America's Test Kitchen Beef Tacos

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 25 mins

This is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Quick and easy to make, and the tacos taste much better than fast food. You can adjust the spices to your liking, if necessary, and top with your favorite garnishes, such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, sour cream, etc. Enjoy!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until simmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in the ground beef.
  6. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar.
  8. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  9. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Divide the filling evenly among taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately.


Most Helpful

Excellent recipe. Forms a nice sauce that you can never get with a packet. One change I would make would be to cook the ground before you start the recipe. Even the leanest ground beef will still have a significant amount of fat. I cooked the beef about 90%, then removed the beef with a slotted spoon and poured the juice into a fat separator. When the directions called to add the beef, I added the beef with the juice leaving the fat behind, nearly a 1/4 cup! While you could remove the fat at the end, it would take much of the spice flavor away. Many spices are fat soluble and you'd be loosing a lot of flavor that way.

FoolishChemist October 03, 2011

Chicken broth? Cider vinegar? Brown sugar? Sure sounded strange to me. But I was on a mission to find a superior beef taco filling, so I was willing to step outside my own little 'box'. I followed the recipe very closely except for adding a few extra splashes of tomato sauce when the mixture seemed to be getting too dry. (Since they live up to their name at ATK and do test things so thoroughly, I assume this was because the package of ground beef I used was slightly over a pound, so it would have absorbed more liquid.) Weird ingredients or not, the tacos were just delicious. Such an improvement over a seasoning packet!! Next time I'm going to add some jalapeno slices, increase the vinegar a smidgen and probably omit extra salt altogether. So easy to adapt to personal tastes, and sooo good!

highcotton March 08, 2010

I realize ATK has perfected these recipes, so there's no need to mess with them, but inevitably, I don't have an ingredient or two that I need on hand when I'm ready to cook. So, instead of 2 tsp cider vinegar, I used 1 tsp each of red wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar. Living in New Mexico, I couldn't help but add 2 tsp of red chile powder and a heavy dash of smoked paprika. As another user suggested, I added a few dashes of worcestershire sauce. Oh yeah, and I used ground bison instead of beef. Sorry, ATK, but I think mine turned out even better than yours would've. Best tacos I've ever had.

Danielle A. July 15, 2014

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