Crispy Baked Beef Tacos
When Crispy Baked Beef Tacos are on the menu for taco night, the whole family gets extra excited! Filled with seasoned meat and melted cheese, then baked to crispy, crunchy perfection, this recipe is way better than the fast food version. Add your favorite toppings for an easy dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
One of our favorite taco recipes, Beef Tacos are one of the easiest, quickest dinners and my family never complains when they’re on the menu. I make these about every other week, they’re so fast to throw together and always bake up super tasty!
Why we love this recipe
- Easy to throw together. This is one of our favorite no-fuss weeknight meals! Simply make the taco meat, assemble the tacos, and bake for just 10 minutes. It couldn’t be easier!
- Quick. From start to finish, this recipe takes less than 30 minutes!
- Perfect for meal prep. The seasoned ground beef is great to make ahead of time. In fact the flavors develop and intensify over time. Enjoy leftovers in a taco salad, for a quick lunch, the next day.
- Versatile. If you don’t feel like tacos, you can use the meat to make burrito bowls, salads, quesadillas or nachos. It’s also really easy for everyone to customize their meal based on what toppings they use.
This easy ground beef tacos recipe is so simple and totally customizable. Add your favorite toppings for a personalized meal and leave out whatever you don’t really like or don’t have on hand. Here’s what I like to use:
- Olive oil. A little oil will help brown the beef better.
- Lean ground beef. You can use whatever ground meat you prefer. Ground turkey, chicken or bison all work great. I like to use 90% lean ground beef. The meat is flavorful and tender, yet not overly greasy.
- Onion, jalapeño, garlic. These add-ins will give the filling added flavor. Feel free to leave the jalapeño out if someone in your family is sensitive to spice.
- Taco seasoning mix. A signature blend of spices including chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, onion, and garlic gives these tacos such great taste. I typically use McCormick brand, which contains no artificial flavors or MSG. However, feel free to make homemade taco seasoning. You’ll need 3 tablespoons for 1 pound of meat.
- Tomato paste. I love this extra addition to make the filling extra rich and saucy.
- Cheese. Use any favorite here. We love using a Mexican blend, but cheddar cheese is great too.
- Taco shells. I typically use hard taco shells for that lovely added crunch. However, in the notes of the recipe card (below), I give instructions for using corn tortillas to make crispy tacos.
I typically put out a toppings bar and include some or all of the following taco toppings.
- Diced tomatoes
- Shredded lettuce
- Minced red onion
- Jalapeño slices
- Sour cream
- Sliced avocado and/or guacamole
- Lime wedges
How to make this recipe
Making beef tacos has never been easier or more delicious! You can have this mouth-watering dish on the table in less than 30 minutes, including prep!
- Make the filling. To make the seasoned beef filling, combine ground beef, onion, jalapeño and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned and then add the taco seasoning mix, tomato paste and 3/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
- Bake the shells. While the meat is cooking, bake the taco shells for 5 minutes.
- Assemble. Now, it’s time to start filling your tacos! Evenly divide the meat among each shell and top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes, and until the cheese has melted.
- Serve. Enjoy with any favorite toppings and dig in!
- Cooking ground meat. To ensure ground meat is fully cooked, when checked with a food thermometer, the internal temperature should read 160°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you should make sure it is no longer pink and firm to the touch.
- Short-cut tip. To really simplify dinner, use store-bought pre-shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and already-made pico de gallo and guacamole from the produce section of the store.
There are many ways you can switch up the ingredients in this recipe to suit your preferences. Here’s some options:
- Meat. Instead of ground beef, try ground chicken, ground bison or turkey.
- Cheese. I typically use a Mexican style cheese blend, but you can try using a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
- Spicy. If you prefer a little heat, add some red pepper flakes or ground chipotle pepper to the seasoning. You could also add in seeds from the jalapeño.
- Salad. Skip the tortilla and baking, and serve the seasoned beef in a salad for an easy taco salad option.
Frequently asked questions
It’s great to have some accompaniments to round out the meal. Here’s some ideas: chips & salsa, fresh guacamole, cilantro lime cauliflower rice or cilantro lime rice, black beans and a skinny jalapeño marg.
A pound of ground beef should nicely fill 12 taco shells, and a typical serving is 2 tacos per person, so this recipe should feed 6 people. This recipe is very easy to double, if you’re feeding a crowd.
It will depend on the meat you’re using as to whether or not you will want to drain some of the excess grease. If you’re using high-fat beef, you will want to drain some or all of the fat. However, if you’re using lean ground beef or ground turkey, it probably will not be necessary.
What I love best about this recipe is that it’s just so easy to make with minimal ingredients! These tasty beef tacos are on my regular dinner menu rotation, and they’re always a hit.
If you try these, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves them as much as mine does, be sure to give this recipe a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Crispy Baked Beef Tacos
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef (or any preferred ground meat)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 packet McCormick® Original Taco Seasoning Mix or McCormick® 30% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix, or another favorite taco seasoning
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 12 hard taco shells or corn tortillas (see note)
- 2 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
- Optional for topping: guacamole, avocado, sour cream, salsa, fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. When hot, add the ground beef, onion, jalapeño and garlic. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the beef is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain fat, as needed. Add the taco seasoning mix, tomato paste and 3/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
- Line the taco shells up on a sheet pan or in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Transfer to the oven and bake 5 minutes. Evenly divide the meat among each taco shell and top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Serve the tacos topped with any favorite taco toppings.