This easy beef taco skillet is a budget-friendly one pot meal that the entire family will enjoy. It combines ground beef, rice, kidney beans and pasta sauce then tops it with crunchy tortilla chips and gooey melted cheese, resulting in a delicious combination of flavors and textures. If you like nachos, you’ll love this dish!
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I love traditional tacos but this skillet version is great for switching things up for taco night! It has the same great flavors and even the crunchiness from the tortilla chips. Not to mention, the ingredients are so simple that you may not even have to run to the store.
Southwestern-style dishes like this end up on our frugal menu plans a lot because they are just so easy, delicious and typically frugal as well. Plus our kids always devour them without any fuss too! What’s not to love?
Skillet Taco Ingredients
- Ground Beef. I prefer using lean ground beef as there is less fat to drain off.
- Onion. Yellow or white will both work!
- Garlic Clove. Granulated garlic or garlic powder can be substituted.
- Pasta Sauce. The more flavorful the sauce, the better the final recipe will taste! I love using a garlic basil variety.
- Dry Rice. I love to use Jasmine or another long-grain rice.
- Kidney Beans. Be sure to drain and rinse!
- Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Paprika, Salt, Dried Basil, Red Pepper Flakes (optional).
- Tortilla Chips. Any variety will work as long as you have 3 cups crushed.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese. Freshly shredded cheese melts easier than store-bought pre-shredded so I prefer to use that.
How to Make Beef Taco Skillet
STEP 1: Brown the ground beef and onion together in a large skillet until the meat is no longer pink.
STEP 2: Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and chips.
STEP 3: Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then stir. Continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes.
STEP 4: Turn the burner off and allow the covered skillet to sit for 5 minutes so the rice can finish cooking.
STEP 5:Top the meat mixture with crushed tortilla chips, then sprinkle on the cheese so they are covered. Place the lid back on until the cheese has melted. Garnish with green onions, if desired.
Tips and Variations
- Beans: Black beans can be substituted.
- Garlic: You can use 1/8 tsp. garlic powder or 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic instead of using garlic cloves.
- Meat: Swap the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Leftovers: Know you won’t eat this all in one sitting? Avoid soft chips by serving the chips on the side. To heat the chips, add them to a sheet pan and bake for a few minutes at 350 degrees.
- Toppings: Feel free to add more traditional toppings for serving such as pico de gallo, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, or sour cream.
More Easy Dinner Recipes You’ll Love
- Sour Cream Chicken Skillet Enchiladas
- Easy Ground Beef and Potato Skillet
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Chicken and Rice
- Speedy Spanish Rice and Ground Beef Skillet
- Easy John Wayne Casserole
Easy Beef Taco Skillet
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 2 clove garlic minced
- 2 c. pasta sauce I love using a garlic basil variety
- 2 1/4 c. water
- 1 c. dry rice
- 15 oz. kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes opt.
- 3 c. 6 oz. lightly crushed tortilla chips
- 1 1/2 to 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- In a large skillet, fry ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except for chips and cheese, and combine.
- Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir, then simmer, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and allow the covered pan to sit for 5 minutes to allow the rice to finish cooking.
- Evenly distribute the crushed chips on top of the meat mixture, then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the chips. Cover and allow the cheese to melt thoroughly.