Published Aug 16, 2023
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With savory spices, seasoned ground beef, corn, beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes, Taco Soup is a soupy twist on taco night. Add your favorite toppings to finish these colorful bowls.
This beef taco soup is a warm, cozy bowl of soup that is taco-meets-soup-meets-chili. With a rich tomato base, it falls squarely in the middle of all three. It is also a complete meal that offers the chance to pile the finished bowls high with delicious toppings like sour cream, tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro. This is a great make-ahead or freezer meal that reheats well so we’ve included a printable freezer label below! Take it to someone you know who needs a home cooked meal or save it for a busy day ahead.
By the way! There’s a vegetarian version of this soup too! Check out Slow Cooker Three Bean Taco Soup for a veg-friendly variation.
What Makes This Meal Weeknight-Friendly
Taco Soup takes 25 to 30 minutes to get cooking, but after that, it can simmer hands-off until you’re ready to serve it. It can even be transferred to the slow cooker for a few hours if you want to get dinner ready early and head out the door. Either way, this is one of those hearty soups with very little chopping and just a handful of spices to build flavor.
- Spice Blend – The flavor foundation of the soup is a combination of taco-inspired dried spices – ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, and ground coriander. Looking to simplify things even more? Use a packet of taco seasoning instead!
- Ground Beef – I like 86% lean ground beef in this recipe – it has a lot of flavor and isn’t too heavy. Feel free to use a leaner ground beef if you prefer, though you may not get quite as much rich flavor in the finished dish.
- Diced Green Chilis – These small, 4-ounce cans of chopped green chilis can be found in the international aisle at the grocery store. Be sure to check the label – these come in mild and spicy, so get the one that works best for you.
- Kidney Beans – These add substance and protein to the soup. Remember how I said this soup has some chili-like elements? Kidney beans are part of the reason. Feel free to skip these or to use another variety – black beans or pinto beans would be great.
- Diced, Fire-Roasted Tomatoes – Be sure to get the “fire-roasted” tomatoes for this! The roasted flavor really adds depth to the soup.
- Tomato Puree – This gives the soup a slightly thicker base. You could also use “tomato sauce” or “crushed tomatoes”.
How to Make Beef Taco Soup
- Make spice mix. Combine cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, garlic powder, ground coriander, and black pepper. Or use store-bought taco seasoning!
- Saute beef. Brown the beef until cooked through. Add the spice blend and diced green chilis.
- Add tomato base and vegetables. Add in corn, beans, stock, tomatoes, and tomato puree.
- Simmer. Let the soup simmer to develop flavor. You can do this on the stovetop for 30 minutes or in the slow cooker on low for 3 to 4 hours.
- Serve with your favorite taco toppings!
Toppings for Taco Soup
- Tortilla Chips or Tortilla Strips
- Sour Cream
- Sliced olives
- Shredded Cheese
- Chopped green onions or cilantro
- Sliced jalapeños
Freeze This Meal
This meal reheats well on the stovetop or slow cooker.
To Freeze: Prepare the soup as directed, but skip the step to simmer on the stove or in the slow cooker. Allow to cool completely and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 months.
To Reheat: Defrost completely in the refrigerator (this can take 2 to 3 days). Transfer to a Dutch oven or slow cooker and simmer as directed.
If you’re going to freeze this meal, print the recipe below for a label with reheating instructions that you can attach to the top of the meal.
Printable Freezer Label
Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!
40 minutes on the stovetop. Or you can transfer the soup to the slow cooker and let it finish cooking for 3 to 4 hours on low.
Letting the soup simmer for longer will reduce the liquid and thicken the soup. You can also add tomato paste (4 to 6 tablespoons) to give the tomato base a more rich tomato flavor and thicker texture.
Any type of cheddar works well in taco soup. It is also great with a Mexican blend or Monterey Jack.
Taco soup is a complete meal on its own, especially when you add flavorful toppings. You can also serve it with cornbread or rolls.
Yes. This recipe works great with leftover taco beef. I often make it by starting with my slow cooker taco meat.
More Weeknight-Friendly Soups
- Simple Chicken Noodle Soup with Miso – The addition of flavor-packed miso and a tiny list of ingredients make this a cozy, comforting Chicken Noodle Soup that can be made any night of the week.
- Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup – This soup has a small list of ingredients and can simmer all day. It is smooth and creamy (without the addition of any cream), vegetarian, and gluten-free. Serve this light but satisfying soup in bread bowls and load it up with your favorite taco toppings.
- Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup – Loaded with tender beef, vegetables, and barley in a fragrant broth. There’s no pre-cooking required – just combine everything in the slow cooker, simmer it low all day, and come home to this comforting meal.
- Instant Pot Baked Potato Soup – Load this creamy baked potato soup up with all the toppings! This rich and creamy potato soup recipe is the perfect quick and easy dinner for a cold winter night.
- 20-Minute Smoky Tomato Soup with Pasta and Chickpeas – Smoky Tomato Soup with Pasta and Chickpeas is made with ingredients you already have in your pantry. This warm, cozy goodness can be on the table in 20 minutes.
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Taco Soup Recipe
- Dutch Oven or Large Stockpot
Spice Blend (see note)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (be sure to use chili powder here which is a blend of spices for chili; do not use cayenne pepper which will be much too spicy)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use avocado or grapeseed oil)
- 1 pound ground beef, preferably 85% lean
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chilis, mild or spicy
- 1 1/2 cup corn (frozen and defrosted or canned and drained)
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 10-ounce can tomato puree
For Serving (optional)
- tortilla chips
- sour cream
- sliced black olives
- shredded cheese
- chopped green onions or cilantro
- Make the spice blend by combining cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, garlic powder, ground coriander, and black pepper.
- Heat a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add cooking oil and let it heat for 1 minute. Add ground beef and saute, breaking it apart as it cooks, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add spice blend and diced green chilis to beef and stir well to combine. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes more, until spices are fragrant.
- To beef, add corn, beans, stock, tomatoes, and tomato puree.
- Bring soup to a simmer.
- Finish soup on the stovetop or slow cooker: * Stovetop: If finishing soup on the stovetop, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. (Note: The soup should simmer gently but not boil over, so adjust the heat as needed.) Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. *Slow cooker: To finish soup in the slow cooker, transfer to the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
- Taste soup and season with some more salt or pepper, if needed. If you’d like it to be spicy, stir in some hot sauce.
- Serve soup with any toppings you’d like.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.