Slow Cooker Ground Beef Taco Recipe

The Slow Cooker is hands down, a busy person’s best friend! You can make so many delicious things in it! And the best part is you just set it and forget it and come home to a house filled with the most intoxicating aroma that feels as though you’ve been standing over the stove all day long. Taco Tuesday has never been easier!

This is also a great slow cooker recipe for entertaining when you need to feed a crowd for Game Day or a House Warming Party! Looking for grilled beef tacos? Try my Carne Asada Taco Recipe! A great taco recipe for summer entertaining, or my Cod Fish Tacos, for a lighter summer taco. 

Crispy Tacos filled with ground beef, cheese and lettuce on a plate

My Favorite Model of Slow Cooker

For this recipe, I’m using the 4 qt 3-in-1 Slow Cooker by Cuisinart (this link goes to Amazon where I am an affiliate) I really like this model of slow cooker because you can sear the ground beef directly in the slow cooker, on the “brown” setting before adding the rest of the ingredients. 

This alleviates the need for using a skillet to cook the beef, before transferring it to the slow cooker, it all can be done in the same pot, making for less clean up too! 

A platter of slow cooker beef tacos yopped with cheese and lettuce

The Easiest 3-Step Process

What I love most about this recipe is how easy it is! It’s basically a 3-step process.

  1. Brown the Meat 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Add a splash of vinegar before serving 

The Secret Ingredient: Vinegar

  • Don’t skimp on the vinegar it adds a wonderful little bite to the tomato-based sauce that wakes the whole thing up!
  • After slow cooking, for hours your tacos will develop the most incredible depth of flavor.
  • The vinegar just helps to brighten up a bit. I also like to serve a selection of hot sauces on the side so each person can add their “own heat”. 

Crispy Corn Taco filled with Ground beef taco mixture

Skip The Taco Seasoning Mix!

  • I know it might be tempting to shave off a few minutes and buy a Taco Seasoning Packet, but really I find the flavor is so much better with a homemade mix of spices you probably already have sitting in your pantry.
  • They each provide a different flavor and when combined together will create the most delicious flavor!
  • You’ll also avoid any preservatives and MSG those spice packets can contain too.

smoked paprika and ketchup in a clear bowl

The Perfect Homemade Taco Seasoning Blend:

For me, these are the key players in order of importance. Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Corriander.

  • Smoked Paprika is different than regular paprika or Hungarian Paprika. It has this wonderful smokey flavor to it, which is a deal-breaker if it’s not in my mix! You can also mix it with store-bought ketchup for smokey ketchup that’s great on Burger Recipes
  • Cumin adds a wonderful earthy flavor that complements the smokiness of the paprika
  • Oregano adds a nice freshness and bold flavor to the tacos. If you don’t have oregano, the next best thing would be Herbs de Provence. I’ve used that too in a pinch
  • Corriander is a great “nice to have” but you could skip it if need be. It adds a subtle sweetness and delicious aroma to the tacos. 

How Long to Slow Cook?

  • This really depends on how much time you have.
  • If you are in a rush and don’t have much time, I’d set your slow cooker on high and go for 3 hours, if you have more time, I think these are even better set on low and go for 7 hours. 
  • The flavors become so much more pronounced and will create the best taco meat!
  • Tuesdays are usually our taco night and it works out perfectly because having it fall on the same night of the week always makes me remember to get them started early!

a platter of slow cooker tacos on a platter with a small bowl of shredded cheese

To Serve:

  • These tacos make for a fun buffet if you are entertaining for a crowd. You can set the slow cooker on warm, add a stack of plates, and all the fixings. These are some of my favorite toppings
  • I like to use sharp cheddar cheese, or a finely shredded Mexican blend cheese if you want the cheese to melt quickly
  • Warmed tacos shells. Heat them for 5 minutes in a 300F oven. They become crispier and lighter this way.
  • Sliced lettuce ribbons
  • Fresh cilantro 
  • A selection of different types of hot sauce in varying degrees of heat
  • Full-Fat Sour cream. I do the full-fat since it’s thicker and won’t water down your tacos.

To Reheat:

  • These tacos make fantastic leftovers! They are easy to reheat too!
  • Just place the taco meat in a saucepan, add a splash of vinegar to reawaken the flavor, a shake or two of oregano. And simmer until hot.
  • If you run out of taco shells, you can also spoon the taco meat over tortilla chips, top with cheese and make nachos.  

Making This Recipe Without a Slow Cooker

  • If not making these in a slow cooker, you can use a large stockpot or Dutch oven.
  • Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil in the pot and saute onions until soft and tender.
  • Then brown meat until cooked through
  • Then add all ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes until most liquid is evaporated.
  • Add vinegar, stir and serve!

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A plate of two crispy ground beef tacos on a plate topped with cheese and lettuce

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Taco Recipe

Yield: serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes

A working person's best friend is hands down The Slow Cooker.  You can make so many delicious things in it!  And the best part is you just set it and forget it and come home to a house filled with the most intoxicating aroma that feels as though you've been standing over the stove all day long.


  • 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
  • 2 lbs (900 g) ground chuck beef (85% lean 15% fat)
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup (150 g) white onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans (30 oz/900 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) cumin
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) ground coriander
  • 4 tsp (20 ml) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar


  • Store-bought taco shells
  • A selection of hot sauces
  • 1 cup (240 ml) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (240 ml) shredded iceberg lettuce


  1. Set slow cooker on brown/saute at 400F.(200C). Drizzle oil in the cooking pot and brown meat until cooked through.
  2. Then add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  3. Press: Slow Cook. Allow to slow cook on low for anywhere for 3-7 hours.
  4. Just before serving check add 1 tsp white vinegar, stir to combine. Serve with store-bought taco shells, cheese, shredded lettuce and hot sauce.
  5. Makes for great easy leftovers too!


  • If not making in a slow cooker, use a large stockpot or dutch oven.
  • Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil in the pot and saute onions until soft and tender.
  • Then brown meat until cooked through, then add all ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes until most liquid is evaporated.
  • Add vinegar, stir and serve!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g
Brownie cake scooped into a mug with ice cream

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    1. I would say 7 hours. I wouldn’t go longer than that 🙂 Hope you enjoy! These are SO good and easy!!

      1. Yes you could do that but I find the flavor is better with the spices called for in the recipe. There’s a lot of adding salt and MSG in those little packets. But if you were using one, I would probably use the whole 1 oz packet (on the back of the packet they will tell you how much to use for 1 lb of meat. I was in the grocery store yesterday and checked for you ha! And the brand I saw said to use the whole thing (1 oz) to 1 lbs of meat. Hope you enjoy!

  1. This is such good taco meat! My 18-month-old absolutely adores it; I have to double the recipe so I can keep it in the freezer for her. Than you for all your wonderful recipes, Beth!

    1. Awe I love hearing when recipes are a hit with the kids! (having 2 picky palates of my own I know what an enormous compliment this is! HA!) My girls really love this recipe too! So glad it’s a hit with your family too!

        1. Oh sure! Great idea! I would use dark meat turkey so it won’t dry out, all that time in the slow cooker, or a mix of dark and white if possible, or throw in a little fattier ground pork as well :). Hope you enjoy it!