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Ground beef and pantry staples join forces to bring this easy Taco Soup to life 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 ground beef and a handful of pantry staples, it’s a cinch to whip up any day of the week. It’s as simple as dump, simmer, and savor, and a big pot is only 30 minutes away.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Taco Soup Recipe

Recipe ingredients

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.
  • Canned diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted for a hint more smoky flavor.
  • Taco seasoning: For Homemade Taco Seasoning, in a small bowl, whisk together 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. Swap in a packet of store-bought seasoning if you like.
  • Ranch dressing mix: For Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix, in a small bowl, whisk together 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. If desired, start with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning (or your other favorite supermarket brand).
  • Tortilla chips: Again, purchased or Homemade Tortilla Chips, choose your adventure. You could also fry tortillas whole to serve with Taco Soup.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a Dutch Oven or large stock pot over medium-high 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 creates 12 (1-cup) servings, ideal to enjoy as a lunch or for dinner alongside a hearty side (see ideas below in my “Recipe FAQs”)
  • 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.
  • 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.
Two bowls of taco soup in brown bowls.

Recipe FAQs

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?

Options abound. If you prefer, skip the ground beef in Step 1 and stir in shredded leftover or Rotisserie Chicken or thawed frozen or raw fresh shrimp about 2 minutes before serving. Both already-cooked poultry and shrimp warm up lightning quick.

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Easy taco soup in a brown bowl.

Taco Soup

Ground beef and pantry staples join forces to bring this easy Taco Soup to life in just 30 minutes. It's Midwest-meets-Tex-Mex in this fusion cult favorite.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 12 servings (1-cup each)
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 339

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans undrained
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole kernel corn undrained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies undrained
  • 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 1 packet store bought
  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing mix or 1 packet store bought
  • shredded cheese for serving
  • sour cream for serving
  • tortilla chips for serving
  • avocado diced, for serving
  • minced fresh cilantro for serving
  • Lime wedges for serving

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. Canned diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted for a hint more smoky flavor.
  3. Taco seasoning: For Homemade Taco Seasoning, in a small bowl, whisk together 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. Swap in a packet of store-bought seasoning if you like.
  4. Ranch dressing mix: For Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix, in a small bowl, whisk together 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. If desired, start with a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning (or your other favorite supermarket brand).
  5. Tortilla chips: Again, purchased or Homemade Tortilla Chips, choose your adventure. You could also fry tortillas whole to serve with Taco Soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 21gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 688mgFiber: 6gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 4mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Made this for the first time this past weekend and it turned out great! We just finished the last of it off! 5 stars

  2. 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

  3. 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