Flavorful ground beef is slow-cooked in taco spices until tender and finished with salsa or enchilada sauce. Serve this melt-in-your-mouth beef in taco salads, nachos, tostadas, and more! This preparation method is perfect for DIY nacho, or taco bars, taco hot dogs, gatherings, potlucks, or family dinners with multiple warm meals being offered.
Do you love tacos? I know our family enjoys this Mexican favorite, especially in my Oven-Baked Chimichangas recipe. The slow cooker taco meat is melt in your mouth delicious! Since this recipe is so simple there really isn’t much to it.
Before starting this recipe, you’ll want to verify that you have the following ingredients:
- Ground Beef – Since this recipe is slow-cooked, you do not want to use a higher fat content beef because it will be sitting in an ample amount of grease. Using a fat content of 10% and under is better and will make for a less greasy meat sauce.
- Taco seasoning – You can use your own blend or two packets of store-bought taco seasoning which is equal to 4 tablespoons of homemade seasoning.
- Salsa – Salsa adds extra moisture, flavor, and texture to this beef dish. You can also use enchilada sauce, or one undrained can of RO*TEL.
- Garlic Powder – I love the flavor of garlic and find an extra teaspoon helps boost the flavor.
- Cumin – If you love this spice as we do, an extra touch enhances the flavor nicely.
Equipment and Supplies Needed
We used the following equipment and supplies to make this recipe. Items that are optional or can be substituted will be noted.
- Slow cooker – A 6-quart model will work well for this recipe and even allow for doubling.
- Wooden spoon – To help break up the meat when occasionally stirred.
- Metal colander – To safely drain any grease from the slow cooker pan.
- Stainless steel metal bowl – The safest way to catch the grease from the colander. NEVER POUR GREASE DOWN THE SINK DRAIN!!
- Slotted spoon – To serve the beef and help keep some of the excess greases in the pan.
The beauty of this recipe is it is really simple and involves very little effort. Add the spices and beef to a slow cooker, and use the wooden spoon to break it up. If you have more time, cook beef for 4-6 hours on low. If you have less time, cook it for 2-3 hours on high slow cook mode.
Occasionally stir beef so it doesn’t stick to the edges. Once the internal temperature is 160°F., the beef is done and ready to enjoy. Place a metal pan/bowl in the sink, with a colander over it. Drain excess fat from the slow cooker into the colander. This will drip the fat from the colander into the metal bowl. Metal is safer to use than glass which can shatter. Never drain grease into the sink directly since this will ruin your plumbing.
Return meat to the slow cooker, and stir in the salsa. Cook on high for 10 minutes, and then serve! Easy as pie!
This recipe is easy to make if you know the right tips and tricks! Here are my tips for ensuring your Melt in Your Mouth Taco Meat comes out perfectly.
Many of you might be wondering why slow cooking taco meat is better or easier. The truth is, it is more work than pan-frying it and being done. This method of cooking taco meat is best for parties, get-togethers, and game days where guests or family will be serving themselves. This method ensures warm, moist meat that is jam-packed with flavor. Guests can simply serve themselves and put the cover back over the pot. We love this method when we made Coney Island Hot Dogs. Although the recipe is different, the concept is ideal!
The beauty of this recipe is the flexibility! After the excess fat is drained from the beef, there are countless mix ins that can amplify the flavor! You can mix in the follow items:
- diced jalapenos
- taco sauce
- enchilada sauce & more!
If you want to store your Slow Cooker Taco Meat, just follow these easy steps.
This taco meat can easily be stored in the refrigerator once fully cooled. We even sometimes make it ahead of time and put it back into the slow cooker on warm mode. Store any excess beef in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
This slow-cooked taco beef can also be frozen. Simply allow the cooked, and seasoned beef to cool, and then scoop it into freezer-safe bags or airtight containers. We prefer freezer bags because we can freeze them flat and make extra freezer space. They also thaw super quick afterward!
Follow the recipe below to make Slow Cooker Taco Meat! This recipe makes 8 adult-sized SERVINGS, but you can adjust the recipe card for other serving sizes.
Printable Recipe Card
Follow the recipe below to make slow cooker taco meat. This recipe makes 8 servings but can be easily doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.
Slow Cooker Taco Meat
- slow cooker
- wooden spoon
- 2 pounds ground beef 93-95% lean, thawed
- 4 tablespoons taco seasoning (2 seasoning packets)
- 12 ounces salsa You can use RO*TEL, or Enchilada sauce as well.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Plug in slow cooker, and add ground beef, and spices to the inner pan of the cooker. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground beef into smaller pieces.
- Cook meat on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-3 hours. Meat will need to be an internal temperature of 160°F. You will need to stir this meat once per hour to prevent sticking or clumps.
- Place a metal pan/bowl in the sink, with a colander over it. Drain excess fat from the slow cooker into the colander. This will drip the fat from the colander into the metal bowl. Metal is safer to use than glass which can shatter. Never drain grease into the sink directly since this will ruin your plumbing.
- Return drained meat to the slow cooker.
- Add salsa, and stir to combine. Cook an additional 10 minutes on high.
- Serve taco meat on nachos, tacos, salads, quesadillas, or enjoy alone.