Instant Pot Taco Meat: Quick, Easy, and Flavorful Dinner Solution

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

If you’re craving tacos but short on time, Instant Pot taco meat is your new best friend. This recipe transforms simple ingredients into deliciously seasoned meat that’s perfect for any taco night. With the magic of the Instant Pot, you’ll have tender, flavorful meat ready in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.


  1. Ground Beef – 1 pound of 80% lean ground beef, thawed.
  2. Onion – 1 medium onion, finely chopped.
  3. Garlic – 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  4. Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon of olive oil to sauté the aromatics.
  5. Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon of chili powder for a warm and spicy kick.
  6. Cumin – 1 teaspoon of ground cumin to add earthy flavor.
  7. Paprika – 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika for depth.
  8. Oregano – 1 teaspoon of dried oregano for an herby touch.
  9. Tomato Paste – 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for richness.
  10. Beef Broth – 1/2 cup of beef broth to keep the meat moist.
  11. Salt – 1 teaspoon of salt, adjust to taste.
  12. Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper for seasoning.
  13. Lime Juice – Juice of 1 lime to brighten the flavors.
  14. Optional Add-ins: Jalapenos, chopped cilantro, or a dash of hot sauce for extra heat.

Equipment Needed

For preparing Instant Pot taco meat, you’ll need some essential kitchen tools and appliances. Ensuring you have the right equipment on hand will help streamline the cooking process and guarantee the best results.

Instant Pot

The primary piece of equipment required for this recipe is an Instant Pot. A versatile appliance, the Instant Pot will pressure cook the taco meat, significantly reducing the cooking time as compared to traditional stovetop methods. You can use a 6-quart model, which is suitable for most family-sized portions.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurements are crucial for achieving the perfect flavor balance in your taco meat. You’ll need a set of measuring cups and spoons to measure out your spices, broth, and other ingredients.


A heat-resistant spatula will be useful for sautéing the onions and garlic, and for breaking up the ground beef as it cooks. This ensures even cooking and prevents the meat from clumping together.

Ladle or Spoon

A ladle or large spoon is necessary for stirring the ingredients and later for serving the taco meat. This will help in mixing the spices evenly and ensuring every bite is flavorful.

Knife and Cutting Board

A sharp knife and a cutting board are essential for chopping the onions, garlic, and any optional add-ins like jalapenos and cilantro. A sturdy cutting board will provide a safe and efficient chopping surface.

Small Bowl

A small bowl is handy for mixing the spices together before adding them to the pot. This step ensures all your spices are evenly incorporated into the meat.

Electric or Manual Juicer (Optional)

If you decide to add lime juice to your recipe, an electric or manual juicer can efficiently extract the juice from the lime, giving your taco meat that fresh, zesty flavor.

Preparation Steps

Creating Instant Pot taco meat is simple and efficient. Follow these steps to ensure a seamless cooking experience.

Gather Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (preferably 80% lean)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or homemade seasoning (see below)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • Optional: Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Taco Seasoning (if making homemade)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Prepping the Ingredients

  1. Chop the Onion: Finely chop the small onion and set it aside.
  2. Mince the Garlic: Mince 3 cloves of garlic and place them in a small bowl.
  3. Mix the Seasoning: If you are making homemade taco seasoning, mix all the spices listed above in a small bowl.
  4. Measure the Liquids: Measure out 1/2 cup of beef broth or water and set it aside.
  5. Juice the Lime (Optional): If you are using lime juice, extract the juice from 1 lime using a juicer and set it aside.

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to make Instant Pot taco meat with ease and achieve a delicious outcome.

Brown the Meat

  1. Set your Instant Pot to the sauté function.
  2. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat.
  3. Once hot, add 1 pound of ground beef.
  4. Break the beef into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Cook until the meat is thoroughly browned, around 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Add Spices and Liquids

  1. Add 1 chopped onion and 3 minced garlic cloves to the browned beef.
  2. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and garlic is fragrant.
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning over the meat mixture.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of beef broth and 1 cup of tomato sauce.
  5. Stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly, ensuring the seasoning and liquids are evenly distributed.

Pressure Cook

  1. Secure the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
  2. Select the pressure cook function and set the timer for 10 minutes on high pressure.
  3. Once finished, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  4. After the natural release, manually release any remaining pressure by carefully turning the valve to the venting position.
  5. Open the lid and stir the meat mixture.

Serving Suggestions

After cooking your Instant Pot taco meat, there are several delicious ways you can serve it. Below are some favorite serving suggestions to try.

For Tacos

  1. Warm Your Tortillas: Use either corn or flour tortillas. Warm them on a skillet or directly over a gas flame for a slightly charred flavor.
  2. Assemble: Spoon the taco meat onto the tortillas.
  3. Add Toppings: Add shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
  4. Serve: Serve immediately while the meat and tortillas are still warm.

For Burritos

  1. Prep Large Tortillas: Use large flour tortillas for wrapping.
  2. Layer Ingredients: Place a generous scoop of taco meat in the center of each tortilla.
  3. Add Fillings: Add cooked rice, black beans, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.
  4. Wrap It Up: Fold the sides of the tortilla inward, then roll it up tightly from one end to the other.
  5. Heat: Optionally, you can heat the burrito on a skillet to make it crispy.

For Taco Salads

  1. Create A Base: Start with a bed of shredded lettuce in a large bowl.
  2. Layer Meat: Spoon warm taco meat over the lettuce.
  3. Add Veggies: Top with diced tomatoes, red onions, corn, and black beans.
  4. Include Avocado: Add avocado slices or guacamole.
  5. Cheese and Chips: Sprinkle with shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.
  6. Dress It Up: Drizzle with your favorite dressing, such as creamy cilantro or a zesty lime vinaigrette.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Making Instant Pot taco meat ahead is a fantastic way to save time and ensure you have a quick meal option ready. Here’s how you can best prepare and store your taco meat.

Make-Ahead Instructions

  1. Cook the Taco Meat: Follow the complete recipe to prepare your Instant Pot taco meat.
  2. Cool Completely: Let the cooked taco meat cool to room temperature.
  3. Portion and Store: Divide the meat into individual or family-sized portions and place it into airtight containers or resealable freezer bags.
  4. Label: Write the date and contents on the containers or bags to keep track of freshness.
  5. Refrigerate or Freeze: Store the containers in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Storage Tips

  1. In the Refrigerator: Place the cooled taco meat in airtight containers. It will keep for 3-4 days.
  2. In the Freezer: Pack the meat into freezer-safe bags or containers, ensuring you remove as much air as possible. It will remain good for up to 3 months.
  3. Reheating Instructions:
  • From Refrigerator: Reheat the meat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through, about 5-7 minutes, or microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • From Freezer: Thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, reheat using the same methods as refrigerated meat. For a quicker option, reheat directly from frozen in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until evenly warmed, about 10-15 minutes.

Following these tips will ensure your Instant Pot taco meat remains delicious and ready for whenever you need it.


Instant Pot taco meat is a game-changer for busy taco enthusiasts. Its convenience and rich flavors make it a must-try for any kitchen. With straightforward steps and minimal equipment, you’ll have delicious taco meat ready in no time.

Whether you’re making tacos, burritos, or a taco salad, this Instant Pot recipe offers versatility and ease. Plus, with make-ahead and storage tips, you’ll always have a quick meal option on hand.

Elevate your taco nights with this simple yet flavorful Instant Pot taco meat recipe. Your taste buds will thank you!

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