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Crock-Pot Taco Meat

May 11, 2024

Just three-ingredients and the use of our trusty slow-cooker make this Crock-Pot taco meat recipe an easy win.


Crock pot taco meat in a bowl with spoon

The Best Taco Meat is Slow Taco Meat

A long simmer in the slow-cooker is the secret to our insanely flavorful, 3-ingredient taco meat. Yes it’s true, you can just quickly sauté ground beef in a skillet with some taco seasoning and call that taco meat. But if you really love ground beef tacos and really want the BEST taco meat, it’s all about a long, slow simmer with tomatoes, spices and aromatics. Luckily, store-bought salsa basically has all of those things, so it is our Crock-Pot taco meat secret weapon. Once the meat is cooked, the sky’s the limit! Obviously you’ve got the makings of a really good taco night dinner, but don’t stop there! One bite of this delicious taco meat, and you’ll be dreaming up a zillion ways to use it.

ground beef, taco seasoning and salsa for taco meat in the slow cooker

Taco Meat Seasoning—Shortcut Edition

When we say “taco meat” we mean lean ground beef—we like to use a 90/10 mixture. So, ground beef is one ingredient (and we’re guessing you already knew it was one of the three!). What else is in this taco meat recipe? Just two more things! You’ll need:

  • Store-bought salsa. We like to buy the stuff in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It’s fresher and much, much more flavorful than the jarred stuff.
  • A taco seasoning packet. Or, you can use homemade! Have you tried our taco seasoning recipe yet? A spiced-but-not-too-spicy blend of cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder and other taco seasonings, it’s the very BEST. However, store-bought is fine, too.
ground beef, salsa and taco seasoning in a crock-pot
taco meat in a slow cooker

How to Cook Taco Meat in a Crock-Pot

Now you know the ‘why’ of cooking taco meat in a Crock-Pot, but now you’ve got to get cooking! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Dump the ground beef, salsa, and taco seasoning into your slow-cooker.
  2. Cook! Either on low for four hours, or high for three.
  3. IF you’ll be close by, every hour or so, stir the meat and then drain off any liquid that accumulated into a heat-proof container. Let the liquid cool before tossing it in the trash. If you won’t be home while the meat cooks, it’s OK to skip this step.
  4. Eat! That’s it—taco meat is ready!
slow cooker taco meat
ground beef taco meat in a bowl made in the crock pot

What To Do With All Of My Delicious Taco Meat?

Eat it straight out of the Crock-Pot? We’re not knocking that option. But why stop there!? Try it:

  • On taco salads! Lettuce, taco meat, avocado, more salsa, some cheese, black olives, maybe even a few tortilla chips—oh yesssss.
  • In breakfast burritos! It could be a filling as simple as taco meat, scrambled eggs, and a little cheddar cheese.
  • Try making a pizza night / taco night hybrid and use it as a pizza topper!
ground up beef with taco seasoning and salsa
ground beef tacos with guacamole on a plate

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Crock-Pot
  • Umm. That’s it. This recipe is really, really easy!

More Easy Mexican Recipes To Try ASAP!

ground beef tacos with guacamole on a plate
ground beef tacos with guacamole on a plate

Show Us Your Stuff!

Show us how you used your Crock-Pot taco meat! We’d love to see. Snap a photo of your dinner and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see. Happy eating!

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Crock-Pot Taco Meat

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  4 hrs
  • Calories: 205



  1. Add the beef, salsa, and taco seasoning to a slow cooker. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and gently stir to combine.

  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Thirty minutes before the taco meat is done cooking, use a wooden spoon to break the beef up into small pieces.

  3. Serve the cooked meat in your favorite taco or salad recipe. Store leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 4 days. To freeze, allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, for up to 1 month.

Note: Substitute ¼ cup homemade taco seasoning for 2 (1 ounce) packages of store bought taco seasoning.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories205
  • Protein23 g
  • Carbohydrates5 g
  • Total Fat5 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol70 mg
  • sodium425 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Crock-Pot Taco Meat

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Lori

    Can I quadruple this recipe and what would cooking time be?

    yes. Same cook time should work!

  • Tycha

    In your response to Kim who asked how long to cook 3 lbs of meat you said, "On low 2-3 hours on high 4-6 hours." I think you mean the reverse. It will take longer to cook on low than on high.

    Yes, we did mean the reverse. Sorry about that!

  • Amanda

    Hello! I’m looking to make this for a party to serve about 30. What measurements do you recommend?

    I would do 6 pounds for 30 people. The meat keeps well for leftovers too!

  • Carol

    I am confused by a recipe that calls for 1 lb. of meat and yet serves 8. There's an additional 12 oz. of red salsa, so maybe that's it. Are we assuming only 2 ounces of meat per person? As I type maybe I can see it for some families, but my 7 will not be filled with that. Yes, there is cheese to put on and additions, but...I've decided to double the recipe and have leftovers rather than measure out each serving.

    We think we meant it makes 8 tacos but we see how that is confusing. we will update this to serves 4, thanks for bringing this to our attention!

  • Angela

    How much salsa and seasoning would you utilize for 3 lbs of ground beef?

    For 3lbs of ground beef you could use 1/2 cup seasoning and 1.5 tubs of salsa so it doesn't become too liquidy. Hope you enjoy, Angela!

  • Bob

    I used a can of petite diced tomatoes with garlic instead of salsa as I use a ton of salsa when eating taco meat.It came out great!I also added some chopped onions.

    Glad you enjoyed it Bob!

  • Erica

    I was looking for a recipe for ground beef for tacos to bring to work for a taco bar, without having to cook it in advance & have it dry out. I tripled this recipe (but only needed 24 oz of salsa) & it was so easy & good & the meat was super moist. Everyone loved it. Thanks!

    That is so great to hear! Thanks Erica, we are so happy everyone loved it!

  • Kirsten

    We are remodeling our kitchen and have no access to that part of our house, so we’re living off crockpot dinners! This recipe is perfect because it also doesn’t add additional dishes that I need to wash in my bathtub 😅. Thank you!

    We've lived through kitchen remodels and it's so hard! We are so glad this recipe can help you get through it, Kristen!

  • jenn

    This was so easy and yummy!

    Thanks Jenn!

  • JP

    Very happy with how this turned out. Used my own spice mix that I use for regular stove-top taco meat and it worked great!

    We are so glad you enjoyed it JP!