Easy Taco Soup With Ground Beef

Taco Soup
Photo: Diana Rattray
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 65 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (31)

If you believe this recipe will make too much for one meal, you'll be happy to hear that this flavorful taco soup freezes well. The easy soup is made with ground beef, and it's flavored with ranch dressing and taco seasoning. Vegetables include tomatoes, corn, and onions, and pinto beans add extra protein. Feel free to lighten it a bit with ground turkey instead of beef.

Your family will love the topping of crispy tortilla strips, but feel free to garnish the soup with cheese. Take a look at the variations for other possible garnishes and toppings. If you prefer the ease of the slow cooker, see this easy crockpot taco soup.

Serve this well-seasoned soup with cornbread or muffins for a delicious everyday family meal. If you don't have pinto beans, use black beans or great northern beans. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, at least 85% lean
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, if ground beef is very lean
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans
  • 1 can (11 to 15 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained, or about 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes - Mexican style if available
  • 1 can (10 to 15 ounces) Rotel tomatoes (or tomatoes with green chile peppers)
  • 1 packet (about 1 ounce) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 packet Original Hidden Valley ​Ranch Dressing (dry)
  • 2 1/2 cups water or unsalted beef stock
  • Tortilla Strips Topping: (optional)
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

How to Make It

  1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, brown the ground beef in the olive oil. Cook, stirring until the beef is no longer pink.
  2. Add the chopped onion, pinto beans, corn, canned tomatoes, taco seasoning, ranch dressing, and water or beef stock to the ground beef.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour.
  4. When the soup is ready, top with tortilla strips, if using (below), and serve it in big soup bowls.
  1. Serve with a simple tossed salad and hot baked cornbread wedges, if desired.

Tortilla Strips Topping

  1. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, stack a few corn tortillas and cut into strips. Cut as many strips as you need for your guests.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet. 
  3. Fry the strips until crispy.
  4. Remove the crispy tortilla strips to paper towels to drain.

Tips and Variations

  • For a quicker topping, use corn chips or the crispy seasoned tortilla strips available in the salad aisle.
  • Garnish with shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese.
  • Use a can of black beans (rinsed) instead of pinto beans.
  • Popcorn is another popular garnish for soup. 
  • Make the soup with all or part ground turkey.
  • For a vegetarian version, increase the vegetables and double the beans or add a can of drained black beans or navy beans.