Beef Tacos – the old school way!!! With juicy seasoned beef taco meat and crispy shells, this taco recipe is made with a simple yet flavour packed homemade taco seasoning that truly tastes like store bought.
I like to BAKE my tacos to crisp the shells and melt the cheese before piling on the fresh toppings. Because melted cheese wins over unmelted cheese every day!
Totally un-authentic Beef Taco Recipe!
You will never find ground beef / mince tacos in Mexico. Authentic beef tacos are either sliced seared steaks (like Carne Asada), or marinated beef chopped into thin strips that are pan fried to get golden crispy edges (taqueria style), or slow cooked shredded saucy style like this Shredded Beef Mexican Beef.
So beef mince tacos, the single most popular type of taco meat made in million and millions of households the world over, is totally un-authentic.
And that’s absolutely ok. We love them anyway – and we will always love them!
This is how I make my old school beef tacos – BAKING them to melt the cheese and crisp the tacos shells. I don’t know if that’s “normal”, but I’ll take any opportunity to melt cheese when appropriate.
Let me put it this way – if I had a choice of a cold slice of cheese slapped on bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich with gooey cheese oozing out the sides, I know which one I’d choose.
And you?? 😇
HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING
Skip the packet seasoning! It truly is quite incredible how simple it is to make homemade taco seasoning. Garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, oregano plus optional cayenne pepper for a touch of heat.
Just pure, normal spices and herbs – no scary sounding ingredients you can’t pronounce like maltodextrin, silicon dioxide and ethoxyquin that you’ll find in packets of store bought!! (Yes really, just Google “Old El Paso taco seasoning ingredients”)
This taco seasoning mix is a terrific staple to add to your arsenal for all things Tex Mex, from Quesadillas to Burritos, Enchiladas to Taco Soup (don’t know it until you’ve tried it, it’s amazing). While stores sell different seasonings for each of these, essentially they have the same flavour base which is the Taco Seasoning mix used in this recipe
THE TACO MEAT
The taco meat recipe as written is my base recipe made with just beef and onion, and it will stuff 10 tacos generously or 12 normal size tacos.
OLD SCHOOL TACO TOPPINGS
There’s a plethora of taco topping options, but today I’m sticking with the old school way: shredded cheese, taco sauce (optional), iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion and even sour cream.
That’s right folks. We’re going Tex-Mex all the way. No fancy salsas, no authentic chilli sauces, no Mexican pickles.
Pile on that shredded cheese and sour cream! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
Just to be clear – baking the tacos with the filling and cheese is totally optional.
If you’re not a Melted-Cheese-Monster, by all means feel free to serve it the normal way – bake the empty taco shells then lay it all out for people to stuff themselves. – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Sometimes it helps to have a visual, so watch me make this Beef Taco recipe – the old school way!
- 10 to 12 crispy taco shells ("stand and stuff) OR soft tortillas of choice (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 500 g / 1 lb beef , ground / mince (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup / 65ml water
- 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano
- 2 tsp EACH cumin powder, paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust spiciness to taste, can skip)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Shredded cheese (Note 3)
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- 2 tomatoes , chopped
- 1/2 red or white onion , chopped
- Sour cream
- Taco sauce (optional)
- Other: coriander/cilantro , jalapeño, hot sauce / chilli sauce, pickled chillies, salsa sauce, pico de gallo
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and onion - cook 2 minutes until golden.
Add beef and cook for 2 minutes, breaking it up as you go, until it changes from red to light brown.
Add Taco Seasonings and cook for 2 minutes until beef is cooked through.
Add tomato paste and water. Cook for 1 minute or until water is evaporated and you're left with a juicy not not watery beef filling.
Place taco shells in a baking pan (I can fit 10 in). Fill with taco meat, top with cheese.
Bake 5 to 7 minutes until cheese is melted by which time the shells with be crispy.
Serve tacos hot, straight out of the oven. Lay out toppings and sauces of choice on the table and let everyone assemble their own!
1. Taco Shells - whatever taco shells or tortillas you use, warm them! Taco shells should be baked until crispy (they are kind of chewy and bendy straight out of the packet) and tortillas only need 20 seconds or so in the microwave (or wrap in foil and bake 5 to 10 minutes)
2. Meat - I usually use lean. If you use fatty beef, you can drain excess fat before adding Seasoning. Can also use chicken, turkey, pork.
3. Cheese - Monterey Jack is my favourite, then cheddar, tasty, pepper jack. Australia - Monterey Jack is now sold at Aldi, sometimes at Costco! Use to be sold at Harris. Melts like mozzarella, tasty like cheddar, non greasy. It's my fave.
4. Nutrition for 3 tacos, including crispy taco shell, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.
LIFE OF DOZER
SO overdue for lawn mowing……