What’s better than a good homemade taco? We love this quick and easy meal adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Beef Tacos recipe. I used their basic recipe as a base to make my own version of this family favorite.
One of my favorite dinners as a kid was tacos. How I loved taco night! It’s a favorite at our home too. Well, maybe my favorite, because it’s such a quick and easy dinner. My usual taco night ritual includes throwing some lean ground beef into a pan, adding a chopped onion, some V-8 juice and a package of taco spice mix. Lately, I’ve been on a “make your own mix” kick. I found this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and decided to give it a try. Yum. Loved it. Oh, and in case you are thinking “why would I make these when I can jump in the car and pick up 3 tacos for $1 at Taco (fill in the blank)??” Read this:
This one’s for you.
Cook’s Illustrated Beef Tacos
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion (about 1 1/2 cups) minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato juice or V-8
- 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional)
- 8 taco shells
- grated cheese, chopped lettuce, tomato, grated carrots, chopped avocado, salsa, sour cream.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, spices, and salt and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up until no longer pink, about five minutes.
Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar (if using) until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Season with more salt, pepper or spices to taste.
-When I make this recipe, I purchase corn tortillas and fry the tortillas in a little (about 1/4 cup) vegetable or canola oil on each side over medium high heat, for about 1 minute. Remove and fold over to form a shell and let drain on paper towel. Keep warm in oven at 250 degrees until ready to eat.
19 thoughts on “Cook’s Illustrated Beef Tacos”
Wow, beef tacos! What a treat! Looks so yummy and colourful. Thanks for sharing X
Yum. Where did you get those pretty taco shells?
I bought corn tortillas and heated up some canola oil in a frying pan (about 1/4 cup) over medium high heat. Place the tortillas in the pan (one at a time) and fry on each side just until it starts to crisp up . Remove and place on a paper towel to drain, and fold in half while still warm.
I love tacos yours looks delicious endeed
Oh my goodness, this is too funny. We were in a hurry last night & went through the drive thru at Taco Bell. My husband & I each had 2 soft tacos and then all evening talked about how upset our stomachs were and wondered just what was in that "beef". ;0) Your tacos look wonderful!
I'm not totally surprised that the "meat" at Taco Bell isn't. Much like "Sugar Free" Cool Whip isn't. First two ingredients: water, corn syrup. Bleh!
You didn’t include the coriander that was in the Cooks illustrated recipe?
I made this. I wound up adding more cumin as I found it was a bit blander than I anticipated. Overall, a handy recipe to have. This would even be good on slider buns for a southwest sloppy joe. ????
Thanks for sharing.
Suz, I’ve never thought to make a southwest sloppy joe! Great suggestion.
Thanks so much for reading ABK,
This recipe is supposed to include a teaspoon of ground coriander, but it’s missing from your ingredient list. 👍🏻
Thanks for pointing that out, Tina!
Looks and sounds delicious! When you fry your shells they’re still soft? Those look crunchy, but the way you describe making them it sounds like they’re soft?
I am not a fan of taco seasoning packets. So I was all over this recipe. Super easy to throw together. I had teenagers continually peeking into the kitchen to see what the yummy smell was. I topped the tacos 🌮 with cilantro, avacado and cheddar cheese.
Oh, me either, it tastes so much better with your own seasonings. That’s why I love making this recipe, too! Thanks for sharing, Sarah,
Where did you get that great taco tray?
I purchased it at Pottery Barn a couple of years ago!
Can I prepare the meat in advance and freeze it?
Hi Elaina, yes you can prepare the meat and then freeze it for later, thank you for asking!