Taco Soup Recipe

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Bring this easy, delicious Taco Soup Recipe to life with ground beef and pantry staples in just 30 minutes. It’s Midwest-meets-Tex-Mex in this fusion cult favorite.

A brown bowl with taco soup.


 

Tex-Mex cuisine holds a special place in my heart.

This is probably not shocking if you’re a regular reader, as I have more riffs on tacos as their are days in the week! Case in point: Dorito Taco Salad, Taco Pizza, Taco Stuffed Tomatoes, Taco Tortilla Roll Ups, Easy Taco Dip, One Pot Taco Spaghetti, and this easy soup recipe below.

Taco Soup ranks among my favorites because if you have a package of lean ground beef and a handful of spices and other pantry staples, it’s a cinch to whip up on the stove top any day of the week. It’s as simple as dump, simmer, and savor, and a big pot is only 30 minutes away. If you have a little more time, it’s a great dump-and-pour recipe for your slow cooker, too!

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients for taco soup labeled.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Ground beef: I suggest an 85% lean, 15% fat ground beef blend. If desired, swap in ground turkey, chicken, pork, or ground sausage. For a vegetarian Taco Soup, add an extra can or two of beans.
  • Kidney beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney including pinto beans, black beans, or red beans.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for more smoky flavor. Rotel tomatoes with green chiles are good, too.
  • Taco seasoning: Store-bought taco seasoning packets are fine, or make Homemade Taco Seasoning with ¼ cup chili powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt to taste (I like 2 teaspoons). Whisk in 1 tablespoon cornstarch if desired.
  • Ranch dressing mix: A packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning is fine, or make Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix with 2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk, 2 ½ teaspoons dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dill weed, and salt (I like ¼ teaspoon). Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator.
  • Tortilla chips: Store-bought or Homemade Tortilla Chips, choose your own adventure. You could also fry tortillas whole to serve with Taco Soup.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a Dutch Oven or large soup pot over medium heat, cook ground beef and onion until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
Ground beef and onions browning in a Dutch oven.
  1. Add water, beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles, and all juices from cans. Stir in taco seasoning and ranch seasoning.
Taco soup ingredients in Dutch oven.
  1. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, minced cilantro, lime wedges, and tortilla chips.
Taco soup in a Dutch oven.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My easy Taco Soup recipe makes about 12 cups (3 quarts) of soup, enough for 8 hearty servings, 1 ½ cups each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Cooled Taco Soup can be transferred to freezer-safe containers, labeled, dated, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • More toppings: Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado or heaping spoonfuls of guacamole, crispy cooked bacon, fresh cilantro, minced white onion, hot sauce, jalapeño slices, or lime wedges.
  • Serving suggestions: Serve Taco Soup with store-bought or Homemade Tortilla Chips, corn chips (Fritos), or fry tortillas whole until crunchy.
  • Vegan Taco Soup: Omit the ground beef and ranch dressing mix. Add crumbled tofu if you want a meat substitute and crank up the veggies overall. Try bell peppers, zucchini, finely-shredded carrot, celery, and more beans or lentils.
  • Slow Cooker Taco Soup: To make this a set-and-forget meal, after adding all of the Taco Soup ingredients to the pot in Step 2, transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Taco Soup in a slow cooker.

Frequently Asked Questions

Besides a topping bar, what else should I serve with Taco Soup to make it more of a meal?

My family asks for Mexican Rice alongside Taco Soup every single time! A cheese quesadilla, Mexican Corn Salad, or Mexican Street Corn (Elote) are also strong contenders.

Is ground meat the only meat I can use in Taco Soup?

For a lighter Taco Soup, substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef. Or, stir in leftover shredded Rotisserie chicken.

Two bowls of taco soup in brown bowls.

More ground beef recipes

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Easy taco soup in a brown bowl.

Taco Soup Recipe

Bring this easy, delicious Taco Soup Recipe to life with ground beef and pantry staples in just 30 minutes. It's Midwest-meets-Tex-Mex in this fusion cult favorite.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings (1 ½ cups each)
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 339
4.85 from 19 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch Oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onion until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  • Add water, beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles, and all juices from cans. Stir in taco seasoning and ranch seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Serve your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, minced cilantro, lime wedges, and tortilla chips.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Ground beef: I suggest an 85% lean, 15% fat ground beef blend. If desired, swap in ground turkey, chicken, pork, or ground sausage. For a vegetarian Taco Soup, add an extra can or two of beans.
  2. Kidney beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney including pinto beans, black beans, or red beans.
  3. Canned diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for more smoky flavor.
  4. Taco seasoning: Store-bought taco seasoning packets are fine, or make Homemade Taco Seasoning with ¼ cup chili powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt to taste (I like 2 teaspoons). Whisk in 1 tablespoon cornstarch if desired.
  5. Ranch dressing mix: A packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning is fine, or make Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix with 2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk, 2 ½ teaspoons dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dill weed, and salt (I like ¼ teaspoon). Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator.
  6. Yield: My easy Taco Soup recipe makes about 12 cups (3 quarts) of soup, enough for 8 hearty servings, 1 ½ cups each.
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5 cupsCalories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 21gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 688mgFiber: 6gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

    1. Hi Kathleen, the directions to make it in a slow cooker are in the post, sorry for the confusion. Here you go: “Slow Cooker: To make this a set-and-forget meal, after adding all of the Taco Soup ingredients to the pot in Step 2, transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.” Hope you love this soup! Enjoy! – Meggan

  1. Just got done making this recipe, and it’s AMAZING! I substituted a few things, and added some things:
    2 lbs ground beef
    3 cups water
    1 4oz can green chilies
    2 cans diced tomatoes
    2 cans corn
    1 can pinto beans
    1 can black beans
    1 diced onion
    1tsp onion powder
    2 packets taco seasoning
    2 packets ranch seasoning
    Dash of ground red pepper
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Prepared as directed. Delicious!!5 stars

  2. I’ve never had a taco soup before – why not??

    Now I have no excuse not to try it! Looks and sounds amazing, Meggan!5 stars