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The Ultimate Crowd-Pleaser: Oven-Baked Tacos with the Best Taco Meat Ever


Calling all taco lovers! Get ready to experience oven-baked taco perfection. This recipe is a game-changer, featuring our very own "best taco meat ever" smothered in cheese and nestled inside crispy corn tortillas. It's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, perfect for weeknight dinners, potlucks, or easy meal prep. Plus, it's incredibly easy to make, allowing you to double or triple the recipe for future cravings.


  • The Protein Powerhouse:
    • 2 pounds ground beef - This is the base for our "best taco meat ever." You can substitute ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based alternative for a vegetarian option.
  • The Creamy and Savory Boost:
    • 1 can (15 oz) refried beans - Adds a creamy texture and a delightful bean flavor to the taco filling. Choose your favorite variety, like pinto beans or black beans.
  • The Tangy Base:
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes or tomato sauce - Provides a touch of acidity and a base for the taco seasoning flavors. You can use fire-roasted tomatoes for a smokier flavor.
  • The Flavor Explosion:
    • 1 packet taco seasoning - A blend of spices that takes the taco filling to the next level. You can adjust the amount depending on your desired level of spice.
  • The Cheesy Goodness:
    • 1 cup grated cheese - Melting cheese adds a creamy and gooey element that complements the other ingredients beautifully. Use cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or a Mexican cheese blend for an authentic flavor.
  • The Taco Shells:
    • 15 corn tortillas - These will be our vessels for all this deliciousness. You can choose store-bought taco shells or make your own for a fun and rewarding experience (see instructions below).


  • Crispy Taco Shells (Optional): While this step is optional, homemade taco shells take these oven-baked tacos to a whole new level.Gather your tortillas and cooking spray.
    • Briefly dampen paper towels and wring out any excess water.
    • Arrange the tortillas on a plate with the damp paper towels. Microwave them in batches (about 6 at a time) for 30 seconds, or until softened.
    • Lightly spray each side of the softened tortillas with cooking spray.
    • Carefully drape each tortilla over two oven rack bars to create a taco shell shape.
    • Place a baking sheet under the oven rack to catch any dripping oil.
    • Bake at 350-375°F (175-190°C) for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
    • Remove the homemade taco shells from the oven and set them aside.
  1. Creating the "Best Taco Meat Ever": Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain any excess fat using a colander or slotted spoon.
  2. Building the Flavorful Filling: Return the browned ground beef to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and add the refried beans, taco seasoning, and about half to two-thirds of the canned tomatoes (reserve some in case you need to adjust the consistency). Mix everything well to combine the flavors. You want the filling to be slightly moist but not soupy, so add the remaining tomato sauce as needed.
  3. Assembling and Baking the Oven-Baked Tacos: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking sheet. Carefully fill each store-bought or homemade taco shell with the delicious taco meat mixture. Arrange the filled taco shells upright in the greased baking dish.
  4. A Cheesy Finish: Sprinkle the grated cheese generously over the filled taco shells.
  5. Baking to Golden Perfection: Bake the oven-baked tacos for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serving Up Smiles: Remove the oven-baked tacos from the oven and serve them immediately. Enjoy them with your favorite taco toppings like salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, and hot sauce!


  • This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a larger crowd or for meal prep. You can freeze leftover cooked taco meat for future meals.
  • Feel free to customize the taco filling with your favorite ingredients like chopped onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, or corn.