Beef Tacos with Refried Beans

These classic tacos are the perfect weeknight meal for the entire family! Make your own beef taco meat with homemade taco seasoning and refried black beans. Stuff the filling in your favorite toasted taco shells and top with lettuce, tomato, Greek yogurt and thick cut cheddar cheese. Delicious, nutritious and easy to make!

A sheet tray filled with classic beef tacos.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to make your own taco seasoning

Making your own taco seasoning is super easy and quick, and you likely have most of the spices in your pantry! Simply mix together the spices and herbs and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use. Here’s my easy recipe:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional add-ins: 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or dried oregano leaves, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and salt to taste

It’s easy to make, customizable and healthier than most store-bought taco seasoning packets.

How to make your own taco meat

  • Heat a little oil in a large skillet. I personally like to use avocado or organic canola oil, but use whatever you have on hand.
  • Rinse and drain a can of black beans. Dry them off a bit, then add them to the skillet. “Fry” them while using the back of a fork or potato masher to mash the beans. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Add a pound of ground beef or whatever ground meat you have on hand. Saute the meat while breaking it up into pieces using a wooden spoon, until it’s browned. If you’re using a higher fat meat, drain the excess fat.
  • Add the refried beans back to the pan with 1/4 cup of water. Add the taco seasoning and simmer for a few minutes. And voila! You have your own homemade taco meat with homemade seasoning and refried black beans.
Several white bowls with taco ingredients in them.

How to build your tacos

Taco making is great because everyone loves tacos and the filling, shells and toppings are totally customizable.

  • Tortillas: I like to use whole wheat tortillas (grab a lower sodium option for the kiddos) or corn tortillas. I always toast them in a hot, dry skillet before building my tacos. If you’re up for making your own, here is a great recipe.
  • Taco Meat: See above for my favorite filling recipe with ground beef and refried beans!
  • Toppings: The sky is the limit here, folks! For this classic recipe, I used shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomato, thick cut shredded cheddar cheese and dollops of plain Greek yogurt. You could also add diced or sliced avocado, sliced green onion, diced bell peppers and onions and salsa (tomato salsa, fruit salsa, salsa verde, etc.). Whatever you love to put on tacos, put on your tacos!
  • Sauce: I feel like Greek yogurt or sour cream counts as sauce, but you could also add hot sauce or taco sauce, fresh lime juice, a mixture of Greek yogurt, sour cream or mayo with lime juice and chopped chipotle chilies, etc. Drizzle away!

In summary: toast your shells, add your filling and put your favorite toppings and sauce on top. And enjoy!

Equipment

  • A large skillet (non-stick or stainless will work)
  • A wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A colander to rinse and drain the beans
  • A fork or potato masher to mash the beans
  • A cutting board and chef’s knife to chop the toppings
Several white plates with beef tacos on each.

Check out my Baby’s First Foods blog to learn more about how to prepare and serve family meals like this one to babies and toddlers using the baby-led feeding method.

More Beef Recipes from the Vault:

Print

Beef Tacos with Refried Beans

Easy classic beef tacos with homemade taco seasoning and refried black beans with all the fixins.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10-15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10-15 mins
  • Total Time: 20-30 mins
  • Yield: Makes 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Entree, Dinner
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired, American

Ingredients

Scale

Taco Meat:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 15-ounce can no added salt black or pinto beans
  • 1-pound lean Ground Beef
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt (optional)*

Tacos:

  • 8 8-inch corn tortillas or lower sodium whole wheat tortillas, toasted
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes, sliced or diced
  • ½ cup shredded romaine lettuce

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium. Add the beans and sauté 2-3 minutes. Use the back of a fork to mash the beans. Transfer the mashed beans to a bowl and set aside.
  2. To the skillet, add the ground beef. Sauté 6-8 minutes or until beef is cooked through to 160 F, using a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces as it cooks. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Fold in the mashed beans.
  3. Scoop out a portion of the taco meat to serve to your baby.
  4. *Season the remaining taco meat with the salt, if desired. For adults and older children, serve taco meat stuffed instead of taco shells with cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Serve immediately.

Notes

For serving babies:

  • Ages 6-9 months or babies using the palmer grasp: slice the tortillas and tomatoes in strips; serve thick cut cheddar cheese shreds; pre-load Greek yogurt with pieces of taco meat onto a baby spoon and let baby feed self. 
  • Ages 9-12+ months or babies using the pincher grasp: slice the tortillas and tomatoes in small cubes; serve thick cut cheddar cheese shreds; serve the taco meat in small chunks; and pre-load Greek yogurt on a baby spoon and let baby feed self.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 taco
  • Calories: 226
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 78mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Cholesterol: 41mg

Keywords: tacos, beef, entree, dinner, weeknight, stove-top, skillet, 30 minute meal

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