This potato taco recipe goes all the way back to my childhood! A New Mexico family favorite, ground beef and potato tacos are a delicious and affordable family meal that are ready in about 30 minutes. It’s the perfect dinner for any night of the week!
My family has been making ground beef and potato tacos for as long as I can remember, and I can confidently say this recipe easily stands the test of time. It’s also one of those recipes that isn’t an actual recipe, and can be made from memory in a hurry and under pressure.
Adding potatoes to tacos tends to be a regional thing and is very popular in New Mexico, where my mother’s family is from. No matter where you come from or what type of tacos you’re used to, you will appreciate the potato trick. Adding potatoes stretches a single pound of ground beef to feed a larger family, while in no way sacrificing flavor.
Ingredients for Potato Tacos
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 medium sized Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- Cooking Oil and Salt & Pepper
- Corn tortillas
- Garnishes – shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and salsa
How to make ground beef and potato tacos
Begin by adding the diced potatoes to a microwave safe bowl and stirring in a big pinch of salt. Microwave for 5-6 minutes, stirring gently halfway in between.
Warm 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, and add the potatoes. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in the ground beef, and sauté till beef is cooked through and potatoes are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Making homemade fried taco shells
We never ate store bought hard taco shells because homemade was always so much better! But don’t worry, you don’t have to actually make tortillas from scratch. Simply grab some corn tortillas, a frying pan and some oil, and you’re on your way!
If your tortillas aren’t super fresh, go ahead and microwave a stack of them for about 30 seconds, just to soften them up a bit. This will prevent them from cracking down the middle when you try to fold them to form shells.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the tortilla flat side down. Allow to cook and absorb the oil for about 30 seconds, then flip over and repeat the process. Then gently fold the tortilla in half, and cook for about 1 minute, till the shell starts to brown just a bit and crisp up. Flip over and repeat.
Place cooked tortilla on a paper towel lined plate, and cook up your next batch.
Why microwave the potatoes first?
My mom and grandma have always cooked up the diced potatoes first, before adding the ground beef, and so I too cooked them this way for many years. But my results were often inconsistent, resulting in potatoes that were either under cooked or overcooked with a charred edge.
Doing a pre-cook in the microwave first, primes them for a quick and thorough cooking in the pan. The result is a perfectly tender potato that almost tastes steamed, and complements the texture of the ground beef perfectly. I use the same method in my beef sirloin tip steak with garlic potatoes.
Half way through cooking your potatoes, give them a gentle stir, being careful not to stir too vigorously to release their starches. If you do that, your potatoes will start to get gummy and stick together. So be nice and gentle!
If you don’t have a microwave though, you can still do it the way my grandma did, and cook the potatoes in a covered frying pan over medium low heat for at least 15 minutes, stirring often until potatoes are fork tender but not mushy.
Other ways to eat the ground beef and potato tacos filling
Besides stuffing these in tacos, the filling is delicious in many other ways! Use it as a topping for a taco salad or scramble up with eggs for a hearty breakfast. Of course it is perfect for breakfast burritos too!
If you wish to have leftovers simply, double the recipe and keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. You can also freeze the filling in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months. This potato taco recipe as is, easily feeds 4 people eating at least 2 tacos each. That is the absolute beauty about tacos; a bit of meaty filling really does go a long way once you add in toppings!
I hope your family enjoys these tacos as much as mine does, and has for generations. Please let me know if you have any questions, and certainly let me know if you give them a try!
Potato Tacos Recipe
Beef & Potato Tacos
- 1 lb ground beef grass fed if you can swing it
- ½ lb white or russet potatoes peeled & diced
- salt & pepper
- tortillas and toppings of choice including lettuce cheese and salsa
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the diced potatoes and stir in a pinch of salt.
- Microwave for 6-8 minutes, gently giving the potatoes 1-2 stirs halfway between cooking (if you stir them too vigorously, you will release their starches and the potatoes will start sticking together as they cook)
- Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and add a small swig of cooking oil.
- Add in the potatoes and give a quick stir in the oil.
- Add in the ground beef, making sure to break apart meat into smaller chunks as you cook it all the way through.
- Add in salt & pepper to taste and serve inside warmed taco shells or on top of a salad.
- Add toppings of choice.
Other delicious family recipes!
- Loaded Healthy Carnitas Bowl
- Instant Pot Chicken Meatball Soup
- Instant Pot Korean Beef Tacos
- Breaded Cod Fish Tacos