Easy Cheesy Soft Shell Beef Tacos

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Soft Shell Beef Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 560kcal


  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 medium or 2 small jalapeño peppers minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • tsp cayenne pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 small flour tortillas


  • All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
  • Preheat your oven to 225°F.
  • Prepare the toppings: Grate 1-1/2 cups of cheese. Dice one ripe tomato. Shred 1/3 of a head of iceberg lettuce. Pit, peel, and dice one ripe avocado. Place all of these and the sour cream into small serving bowls and set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until soft, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the jalapeño pepper and garlic to the onions and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the ground beef, break it up with a spoon, and cook until completely browned, approximately 8 minutes.
  • While the beef is cooking, place the tortillas on a sheet pan and put that in the oven to warm them up for a few minutes.
  • Spoon the warm beef mixture onto one half of each tortilla and top that right away with cheese so it starts to melt. Fold the tortillas over and serve them on a platter with the bowls of toppings.


Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 1195mg | Potassium: 582mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 857IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 423mg | Iron: 6mg

Tacos are such a great fast food that you can easily make at home for a quick meal option. They are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

I do remember the first time my family “made” tacos at home. We had a kit that was basically a yellow box with 12 hard corn tortilla shells, a seasoning packet, and a can of green chilis. We only had to cook the ground beef, fill the shells, and top them with cheddar cheese. 

I honestly did not enjoy these tacos. The seasoning packet was an eerie bright reddish-orange color, the chilis were beyond mushy, and the taco shells completely cracked and crumbled when you bit into them. 

In my humble opinion, there is no reason not to make your own tacos with seasonings that aren’t iridescent and fresh chilis along with other fresh ingredients. You can have a platter of tacos on the table in about 25 minutes.

This taco recipe has ground beef, jalapeño peppers, seasonings, soft taco shells, cheese, and a variety of toppings for each person to customize their own tacos. You only need to prep the toppings and cook the ground beef mixture. If you like, you can gently warm the tortillas in the oven while the beef is cooking.

Notes & Tips

  • You can quadruple the spice blend of chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper flakes so that you have it on hand. Just keep it in a sealed jar.
  • One way to make this super cheesy is to stir the cheese into the ground beef right before you take the skillet off the heat. It will melt and be gooey.

Substitutions & Additions

Avocado Oil: Not everyone keeps avocado oil in their pantry. You can use olive oil or vegetable oil, such as grape seed oil.

Jalapeño Pepper: For a milder taco filling, use 1/2 of a green bell pepper. For a spicier filling, try a couple of serrano chilis.

Ground Beef: For a lighter version of tacos, you can substitute ground dark turkey meat instead of ground beef. For a little more flavor, try chorizo. If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, I suggest using black beans in place of ground meat. For a breakfast taco, use scrambled eggs in the filling.

Cheddar Cheese: I am fond of cheddar cheese in tacos. I like the sharpness and how it melts just enough. For less sharpness, try Monterey jack or pepper jack. If you aren’t looking for a cheese that melts, cotija cheese is authentically Mexican. For convenience, you could use a packaged shredded Mexican blend. For dairy-free tacos, there are plenty of vegan cheeses that work just fine in this recipe. 

Flour Tortillas: Flour tortillas are very easy to fold and remain quite soft. Corn or whole wheat tortillas are a little more substantial and offer the fiber of whole grains. For a gluten-free taco, try cassava or almond flour tortillas. 

Additional Toppings: There are so many toppings you can offer for tacos. I like red or green salsa, guacamole, sliced olives, corn kernels, refried beans, and chopped red onions as options.

More Soft Taco Recipes

I think every home cook should have an arsenal of Taco Tuesday recipes to rely on for quick weeknight dinners. Tacos are generally easy to prepare and they are a complete meal in a single packet. We have a lot of taco recipes and here are some of our favorites.

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