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Easy Taco Skillet

If Tuesdays are for tacos, then every day is the right day for this easy taco skillet, a quick, healthy dinner that's delicious and family-friendly.

This is easy taco skillet. There is a black skillet filled with rice, beans, ground beef, peppers, onion, cheese, and cilantro.

Easy Taco Skillet Recipe

Flour or corn tortillas? Soft shell or hard? Maybe you like them made out of Doritos?

With this easy taco skillet, you'll be skipping tortillas entirely—at least, for the main part of the dish. What I'm trying to say is that this recipe is just as good on its own as with your favorite serving vehicle: tortillas, chips, you name it.

Part of that is because this skillet adds rice into the mix, which rounds out the other ingredients (some real taco all-stars!) and gives this a standalone quality. And sometimes that's nice, because it's just one less thing to worry about.

This is easy taco skillet. There is a black skillet filled with rice, beans, ground beef, peppers, onion, cheese, and cilantro.

It's accurate to say that this taco skillet is like a good t-shirt: it's possible to dress it up and style it how you like, but also quite good on its own.

Ingredients for healthy tacos

T-shirt metaphor or no, it's time to figure out how to make this easy taco skillet. Here's what's involved:

Skillet Ingredients

  • 93% lean ground beef
  • onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • bell peppers
  • green chiles
  • fire-roasted tomatoes
  • rice
  • water
  • black beans
  • mexican cheese

Seasonings

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • red pepper flakes
This is easy taco skillet. There is a black skillet filled with rice, beans, ground beef, peppers, onion, cheese, and cilantro. There's a small plate with a serving of it as well.

Substitutions of healthy tacos

One thing to realize is that you can always opt to use a pre-made taco seasoning packet in place of the recommended spices. The spices in the recipe are a kind of bare-bones blueprint for a decent taco spice: nothing's going to knock anyone's socks off, but it also tastes pretty good.

Here are some other substitutions you can think about making:

  • Substitute ground beef for another ground meet (chicken, turkey, etc.) or a vegan crumble
  • Trade out the black beans for pinto or kidney beans
  • Use any kind of cheese, or, to make dairy free, use a substitute (or none at all!)
  • This recipe is already gluten free, so no need to substitute to achieve this

How to make taco skillet

The real beauty of this recipe is the simplicity of the cooking process. No need to juggle 6 different techniques all at once and pray the timing works out by dinner.

This easy taco skillet uses just one skillet for all of the ingredients, which are progressively added as the time goes on. And there isn't all that much time required, either—I usually finish this in 30 minutes!

Here's how this skillet gets made:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  2. Once oil is hot (shimmers), add the diced onion and garlic.
  3. After 2-3 minutes, add the ground beef, browning on all sides. Once beef is browned, add the seasonings.
  4. Add the green chiles, roasted tomatoes, and bell peppers. Stir together. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in rice and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to low heat. Let the rice simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the black beans.
  7. Sprinkle cheese over the skillet. Add a lid and let the cheese melt, about 3 minutes.
  8. Serve topped with cilantro, avocado, and lime. Enjoy!

I added "Enjoy!" on the end there, but I probably won't have to tell you to do that.

What to serve with taco skillet

As I already mentioned, this skillet can really hold its own. That said, if you want to build out a fancier meal around it, here are some pairing possibilities

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Tortilla chips
  • Jalapenos
  • Guacamole
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Cheese dip/queso

You could also serve this up over a plate of chips and veggies for some serious nachos.

Can you cook taco meat in a cast-iron skillet?

The beauty of a cast iron is that it can brown meat very nicely. My tip for cooking the ground beef is to make sure to give the cast iron time to warm up before adding anything to the skillet. Yet, cast iron isn't required for this recipe—use whatever pan you have, but make sure you get something to cover it!

Do you put oil in a pan for taco meat?

Sometimes, it's necessary to add some kind of oil when cooking ground meat that's especially lean—there just isn't enough fat to get the meat cooking without some burning involved.

Because this recipe recommends 93% ground beef, I opt to add some oil to the skillet first. But it isn't strictly necessary to do this: you could, for example, opt for a higher-fat ground meat, or simply live with a little more burning in the initial cooking process.

How do you cook rice with meat?

This easy taco skillet recipe uses a general technique that involves cooking meat and rice together, along with some other ingredients. You can follow the instructions to figure out how, but the principle is the same across similar recipes: cook the meat first, then add the water and rice and simmer everything together.

Are tacos considered healthy?

Tacos in general should probably not be held up as the pinnacle of healthy eating. Yet, this skillet is high in protein, includes veggies, and manages to keep the fat per serving at a reasonable level. For something this tasty, I'd consider that a big win!

Looking for some more dinner ideas?

Try some of these Jordo's World staples—if you like them, share with your loved ones!

This is easy taco skillet. There is a black skillet filled with rice, beans, ground beef, peppers, onion, cheese, and cilantro.
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Easy Taco Skillet

No tortilla? No problem! With one pan and half an hour you're good to go.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: easy taco skillet, taco, taco skillet
Servings: 6
Calories: 365kcal
Author: Jordan Smith

Equipment

  • Large Skillet
  • stove top

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs 93% lean ground beef
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 1 can green chiles 4 oz
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes 10 oz
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can black beans 15 oz
  • ½ cup mexican cheese shredded

Seasonings

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Toppings

  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  • Once oil is hot (shimmers), add the diced onion and garlic.
  • After 2-3 minutes, add the ground beef, browning on all sides. Once beef is browned, add the seasonings.
  • Add the green chiles, roasted tomatoes, and bell peppers. Stir together. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in rice and water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to low heat. Let the rice simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the black beans.
  • Sprinkle cheese over the skillet. Add a lid and let the cheese melt, about 3 minutes.
  • Serve topped with cilantro, avocado, and lime. Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe makes 6 servings. To portion, divide into 6ths; for a more exact portion measurement, divide total food weight (not including dish) by 6. To enter in MyFitnessPal, search "Jordo's World Easy Taco Skillet". 

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 13g

Recipe Rating




Erika

Monday 20th of June 2022

LOVED this recipe. So hearty and so much flavor. Easy to follow. I think it is a good recipe to hide some extra veggies.

Jordan Smith

Monday 20th of June 2022

We're all about sneaking in those veggies and making them taste delicious. So glad you love this recipe!

Lindsay Koontz

Sunday 19th of June 2022

Love it. Nice little kick to it so if you like less spice I would maybe omit the chili flakes and some of the chili powder. I think it would be great in lettuce wraps and with nacho chips.

Katherine powers

Sunday 19th of June 2022

So easy and delicious 😋

Helen Kremer

Sunday 19th of June 2022

Your recipe improves Taco Tuesday!!

Katrina M

Sunday 19th of June 2022

Made this last night, rave reviews across the board