Well-seasoned and quick on stove-to-table time, this Beef Taco Filling made from ground beef, and refried beans are perfect for tacos, salads, and enchiladas.
Quick Ground Beef Taco Filling
This beef taco filling is flavorful, tender and of course, very simple to make. This is the recipe I've been making in my own home for many years. The taste is total childhood nostalgia for me, with all the classic Americanized taco vibes. I'm sure my mom used some sort of packaged seasoning when making ground beef tacos, and while I probably wouldn't be a fan of it today, I remember loving it as a kid. This hearty ground beef filling is a play on that but made from simple ingredients found in your pantry and a little bit of an ingredient that tends to be overlooked: refried beans.
Adding refried beans to seasoned ground beef not only adds tons of flavor but also helps thicken up the filling without needing to add too much of an actual thickener. Curious why a thickener is added at all? If you've ever looked on the back of one of those seasoning packets, it's one of the first ingredients listed. It gives the taco meat a heartier bite.
So let's get to making it! The text below offers some tips for making it, or you can scroll down to the bottom for the complete recipe.
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
- lean ground beef (feel free to swap this out with ground chicken or turkey)
- red onion
- tomato paste
- salt + pepper
- spices (this recipe uses a homemade taco seasoning, but you can also substitute it with store-bought taco seasoning if you want)
- cornstarch (this thickens up the taco mixture, but if you are using store-bought taco seasoning with cornstarch already in it, you can omit this)
- refried beans (this adds some flavor and nutrition to the taco meat, as well as thickening it, but it can be omitted or swapped with canned rinsed and drained beans instead)
- beef broth (chicken broth or water can be substituted)
Quick Tips for Making It
The recipe calls for lean ground beef. This typically will mean you won't need to drain any excess rendered fat after the beef is cooked, but this can vary. A tiny bit of fat is ok, you wouldn't want the taco filling to be dry. But too much fat left in the pan can mean a greasy and unappealing texture to the taco meat. If there is more than a tablespoon of rendered fat after cooking the beef, be sure to drain it.
Toasting the spices and tomato paste before adding in the beef broth helps strengthen their flavor, so don't skip that step.
In the end, let it gently simmer to bring all the flavors together, but don't overcook it at a rapid boil.
The recipe makes a generous portion of beef taco filling because having leftover filling later in the week can mean another quick dinner.
Store any leftover ground beef filling for 3-4 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to a month.
Watch it: How to Make Ground Beef Taco Filling
More Taco Recipes:
Making the recipe? Be sure to leave a comment with a star review on your experience! Have a question? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!Print
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 small red onion, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup refried beans
- ¾ cup beef broth
Heat a large pan over medium-high. Once hot add oil and beef. Cook beef until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. If a lot of fat has been rendered, drain off nearly all of it.
Reduce heat to medium low and add onion and cook until onion is beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste, spices and cornstarch and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add refried beans and the broth and scrape up any browned bits. Cook until the mixture has thickened up and the broth has reduced, about 5-7 minutes.
Keywords: Beef taco filling, ground beef taco filling