How to cook Crockpot Taco Meat

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!

black plate with three tacos on it

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

CrockPot Taco Meat

The first time I made 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?!?

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!

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labeled picture of ingredients for crock pot taco meat

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 is, HANDS DOWN, the easiest way to make dinner simple for you, 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!


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.

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The ingredients are few and the method is even easier!

How to make crock pot taco meat

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

STEP 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.

STEP 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!

cooked taco meat in a crock pot bowl

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 Crockpot Tacos

  • guacamole
  • pico de gallo
  • taco pickles
  • salsa
  • salsa verde
  • pickled red onions
  • pickled jalapenos
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • rice
  • sliced olives
  • refried beans
  • red onions
four dressed hard tacos on a black plate next to a crockpot

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

Tips for Taco Meat in the Crockpot

  • 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.
close up of cooked ground beef on a green spatula

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

Uses for taco meat

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

Questions about slow cooker taco meat

Do you need to brown meat before cooking in 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.

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.

Can I cook 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 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.

Can I freeze this?

Yup! Cool cooked meat and freeze in 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 your taco meat 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!~
4 filled tacos on a black plate next to a crock pot

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

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!

pinterest image for crockpot taco meat with text "slow cooker taco meat"

Other recipes for feeding a crowd

Crock Pot Taco Meat

square picture of cooked taco meat for recipe card

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!



  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!


*If you love this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!

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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.

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    I won’t ever use the stovetop again! Thanks for the tips on making TACO NIGHT (our FAVORITE night) a little easier and tastier!

  2. Kathy Metlika

    This will be real handy for a working Mom and Taco Tuesday night. Thanks for all the information on how to’s!!

  3. Janet Bradley

    If I wanted to cook this on slow how many hours would I cook it in the crock pot.
    Recipe sounds amazing.

    • I would let it cook on low for at least 3 hours and then check to see if the meat is cooked through. Also, my CP has a steam hole in it and not sure if your model does so keep an eye on the liquid level to make sure it doesn’t evaporate and the meat dry up. Thanks! I know you will love it!

  4. Kathleen Pope

    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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