If you have extra taco meat after Taco Tuesday, you can repurpose it in one of these easy leftover taco meat recipes!
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Easy Leftover Taco Meat Recipes
Got leftover meat from taco night? We have plenty of ideas for you here. From taco salad to taco casserole, you’re sure to find something just right for your family’s next dinner or game day snack.
Although all of these recipes call for making a batch of taco meat from scratch, you can simply skip that step and use your leftovers! It’s a great way to transform your leftover taco meat into something completely different.
(PS – If you need a recipe for yummy tacos, try our Quick and Easy 20-Minute Tacos recipe.)
The title of this recipe sums it up—it’s easy and it has everything you love about tacos just in a different form. Our taco salad recipe hits the spot when you’re craving tacos but want something a bit on the healthier side (it’s salad after all!).
Make your taco salad even better by adding Doritos (other other corn chips) for the perfect crunchy vehicle for your leftover taco meat. With all the traditional fixings, this salad is sure to become a favorite.
Make this one-dish dinner with layers of refried beans, leftover taco meat, sour cream, cheese, and taco toppings!
4. Taco Ring
A game day staple, taco ring is the appetizer you didn’t know you needed. Store-bought crescent rolls are filled with taco meat and cheese, then baked until everything is deliciously melty. Topped with your favorite taco toppings, this one is impossible to resist.
5. Taco Soup
Taco Soup is a great way to use up leftover taco meat since the meat should be seasoned and cooked before adding it—you’re already a step ahead when you pop in your leftovers. This soup is warm, filling, and perfect for cold nights. You can cook it on the stove in a Dutch oven or in a slow cooker.
Like taco casserole, only with Doritos! Seasoned ground beef is layered with melty cheese, crunchy Doritos, and your fave taco toppings. You can put out all the topping options—like salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, and whatever else you enjoy—and everyone can customize their servings just the way they like.
John Wayne casserole layers taco-seasoned ground beef, veggies, cheese, and a creamy sauce over a biscuit dough base. This is another great way to use up your leftover taco meat, as it will need to be pre-cooked before adding in to the casserole. This one-dish dinner has it all, and will definitely hit the spot.
Cheesy Taco Sticks are like a combination of mozzarella sticks, pizza pockets, and tacos. Pizza dough pairs with ground beef and cheese and baked for 30 minutes until melty and delicious. These taco sticks are perfect to serve at parties—dip them in your favorite queso or guacamole.
Walking what? Yes, walking tacos. As in, a taco that’s meant to be eaten while walking around. Take your leftover taco meat and put it to good use by piling it into a small Fritos or Doritos chip bag and topping with your favorite taco toppings. It’s the perfect to-go snack and you’ll wonder why it took you so long.
This classic dish made with ground beef, taco or chili seasonings, cheese, and Fritos will use up your leftover taco meat in a delicious way. Layer a bag of Fritos on the bottom of a baking dish, then top it with a mixture of taco-seasoned ground beef, enchilada sauce, kidney beans, and corn. Finish with a layer of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Taco garnishes like sour cream, lettuce, olives, and avocado take it over the top after it comes out of the oven.
11. Cheesy Beef Enchiladas
Use your leftover taco meat to make incredible enchiladas. You will be amazed by how easy it is to make enchiladas that taste even better than the ones in a restaurant. It is especially quick when you already have that juicy ground beef!
12. Taco Stuffed Shells
I love this meal for a Tex-Mex meets Italian dish. The taco seasoning is delicious in the stuffed shells and adds a whole new twist to a classic recipe. Everyone in the family will love this easy pasta dish, and it is the perfect way to use that taco ground beef in your fridge!
13. Taco Lasagna
Put that leftover taco meat to good use when you make taco lasagna. Instead of noodles, this lasagna is made with soft tortillas which are layered together to make a perfect meal. I love that this recipe feeds a crowd and only takes minutes to assemble!
More Leftover Taco Meat Ideas
Only have a little bit of taco meat left to use? Here are some additional meal ideas to help you use the rest up!
- Make nachos. Place tortilla chips on a sheet pan and top with the leftover taco meat and shredded cheese. Bake at 350º until the cheese has melted, then add your favorite toppings.
- Whip up some taco potatoes. Bake Russet potatoes or sweet potatoes (or make sweet potatoes in an Instant Pot!) and top them with warmed up taco meat, shredded cheese, and your fave taco fixings.
- Put together a taco pizza. Take your favorite pizza crust, add a layer of salsa instead of pizza sauce, then top with leftover taco meat and cheese. Garnish with shredded lettuce, sour cream, sliced black olives, and anything else you like on tacos!
- Use it in quesadillas. Simple! Just make cheese quesadillas and fold in the taco meat too.
- Make taco pasta. Toss the taco meat with cooked pasta, cheese, salsa, sliced green onions, and black olives.
- Or taco mac! Stir the leftover taco meat into your favorite mac and cheese recipe.
Taco meat will only keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. That is why it is important to make one of these leftover taco meat recipes, and put that juicy, tender ingredient to good use before it goes bad!
Yes! You can definitely reheat leftover taco meat. Warm it in the microwave until hot. Or, toss it back into a skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Reheated taco meat will taste just as good as the day it was made!
No! If taco meat has been sitting on your counter for longer than two hours, it is best to throw it away. The USDA says that all perishable foods, including taco meat, need to be refrigerated and should not be left out for more than 2 hours.