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Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos}

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Making Soft Shell Tacos from Scratch is easier than you think! And you can tailor the seasonings in these homemade beef tacos to your liking!

I don’t think I’ve used a packet of taco seasoning since I was a newlywed. This Easy Homemade Beef Taco Recipe is not much more complicated than adding the grocery store seasoning mix. Plus, it’s all natural ingredients and perfectly balanced. Use to season burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and more!!

Overhead view of Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos} on a platter next to toppings

How to make Simple Soft Shell Tacos

Decades ago, I worked as a nurse on the oncology ward of our university hospital. One of my co-workers, of Mexican descent, brought in some taco meat for one of our pitch-ins. She simply seasoned it with chili powder, cumin, oregano and some salt.

It didn’t have that Day-Glo coloring, an overload of preservatives or the weird thick sauce. This is basically a no-brainer recipe for Soft Shell Tacos.

Tweak it to your liking, then provide an array of your favorite toppings. We usually have tomatoes, lettuce and cheddar cheese. For company, I’d add avocados or guacamole, sour cream, diced onions and salsa. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you’re feeding my husband. And provide some hard corn taco shells if you’re cooking for my dad.

Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos on a white ceramic platter garnishes with lime wedges and cilantro

EASY Homemade Beef Tacos

These homemade beef tacos are only slightly more difficult than dumping that taco seasoning packet into some ground beef. And it still comes together in just minutes!

You need to chop an onion and bell pepper, plus mince some garlic. Also, there are 5 seasonings you’ll need to measure and dump. I know you can all do this!! And you’ll feel better about controlling what actually goes into your family’s meal.

PRO-Tip: Quadruple the taco seasoning portion of this recipe, then you will have it on hand for your next few batches of soft shell beef tacos!

Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos} text and photo collage

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5 to commemorate the Mexican win over the French in an 1862 battle. The phrase Cinco de Mayo literally translates to May 5 in Spanish. In the US, it began from a beer campaign in the late 1980’s and has spiraled into a Mexican food and drink extravaganza. All the recipes below are perfect Cinco de Mayo recipes, but are also excellent for themed dinners or any gathering!

Can I Use Other Taco Shells?

Of course! My dad loved those hard taco shells and corn tortillas would be delicious, too. I buy whole wheat soft tortillas for me, while the rest of the family prefers regular flour tortillas.

Should I Heat My Soft Taco Shells First?

Toasting or heating your taco shells first, is totally optional. It’s especially helpful if you feel the tortilla are a little stale. Heating will help refresh them. There are two methods for heating a tortilla. The first is my preference. Heat a dry skillet to medium, add a tortilla and heat for about 30 seconds per side. If you’re feeding a large crowd, this method is not very practical.

Another option is to preheat your oven to 375 degrees, fold your tortillas in half and place them on a sheet pan. Heat for about 5 minutes or until warm. Overheating could dry out your shells, so watch carefully.

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Soft Shell Beef Tacos | Easy as can be plus you can tailor the spice to your liking!

Soft Shell Tacos

Easy taco filling made with ground beef, onion, garlic, spices and more. So much better than a store bought packet!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Entree, Beef
  • Method: Sauteing
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex, American


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Scant 2 tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (try Mexican oregano if you have it)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or seasoning salt (more or less to taste)
  • Flour tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice (diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, avocados, sour cream, etc)


  1. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Saute onion, garlic and pepper till soft. Add ground beef and break apart and cook till browned.
  3. Drain any excess grease and add seasonings. Cook, taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve in flour or corn tortillas with toppings of your choice.


  • Calories: 346kcal
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 355mg
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

63 comments on “Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos}”

  1. Love this! Homemade spice blends beat store-bought, any day!

  2. Those look so very good. I agree about the packaged store bought taco seasoning!! I either make my own too or now that I am selling Epicure I love to use theirs, so much healthier!!

  3. Liz,
    I love these. . I also have not used a taco seasoning packet in a longgg time! This looks fabulous! yum!

  4. I used to use those premade seasoning pouches all the time, before I knew better. Now, there is no excuse – you can make super tasty and healthy Mexican with just a few spices and fresh ingredients. Your tacos look delicious, Liz.

  5. I’m right there with you on the seasoning packets! I love making my own and controlling what goes into what I make. These look delicious! Awesome job.

  6. Lizzy,
    Love these tacos. You make everything look so delicious.

  7. So perfect for next taco Tuesday! I can’t wait!

  8. That spice combo!!! Love it! 

  9. My son would eat these every night for dinner if I let him! Perfect quick meal for nights we have to get the the ball park.

  10. Taco Tuesday is ON with these delicious tacos. Can’t wait. 

  11. I could eat Mexican food every day – love these tacos

  12. They look so good….and I love how easy they are!!

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