Ultimate Ground Beef Tacos

Ultimate Beef Tacos

These tested-till-perfect, crazy-delicious ground beef tacos maximize fresh ingredients (vs. a spice mix) to make the ultimate beef taco filling recipe. 
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef tacos
Servings: 4
Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


  • 3 tbsp canola oil or other cooking oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion about one 14-oz large onion or two medium
  • 1 3/4 tsp coarse salt divided use
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Taco shells
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded lettuce


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is golden and very soft, 7-10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about a minute, then stir in cumin, oregano, cayenne, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about a minute more.
  • Add beef and sprinkle with remaining 3/4 tsp salt plus the sugar. Use a spoon or sturdy spatula to break the beef into small chunks and to stir it well with the onion mixture to combine. Cook until beef renders its fat and browns, about 10 minutes. 
  • Serve beef with warmed taco shells, shredded lettuce and cheese, sour cream, and any other desired toppings. Let everyone build their own. 
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