Make 12 individual taco appetizers in a muffin tin with this Easy Taco Cups Recipe with street taco size flour tortillas! 🌮
This Taco Cups recipe makes an easy appetizer, but these will go great as dinner on taco night, too!
This recipe makes a full 12 adorable mini tacos and are hearty enough to be dinner for three or four people…
… or plate as individual starters or to go on a party platter for card night.
This Easy Taco Cups Recipe for our Taco Tuesday really took me by surprise.
Now, I love Mexican food.
So it is no surprise that I enjoyed these taco cups, but what did surprise me is that I think this fun twist is my new favorite way to eat tacos.
Eating tacos has always been a messy experience.
You know what it’s like!
It isn’t easy to get the sour cream evenly distributed inside of the taco shell.
There seems to be an art to perfectly getting the salsa spread in between the taco shell and along the full length of the taco.
Somehow you actually manage to build the perfect taco and then you lay it down on the plate and everything starts spilling it out.
Then take a bite and you may as well get a fork.
This is part of the taco experience, or at least that is what I tell myself.
The tortilla that forms the cup in this recipe beautifully keeps your delicious taco all together perfectly.
They come out of the tin easily, keep their shape and make the best little bowls that hold all the good stuff as you bite into it.
Taco cups are really the same as traditional tacos with fillings served in tortillas that are then baked in the oven in a muffin tin to heat up the tortilla and melt the cheese.
We just pressed the tortillas to fit in each muffin pan and stuff them with cooked lean ground beef (or even ground chicken) and topped with cheese.
The warm, golden brown tortillas come right out of the muffin cups holding their shape, with all of the delicious taco contents nestled inside.
Finally, you top with your favorite taco toppings and enjoy. They are a really fun appetizer you can put together quickly.
About the tortillas
Choosing the proper tortillas for taco cups is crucial.
If they are too small in diameter, they won’t hold enough meat mixture and toppings.
If they are too big, the sides will go up too high over the sides of each cup.
We experimented with various sizes and brands for a standard-size muffin pan.
On average, it appears that the average muffin pan cup is about 2” in diameter.
However, when putting a tortilla in the muffin cup, you will be folding it and pushing it down to fill the height of the cup.
After experimenting with various sizes and types of tortillas, we settled on the Mission Street Tacos Flour Tortillas.
They are 4.5” in diameter, and they folded up perfectly in the cup.
Also, they weren’t too thick or too thin.
They really were just right.
Now, if you can’t find that brand, don’t worry; just look for that diameter or as close to it as you can find.
Another point to consider when buying the tortillas is that most muffin pans have 12 cups in them, so be sure to get a package of at least 12.
Ingredients for taco cups
The ingredients for taco cups can really be broken into two groups.
The first group is core ingredients which are tortillas, ground beef, and cheese.
The second group is the toppings.
Everyone prefers something different for toppings.
One of us on the team hates sour cream.
I love sour cream.
One of us doesn’t really care for onions.
You see where this is going.
Taco cup topping should likely be a choose your own adventure, but below, we will share our favorite toppings that we choose for our creations.
Tortillas – As we said above, this taco recipe is best with flour tortillas that are about 4.5” in diameter. They make the best mini taco cups.
Corn tortillas didn’t work out well for this recipe because when trying to put the corn tortillas in the muffin cup they would crack.
Flour tortillas just fold and bend easier, but you do still want to be careful.
I did break one of the flour tortilla cups, but thankfully we had purchased two packages so I just ate that one as a snack.
Ground Beef – When it comes to ground beef, we tend to use whatever taco meat that we have on hand when it will be used with a lot of other savory ingredients, like this recipe. We use a large skillet to cook the ground beef on medium heat; and we don’t drain it unless it’s fattier than 80/20.
Note, you can use ground turkey or ground pork, or any combination of these.
Cheese – We like to use shredded cheddar cheese in a bag for these types of recipes. Try and find cheese that you feel will melt well. We use a lot of sharp cheddar or Tillamook Mexican blend cheese.
You can also add refried beans or black beans to the cups in a thin layer before the beef and cheese goes into the oven.
Sour Cream – When it comes to sour cream for tacos I think freshness matters. Yes, yes you can keep a container of sour cream in the fridge for a long time but how is it really?
A hot tip for keeping sour cream fresh longer is to always use a fresh, clean spoon to get a dollop of sour cream for serving.
Another hot tip is to scoop out just what you need and then immediately put the container back into the fridge.
Salsa – What kind of salsa you use on your taco cups can really switch up the mood of the meal.
You can use some store bought salsa like we did for this recipe.
We actually used Hell On The Red Mild Party Did Salsa on this recipe.
This is a salsa that is made right here in Texas and I fell in love with it many years ago.
But if you have more time you could also make a simple homemade salsa or get a bit festive and make a sweeter fresh mango salsa.
Avocado – Avocados are a must for any taco night. So go ahead and cut up avocados and get them ready while your taco cups are baking.
My hot tip for you with avocado is to wait until the last minute to cut up the avocado chunks or the flesh turns dark and unappetizing-looking.
Green Onion – Green onions add flavor and color. We used the bright green portion of the green onions.
How to make taco cups
Making taco cups is a multi-step process. To make this recipe, you will need to use a skillet on the stovetop to cook the ground beef and a muffin pan and your oven.
My first step is gathering all the ingredients and the tools needed to make this recipe. (See “Supplies to gather” below.)
Step 1: Cook your ground beef in a large skillet on medium-high heat and cook it with the taco seasoning. (If you’re out of a taco seasoning packet, add 1 T garlic powder and 1 T of chili powder plus salt to taste instead.)
If you have a pan full of grease I do recommend draining the grease before adding in the taco seasoning.
Some ground beef is fattier than others, and while that is tasty, you don’t want the taco cups to be soggy because of it.
Step 2: Prep your muffin pan and fold the tortillas into each cup.
Flour tortillas are pliable to a point, so gently fold them and press down to fill each muffin cup.
Step 3: Fill the tortillas with a couple of spoons of ground beef.
We pressed the ground beef into the cup to create space for other ingredients.
While you don’t have to do this it does help the cups hold all of the toppings.
Step 4: Add some shredded cheese on top of the ground beef.
Step 5: Bake the taco cups in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tortillas are golden.
Oven times will vary with this but you are trying to brown the tortillas and melt the cheese.
Step 6: Add the toppings to the baked taco cups.
We added sour cream, salsa, avocado, and green onion, and served it up with a lime wedge or two.
Supplies to gather
- Wooden Spoon
- Mixing Bowls
- Muffin Tin
- Non-Stick Spray
- Measuring Spoons
- Cutting Board
The bottom line
I think you’re going to love this amazing finger food for a sleepover, game day, taco night, anytime, really.
When we are ready to take that first delicious bite, that anticipation is everything.
We take that bite and then the taco shell breaks and everything spills out.
None of this happens when you are eating this Taco Cup.
The tortilla has just the right amount of give, but it stays together perfectly after heating in the muffin tin for a few minutes.
Use your favorite taco toppings, but you can start with my recipe here.
It’s a fun dinner and it is now a crowd favorite.
If you love homemade tex-mex like I do, this Mexican Tortilla Casserole came out good, too.
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
- 1 Package of Mission Flour Street Taco Tortillas
- 1 ½ c Shredded Cheese
- Optional: Refried beans or black beans
- 1 Avocado
- 1 Green Onion
- ⅔ c Sour Cream
- ⅔ c Salsa
- Optional: lime wedges for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Brown ground beef in a skillet.
- Follow taco seasoning instructions and add the seasoning to the cooked ground beef.
- Once the beef is cooked, place it in a bowl and set aside.
- Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place one tortilla round in each muffin tin, then press the tortilla firmly down in each cup.
- Spoon 2 T of ground beef into each tortilla cup, then press the beef down with the back of a spoon.
- If using, spoon in a teaspoon of beans to each cup.
- Sprinkle each cup with a topping of cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the tops of the tortillas are golden.
- While your Taco Cups are baking, dice the avocado into ½-inch pieces. Add to a bowl and set aside.
- Thinly slice the green tops of the green onions. Set aside.
- Once your timer is done, take them out of the oven to cool for 2 minutes.
- Top each cup with salsa, avocado, sour cream, and green onions. We added topping sparsely at first then increased the amounts and added more toppings as necessary.
- Plate with a lime wedge if you want and enjoy.