taco dip recipe with ground beef

Enjoy Taco Night with a Delicious Taco Dip Recipe with Ground Beef

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Updated on April 27, 2024

Taco night is a classic for a reason, but what if you could enjoy all those yummy taco flavours in a fun and easy dip? Look no further than a taco dip recipe with ground beef! 

This recipe is perfect for parties, potlucks, or just a casual get-together with friends and family. It’s packed with savoury ground beef, creamy cheese, and all your favourite taco fixings, making it a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And the best part? It’s incredibly simple to throw together.

So ditch the ordinary and get ready to scoop up the flavour with a fantastic ground beef taco dip!

Building Your Flavorful Fiesta: A Breakdown of Ingredients

A close-up photo of a perfectly layered beef taco dip.

The magic of this taco dip lies in its simple yet powerful combination of ingredients. Each component plays a vital role in creating that irresistible Tex-Mex flavour explosion. 

Let’s delve into the ingredient list and explore what makes each one special:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean is recommended)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning (divided)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained (optional)
  • Your favourite tortilla chips for serving

Building Your Masterpiece: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we’ve assembled our flavorful ingredients let’s get down to creating this masterpiece of a taco dip! Here’s a detailed breakdown of each step, ensuring a smooth and successful dip-making experience:

Browning the Ground Beef

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and crumble it with a spoon as it cooks. This ensures even browning and prevents large chunks.
  • Cook the ground beef for 5-7 minutes or until it’s no longer pink.
  • Flavour Tip: For extra depth of flavour, add a chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan along with the ground beef and cook them until softened before adding the taco seasoning.

Draining Excess Grease

Once the ground beef is browned, removing any excess fat is crucial. Here’s why:

  • Importance of Drainage: Excess grease can make the dip heavy and greasy. Draining it keeps the dipping light and allows the other flavours to shine through.
  • Drainage Techniques: Tilt the skillet at an angle and drain the excess fat into a bowl or container. Alternatively, you can use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked ground beef, leaving the fat behind in the pan.

Mixing Taco Seasoning with the Beef

Now it’s time to unleash the magic of taco seasoning!

  • Reduce the heat to low and add the desired amount of taco seasoning to the cooked ground beef. Stir well to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Taste and Adjust: Taste the seasoned beef and adjust the taco seasoning according to your preference. Want it spicier? Add a little more taco seasoning or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Craving a smokier flavour? A dash of smoked paprika can do wonders.

Combining Cream Cheese, Sour Cream & Taco Seasoning

In a separate bowl, we’ll create the creamy base of our dip. Here’s how:

  • Using a hand mixer or electric mixer (or good old-fashioned elbow grease!), beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the sour cream and continue mixing until fully incorporated. The sour cream adds a delightful tang that balances the richness of the cream cheese.
  • Stir in a tablespoon or two of taco seasoning to this creamy mixture. This adds a subtle layer of spice and ensures the cream cheese layer complements the seasoned ground beef.

Tips & Variations of the Taco Dip Recipe with Ground Beef

The beauty of this taco dip recipe lies in its versatility. It can be easily customised to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Here are some inspirational ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

 Meat Mania

  • Ground Turkey: Substitute ground beef with ground turkey for a lighter option that still boasts a delicious savoury flavour profile. Cook the ground turkey following the same instructions as the ground beef.
  • Chorizo Power: Swap the ground beef with chorizo for a bolder, more robust flavour. Chorizo is a cured pork sausage with a smoky and slightly spicy taste. Be mindful that chorizo releases a lot of fat as it cooks, so you may need to drain it more thoroughly than ground beef.
  • Vegetarian Twist: Replace the ground beef with cooked lentils or black beans for a vegetarian version. Season the lentils or black beans with taco seasoning for an extra punch of flavour.

Spice it Up (or Down)

  • Spice Seekers: Add an extra sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a chopped jalapeno to the seasoned ground beef for those who crave a fiery kick.
  • Tame the Flame: If you prefer a milder dip, simply use less taco seasoning or omit the jalapeno and cayenne pepper altogether. You can also use a mild taco seasoning blend.

Cheese Fiesta

  • Classic Cheddar: The shredded cheddar cheese adds a familiar and delightful cheesiness to the dip.
  • Pepper Jack Party: For a zestier experience, try using pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. Pepper jack cheese has a built-in spiciness that will add an extra kick to your dip.
  • Queso Fresco Fun: Crumbled queso fresco offers a fresh and slightly salty element to the dip. It’s a popular topping for many Mexican dishes and adds a unique textural contrast.
  • Guacamole Goodness: Swap out some of the cream cheese with homemade or store-bought guacamole for a vibrant and flavorful twist. The creamy avocado adds a delightful richness and pairs beautifully with the taco seasoning.

Topping Tales

  • Classic Crunch: Chopped tomatoes, black olives, and sliced jalapenos add a refreshing burst of flavour and vibrant colour to the dip.
  • Guacamole Goodness: Serve your taco dip alongside a bowl of homemade or store-bought guacamole for an extra layer of creamy avocado goodness.
  • Cilantro Sensation: Freshly chopped cilantro adds a bright, herbaceous note to the dip and is a perfect garnish for those who enjoy its taste.

Dipping Duos

  • Beyond the Chip: While tortilla chips are a classic pairing for taco dip, feel free to explore! Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices, or even pita bread wedges can all be fantastic dippers for this versatile recipe.

Remember, these are just a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and toppings to create your own signature taco dip masterpiece!

The Grand Finale: Cooking Time, Servings, and Storage

We’ve prepped, seasoned, and assembled – now it’s time to witness the glory of your creation! Here’s a breakdown of cooking time, servings, and storage tips to ensure your taco dip shines:

Cooking Time

The beauty of this recipe lies in its minimal cooking time. Once your ground beef is browned and drained, the remaining steps involve simply combining ingredients. Here’s the breakdown:

Browning the Beef: 5-7 minutes

Mixing and Layering: 5-10 minutes (depending on how fancy you get with the layering)

Total Cooking Time: Your delicious taco dip will be ready to serve in approximately 15-20 minutes, making it a perfect last-minute appetiser for any gathering.


This recipe typically yields a generous amount of dip, perfect for a crowd. Here’s a guideline:

A Single Serving

Consider 1/2 cup to be a single serving. This is a good starting point, but portion sizes can vary depending on appetite and the presence of other appetisers.

Party Portions

This recipe easily serves 8-10 people, depending on portion size and whether it’s the main appetiser or one among others.


If you find yourself with leftover taco dip, fear not! It stores well for future cravings:


Leftover taco dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavours will meld and mature slightly, making it even tastier the next day.


Reheat leftover dip in the microwave on low power, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Alternatively, you can transfer the dip to a small oven-safe dish and heat it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

Tantalizing Taco Dip FAQs: Answering Your Burning Questions

Your mind is abuzz with taco dip possibilities, and that’s fantastic! This section tackles some frequently asked questions to ensure your dip-making journey is smooth sailing.

Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! This recipe is perfect for making ahead. Here’s how to plan like a pro:

Assemble and Chill: Prepare the entire dip according to the recipe instructions, but skip the final baking/warming step. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminium foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Serving Time Magic: When ready to serve, take the dip out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. This allows the cream cheese to soften slightly for a better-scooping consistency. You can then warm it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

What Are Some Good Store-Bought Taco Seasonings?

There are many delicious store-bought taco seasoning options available. Here are a few popular brands to get you started:

McCormick Taco Seasoning: A classic choice offering a balanced blend of chilli powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and garlic powder.

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: Another popular option with a slightly smoky flavour profile.

Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning: A budget-friendly option known for its bold and flavorful blend.

No matter the brand you choose, remember to adjust the amount according to your taste preference.

How Can I Make This Dip Vegetarian?

This recipe is easily adaptable for vegetarians! Here are two substitutions:

Lentil Love: Replace the ground beef with cooked brown lentils. Season the lentils with taco seasoning or a blend of chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder for a meaty-like flavour.

Black Bean Bonanza: Substitute cooked black beans for the ground beef. You can mash some of the beans to create a thicker consistency and add a bit of texture. Season the black beans with taco seasoning for added flavour.

What Else Can I Serve with Taco Dip?

Taco dip is a versatile crowd-pleaser, and there are many delicious options for dipping! Here are a few ideas:

Classic Crunch: Tortilla chips are the ultimate pairing, offering a satisfying crunch to complement the creamy dip.

Veggie Delight: For a healthier option, try sliced vegetables like bell peppers, celery sticks, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices.

Bread Winners: Pita bread wedges or crackers can also be fantastic dippers, offering a sturdy base for scooping up the goodness.

Navigating Nutrition: A Look at the Calories and Macros 

While this recipe focuses on creating a delicious and crowd-pleasing taco dip, nutritional information is a valuable consideration for some folks. 

Here’s a brief breakdown to give you a general idea:

Understanding the Numbers

It’s important to remember that the exact calorie count and macronutrient (macros) profile (fat, protein, carbs) of your taco dip will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use and the portion size you consume.

General Calorie Range

As a general estimate, a single serving (around ½ cups) of this taco dip can range from 200 to 300 calories. It includes ground beef, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese.


  • Fat: Most of the calories will come from fat, primarily due to ground beef and cream cheese.
  • Protein: Ground beef and cheese contribute a good amount of protein to the dish.
  • Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates come primarily from the tortilla chips (if used for dipping) and the small amount of sugar in the taco seasoning.

Tips for Balancing Your Plate

  • Portion Control: Remember, portion size is key! Enjoying a moderate serving of this dip as part of a balanced meal is perfectly fine.
  • Lean Protein Options: Opting for lean ground beef (90% lean or higher) can help reduce the overall fat content.
  • Veggie Power: Pair your dip with sliced vegetables for a healthy and satisfying crunch that adds essential vitamins and fibre.

Ultimately, the best approach to healthy eating is to focus on a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of nutrient-rich foods. This recipe offers a delicious appetiser option, and by being mindful of portion control and incorporating healthy choices alongside it, you can create a satisfying and enjoyable meal.


This recipe is a symphony of simplicity and taste, bursting with Tex-Mex flair that’s guaranteed to tantalise your guests’ taste buds. So, preheat your oven, gather your loved ones, and get ready to experience the magic of this crowd-pleasing masterpiece. Remember, the key to a successful taco dip is to have fun and embrace the flavour adventure – after all, a little goes a long way, and the smiles around the table will be the ultimate reward.

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