This Crockpot Taco Meat is the best hands-off recipe for moist and flavorful tacos! Raw ground beef is slow cooked in enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, and lime juice to create incredible tacos!
If you’ve browsed around Show Me the Yummy, then you know we like tacos. We have ground beef tacos, chicken tacos, instant pot turkey tacos, shrimp tacos, taco mac and cheese, and even taco pizza (see all our taco recipes here)! If you’ve browsed around Show Me the Yummy, then you know we also like crockpot recipes. Today’s recipe is the perfect mash up of two of our faves.
Why should you make taco meat in the slow cooker?
The short answer to why you should make taco meat in the slow cooker: it’s more tender and it’s hands off! Now, for the longer answer:
Ground beef, even more so than other types of meat, really benefits from being cooked low and slow because it has more time to become tender and flavorful.
Since there are so many delicious flavors present in taco meat outside of the meat itself (taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, etc), you want to give the beef time to really soak it all in. And that’s exactly what this crockpot taco meat recipe does!
In other recipes I’ve seen, you have to cook the beef before adding it to the crockpot and that’s just not necessary and actually results in over-cooked, liquidly meat, with very little texture. My favorite part about making taco meat in the slow cooker is that you throw the beef into the crockpot raw and it slowly cooks in the liquid over time!
This crockpot taco meat recipe is simple but definitely not lacking in flavor!
- Ground Beef – use 93% lean ground beef so the meat isn’t too greasy when cooked. I don’t recommend using a fattier beef or your sauce will end up way too oily.
- Enchilada Sauce – this is perfect to cook the ground beef in, because it adds moisture and so much sweet, spicy flavor.
- Taco Seasoning – use a store-bought variety or whip up a batch of homemade taco seasoning!
- Rotel with Green Chiles – diced tomatoes and green chiles add more moisture, flavor, and nutrients.
- Lime Juice – cuts the richness and spice of the sauce and seasonings with a bright, tangy, fresh flavor.
- Salt – brings out other flavors in the taco meat.
How to make
This crockpot recipe takes 10 minutes to prep and only dirties 1 dish!
- Pour enchilada sauce into your greased crockpot then top with raw ground beef.
- Sprinkle on taco seasoning and top with rotel.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- When the meat is done cooking, use two forks to crumble the beef then stir in lime juice before serving!
Can you put raw ground beef in a slow cooker?
Yes! In many recipes, you’ll see a step for sautéing the beef on the stove before putting it in the slow cooker, but it’s not necessary for this recipe.
The beef cooks on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours, which is plenty of time for the beef to cook through.
Can you keep taco meat warm in a crockpot?
Set your crockpot to the “warm” setting after you’ve cooked and crumbled the taco meat and it will be good to go for 1-2 hours before serving.
Can you use a different meat?
I love ground beef tacos, but ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork will work as well. Don’t use anything too fatty or you’ll have greasy tacos, but don’t use anything too lean, or they’ll be dry.
How to serve taco meat
- On salads. Toss it with lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, olives, and tortilla chips for a delicious and flavorful taco salad.
- As filling for burritos. Wrap it up in your favorite tortilla with rice, beans, and more of your favorite burrito fillings.
- As an appetizer. Serve it over nachos or mix it into queso.
- On pizza. Layer it on this taco pizza for some added flavor.
How to store
Leftover taco meat will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or heat on the stovetop to warm.
Crockpot Taco Meat
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
- 2 pounds extra lean ground beef I used 93% lean
- 6 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 2 (1 oz) packets
- 1 (10 oz) can Rotel with green chiles undrained
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
- salt to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
- Grease crockpot with cooking spray.
- Pour in enchilada sauce.
- Top with raw beef.
- Sprinkle on taco seasoning.
- Top with rotel.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- When the meat is finished cooking, crumble the beef with 2 forks.
- Stir in lime juice, then taste and re-season, if necessary.
- Serve, using a slotted spoon, with all your favorite taco fixings!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.