Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

If you follow me (and if you don’t, I’d love it if you did, signups are to the right) you might remember I made an easy one pan Porcupine Skillet Dinner a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly good. Really, we kind of went nuts over it, and that inspired me to see if I could do the same thing with a Mexican style meal. And so my Easy Taco Skillet Dinner was born.

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner


This recipe is super easy (and you can make it even easier by using a packet of taco seasoning instead of the spices) and so delish, I think you’re going to want to make it all the time. And it’s so good, you’ll want to eat it all the time!

About Easy Taco Skillet Dinner:

What you have here is all the flavor of some fabulous tacos cooked along with Mexican rice and black beans (or pinto beans if you prefer and if you want, corn is marvelous in this too) and topped with a generous layer of cheese.  And there are two kinds of cheese, btw, all to tempt you to dig in.

I love a little heat (it’s only very mildly spicy as written) so I used both the cayenne and a hot sauce (optional) and a hot salsa, but this is so easy to tone down to a great family meal by choosing a mild salsa and leaving out the hot sauce and/or cayenne. Then just pass the hot sauce on the side for those who wish to spice things up.

You can serve this Easy Taco Skillet Dinner up in bowls, add it to Burritos as a filling and even use them for actual Tacos. Now there’s a novel idea, lol! Or you might just want to serve this up with tortilla chips and let everyone dig in.

However you serve this easy skillet meal, you can’t go wrong with serving with all your fave accouterments. Maybe a dab of sour cream, a few black olives and/or thinly sliced green onions for a fresh touch. Don’t forget a little avocado.

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

Making Easy Taco Skillet Dinner:

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner is quick, easy and has a minimum of chopping; there is an onion and red bell pepper, but that’s it. And once the spices are added, and a couple cans and jars opened and dumped in, the rice sprinkled over, you’re pretty much done, for a while at least.

Then it will just simmer away, gently, on the stove, completely hands-off as you go about your business until it’s ready. It’s just great for a busy night with a lot going on and barely any time to cook. And one of the best things? The clean-up is minimal. You have one pan and you don’t even have to worry about ground beef and cheese sprinkled all over the stove, the counter, the floor, like you do when traditional tacos are assembled. (Or does that only happen at my house?!)

As mentioned above, you can easily change this Taco Skillet up. Just keep in mind the rice needs the liquid to cook properly, and that includes the water and the liquid in the tomatoes as well as the salsa. Other than that, change out the beans, add corn if you’d like. If you don’t have time to measure out the individual seasonings, just use a Taco Seasoning mix. You’ll want to leave out the spices and garlic if you go that route. Your seasoning will already have all that in it.

Saving Money on Easy Taco Skillet Dinner:

Ground Beef goes on special all the time in big packs. Buy it at a low, break down and freeze in quantities your family uses. And rice? Why not go large – and buy in bags (check the Asian or Mexican food aisles.) Rice keeps just about forever so you’ll want to maximize the savings and usually the larger the bag the cheaper the rice is per pound.

Cheese often goes on special and keeps for weeks, unwrapped in the fridge; when it’s at it’s low, buy it, and if you have more than you think you’ll use, chuck it in the freezer. It will be a bit crumbly when it thaws, so it won’t be so good for slicing and eating, but it’s still perfect for cooking with. A quick little cheese trick: Instead of sprinkling evenly over the top of an item like this, concentrate it in several areas. It will seem like more; it might be hard to tell, but I laid the cheese down in little handfuls in a ring around the outside of the skillet, instead of covering it all with cheese.

You’ll always save a bit if you use your own spices or make your own taco seasoning and use it instead of buying a commercial product. Check out Our Family’s Favorite Taco Seasoning, which we love for its family-friendly flavor. And if you are into some serious heat, you can maximize that effect by using this Smokin’ Chipotle Taco Seasoning.

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

Easy Taco Skillet Dinner


Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

  • Author: mollie
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: Beef Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican & Southwestern


  • 3/4 to 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • lots black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (may use Rotel)
  • 1/4 cup salsa (hot, medium or mild)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion for garnish


In a large skillet with a lid, over medium high heat, add ground beef and cook, crumbling as it cooks. As soon as it starts to give up the juices, add in the onion and bell pepper, continuing to cook until the vegetables have softened and the ground beef is cooked through. If ground beef is very lean it may be necessary to add a little bit of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, stirring for a minute or so until it becomes fragrant. Spoon off excess fat if needed.

Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and briefly stir. Stir in tomatoes with the juice and the salsa and add the black beans and hot sauce. Toss the rice on top and add the 1 1/4 cup of water. Gently stir together, bring to a boil.

Cover with lid and reduce to a bare simmer. Cook for 22 to 24 minutes until rice is just done. If possible, don’t lift the lid or stir until rice is finished.

Turn off the heat and with a spatula, gently turn the mixture from top to bottom. Add cheese to the top. Cover with lid and let sit for five minutes.

Serve garnished with green onion.


  • To make this quicker, instead of the garlic, chili powder, cumin & cayenne, add a packet of taco seasoning or use my home-made taco seasoning. If you’re into heat try my Smokin’ Chipotle Taco Seasoning.
  • If you wish to make this very family friendly, use a mild salsa and leave out the hot sauce and/or cayenne.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Beans, Beef, Bell Peppers, canned beans, canned tomatoes, cheddar, Cheese, complete skillet meal, Green Onion, Ground Beef, Mexican or Southwestern, Monterey Jack, Rice, Rotel, Taco Seasoning

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I’m sharing this recipe out at Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by  Petra @ Food Eat Love and Vanitha @ Curry and Vanilla. Stop by Fiesta Friday and explore. Hint: I’m seeing some Halloween posts and Holiday baking!!

You're going to love this fabulous Easy Taco Skillet Dinner, fast fresh and one pan, it's perfect as a bowl or to fill tacos or burritos. Plus you get to avoid all that taco assembly mess! #TacoSkillet #EasyTacoSkillet

49 thoughts on “Easy Taco Skillet Dinner

  1. Brenda Kerwin

    I’d love to try this with the cauliflower rice, but I’ve just started cooking with that and don’t feel confident about substituting. Have you tried using it in this recipe? This looks amazing!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I have not! I really just use cauliflower rice as a side. I would think it would need a lot less liquid since the cauliflower won’t need to absorb it like the rice does, though. If you do try it, I’d love to know what you did and how it turned out! Mollie

      • Brenda Kerwin

        With all the other liquids in the recipe, I may try it by just omitting the water altogether. What do you think?

        • FrugalHausfrau

          I think you’ll need some water to make the spices all work, even if it evaporates during cooking.. kind of like when you make tacos. Maybe start with 1/4 cup?

  2. Pingback: Easy Taco Skillet Dinner | thebrookcook

    • Hi Tonya, thanks for stopping by to comment. I so wanted to make a burrito/wrap with the leftovers but by the time I was ready to get to the store to pick up tortillas – it was gone! Next time! 🙂

  3. This does sound easy and right up our alley Mollie!! Love the idea of using Rotel tomatoes. And with all that cheesy topping, it looks so inviting. Thanks for another delicious do-able Mexican meal. I know I’m going to find food I really want to make on your blog!! Hope you’re doing well– and the parents too! What do you hear form them about their new place?? xoxo

    • Thanks Chef. 🙂 I’m still settling back into my house in Minnesota so it was really nice to have a panful of this to go through. Lots & lots of cleaning and washing to do when the house has been left alone for some time!

  4. Pingback: Easy Taco Skillet Dinner | My Meals are on Wheels

  5. Great meal. I made a similar mixture (using ground turkey thigh meat from my Canadian Thanksgiving turkey) and was going to put it into burritos etc. I think adding it to a rice/tomato salsa skilled would be very tasty.

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