The Best Taco Meat You’ve Ever Tasted

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Ground beef seasoned generously with Mexican spices is tossed with black beans and corn to create what we consider the best taco meat recipe – it is perfect for tacos, salads, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos.

Best Taco Meat

This taco meat is also my saving grace every year as we get back into the routine of school and other activities. This is likely to be our lunch and/or our dinner at least once a week.

There are so many ways to serve it that my family never gets bored of having the same dish over and over again. It’s an easy recipe that you can enjoy in tons of different ways making.

Best Taco Meat

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t post it. Then I realized that simple recipes are what most of us need as we try to balance all of our responsibilities while feeding our families. What better to share than the easy recipes I make from day to day?

Taco Meat isn’t just a simple meal starter; it’s also delicious! I’ve had several friends ask for the taco meat recipe after sharing a taco salad with them. So, I’m sharing it here today for easy reference.

Taco Meat Recipe

I’ve been making tacos, salads, and burritos with this combination of ingredients for so long, it’s my go-to dinner when I’m short on time.

Once you learn how to make taco meat, you’ll find yourself relying on it too.

My recipe for the BEST taco meat starts with crumbled ground beef or turkey. Beef is the traditional meat of choice for tacos but ground turkey is just as delicious. I often alternate between the two.

You can use whichever ground meat is available and convenient or try it both ways to find out which one you prefer in this recipe.

After starting to brown the meat in a skillet, sprinkle in your favorite taco seasoning or Mexican spice blend. I use my Homemade Taco Seasoning which includes chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Taco Seasoning Mix is a pantry staple.

To make this recipe even easier, you can mix together a big batch of taco seasoning in advance. Keep it in a mason jar in your spice cabinet so you’re ready to make tasty tacos at a moment’s notice. 

Once the meat is nice and browned, add a can of black beans and a can of corn and cook everything together until it’s all warmed up. Then you’re ready to scoop the meat into tacos, layer it on taco salad, stuff it into burritos or roll it in enchiladas.

There’s no limit to the number of delicious ways to enjoy this taco meat!

Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and this meat freezes beautifully too.

I keep this taco meat in the freezer pretty much all the time, portioned into ½ cup servings. I can have lunch or dinner on the table with only a few minutes time to warm the taco meat from the freezer.

Best Taco Meat with Black Beans and Corn

Taco Meat Recipes

The kids often use the pre-cooked taco meat to make Nachos for lunch.

This recipe is a basic foundation that’s delicious just as written or with whatever variations, add-ins or modifications you like. Feel free to play around with adding different veggies or spices.

I sometimes toss chopped onions in with the ground beef while it’s browning. Chopped roasted green chiles are another great add-in, especially if you like spice. Simply add them along with the beans and corn.

A handful of spinach tossed into the meat at the end of cooking is a fantastic way to get some more greens into your meal. This Beef, Black Bean, and Spinach Taco Meat is kid-approved as well!

Beef, Black Bean and Spinach Tacos are kid-approved!

How To Use Taco Meat

This Taco Meat Recipe is really the only one you need to cook some of the best tacos you’ve ever had. It tastes great in flour tortillas, corn tortillas, and crispy taco shells.

You can top this meat with whatever taco toppings and fillings your family enjoys. You can’t go wrong with a little shredded cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and salsa. Pico de Gallo, a simple homemade Mexican salsa, is another must-try topping for this taco meat.

Sour cream, Spicy Guacamole and some finely chopped cilantro are also delicious toppings.

Have you ever had tacos the way they’re served in many parts of Mexico? Spiced meat is placed on an open face corn tortilla and served with an array of garnishes on the side, including chopped raw onion, fresh lime wedges, cilantro, and plenty of varieties of salsa so that you can customize each taco to your liking.

One of my favorite taco meat meals is a big bowl of Taco Salad. (This Bacon and Egg Taco Salad is pretty amazing, but for a lightning-fast dinner, nothing beats swapping the eggs and bacon for a pan of this easy taco meat!)

It’s so satisfying to dig into a gigantic salad of spiced meat, veggies, cheese, and tortilla chips and a super fast and easy meal, especially if the meat is already made.

Best Taco Meat

This Carnitas Salad is another awesome salad where you can simply swap in this spicy ground beef mixture for a FAST dinner that everyone will love.

This meat would be excellent scooped on top of this Crock-Pot Mac and Cheese that my friend Amanda makes. And so much tastier than your average chili mac!

A Taco Bowl is another fun idea for a quick dinner. It’s just like what it sounds: all the fillings of a taco served in a big bowl instead of inside shells or tortillas.

This taco meat is incredible in a bowl on top of Spanish Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice. I recommend skipping the fork altogether and scooping up the contents with tortilla chips!

Kitchen Tip: I use this skillet and this spatula to cook this recipe.

Taco Meat Recipe

  1. In a large, deep-sided skillet, cook and crumble the ground beef, sprinkling with the spices as it begins to brown.
  2. Drain any excess grease and add the beans and corn. Stir to combine.
  3. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, just to warm everything.
  4. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  5. Serve immediately or let cool and portion into freezer-safe containers.
Tuesdays are for TACOS!

Meal planning tip: Serve tacos for dinner one night and plan to use the leftovers in taco salads or taco bowls for lunch the next day. 

Do you love tacos as much as my family? Be sure to also give Red Chile Chicken and Black Bean Tacos or Pulled Pork Tacos a try for something a little different.

These Carnitas Street Tacos are another one that gets a lot of play in this house and if you haven’t yet tried them, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy them.

Looking for more fast dinner ideas? Check out these Sweet Chipotle Chicken Bites, this recipe for Sloppy Joe Baked Sweet Potatoes, and this recipe for {20-Minute} Kielbasa Cabbage Skillet.

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Best Taco Meat with Black Beans and Corn

The Best Taco Meat

4.60 from 10 votes
Ground beef seasoned generously with Mexican spices is tossed with black beans and corn to create a versatile “taco meat” that is perfect for tacos, salads, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos.
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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup Mexican Spice Mix or taco seasoning
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn drained
  • kosher salt only as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper only as needed
  • Optional add-ins:
  • 1/2 cup diced onion sauteed with the beef
  • 4-7 ounces chopped green chile added with the beans and corn
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach tossed in at the end just to wilt


  • Cook and crumble the ground beef, sprinkling with the spices as it begins to crumble, Drain any excess grease and add the beans and corn. Stir to combine. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, just to warm everything. Taste and adjust spices as needed. Serve immediately or let cool and portion into freezer safe containers. Enjoy!


Don’t hesitate to add more spices, if needed. The key to all the flavor in this taco meat is the generous amount of Mexican spices.


Calories: 213kcal · Carbohydrates: 5g · Protein: 13g · Fat: 15g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Cholesterol: 53mg · Sodium: 166mg · Potassium: 263mg · Fiber: 1g · Vitamin A: 325IU · Vitamin C: 3.4mg · Calcium: 34mg · Iron: 1.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 7/5/19 – recipe notes and photos updated 4/4/22}

Best Taco Meat Recipe

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Rita says

    I can’t wait to try this. We have used lots of different spices and additions, but this one sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas.

  2. Jeanie says

    Mary, when first saw this recipe you recommended a meat fork, but now I see it’s not there. Is it no longer available on Amazon?

    • Mary says

      I’m guessing that might have been on a different recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever used a meat fork for ground beef. That said, I have used and mentioned the “chop stir” for breaking up ground beef, if you aren’t a fan of doing it with a spatula. Here’s a link for one: I hope that helps!

  3. Lynne says

    I made this and it was fantastic! Made the seasoning in your Mexican Spice Mix link and it was far superior to taco seasoning you buy in a store. It was perfect. I didn’t have any spinach but otherwise made the recipe exactly as written and made burritos, adding just shredded cheese before rolling them up. This was so good I’m thinking of making a big batch of the spice mix and giving taco kits as gifts. Thanks for a really great recipe.

  4. Shea says

    I just made this including the Mexican spice mix.. huge hit with the family. I’ll never use a taco kit again. Love the beans and corn in it

  5. Jessica Evans says

    Looks exactly like what I make when I don’t want to make tacos except i put a can of rotel tomatoes and another can of rotel tomatoes with green Chile’s and use a can kidney beans and add the canned corn, taco seasoning, enchilada sauce. Sometimes I use either ground beef or ground turkey, With onion and garlic. I Call it my Mexicali dish and it’s delicious. Sometimes turn it into Mexican Cornbread pizza.5 stars

  6. Cindy says

    Than you for the great taco recipe Mary! I loved black beans and corn additions! I used a combination of ground caribou and ground beef for this recipe, otherwise followed it exactly …. including the homemade taco seasoning! My family loved it! 🙂5 stars

  7. Missy says

    I also added a can of kidney beans as well as a can of tomatoes (fire roasted/diced). Gorgeous color with the red kidney bean and I don’t often have fresh tomatoes on hand–especially in the winter months. I feel this hearty taco meat recipe makes it so I don’t miss the fresh tomatoes in my tacos or taco salads. With my random additions, I had to play with the spices, too. But it is delicious! Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  8. Linda M. says

    I tried this 2 night’s ago and it was delicious & easy! I made 2 batches so I could freeze some for busy days. When I heat my taco meat I add a little cheese so it stays together better in the taco shell.
    All your spice mixes sound great. I plan on making most of them. They save so much time when trying to get a meal on the table. Thanks!5 stars

  9. Jennie says

    New to your site….five stars are for the recipes I have made thus far. I am doing taco night ! Have never attempted tacos. How do I heat taco shells and tortillas and keep them warm? I know this is such a simplistic question but I’ve eaten tortillas before that were gummy and I’m having guests for this new endeavor. I have a large chafing container for serving warm food if recommended. Thank you for assisting me with this dinner. I’m excited since I received your “taco night email”!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Jennie! I typically crisp hard shells on a baking tray in the oven. (Directions are typically on the packaging – but 6-7 minutes at 350°F works nicely.) For soft tortillas, I like to char them over the gas flame or in a dry cast iron skillet.

  10. Trey says

    I just cook diced onions and instead of corn, sliced olives makes a great mix with seasonings. Also I fry my shells softer so the meat has to be not too great or wet. I drain and use folded paper towels with tongs to really soak up the grease before seasoning it fyi.5 stars

  11. Rudy says

    This needs to be renamed to something from USA? This has nothing to do with Mexican food whatsoever.

    If you want Mexican food, stick with 100% homegrown onions, garlic, various peppers, chilies and mustards, oregano, etc..

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hey Rudy, did I claim this was some kind of authentic anything? It’s simply a delicious taco meat combination that our family and plenty of other people enjoy. If you aren’t even going to try the recipe, it seems a bit silly to take the time to leave your oh-so-lovely opinion. I’m certain that tacos made with homegrown everything are delicious as well, they simply aren’t something most of us are able to make on a regular basis. If you have all of that at your fingertips on a busy weeknight, more power to you.

    • stacey haase says

      If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything! Keep your rude comments to yourself!

    • Susan KL says

      @Rudy – then pass the recipe by. No one gives 2 craps on what you think it should be called.
      The recipe is easy, fast and very good

      Thank you Mary for posting a a delicious fast dinner idea.1 star