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How to Cook Taco Meat in the Crockpot

Crockpot Taco Meat is a super simple way to get a family friendly dinner on the table and make everyone happy. A delicious Family Taco Night just got easier!

hand holding a taco

Crockpot Taco Meat

The first time I made beef tacos in the slow cooker, my family LOVED it so much, they BEGGED me to stop making it on the stove top.

Funny thing to ask for, right?!? I guess this was a slow cooker recipe to keep handy.

We are big taco eaters in our house. Let me be perfectly honest, we love all Mexican food, tacos just happen to be the easiest to prepare.

Everyone picking their hard or soft shells, using their favorite toppings, and loading up with the exact amount of cheese to make them happy is the goal.

For me that means TONS of cheese!! A dump truck full of cheese backing up into the driveway for a delivery would be appreciated, pretty please!

Use any leftovers you might have for a Taco Pasta Salad, Walking Taco Casserole, Walking Tacos, or this Frito Pie Casserole.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
labeled picture of taco meat ingredients in bowls

Anything that keeps my husband and kids smiling, and leaves us more time to play games, or watch our favorite shows together is a plus in our house!

That’s why I love this method of cooking. It’s perfect for lazy days and busy nights.

It is, HANDS DOWN, the easiest way to make dinner time simple for you. An easy dinner that is packed with flavor, and makes everyone happy!

Making delicious meat for tacos has never been easier. Not only is the cooking method better, but it requires only 3 ingredients!

Ingredients Needed

That’s it! No extra water needed.

You can add other things to your meat if you like such as diced onions, diced bell pepper, green chilies, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, etc.

All of these will add extra flavor and are great if you are using your meat for burritos, enchiladas, or even chile rellenos.

The ingredients for crockpot taco meat are few and the method is even easier!

Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!

How to make Taco Meat in the Crock Pot

ONE: Place raw ground beef in the slow cooker bowl.

TWO: Add taco seasoning and salsa. Cover and cook on high heat for 2 hours or until the meat no longer has the pink color in the middle.

THREE: After 30 minutes, stir to mix, and continue cooking. In the last 30 minutes, use a spoon to break up any remaining chunks of meat.

Isn’t it great that you don’t have to stand over a hot stove, browning meat, getting splattered with grease, adding water, to get tender and flavorful meat?

My life just got 1000 times easier. Just add taco shells.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

white slow cooker with cheese and ground beef

Now that you have your perfectly cooked ground beef, what do you put on it? Here are a few suggestions for your tacos that will complete them.

Toppings for Tacos

ingredients for slow cooker taco bar in bowls

“This was great, so tender and tasty. I’ll never make taco any other way!”

~Stephanie

It’s super easy but I have found a few tips that help it come out perfectly every time!

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Break up the meat every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking and correct temperature.
  • Homemade taco seasoning is the best but store bought is ok too.
  • I don’t drain my meat after I cook it because it keeps it moist. Just a personal preference, so you do you.
  • The higher the fat content of the meat, the more liquid will form in the bowl. I like to use 90/10 meat but have used 80/20 and drained about half the liquid after cooking.
  • You can use ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. Because these are both very lean, I would add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water/broth when cooking to prevent scorching prefer.
  • Vegetarian? Use meatless crumbles as you would a very lean ground meat.
  • Grind up veggies like zucchini and add to the meat to sneak in more vegetables;)
  • Spice it up by adding a a can of chopped green chilies or diced jalapeños to the meat when cooking.
  • add onions, corn, or beans for more texture and flavors.
spoon holding a scoop of ground beef over a crockpot

Now that you have it, what will you do with it?

Uses for Leftovers Taco Meat

  • tacos, of course
  • burritos
  • enchiladas
  • walking tacos
  • hot dog topping
  • quesadillas
  • taco salad
  • taco soup
  • nachos
  • baked potatoes

Do I need to brown the meat before cooking in a slow cooker?

No, you don’t. You can put raw ground beef directly in the slow cooker bowl. It will brown as it cooks and turn out just as if you browned it before slow cooking.

Can I start with frozen meat?

You can start with frozen meat, just be sure to flip and stir to break up the beef more frequently in the beginning of cooking and add an additional hour to the total cooking time. No wonder it’s my favorite way. NO PREP!

Can I keep Taco Meat warm in a Crockpot?

You can keep it warm for up to two hours on the low or warm setting. Any longer and it might start to dry out. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level and add 1/4 cup to it if it starts to dry out.

hand holding a taco over a crockpot

Can I cook Crockpot Taco Meat the night before?

Yes, you can. If I am cooking the night before, I don’t drain the meat. I will store it in the fridge in an airtight container and then when I reheat it the next day I will drain it.

If I reheat it in the slow cooker, I don’t. Having that extra liquid keeps it tender and juicy.

Want to know how long taco meat is good for? Check out this post!

Can I freeze it?

Yup! Cool cooked meat and freeze in freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost and warm in slow cooker till 160F. Great for portioning out for individual lunches and dinners!

Why you should make it in the slow cooker:

  • easy meal for a crowd – cooking in bulk
  • perfect for parties
  • easy weeknight meal
  • super tender taco fillings
  • no prep work ~my favorite reason!~

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

white crockpot with taco meat and text "super easy"

This crockpot taco meat recipe is and easy way to make the best taco meat. Perfect to feed a crowd with a taco bar, tailgate party, or your family and friends on Taco Tuesday!

taco seasoned ground beef in a white crockpot

Crock Pot Taco Meat

Yield: 2 pounds
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

This easy and fuss free way to make taco meat will feed a crowd with little to no effort!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place ground meat in bowl of slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  3. Top with salsa.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stirring every 30-60 minutes to mix and break up meat to ensure even browning.
  5. Drain if desired.
  6. Keep warm for up to 2 hours for serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Break up the meat every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking and correct temperature.
  • Homemade taco seasoning is the best but store bought is ok too.
  • I don’t drain my meat after I cook it because it keeps it moist. Just a personal preference, so you do you.
  • The higher the fat content of the meat, the more liquid will form in the bowl. I like to use 90/10 meat but have used 80/20 and drained about half the liquid after cooking.
  • You can use ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. Because these are both very lean, I would add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water/broth when cooking to prevent scorching prefer.
  • Vegetarian? Use meatless crumbles as you would a very lean ground meat.
  • Grind up veggies like zucchini and add to the meat to sneak in more vegetables;)
  • Spice it up by adding a a can of chopped green chilies or diced jalapeños to the meat when cooking.
  • add onions, corn, or beans for more texture and flavors.

Recommended Products

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 436mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

Did you love this recipe?

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More Easy Recipes for a Crowd

{Originally Posted 07/01/2022 – Updated 06/08/2022 with new photos and notes to improve reader experience}

LeftoversThenBreakfast.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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Heather

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Can I make this without adding salsa?

Jennifer

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Yes, you can. You can add diced tomatoes or substitute it for water.

Paula

Monday 25th of July 2022

Hoping to make this for our crowd at the beach. Can you tell me how many your recipe serves?

Jennifer

Tuesday 26th of July 2022

Typically 2 pounds would serve 8 people (4 ounces each) but you lose some weight in the cooking process. When I make this at home, the 2 pounds feeds me, my husband, and our 16 yo son (in tacos) and leaves me about 1 cup leftover. So depending on how hungry your group is and how you plan to eat it, I would plan for 3 people per pound of meat. I would rather have more than not enough and the leftovers freeze well:)

Isaiah Gaines

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Can I use 80/20 ground beef for this recipe? Or is that not lean enough?

Jennifer

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

You certainly can! You might need to drain it a little before serving.

Stephanie

Wednesday 23rd of February 2022

This was great, so tender and tasty. I’ll never make taco any other way!

Jennifer

Friday 25th of February 2022

I am so glad you liked it! I love making it in bulk and freezing for later:)

Kathleen Pope

Sunday 20th of June 2021

I was skeptical that this would turn out well vs. browning the beef, but it did and it was so delicious!! Thanks for a great recipe!

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