Slow Cooker Tacos!

I know, I know, tacos are like the quintessential easy meal to make on the fly and don't take that long anyhow.  BUT there are still days when it is handy dandy to be able to make them in the slow cooker.  Like this week where the temperatures made turning on the stove or oven about as appealing as jumping into a vat of molten lava or those days when you really don't have even that extra time before dinner.  Or those other days you would rather get dinner together during the toddler's nap rather than try to brown meat with a twenty pound octopus wrapped around your legs.  

I figured out a way to make taco meat in the crockpot for just these days!  The consistency is a bit softer than with the traditional cooking method but we didn't mind.  In fact, it reminds me of the meat they use at Taco Bell (or, if you're a local, the legendary Mighty Taco).  Probably because those places keep their meat warm in what is tantamount to a giant slow cooker.  The past few years I've taken to adding a can of beans and either rice or quinoa to our taco filling.  If you don't already do that, you must start because it DOUBLES the amount of filling you get while not really affecting the taste.  Browning just one pound of meat on its own just isn't going to work for a family of six, five of whom are of the male variety.  Doing it this way we often even have leftovers which are like gold in this house.

Slow Cooker Tacos

1 lb. grass fed or ultra lean ground beef 
(the grass fed or ultra lean is important so you don't end up with a greasy mess)
1 cup brown rice* 
3-4 tbsp. taco seasoning**
3 cups water
1 can rinsed black beans (you could probably add another if you really wanted!)

*I've also used rinsed quinoa which works but it makes it a bit mushier.
**I use my own recipe...if you'd like me to share that sometime, let me know in the comments!

Pour the rice into the bottom of the slow cooker, followed by the water, seasoning, meat, and beans.  It'll look something like this inspiring picture:

Fancy.  I know.

If the meat is frozen, cook it on high about 6-8 hours, for thawed low 6-8...but you know your crockpot best so adjust if need be. If it's thawed, break up the meat a little bit to aid in cooking.  It's best to break up the meat a bit sometime during cooking as well just to make sure the ingredients are being incorporated.  Add more water if it's cooking out before the rice is soft enough.  When you're ready to eat, give it a good stir and break up any large pieces of meat.  

When it's done it'll look something like this:

Stop it.  YOU try making taco meat photogenic.

Obviously load it into your favorite tortilla and top with whatever toppings you desire.  Photogenic or not, it tastes great, fills tummies with real food, and isn't crazy expensive.  And you may even have leftovers!



  1. I love the "20 lb. octopus part. I think the finished looks good but then I am reading it when I am hungry. On hot days anything that can be prepared ahead or away from the stove is great. Those male variety people never feel like skipping a meal either.

    Grandma & Grumpy

  2. Thanks for this...any recipe that doesn't involve turning on the stove or oven in this heat is awesome. We always add beans to our tacos, but I never thought of adding rice...that is a good idea 1 lb of meat really doesn't go too far.

  3. Ummm, yum, I need to make this pronto!

  4. "You try to make taco meat photogenic." Bahahahaha! Seriously though, Mexican food is VERY hard to least from what I've seen on restaurant menus. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Mary...I do this with chicken, too. Chicken breasts, a can or two of diced tomatoes and taco seasoning. Cook it all day and shred before serving. It's one of our favorites and is so easy to make.

    1. Perfect! I need to put that into the rotation! Do you use a mixer to shred? I learned that a few years ago and that is my favorite tip ever!

    2. Yes - just learned that trick recently.

  6. Do you need to brown the mince before? or is your slow cooker one that browns anyway?

    1. Nope! The cooker cooks it completely for you. That's why it's good to give it a mix sometime in the middle so you don't wind up with a block of overcooked meat. The parts that aren't in contact with enough liquid could get too dry... If you're using fatty meat, I would suggest browning before, though, so you can drain the grease then cook it for less time.

  7. I can't wait to try this! (I LOVE getting new summer meal ideas! I never have enough.) Like Jill mentioned, we do this with chicken, but it never occurred to me to try it with beef! Can't wait!

  8. Yum. How I wish my people liked Tex Mex! Opens up so many options!


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