I have a confession to make: if I had to choose between taco soup and chili, I’d pick taco soup every time. In my opinion, taco soup is the easier recipe. Chop a couple of aromatics, dump in a few canned veggies, set it all to simmer, and in less time than it takes to debate over whether or not to add beans, dinner is ready.
Taco soup has all of the flavors of your favorite beef taco with hearty add-ins like beans, chiles, corn, and chunky tomatoes. With 90% of the ingredients coming from the pantry, taco soup can act as a “break in case of emergency” dinner.
What Is Taco Soup?
Taco soup is a beef-based soup that’s simmered with a homemade taco spice blend. Fire-roasted tomatoes and green chiles add a hint of smoky spice to the soup, and the addition of black beans and corn make it a one-pot meal. Shredded cheese and cilantro are stirred into the soup just before serving to provide it with creaminess and a bit of brightness.
Take the taco bar concept and apply it to your soup! Set out a variety of toppings and leave your guests to decide how to garnish their bowls. My ideal bowl: tortilla chips or strips, crumbled queso fresco, sliced jalapeños, diced red onions, cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Make This Soup Your Own With These Swaps
- Replace the black beans with your favorite type of bean. Pink, kidney, navy, or pinto beans are great substitutes for black beans. You can also omit the beans altogether.
- Fresh or frozen corn, tomatoes, and beans can be used in place of the canned varieties. Use equal weights for all the ingredients. Be sure to thaw and drain any frozen veggies or legumes in the fridge before adding.
- Use chipotle or ancho chile powder in the taco spice blend for a smoky flavor. Or swap it entirely for a store-bought blend. Note that the salt content can vary from brand to brand, so season to taste.
- Instead of Colby Jack or cheddar, use Monterey Jack or a spicier pepper Jack cheese.
- Make this a chicken or turkey taco soup by replacing the ground chuck with ground chicken or turkey and the beef stock with chicken stock.
- To reduce the amount of sodium in the soup, use a low or no-salt beef stock.
Make Taco Soup In a Slow Cooker
This recipe is easy to adapt to a slow cooker:
- Brown the ground chuck, onions, and garlic as instructed in the recipe.
- Transfer the beef mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add all of the soup ingredients except for the cheese and cilantro.
- Cook the soup on low for 6 to 7 hours. Stir in the cheese and cilantro just before serving.
How to Store and Freeze
The flavors of this taco soup deepen as it sits. Since the beans absorb some of the broth during storage, you can add more beef stock to the soup if it becomes too thick.
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the soup is warmed through.
To freeze taco soup, cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw the frozen soup in the fridge and reheat it on the stove or in smaller portions in the microwave.
Warming Soups Ready In Under An Hour
Stovetop Taco Soup
You can adjust the amount of salt in the spice blend to suit your tastes. For complete control, exclude the salt entirely, then season the assembled soup to taste.
For the taco spice blend
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the taco soup
1 pound ground chuck (80/20)
1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/2 cups), diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (not drained)
3 cups beef stock
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.25-ounce) can corn, drained, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed and drained
4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Shredded cheddar cheese
Crumbled cotija cheese
Diced red onions
Prepare the taco spice blend:
In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the taco spice blend ingredients until combined.
Cook the meat and aromatics:
Add the ground chuck to a 6-quart dutch oven. Turn the stove to medium heat and use a large spoon to break up the meat in the pot. Sprinkle all but 1 1/2 teaspoons of the taco spice blend over the raw meat (save the rest of the spice mixture to add to the soup later, if desired). Brown the meat over medium heat until most of the pink is gone, about 5 minutes.
Add the diced onions and garlic to the pot with the ground meat. Sauté the veggies with the meat until the onions and garlic are glossy and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Use a spoon to remove excess fat from the pan and discard.
Add the tomatoes, beef stock, and chiles:
Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes, beef stock, and green chiles.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the black beans and corn:
Stir in the black beans and corn, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring once. Taste the soup, adding more of the spice blend to taste.
Add the cheese and cilantro:
Turn off the heat. Stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro. Serve topped with your favorite toppings.
Store leftover taco soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||27%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||44%|
|Total Carbohydrate 25g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||21%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 66mg||332%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|