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Instant Pot Taco Meat

Instant Pot Taco Meat

This Instant Pot taco meat is so quick and easy to make, from fresh or frozen ground beef (or turkey) – and it tastes fantastic!

Anyone else’s family go crazy for taco night? Mine definitely does!

Cooked Instant Pot taco meat from frozen ground beef.

Tacos are almost as popular as spaghetti around here, which is saying something since my family could happily eat spaghetti every night.

This Instant Pot taco meat is one of our favourite meals.

It’s quick and easy to make, you can make it with fresh or frozen ground beef, and I always have all the ingredients on hand.

Cooked ground beef in the Instant Pot, cooked from frozen.

Plus there’s no prep work. Toss your block of frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot, cook it for 20 minutes, then saute with some spices and tomato sauce for a couple of minutes.

That’s all there is to it.

And it tastes SO good. We love it. Perfect for tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, taco salad, and probably a few other things too!

Cooked Instant Pot taco meat in a bowl.

Can you put frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can put frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot! Instant Pot frozen ground beef is the best on those nights you forget to defrost your meat ahead of time.

And it’s actually the only way I make taco meat in the Instant Pot. If my ground beef (or turkey) is already thawed, I really don’t see the point in cooking it in the Instant Pot.

When it’s thawed, it’s just as fast and easy to make taco meat on the stove as in the Instant Pot.

But when my ground beef is frozen, the Instant Pot is the way to go for making taco meat! Fast, easy, perfect taco meat in less than 30 minutes from frozen ground beef.

The ingredients for taco meat in the Instant Pot - ground beef, tomato sauce, and seasoning.

What kind of meat is used for tacos?

We like to use ground beef for tacos most of the time. But I have also made this taco meat with ground turkey and it’s delicious too, so use your preference.

My favourite way to make taco meat is actually to make a double recipe and use one pound each of ground beef and ground turkey.

But I will say that most of my family prefers tacos with just ground beef!

A bowl of cooked ground beef taco meat.

Can you freeze taco meat?

Yes, you can definitely freeze taco meat!

I do this all the time. Making a double recipe of this taco meat takes no more time to do and then I can freeze half of it.

Of course, that all depends on how hungry everyone is. Sometimes a double batch almost all disappears in one meal here because everyone loves tacos!

I have also made this taco meat ahead of time and then frozen it for a quick meal in the future and it freezes beautifully. Let it cool completely and then freeze it flat in freezer bags as it defrosts quicker when it’s frozen flat.

A spoonful of ground beef taco meat held above the Instant Pot where it was cooked from frozen ground beef.

How to make Instant Pot Taco Meat:

  • I always start with frozen ground beef (or turkey) for this taco meat. If your beef is fresh, I’d recommend making these 20 Minute Ground Beef Tacos instead – they’re made on the stovetop – but you can still make taco meat in the Instant Pot with fresh beef if you prefer. The cook time will decrease.
  • The time required to pressure cook ground beef from frozen depends a little on how thick your blocks of ground beef are – mine are typically 1-1.5 inches thick.
  • 20 minutes of pressure cooking time does not quite cook the frozen ground beef all the way through. This is okay as it makes it easier to break up, and sauteing for a minute or two will finish cooking it.
  • You can double this recipe easily if you like, just lay the one pound blocks of ground beef side by side (or overlapping a bit) on the trivet. The cook time remains the same.
  • Use this taco meat for tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, or taco salad.

Here are some other great Mexican recipes for you:

Cooked Instant Pot Taco Meat.
Yield: serves 4

Instant Pot Taco Meat

Taco meat in a bowl made from frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot.

This Instant Pot taco meat is so quick and easy to make, from fresh or frozen ground beef (or turkey) - and it tastes fantastic!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 pound (454g) ground beef (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and pour the water into the inner pot, 1 cup for a 6 quart Instant Pot and 1 1/2 cups for an 8 quart Instant Pot.
  2. Place the trivet on top of the water and put the frozen block of ground beef on top of it.
  3. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to the locked position. Adjust the valve so that it is in the sealing position.
  4. Press the pressure cook button and adjust the time to 20 minutes for frozen ground beef, or 15 minutes for fresh ground beef. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then will start counting down the time.
  5. When the pressure cooking time is complete, quick release the pressure by moving the valve to the venting position. When all the pressure is released, remove the lid.
  6. Discard the liquid in the Instant Pot and remove the trivet, leaving the ground beef in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  7. The beef will be almost completely cooked, with just a bit of pink remaining in the middle. Press the saute button on the Instant Pot and cook, stirring the beef and breaking it up until it is completely browned and crumbled. This will only take about a minute.
  8. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
  9. Continue to cook with the saute setting, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Use this taco meat for tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, or taco salad. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


This recipe can be easily doubled, just place one pound blocks of ground beef side by side on the trivet to cook (or a bit on top of each other if necessary). If doubling, you can use a 398mL (13.5fl oz) can of tomato sauce - it’s a bit more than 1 1/2 cups but not enough to matter.

While this taco meat can be made with fresh ground beef as well, I will say that I always make it with frozen ground beef. If my ground beef is fresh, I make this stovetop version instead - 20 Minute Ground Beef Tacos.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/4 recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 556mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

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