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Instant Pot Taco Meat (Fresh, Frozen)


How to cook Instant Pot taco meat- from fresh or frozen ground beef! This recipe can be alert and on your table in 20 minutes or less.

The Instant Pot is a great way to cook ground meat- we love making Instant Pot ground turkey lettuce wraps, and cook ground beef from frozen all the time! Another great recipe to cook? This Instant Pot taco meat!

spoon with taco meat being held over instant pot

Ready in 20 minutes- those words are music to my ears! Whether you commence from fresh or frozen ground beef, you can still have dinner on the table in just 20 minutes.

This method ensures the beef is never over-cooked and tough, but is juicy, tender and super flavorful!

Reasons you’ll ♡ Instant Pot taco meat

  • you can commence with fresh or frozen ground beef
  • this method will never over-cook your beef, leaving it kind and juicy
  • you can double it up and stash in the fridge or freezer

Recipe video

Let me show you how simple it is to cook taco meat in the Instant Pot: watch the video below! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel, or on Facebook.

collage image showing how to cook fresh instant pot taco meat

Cooking fresh ground beef

  1. Place uncooked ground beef into the stainless steel inner pot of your Instant Pot.
  2. Place the lid on, set the steam release cope with to the ‘sealing’ position, and pressure cook for 2 minutes. Do a fast pressure release. The beef will be partially cooked through. Dump out any grease if there is some.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to sautee, and break the meat up with a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes until no longer pink.
  4. Add 2/3 cup water.
  5. Add taco seasoning (2-4 tablespoons, depending on brand + directions).
  6. Sautee for another 1-2 minutes, until sauce has thickened.

collage image showing how to cook frozen instant pot taco meat

Cooking frozen ground beef

  1. Place 1 cup (for a 6 quart) or 1.5 cups (for an 8 quart) of water into the stainless steel inner pot of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top, and the fully frozen beef on top of the trivet.
  2. Place the lid on the pot, set the steam release cope with to the ‘sealing’ position, and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Do a fast pressure release, and dump out the water. Return beef to the Instant Pot.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to sautee. Break the beef up with a spatula and cook for 2-3 minutes, until beef is cooked through and no longer pink.
  4. Add 2/3 cup of water.
  5. Add 2-4 tablespoons of taco seasoning (depending on the brand- read directions on the package).
  6. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, until beef is fully cooked through and sauce has thickened.

cooked taco meat in the Instant Pot

Recipe tips

  • We do not need to add water to the fresh ground beef; there is sufficient liquid in the beef to allow the pot to arrive to pressure without any extra water. Pretty cool, huh?
  • This recipe works well because we only *partially* cook the beef through on high pressure, before breaking it up and finishing it off on ‘sautee’. This ensures that you will have tender and juicy beef. Cooking it all the way through results in tough, chewy beef that is incredibly difficult to break up with your spatula
  • To bring your Instant Pot taco meat to the next level, try making your own homemade taco seasoning. Double or triple it up and keep it in your pantry for up to 1 year (it tastes so much better than store bought!)
  • Swap ground beef for ground turkey or pork (I don’t love ground turkey as it’s just so lean)
  • You may double the recipe using fresh beef, but you will need to rotate the beef when cooking it from frozen as it will overcook on the outside and still be frozen on the inside: cook for 2 minutes, release the pressure, pry the 2 slabs of beef apart, placing the frozen parts on the outside and the thawed parts on the inside, then pressure cook for 3 more minutes.

Meal Prep + Storage Tips

Taco meat works great for meal prep! Here’s how to do it:

  • fridge– after cooking through, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • reheat- heat in a covered frying pan, or in the microwave until steaming hot
  • freezer- you may also freeze the taco meat after cooking- store in sturdy freezer bags, sandwich stasher bags, or meal prep containers for up to 3 months
  • thaw– overnight in the fridge, or by immersing bags into cold water for a few hours

Find my favorite freezer containers here.

a hand holding a taco

More Instant Pot recipes

Instant Pot Taco Meat (fresh + frozen)

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Mexican

Keyword: gluten-free, ground beef, kid-friendly, low carb, taco

Calories: 158kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 4

How to cook Instant Pot taco meat- from fresh or frozen ground beef! This recipe can be alert and on your table in 20 minutes or less.

Prep Time2 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time17 mins

Instructions

Fresh/Thawed Ground Beef

  • Place the ground beef into the stainless steel inner pot of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot.

  • Put the lid on, set the steam release cope with to the ‘sealing’ position, and select pressure cook (or ‘manual’ for older models) for 2 minutes.

  • When the pressure cooking cycle is complete, carefully move the steam release cope with to the ‘venting’ position (fast pressure release).

  • Open the lid, and carefully drain off any fat if there is some.

  • Set the Instant Pot to ‘sautee’, and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until it is cooked through with no pink remaining.

  • Add taco seasoning and water, and simmer for 1-2 more minutes, until sauce is thickened.

  • Using oven mitts, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to avoid it over-cooking.

Frozen Ground Beef

  • Place 1 cup of water (for 6 quart) or 1.5 cups water (for 8 quart) into the stainless steel inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top of the water, and place the fully frozen beef on the trivet.

  • Put the lid on, set the steam release cope with to the ‘sealing’ position, and select pressure cook (or ‘manual’ for older models) for 5 minutes.

  • When the pressure cooking cycle is complete, carefully move the steam release cope with to the ‘venting’ position (fast pressure release).

  • Using oven mitts, pull the trivet with the beef out of the pot. Pour the water out of the inner pot and return to the Instant Pot. Add the partially cooked ground beef back to the inner pot.

  • Set the Instant Pot to ‘sautee’, and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until it is cooked through with no pink remaining.

  • Add taco seasoning and water, and simmer for 1-2 more minutes, until sauce is thickened.

  • Using oven mitts, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot to avoid it over-cooking.

Notes

1- ground beef may be swapped for ground turkey 2- depending on the brand of taco meat, you may need 2- 4 tablespoons; use the amount of seasoning and water specified on the package. Doubling the recipe Fresh– You may double the recipe using fresh beef. Frozen– You will need to rotate the beef when cooking it from frozen as it will overcook on the outside and still be frozen on the inside:

  • cook for 2 minutes
  • release the pressure
  • pry the 2 slabs of beef apart, placing the frozen parts on the outside and the thawed parts on the inside
  • pressure cook for 3 more minutes

Storage Cooked taco meat may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days in an air tight container. It can be cooled completely, portioned out into freezer bags or meal prep containers, and frozen for up to 3 months. *nutritional information is for 1/4 pound of beef; roughly 1/2 cup of taco meat.

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz * | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 3mg

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