment is that the tacos did have a lot of juice when completed in the Instant Pot.  We simply drained in in a fine mesh colander and it was great.

  116. We love this recipe! I make it a couple times a month!

  117. Does anyone know the difference in smart points if you use ground turkey instead of beef?

  118. This makes really good taco meat. It’s nice to have an alternative to packaged taco seasoning.

  119. I made this yesterday with 99% fat free turkey breast (that I had browned the night before for time in the hectic morning). It was SO GOOD! On the new WW Freestyle it is 0 SP so I ate it on regular taco shells with with cheese. Tonight I am going to serve the leftovers over pasta (spaghetti squashfor me) for taco pasta. This recipe is excellent for families! 

  120. How would you convert this recipe to InstantPot?

  121. Gina – any thoughts on if the keep warm function would work well on this recipe and for upto how long?  Also, any good rules of thumb for knowing which recipes will work well with the keep warm function and which will not?  I work long hours so I need closer to 12 – 14 hours from when I put something in a crock pot.

    • We have left this on the keep warm function for 3-4 hours and it’s been okay. Just stir before serving as the meat on the top will get a little dry. 

  122. When I first saw this recipe I passed, thinking it wouldn’t be any different than any other. I made it for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it! The meat gets so tender and flavorful! Will be thrown into my rotation:)

  123. Can you add water to the ingredient list? I missed that when I made it last time and burnt up 2 lbs of organic meat.

  124. “Mommy, you have a good job with dinner….” says the 2-year-old. So yummy! Did it in in IP, SO easy!
    Pictures, because, cuteness:

  125. Where is the recipe on the cover of your book. Looks yummy. 

  126. My boyfriend said that these are the best tacos he has ever had! He hates bell peppers so I chopped them fine in the food processor and he thought they were tomatoes! Hehe!

  127. I’m making this today!! How many smart points would this recipe be if I used corn tortillas?

  128. These are our favorite tacos! I can’t go back to the packet seasoning after making these several times. My kids and husband love them – so very flavorful!!

  129. I am a long time fan of Skinnytaste,  and so much of what I make comes from this website. I’ve really learned a lot over the years. This has to be one of my favorites! So simple and SO good! The beef comes out so tender this way.  Seriously some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. Thank you Gina for all of your hard work and for sharing your recipes! 

  130. If freezing this, do you make the entire dish and then freeze it and reheat? Or do you brown the meat, freeze it, and then put the defrosted meat in the crockpot? Hope that makes sense! I’m hoping to make this for a party so I would like to prep ahead of time 🙂 

  131. Hi! My family loves this recipe for weeknight tacos, so I am going to use it for my 3 year olds birthday taco bar this weekend. I am planning to triple the meat. Would you recommend to also triple the other ingredients?

  132. I want to make this recipe for a party, large crowd, multiple crockpots. How many pounds of beef do you think I would need to feed about 50 people?

  133. I’d like to cut the recipe in half, using 1lb of beef.  Does that change the cooking time on the crock pot?

  134. Gina! These tacos are freaking amazing! Lol I make Mexican literally three times a week for my family and this is hands down the BEST ground beef I’ve ever had. The whole family was moaning as we ate. I honestly didn’t think putting it in the slow cooker would make that much of a difference but I will never make it any other way again. I’m pressed for time in the mornings, so I browned up a pound of beef and a pound of turkey the night before and then put it in the crock pot the next morning. Such a time saver and so so delicious! Thank you so much!

  135. These are seriously the BEST Tacos i have ever tasted. I’ve made this 3x already (I usually do half the recipe but never again because LEFTOVERS). Seriously, thank you for bringing these into my life. <3 I recommend this recipe to everyone I talk to – whether they ask or not 🙂

  136. Can you give us the Instant Pot version of this? Love this recipe! Thanks!

  137. Oh man, this mix is in my crock pot now.  Of course I’ve had a few samplings to taste for seasoning :).  So good!  I had given up on lean beef months ago but the crock makes it so tender!  Love the new cookbook.  Committed to Taco Tues, Kimberly 

  138. Hi Gina!

    Love your cookbooks!  Your recipes never fail :)!  

    Just curious how you make this in the instant pot?!


  139. Why do you pre-cook the meat mixture? Can’t you just throw everything into the crock pot and cook it the required time?

  140. I made these for family dinner on Sunday – they were a hit! Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe.

  141. Is the calorie count just for the taco meat?

  142. Could you use chicken ?

  143. this was perfect!! im always making the less traditional recipes from your site (my favorites: navy bean, bacon and spinach soup, and black bean and butternut squash enchiladas). when I made this tonight, I thought it might be too boring but it was DELICIOUS! i didnt change a thing and my husband had seconds! a rarity in this house! thank you gina! xoxo

  144. Thanks for the ideas for cooking this in the IP! Will use the chill button for 10 minutes as you indicated above. Then do you use NPR or QR for the last step?  Love my IP

  145. Will it work to put the meat in the slow cooker raw with the other ingredients?  I’m seeing a lot of recipes for cooking taco meat from raw completely in the slow cooker. I’ve never tried it but would love to save a little time and mess! 

  146. Can I make in the Skillet and sauté?  I don’t have a crock pot at the moment.

  147. Hi Gina, I was wondering how the sp would change if you used soft corn tortillas?

  148. If I use chicken, how long should I cook it for in the crockpot if raw?

  149. Can this be simmered on the stove? If yes, how long is optimal and would I still need to add the water? My crock pot will be tied up, so looking for a cooking alternative. Thank you!

  150. You mentioned you can freeze this recipe. I’m trying to prepare some meals before baby arrives and was wondering how long this will keep in the freezer?  Thank you!

  151. My daughter loves ALL your recipes, especially this one. She  has requested it for her birthday dinner. I want to double the recipe. How much time should I leave it in the crock pot? 

  152. I haven’t made this recipe, but just bought the new cookbook today and cannot wait to read it.  My family loved the Asian chicken drumsticks so I am excited to try even more recipes.

    Thank you!

  153. I love this recipe (and soooo many others from your website and your cookbooks! Huge fan!) I am curious to know if you can substitute the beef with venison? Would there be any modifications? My husband is an avid hunter, so our freezer is now stocked with more venison than I know what to do with .

  154. Compared to all of the other cooking/recipe sites, this is by far the best. It is very easy to navigate this site, the directions are clear, and the photos are beautiful. I plan to try many of the dishes included on this site.

  155. Do you use a can tomatoes or an actual Jar of Tomato Sauce?
    So excited to make this tonight!
    Love your recipes .
    Thank you 

  156. Hi Gina – what is the best way to store and re-heat this from frozen. I want to make this dish, but not consume it right away, should I put it in freezer Ziploc bags? and transfer to a microwave safe bowl to re-heat in the microwave?

  157. I have to admit I was skeptical about using the crockpot for something that is usually so fast! But it was super delicious and totally worth it! We used half for the tacos and I made “taco spaghetti” with the other half, cooking it with a can of tomato sauce, mixing with the spaghetti, and topping with cheddar cheese. So good!

  158. Wow Gina!!  You’ve done it again!!  At first, when I read the recipe I thought, do I really want to go to the effort to cook the meat when it’s going in the slow cooker?  Why not just cook it in the pan like I usually do?  Well, my faith in you was rewarded. Something magical happens when all of the flavors come together in the slow cooker. Both my husband and I had seconds, which we rarely do!!  It’s a keeper for sure!!!  (And I used ground turkey worked great!)

  159. This recipe is so delicious!! We love getting tacos at our local Mexican restaurant, and these taste so similar without all the fat!  Thanks for another great recipe :). 

  160. I’m new to the slow cooker. Could I double this recipe and keep cooking time same? Having people over for the game tomorrow and want there to be plenty. 

    Have been using your recipes for YEARS! Thank you for all you do!

  161. I made this tonight for dinner, and wow! So good! I made it in the Instant Pot using the chili setting, and it came out perfect. Super flavorful and juicy. I also added red pepper flakes to give it a kick. I served it with corn tortillas I baked crispy in the oven draped over the oven rack, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and hot sauce. This really was just the perfect taco meat for when you’re craving the familiar tacos but healthier, with elevated flavors and great consistency.  Thank you!!

  162. Good stuff! Those taco seasoning packets at the store are SO salty I was excited to try this out. I did it with ground turkey, ancho chili powder and 1/2 tsp salt and it’s excellent. I can’t wait to take it for lunches this week as I’ve a feeling it will be really good as leftovers after the flavors have settled. Thank you!

  163. Can I prepare the meat the night before and put in the crock pot the next afternoon? As a working mom, I have been trying to find meals that my son can finish/put into the crock pot while I am at work with minimal effort on his part. Thanks!

  164. Madison has excellent taste. These tacos were best ever.

  165. Prepped this last night, can’t wait to try them! I am only cooking for two so I was wondering if I can I freeze the extra taco meat? 

  166. How many smart points for ½cup of the meat only? Had it on spaghetti squash and it was a delicious lunch!
    My kids told me that the recipe is “a keeper”. Thanks!

  167. Hi Gina!  These were the most delicious tacos I have ever had!  They were a huge hit with my taco connoisseur boys!  What is the calorie count for just the taco meat?  These would be delicious over salad.  Your recipes are always a home run in our home!

  168. Made these but used stewing beef instead of the ground beef and they were amazing! Even all the kids loved it. Thanks for another awesome recipe! 

  169. These are fantastic!! Really looking forward to receiving your new cookbook next month!! Thanks, Gina!

  170. This looks delicious!  And in fact, since I had everything to make it in the house, it’s in my slow cooker right now ?  I used ground turkey, but you suggested that would work fine.  It already smells divine in here!  I thought this would be perfect of our NFL Sunday kickoff dinner.  Thanks for another great recipe, I can’t wait for the new cookbook!

  171. I made these for dinner tonight on a romaine lettuce wrap and me and my husband LOVED it! Excellent and healthy recipe. Thank you Gina!

  172. Love this recipe. What is the calorie count and serving size for just the taco filling? I ate this tonight with lettuce wraps and am curious.

  173. What are the points without the taco shells? I would much rather have them on lettuce for a lettuce wrap or maybe a corn tortilla! Thank you!! Love EVERYTHING we’ve made so far– even my very picky husband who hates chicken but loves the chicken enchiladas!

  174. I loved your other book and am looking forward to this one. (I have two Instant Pots and have no problems using it as a slow cooker as well…I’ve never tried the chili button!)

  175. I really don’t understand why anyone would waste their time, money, & effort on store bought taco shells. Might as well drive through Taco Bell. If you love your taste buds, use real tortillas. Small corn tortillas are generally low cal, low fat, low sodium, low sugar, but with flavor. And you can “fry” them in the oven. Or bypass them altogether & use lettuce cups or make it a salad. Store bought taco shells are sacrilege.

    • Because sometimes I really just want a crispy, store bought taco shell. I guess it’s the kid in me? But enjoy your corn tortillas with this recipe, I’m sure they’ll be delicious!

      • You do you, Jen. Let people enjoy things. I bet you’re a real blast at parties.

  176. We had these for supper tonight and they were really good. My husband especially liked them. My initial thought was that the cooking time on low was too long and would result in dry meat. HOWEVER, I  let this one go and it was really spot on if you want to achieve a concentrated flavor and what we like to call the perfect “lunch lady” taco consistency. It was very moist and not greasy at all. Nothing fancy, pure middle-of-the-week comfort food. Go ahead and make the whole batch because it really cooks down.  Next time I’ll use less salt and amp up the heat with spices a touch to suit our flavor style, but as written, this recipe is a good one for families since children and older generations usually don’t like real spicy foods.  It has nice depth of flavor but is not too spicy or overpowering. Thanks for another keeper, Gina!

  177. These look so good!! Made the baked potato soup tonight, big hit with my 13 year old daughter and my husband. We LOVE it!

    I’m a big fan of your site! Cannot wait for the new cookbook!

  178. Really liked these, but I only needed to put it in the crockpot on low for a couple of hours. Just something to keep in mind. 

  179. Sounds & looks yummy. How would the points change if I used 96% lean ground beef?

  180. Do you have a side for the tacos or do you just have the tacos for dinner?

  181. Hi Gina,
    Great recipe! If I wanted to cook this tonight in my instant pot as a pressure cooker recipe, would I just do it on chili setting and the automatic time that pops up or would I alter the time?

    • 10 minutes on the chili button.

      • Thank you Gina! I pre-ordered your new book…I’m so excited…and I LOVE being able to do your recipes in my instant pot…such a life saver for this working mom! I can’t remember what time I used on the 7th when I made them but they were a HUGE hit. I’ll be making them again tonight for National Taco Day! Thanks for all the awesome dinners you’ve helped me cook!

  182. How many SP points is it without the shell. I will just use lettuce wraps. Can’t wait to get your new cookbook.

  183. These look yummy!! Can’t wait to try! I really want to thank you for some of the easiest recipes that are also healthy. I have made several of them and they are always so good!

  184. Could I do this in a sauce pan vs the slow cooker?? Want to make it tonight but won’t have time for the crockpot. Thanks!!

  185. So what kind of tomato sauce

  186. What recipe is on the cover of your fast and slow book? Looks delish!

  187. Gina, being a WEIGHT WATCHER, I love your recipes…Could you say under which heading you file your  recipes on your website?  Am having trouble finding them sometimes…haven’t found this one yet!

  188. Could you please say what kind & size taco shells you use,–firm or soft–or how many points they are per shell? There are so many different choices in the store; it’s bewildering! Thanks.

  189. Do you think this could be made with veggie grounds? I am vegetarian and am always looking for new ideas. 

  190. Gina, Can you please fix the print function? Either go back to the old version where one could scale the page or maybe find a new one. I print almost all your recipes and I’m having to copy and paste them into word, then reformat to get them on one page. I’ve started to give up all together unless I’m especially excited about the recipe. – Long time fan. 🙂

    • I will look into why this isn’t fitting on one page. Unfortunately this is a different platform so the old print function will not work.

  191. Looks great! How many points would it be with lettuce wraps instead of taco shells?

    • Megan, I made this tonight and put the recipe in the recipe builder on WW. I came up with 5 Smart Points for 1/2 cup of the beef mixture (1/4 cup for each taco).

      Then I calculated the points separately for the tortillas that I used (2 points each) and the reduced fat cheddar cheese (2 points). In total it was 11 points for me to have 2 tacos. Hope this helps!


  192. Approximately how much hamburger do you use for each taco?

  193. After it’s done cooking and before you add your spices do you drain the fat? 

  194. Can I use ground turkey instead of beef?  If so, do I keep the measurements the same?

  195. Hi Gina
    Are ther going to be recipes on your new book for the instant Pot?
    Thank You 

    • There will be 2. Most recipes for slow cooker can be made in the Instant Pot such as this one! Use the chili button!

      • How long do you set the timer for in the instant pot with the chili button?

      • I tried this in the instant pot last night. The flavor was delicious but there was too much liquid. Should I have eliminated the water? Thanks!

      • Interesting, you could always uncover and use the saute button which will dry it up but seems it needs less water in the instant pot.