Authentic Rio Rancho Taco Meat Recipe

4.75 / 5 ( 4 Reviews )
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Rio rancho mexican taco meat

How to Make Taco Meat Like Mexican Restaurants

Are you getting tired of using the same old pre-made taco seasoning packets from the stores? Maybe it’s time to start spicing it up by making your own authentic taco meat, from scratch! I’m going to show you exactly how to do that.

This is one of my favorite taco meat recipes. It’s also great for burritos, taco salads, and nachos. I love to make this recipe for three main reasons:

  • First of all, it has so much more flavor than the store-bought seasoning
  • Second, it’s cheaper; and
  • Third, it’s easy and quick to make!

I can whip up a big batch of this taco meat all in one day, divide it into meal-sized portions, and then throw it in the freezer. Then, whenever I need some for a meal, I just pull out a bag from the freezer.

Taco meat ingredients


The long list of ingredients for this recipe may look a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, it’s really not too bad. All of the ingredients are pretty common and you probably have some of them on hand already.

If you have some extra time and you want to add some really nice fresh flavor to your taco meat, try using a homemade salsa. You can also try this homemade taco seasoning!

Beef for rio rancho tacos

Freezing & Serving Tips

Freezing this taco meat is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve cooked and seasoned it, simply let it cool, and then portion it into freezer bags. Try to make it lay flat so that it’s easy to fit in your freezer, like so:

Freezing taco meat

Cooking from Frozen

Once you’re ready to cook the frozen taco meat, just remove it from the freezer, thaw/defrost it, and then just heat it up in a skillet. Serve it in a warm tortilla and top it off with your favorite taco toppings!

Authentic taco meat recipe

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoy this authentic taco meat recipe! Use it for a quick and easy taco night, or try it in some of our favorite recipes, like our oven-baked tacos, keto taco bites, or our Najavo tacos.

Freezer tacos

Learn More About Freezer Meal Cooking:

How to make taco meat

Rio rancho mexican taco meat

Authentic Rio Rancho Taco Meat Recipe

An easy to make, flavorful taco meat recipe just like you'd find at a Mexican restaurant.
4.75 / 5 ( 4 Reviews )
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4
Adjust Servings: 4


  • Skillet


  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup salsa mild or medium
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 ounces ranch dressing and seasoning mix (approx 1/2 a packet)
  • ¾ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies or less if you don't care for spicy
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove fresh minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon red pepper ground (or flakes, or even a little hot sauce)
  • cup water


Prep Instructions:

  • Brown the onion and ground beef in a skillet and drain any excess grease.
  • Add salsa, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, brown sugar, green chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir to mix well.
  • Add water and simmer on low for about 30-45 minutes until mixture has thickened. If the meat mixture is too thick, you can always add more water and adjust the seasonings.
  • Great when served in taco shells or warm tortillas, or on a bed of lettuce as a taco salad protein!
  • Top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream or any of your favorite toppings.

Freezing Instructions:

  • Follow steps 1-3 above, then let mixture cool slightly.
  • Freeze in meal-size portions in a gallon sized freezer bag. Shape bag flat so it's easier to store in freezer.

Serving Day Instructions:

  • Remove meat mixture from the freezer and thaw or defrost in the microwave.
  • Heat through and serve in taco shells or warm tortillas.
  • Top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream or any of your favorite toppings.


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 1684mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g
Ingredients: Beef, Brown Sugar, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Green Chilies, Ground Beef, Onion, Pepper, Ranch Dressing, Salsa, Salt, Taco Seasoning, Water
Meal Type: Main Dish, #StayHome
Categories: Meat and Poultry, Mexican, Make Ahead/Freezer Meal

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