This potato taco recipe goes all the way back to my childhood! A New Mexico family This beef and potato taco recipe goes all the way back to my childhood! A New Mexico family favorite, these crispy potato tacos are a delicious and affordable family meal that are ready in about 30 minutes. It’s the perfect easy dinner recipe for any night of the week!
My family has been making ground beef and potato tacos my whole life, and I can confidently say this recipe easily stands the test of time.
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. Or, skip the ground beef altogether and just cook up the potatoes for delicious and filling vegetarian tacos!
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy recipe with minimal prep and cook time, allowing you to have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes
- Very affordable dinner that can feed a family of 5 for about $10
- Delicious with a unique and great flavor the whole family will love
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 medium sized Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (or switch it up with sweet potatoes for sweet potato tacos)
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- Olive oil or vegetable oil and salt & black pepper
- Corn tortillas that you’ll fry up by hand are the preferred way to enjoy these tacos, but of course you can use soft flour tortillas
- Favorite toppings including shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, radishes, cilantro and salsa or a squeeze of lime
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 large skillet over medium heat, and add the diced onions, cooking till just translucent. Then add in the potatoes, cooking for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in the ground beef to the potato filling, and sauté till beef is cooked through and potatoes are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but if you want to get fancy, you can also season with a bit of onion powder and garlic powder.
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 large frying pan over medium-high 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. Grab the taco shell with a pair of tongs and hold over the pan for a bit, allowing excess oil to drip off, then place cooked tortilla on a paper towel lined plate.
Doing a pre-cook in the microwave first primes the potatoes 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.
We always serve our tacos with a side of Spanish rice and either refried beans or black beans.
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!
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!
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.