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Classic Ground Beef Tacos

This Tex-Mex classic layers spicy ground beef, shredded cheese, sweet chopped tomatoes, and cool iceberg lettuce in a crunchy corn taco shell. I set out to develop a ground beef taco recipe with boldly spiced beef and fresh toppings. For the filling, I sautéed onions and garlic with a variety of spices that provided both savory and spicy notes.

Brown sugar and cider vinegar rounded out the flavor of the filling.

Using very lean ground beef prevented greasiness and adding tomato sauce and chicken broth to the beef ensured that the meat was tender and juicy. Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place.

Serve with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and Mexican crema or sour cream.

a person holding a taco

Classic Ground Beef Tacos


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoe sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 8 taco shells


  • Heat oil in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne and 1 tsp salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
  • Stir in ground beef and cook breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, broth and vinegar and sugar and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Divide filling evenly amoung taco shells and serve

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