Air Fryer Taco Meat: A Quick and Easy Recipe for Delicious Ground Beef

Can You Air Fry Taco Meat?

Yes indeed! Air frying taco meat is not only possible but also incredibly easy. In fact, it’s even more convenient than using a skillet. With just 5 minutes of cooking time, you can make the most flavorful air fryer ground beef. Use this versatile meat to create mouthwatering taco bowls or indulge in some air fryer ground beef tacos. You’ll love how quick and simple it is to make perfectly cooked, juicy beef mince in the air fryer.

End the Burger Boredom with Air Fryer Taco Beef

If you’re tired of the same old burgers but happen to have some ground beef on hand, let’s switch things up and make air fryer taco beef! Packed with protein, it’s the perfect choice for creating delicious beef and black bean taco bowls.

Homemade Taco Seasoning: Your Flavorful Secret

I’ll share a recipe for a homemade taco seasoning mix that not only gives your taco meat a burst of flavor but is also lower in sodium compared to store-bought packets. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you’re more than welcome to use a pre-made taco seasoning packet.

Lean Ground Beef: A Healthy Option

In this recipe, we’ll be using lean ground beef, a choice approved even by mainstream organizations such as the AHA. You can feel confident about incorporating nutrient-rich whole foods like beef into your diet without any fear. It’s all about striking a balance between enjoying delicious foods and living an overall healthy lifestyle.

A Shortcut with Delicious Results

The air fryer is a fantastic little shortcut that helps you cook beef more quickly than using a skillet. However, don’t worry if you don’t have an air fryer—I’ve got you covered with skillet directions too. But seriously, investing in an air fryer is worth it. It’s one of my all-time favorite kitchen appliances.

See also  Smoky Gouda and Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese: A Flavor Explosion

Calories, Net Carbs, Protein: Here’s the Breakdown

Each serving of our Air Fryer Taco Meat contains 209 calories, just 0.7 grams of net carbs, and a whopping 22.4 grams of protein. Please note that these figures only account for the ground beef and homemade taco seasoning, excluding any additional taco toppings.

Why Air Fry Ground Beef?

You might be wondering why you should consider air frying ground beef. Well, here are some reasons that I think will convince you:

  • Easy to customize: Apart from making excellent taco meat, you can jazz up your air-fried ground beef with different seasonings. Try BBQ seasoning, steak seasoning, liquid smoke, Cajun spice—whatever suits your taste buds.
  • No need for the oven: Especially during the summer, you’ll appreciate not having to turn on the oven and heat up your house. Plus, air frying ground beef takes only 5 minutes!
  • Lower fat content: When you air fry ground beef, the fat drips away as it cooks. Unlike in a skillet, where the beef sits in the fat and isn’t drained off unless you make an effort to do so.
  • Perfect for keto and low-carb diets: With less than 1 gram of net carbs per serving, our air fryer taco meat is an excellent fit for those following very low-carb diets.
  • Gluten-free goodness: This air fryer ground beef recipe is gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, NCGS, or a wheat allergy, you can enjoy it without any worries.
  • Nutrient-rich and delicious: Beef is a fantastic natural source of heme iron, an easily absorbable form of iron. It also provides various other essential nutrients, including zinc.
  • Versatile and tasty: Our air fryer recipe allows you to add protein to a wide range of delectable meals. Burritos, tacos, salads, soups, stews, and casseroles can all benefit from the mouthwatering air fryer beef.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To make air fryer taco meat, you’ll need just three main ingredients:

  • Lean ground beef (I recommend using 90/10 ground beef)
  • Taco seasoning
  • Water

For those who want to create scrumptious taco salad bowls, you’ll also need the following additional ingredients:

  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Black beans
  • Chopped tomato
  • Roasted corn (thawed from frozen)
  • Chopped avocado
  • Lime juice
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Pickled jalapeno
  • Sliced scallions
  • Salsa

Equipment Required

To make ground beef in an air fryer, you’ll need an air fryer and a metal spatula. If you choose to cook on the stovetop, a cast-iron skillet will be necessary.

See also  Kale Apple Slaw: A Refreshing Twist on Coleslaw

I personally use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven to develop my air fryer recipes. However, if you have a Ninja Foodi, Cosori, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Power Air Fryer, or any other air fryer, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly.

Let’s Get Cooking: Air Fryer Taco Meat

To begin, preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C) for 5 minutes. Once it’s nice and hot, crumble the raw ground beef and place it on a hot air fryer tray. Carefully return the tray to the air fryer, ensuring it’s on the top rack for air fryer ovens.

Cooking Time and Temperature

You might be wondering, “How long do I cook ground beef in an air fryer? At what temperature?” Well, in our case, it takes just 5 minutes in a preheated air fryer set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C) to achieve perfectly air-fried ground beef.

Start by air frying the beef for 4 minutes, which will give you mostly browned ground meat. Use a metal spatula or clean hands to further crumble the beef into smaller pieces. Return the beef to the air fryer and cook for an additional 1 minute at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C).

It’s worth noting that the safe internal temperature for ground beef is 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71C). However, for taco meat, it’s not necessary to use a meat thermometer. Simply ensure that the beef is well-browned and cooked to your liking. Once it’s ready, transfer the beef to a medium-sized bowl.

To create air fryer taco meat, add ¼ cup of water and taco seasoning to the cooked ground beef. Give it a good stir, and it’s ready to be used. If you’re interested in making taco bowls, follow the directions provided in the recipe card below!

For those who prefer stovetop cooking, here are the instructions: Brown the beef over medium heat in a skillet lightly misted with cooking spray. As it cooks, add the taco seasoning. Break the beef into crumbles using a spatula until the spices are fully incorporated.

As the beef starts to dry out, add ½ cup of water. Continue cooking until most of the water has evaporated. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Leftover Inspiration

You can store leftover cooked taco meat in a covered container in the fridge for 3-4 days. It also freezes well—just vacuum seal it or place it in a freezer bag with the air pressed out. When reheating, you can use the beef in air fryer tacos, burritos, salads, soups, stews, and casseroles.

See also  Bacon Egg and Cheese Oatmeal (Stovetop or Instant Pot Savory Oats)

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

Consider this recipe a level 1 option in terms of helping with fat loss. Air fryer taco beef offers a lean protein source that you can add to your meals. If you decide to make the taco bowl salad recipe, you’ll have a satisfying and light meal with fewer than 550 calories.

If you have higher energy needs, feel free to add whole grain crackers or croutons to your taco salad. This addition provides extra B vitamins, fiber, and ensures you’re covering all your food groups. Alternatively, serve the air fryer taco meat in taco shells with classic taco toppings.

When you serve tacos, the serving of grains tends to be relatively large compared to the smaller portions of protein and veggies. However, with salad bowls, you can load up on low-calorie ingredients like lean proteins and a variety of veggies with minimal added oil.

During my weight loss journey, taco salad bowls were my go-to on taco nights. They’re an easy way to create a healthy and filling meal. Plus, you won’t be left with leftover veggies like you sometimes have when using them as taco fillings. We’ve all had an excess of shredded lettuce after making tacos, right? Taco bowls solve that problem and make sure nothing goes to waste!


More Air Fryer Ground Beef Recipes

Looking for more creative ways to cook ground beef in the air fryer? Look no further:

  • Meatloaf in the Air Fryer
  • Stuffed Burgers in the Air Fryer
  • Air Fryer Nachos

Join Our Community!

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter to stay up-to-date with all the latest and greatest recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

The Disclaimer…

Please note that all recipes on this website may or may not be suitable for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. For help in determining the best dietary pattern for you, consult with a registered dietitian or your physician.

The nutrition information provided is only an estimate and is offered as a courtesy. Actual figures may differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Calorie information on food labels can sometimes be inaccurate, so don’t stress too much about the numbers.

For more information on how our recipe levels can support your weight management goals, refer to my “Overnight Oats No Sugar” post. Now, let’s get cooking!


This updated recipe for air fryer taco meat includes air fryer instructions, new photos, a recipe video, and additional nutrition information. Enjoy!