How Many Tacos Can You Make with One Pound of Ground Beef?

Tacos are an easy and delicious meal that can feed a crowd. When making tacos, one of the most important questions is how many you can make with one pound of ground beef. Knowing the right amount to purchase and prepare can make planning tacos for family or a party simple.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to figure out how many tacos you can make per pound of ground beef. You’ll also get tips for picking the best meat, stretching your beef further, and serving up amazing tacos every time!

How Much Meat Goes in Each Taco?

To determine how many tacos you can make with a pound of ground beef, you first need to know how much meat goes into a single taco. Here are the recommended amounts:

  • For a standard taco use 2 ounces of cooked ground beef per taco. This fills the taco shell nicely without overstuffing it.

  • For a stuffed or overloaded taco, plan on 3 ounces of cooked ground beef per taco.

  • For small street taco-sized tortillas, 1-1.5 ounces of cooked beef per taco is plenty.

In most cases, shooting for about 2 ounces or 1/8 pound of cooked beef per taco is ideal. Adjust amounts based on the size of your tortillas.

Raw vs. Cooked Ground Beef

Here’s an important tip: the number of tacos you can make per pound is different depending on whether you’re working with raw or cooked beef.

Raw ground beef loses about 1/4 of its weight when cooked So if you start with 1 pound of raw beef, you’ll end up with about 3/4 pound (or 12 ounces) after cooking it.

Always buy meat raw, but plan amounts based on cooked weight. This will ensure you buy enough beef to account for the weight that cooks off.

How Many Tacos Per Pound of Raw Ground Beef

Now we can put it all together to determine how many tacos you can make with a pound of raw ground beef:

  • 1 pound of raw ground beef yields ~12 ounces cooked beef
  • With about 2 ounces beef per taco, 12 ounces will make ~6 tacos

So when you start with 1 pound of raw ground beef, you can expect to end up with approximately 6 tacos after cooking.

This allows for an average amount of meat in each taco. Keep in mind if you overstuff your tacos, you may get fewer than 6 per pound of raw beef.

How Many Tacos Per Pound of Cooked Ground Beef

If you happen to already have cooked ground beef, the math is much simpler:

  • 1 pound of cooked beef = 16 ounces
  • 16 ounces ÷ 2 ounces per taco = 8 tacos

So if you start with 1 pound of cooked ground beef, you’ll be able to make approximately 8 tacos.

Again, the exact amount can vary a little bit depending on the size of your tortillas and how much meat you pile in each taco. But on average, you can expect about 8 tacos.

Tips for Getting the Most Tacos from 1 Pound of Beef

Looking for ways to stretch one pound of ground beef into even more tacos? Here are some tips and tricks:

  • Use smaller corn or street taco-sized tortillas so less meat fills them up.

  • Load up your tacos with lots of fillings like cheese, salsa, veggies, rice, beans, etc. This makes the meat go further.

  • Brown some TVP (textured vegetable protein) and mix it in with the beef. Adds fiber and meaty texture.

  • Choose 90/10 extra lean ground beef so less fat cooks off, saving you weight.

  • Mix in a chopped vegetable like mushrooms, zucchini, or peppers to bulk it up.

  • Substitute half the beef with cooked beans, lentils, or sweet potatoes for extra plant-based protein and fiber.

With the right techniques, you may be able to stretch one pound of ground beef into 10-12 tacos or more!

What About Seasonings and Flavors?

One pound of ground beef might sound like a lot, but the meat shrinks down quite a bit. Make sure you season it boldly so the tacos pop with lots of flavor. Here are some tasty seasoning ideas:

  • Generous chili powder, cumin, garlic, and pepper
  • Taco seasoning or fajita seasoning mixes
  • Squeeze of lime juice and chopped cilantro
  • Chili-lime salt or citrus salt blends
  • Garnish with chopped onions, salsa, guacamole, etc.

Don’t be afraid to really bring the flavors! It’s easy to add more toppings and garnishes for each person, but you want that beef highly seasoned since there’s not a ton per taco.

Choosing the Best Ground Beef for Tacos

Not all ground beef is created equal when it comes to making tasty tacos. Here’s what to look for at the store:

  • 80/20 ground beef – This has the perfect blend of fat for juicy, beefy tacos. Go higher fat if you prefer.

  • Coarse ground – Larger grind allows the meat to crumble nicely when cooked. Fine ground beef can get mushy.

  • Chuck or sirloin – These flavorful cuts make the most mouthwatering tacos. Avoid super lean beef.

  • Fresh, bright red color – Signifies freshness. Avoid brown, gray, or foul odors.

Invest in the best quality ground beef you can find and your taco night will be a huge success.

Serving Up Your Taco Bar

Once your tacos are ready, here are some tips for an awesome taco bar:

  • Offer both soft flour and crunchy corn taco shells so guests can choose.

  • Keep cooked beef warm in a slow cooker or warming tray. Provide tongs for sanitary serving.

  • Arrange toppings in containers so people can customize their tacos how they like.

  • Include suggested toppings but encourage creativity and customization.

  • Set up an assembly line so you don’t have a bottleneck of people.

  • For large groups, recruit help managing the toppings and taco station.

With the right setup, you can quickly serve up bountiful tacos for any size gathering.

Make Life Easy with Taco Kits

Want to simplify planning even further? Popular taco kits take the guesswork out of portions.

Taco kits like those from Old El Paso contain taco shells, seasoning, and just the right amount of beef so you can skip the math. Just brown the meat, add seasoning, and serve up your kits. Easy peasy!

Get Creative with Leftovers

One benefit of making a big batch of tacos is enjoying the leftovers later on. Here are some fun ways to use them up:

  • Breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, cheese, and leftover beef

  • Taco salads on a bed of lettuce

  • Stir fry with cauliflower rice and veggies

  • Mix into mac and cheese or baked ziti

  • Taco-filled sweet potatoes or baked potatoes

With some creativity, you can give your tacos a whole new life beyond just reheating them as is.

When planning for taco night, you can expect approximately 6-8 tacos from every pound of ground beef, depending on whether you start with raw or cooked meat. For more exact amounts, allow for 2 ounces of cooked beef per taco. With flavorful seasonings, quality meat, and fun taco toppings, you’ll be ready to feed a crowd in style. Now get out there and start frying up some amazing tacos!

How To Make: Ground Meat for Tacos with Old El Paso Taco Seasoning


How many people will 1 pound of ground beef tacos feed?

As a general rule, you should plan for about 1/4 to 1/2 pound of meat per person when making tacos. So for a family of four, you’ll need around 1 to 2 pounds of ground beef. Of course, this can vary depending on your personal preferences and appetite, so adjust accordingly.

How many tacos will 3 pounds of meat make?

Each taco shell or small soft taco-size tortilla fits about 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of meat. If you add diced onions, you could stretch a pound of ground beef to make about a dozen tacos. With just the meat and spices, you can make about 8 tacos from a pound of meat.

How many pounds of meat do I need for 20 tacos?

I would get 6.5 to 7.5 pounds of ground beef for tacos for 20 people if the tacos are going to be most of the food for the meal.

How many street tacos can you make with 1lb of meat?

It is based on a formula that uses the average serving of protein on the typical taco is an 1/8th of a pound of meat, which is about 2 ounces of beef before it is cooked. So, a pound of ground beef should nicely fill 8 tacos.

How many tacos does a pound of Hamburger make?

On average, you need to plan two tacos per person if you are hosting a taco bar with sides such as rice and beans. How many tacos does one pound of hamburger make? One pound (16 ounces) of 93/7 raw ground beef, cooked, browned, and drained, will equal 14 ounces of cooked ground beef.

How much ground beef is in a pound of tacos?

One pound (16 ounces) of 93/7 raw ground beef, cooked, browned, and drained, will equal 14 ounces of cooked ground beef. Each taco will need 4 ounces of meat; therefore, one pound of hamburgers yields 3.5 tacos. How many pounds of hamburgers are needed for tacos when serving a large group?

How many tacos can a pound of meat make?

Or maybe you’re just curious how many tacos you can make from one pound of meat – a fair enough question. You can safely assume that one pound of cooked meat will make about 8 tacos, given that you can stuff about 0.125 pounds (or 2 ounces) of meat in every taco.

How many tacos for 20 people?

Yup, you’ve got to make 60 tacos for 20 people. 10 pounds of raw ground beef, yielding 7.5 pounds of cooked ground beef in total. This will be enough to stuff each taco with 2 ounces of ground beef each, serving three tacos to each person.

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