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!

classic ground beef tacos

Crock Pot Taco Meat Recipe

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 these Gordita Crunch Tacos, this Taco Pasta Salad, a Walking Taco Casserole, these Walking Tacos, or this Frito Pie Casserole.

slow cooker recipes are a great way to get dinner on the table easily. Experiment with different meat or protein options like beans.

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

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!

Ingredients Needed

Ground Meat – Use a lean ground beef or substitute ground turkey or ground chicken.

Taco Seasoning – I like a homemade taco seasoning or substitute fajita or enchilada seasoning.

Salsa – Use your favorite homemade salsa or make it easier with a jar of salsa.

Looking for more leftover worthy dishes? Follow LTB on Pinterest and pin to a board!

How to make Taco Meat in the Crock Pot

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

Second: 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.

Third: 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.

break up with a wooden spoon every 30 minutes for even cooking.

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 of water to it if it starts to dry out.

Can I cook it 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.

Can I freeze it?

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

I like to portion them into 1 pound portions and freeze for easier meal prep later on.

Now that you have your delicious taco meat, what do you put on it? Here are a few suggestions for your tacos that will complete them.

Toppings for Tacos

flavorful beef tacos are a great option for a party or an easy dinner idea

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

~Stephanie

This is great for feeding a crowd, just like my Crock Pot Hot Dogs, my Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken, these Pork Carnitas, and this 24 Hour Salad.

Now that you have it, what will you do with it or the leftover taco meat?

Uses for Leftover Taco Meat

crockpot beef tacos

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!

dinner is easier with slow cooker ground beef

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Use lean ground beef if possible.
  • ​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.

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!

crockpot taco meat with tacos for an easy weeknight meal.

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

This easy and fuss free way to make taco meat will feed a crowd with little to no effort!
4.80 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef turkey or chicken optional
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 cups salsa fresh or jarred

Instructions

  • Place ground meat in bowl of slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  • Top with salsa.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stirring every 30-60 minutes to mix and break up meat to ensure even browning.
  • Drain if desired.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 436mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

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

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16 Comments

  1. MICHAELA KENKEL says:

    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 says:

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

    1. It’s great to make and then freeze in smaller portion sizes for future meals!

  3. Janet Bradley says:

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

    1. 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 says:

    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!

  5. Stephanie says:

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

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

  6. Isaiah Gaines says:

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

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

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

    1. 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:)

  8. Can I make this without adding salsa?

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

  9. I’m planning to do this for a Christmas Eve gathering for 20 people…thinking 5 pounds of ground turkey. Can I put it all in one large crockpot or should I split it up?

    1. I think you can! Just be sure your crock pot is large enough to hold it:) You might need to cook it a little longer to make sure all of the meat gets cooked through. Let me know how it turns out so I can add your notes to my post to help my readers! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

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