Taco nights are a cherished tradition for many, offering a delicious array of flavors and textures. Central to the success of any taco feast is the perfectly cooked and seasoned taco meat. In this article, I will instruct how to cook taco meat from scratch with taco seasoning

1. FAQs When Cooking Taco Meat

1.1. Do You Add Water To Taco Meat When Cooking?

There’s no need to add water when cooking taco meat. The small amount of fat rendered from the ground beef is usually enough moisture. Adding water can make the texture mushy. Simply break up the meat and cook until no pink remains.

1.2. Do You Put Taco Seasoning on Before or After Browning Meat?

It’s best to add the taco seasoning after the meat has browned. Browning the beef on its own allows the meat to get a nice sear and caramelized flavor. The seasonings can burn if added too early.

1.3. Do You Have To Drain Taco Meat?

Draining the excess fat after browning is the final step to get perfectly seasoned taco meat without greasiness. Use a colander to drain the meat, or blot with paper towels to remove excess grease for a healthier dish. Draining also allows the taco seasoning to better stick to the meat.

2. How To Cook Taco Meat From Scratch


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or see recipe below
  • Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, guacamole, cilantro

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt


Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as it browns.

Once browned through, drain excess fat from the meat and discard.

Return the cooked meat to skillet and sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly over top. Stir to coat evenly.

Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow spices to fully incorporate. Serve the taco meat warm.

3. What To Do With Taco Meat?

Tacos, of Course

Let’s start with the obvious! Whether you prefer hard shells, soft tortillas, or even lettuce wraps for a low-carb option, tacos are a classic and satisfying way to enjoy taco meat. Top them with your favorite fixings like shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Nachos Supreme

Transform your taco meat into the star of a nacho extravaganza. Layer tortilla chips with taco meat, melted cheese, jalapeños, diced tomatoes, black olives, and green onions. Don’t forget the dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of salsa.

Taco Salad

Create a hearty and nutritious taco salad by placing a generous portion of taco meat on a bed of fresh lettuce. Top it with black beans, corn, diced avocado, shredded cheese, and a zesty dressing for a satisfying and well-balanced meal.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mix taco meat with rice, beans, and cheese, then stuff bell peppers with this flavorful mixture. Bake until the peppers are tender, creating a wholesome and visually appealing dish.


Make mouthwatering quesadillas by sandwiching taco meat and cheese between tortillas. Pan-fry until the cheese is melted, and the tortillas are crispy. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping.


Roll taco meat into tortillas, place them in a baking dish, and cover with enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden for a delicious take on Mexican comfort food.

Burritos or Burrito Bowls

Wrap taco meat in large tortillas for satisfying burritos or create a burrito bowl with rice, black beans, taco meat, and your favorite toppings. Customize it with salsa, shredded lettuce, cheese, and avocado.

With flavorful homemade taco seasoning or store-bought packets, cooking taco meat is an easy way to get dinner on the table. I hope that after reading this article, you know how to cook taco meat from scratch properly at home.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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