5 Simple and Delicious Ways to use Leftover Taco Meat

Leftovers are always a nice treat, but after eating the same dish twice, it kind of gets old. When we make tacos… we make a tacos, which means we usually have a lot of leftover taco meat that I have to find alternative recipes for to mix things up. Today, I’m sharing 5 simple and delicious ways to use taco meat that the whole family will love.

delicious ways to use leftover taco meat the whole family will love

What happens if you throw an amazing Taco Tuesday party with a Taco Bar and have a ton of leftover taco meat? You turn the meat into new and tasty dishes, that’s what! 

Tacos are a family favorite around here and it’s not unusual for me to make way too much meat and then need to find ways to use the leftover taco meat. I have found several delicious recipes that our family looks forward to that use it up. In a way, this is like big batch cooking at its finest!

How much Taco Meat per Person?

If you’re not wanting a ton of leftovers, how much taco meat should you make per person? The rule of thumb is to make 1/2 pound of taco meat per person eating. If you’re feeding kids, you might not have to make that much, but that typically amounts to 2-3 tacos/person. 

taco meat ingredients for creamy, filling tacos

Delicious Taco Meat Recipe

While we’re at it, let’s talk about the best taco meat ever. This recipe is simple, but the add ins make it super creamy and filling. 

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or 4 tbsp homemade taco seasoning 
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce 
  • 8 oz salsa verde

Cook the ground beef. Drain and return to the pan. Mix in the other ingredients and let it warm on the stove until ready to serve. Serves 6

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

If you’re looking for a way to cut costs and eliminate yucky ingredients, making a homemade taco seasoning recipe is a great place to start. You can made a mason jar full for just a couple of dollars that will last you forever, plus you’ll know exactly what’s going into your tacos. Not to mention, you can cater your taco seasoning to your particular taste.

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
two tacos and how long does leftover taco meat last

How Long Does Taco Meat Last?

As with most meats, taco meat lasts in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you plan to keep it past 4 days store it in the freezer. To freeze, put it in a ziploc bag, label it with the date, and store it for up to 3 months. Whenever you need some meat, pull the frozen taco meat out and let it thaw for an hour before using it.

taco soup with leftover taco meat on a white tablecloth and a floral napkin

5 Amazing Recipes to use up Taco Meat Leftovers

Each of these recipe ideas come together quickly and require minimal work. They are great ways to use up those leftover taco ingredients from earlier in the week. The recipes for each dish is at the end of this post!

1. Stuffed Mexican Peppers

You won’t find many kid approved, healthy recipes, but this is one of them! Stuffed mexican peppers are simple and full of nutrients, plus, it uses a lot of meat up! This is a great recipe because it takes minimal work, especially when the meat is already cooked, and fills up hungry bellies. You can eat these on their own, or top them with sour cream and little salsa to add some extra creaminess.

2. Taco Breakfast Burritos

These are a family favorite and a nice change from the normal sausage breakfast burritos. They are the best way to use up leftover soft tortillas along with the taco meat. That means, you already have two of the ingredients on hand! Bundle up the rest of your favorite fillings and enjoy this all-in-one meal.

taco grilled cheese sandwiches for leftover taco meat

3. Taco Grilled Cheese

Need a great way to use up extra taco meat? Taco grilled cheese is a great way to elevate this humble meat. This cheesy dish is the best part of having a lot of taco meat  and a mexican spin on a classic grilled cheese. What’s better than buttered bread, gooey cheese, and meat? I’m not sure.

4. Taco Soup

Taco soup is one of my favorite ways use up meat for us on busy days. I love how this is a “dump and go” recipe, especially if you’re using frozen taco meat. Yes, that’s right, if you forgot to thaw your meat, just remove it from the ziploc and toss it in the slow cooker with the other ingredients to thaw and cook at the same time. This soup is simple, but it’s packed with so much flavor and doesn’t feel like a lazy meal at all. Serve this with your favorite toppings – green onions, tortilla strips, fresh salsa, and tortilla chips.

taco biscuits to use leftover taco meat

5. Taco Biscuit Bundles

This is a great dinner idea for those of you with little kids and comes together in minutes. Taco biscuit bundles is an easy recipe that every kiddo looks forward to and uses only three ingredients- biscuits, taco meat, and cheese. Easy, peasy.

Set these down on the dinner table and watch them disappear in no time. They are especially nice for cold nights when everyone is wanting some warm, comfort food. Keep in mind that these make an easy lunch idea for lunchboxes!

taco tuesday taco bar use up extra taco meat

5 Delicious Ways to use up Leftover Taco Meat

It's not unusual to find me making too much taco meat on Taco Tuesday. I have found 5 simple and delicious recipes to use up the extra.
Prep Time 20 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people
Calories 100 kcal


  • skillet, baking dish, knife


Stuffed Mexican Peppers

  • 6 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup white rice, cooked
  • 1 1/2 lbs leftover taco meat
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or mexican cheese blend

Taco Breakfast Burritos

  • 1 1/2 lbs taco meat
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup refried beans, optional

Taco Grilled Cheese

  • 12 slices bread
  • butter
  • 1 lb taco meat
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 12 slices colby jack cheese

Taco Soup

  • 1 lb taco meat, or ground meat of any kind
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, with juice
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans water, use the tomato cans for the water
  • 1 jar salsa

Taco Biscuit Bundles

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 lb taco meat
  • 2 cups mexican cheese blend


Stuffed Mexican Peppers

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash bell peppers, slice the top stem off, remove seeds.
  • Place bell peppers in a 9×13 pan, or a pan that fits your peppers, but keeps them standing. If they are small enough, you might be able to use a muffin tin.
  • Mix the taco meat, white rice, and tomatoes together and stuff into the peppers.
  • Cover dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce oven to 325 degrees
  • Remove and top peppers with cheese. Leave uncovered and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Taco Breakfast Burritos

  • Scramble the eggs and red bell pepper together.
  • Add the taco meat to the egg mixture.
  • Spread refried beans on the tortilla, if using.
  • Fill each tortilla with a scoop of the egg/meat mixture. 
  • Sprinkle with cheese and cilantro. 
  • Roll up the tortilla, burrito style.
  • Wrap in aluminum foil.
  • Bake in a 350 degree over for 20 minutes to heat the burrito.

Taco Grilled Cheese

  • Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  • Place bread, butter side down on a pan.
  • Mix taco meat and salsa.
  • Top with cheese followed by a spoonful of meat mixture.
  • Place a slice of cheese on top and put the other slice of bread, butter side up, on top.
  • Broil until golden brown. Flip and broil the other side until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Taco Soup

  • Dump all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and warm through. Enjoy!

Taco Biscuit Bundles

  • Roll out the biscuits out until flat.
  • Fill with spoonful of meat and top with cheese.
  • Pinch the edges of the biscuit together to make a little biscuit pocket or ball.
  • Bake according to the biscuit package directions. Make sure the biscuits are nice and golden brown.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Each of these recipes are tasty ways to use up leftover taco meat.  They are also completely adaptable, so make them your own! 
Keyword how to use leftover taco meat, leftover taco meat, leftovers, taco bar ideas, taco bar side dishes, taco meat, tacos

Need More Ideas? Try these!

If you need more ideas, these recipes are packed full of flavor.

  • Creamy Mexican Dip– This creamy taco dip is perfect for dipping leftover taco chips in. It comes together quickly and is a crowd pleaser.
  • Cheesy Quesadillas– Our family loves this simple dish. It only takes tortillas, taco meat, and cheese and the charred soft shells taste amazing. You can pile these high with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
  • Cheesy Taco Pasta– How can mixing two of the best dishes ever be a bad idea? Well, it isn’t. This creamy pasta dish has cream cheese and garlic and is YUM!
  • Taco Pizza– Again, when Italian and Mexican dishes come together, it just feels right. Grab a premade pizza crust, or make your own, and whip this up for your Friday night.
taco biscuit bundles with leftover taco meat

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