Classic Homemade Tacos (No Packet Required!)


I have always loved classic “American style” tacos served in hard shells and topped with the standard lettuce, tomato, and cheese. To me, this is just such a classic, comforting dish.  Growing up, we always made these with the yellow packet filled with spices (and loads of sodium). It is, however, super easy to make your own seasoning and it tastes even better than the processed packets you may currently love. Try it, I wouldn’t lie to you! 🙂

Classic Homemade Tacos (No Packet Required!)

Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican American
Author: Adapted from Food Everyday/Martha Stewart
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: Makes 8
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit this if making for kids that don’t like spice)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • coarse salt
  • 8 hard/crisp taco shells
  • lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, lime, and cheese for serving
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, cayenne (if using), and chili powder. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the beef and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Drain any excess grease if necessary.
  3. Serve in hot taco shells (heat in the oven) with your favorite toppings.