How Much Ground Beef Do You Need for Tacos for 50 People? A Detailed Guide

Making tacos for a crowd can seem daunting. Figuring out how much ground beef you need to buy and prepare is tricky. But have no fear – I’m here to walk you through everything you need to know to make tacos for 50 with ease!

Estimating Your Ground Beef Needs

The first step is estimating how much meat you’ll need. Here are some general guidelines:

  • For regular tacos, plan on using 1/3 pound of ground beef per person For 50 people, that’s about 16-17 pounds of ground beef

  • If you’re making smaller street taco-sized tacos, you can get away with a little less meat – around 1/4 pound per person For 50 people, that would be about 12-13 pounds of ground beef

  • I always recommend buying a bit extra, just in case. It’s better to have leftovers than run out of meat! So I would buy 18-20 pounds of ground beef to be safe.

  • Make sure you account for any veggie tacos too. Figure around 10% of your guests may opt for veggie tacos. So factor that into your meat calculations.

Choosing Your Ground Beef

Now that you know how much you need, it’s time to shop. Here are some tips

  • Choose 80/20 ground beef – it has the right fat-to-lean ratio for tasty, juicy taco meat. Super lean beef can dry out.

  • Buy pre-packaged ground beef for convenience and food safety. Re-packaged meat has more risk of contamination.

  • Check the expiration date and pick packages that expire later, so you can freeze leftovers.

  • Look for ground beef on sale! Stock up if you see a good deal. Extra meat can always be frozen.

Prepping the Meat

Once you’ve got your beef home, here are some tips for prepping:

  • Defrost frozen beef in the fridge 1-2 days before cooking. Don’t thaw at room temperature – food safety first!

  • Separate into batches – break down those huge packages into smaller 1-2 pound portions before browning. Easier to manage.

  • Use a very large skillet or pot to brown ground beef in batches. Don’t crowd the pan – it’ll steam instead of brown.

  • Drain the browned beef and set aside in a colander. Get rid of excess grease before making the taco filling.

  • Flavor the filling with your favorite taco seasonings and spices! I love using chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne.

Taco Filling Tips

A few pointers for the taco filling:

  • Cook any vegetables before adding the ground beef back to the pan. Onion, peppers and corn are delicious in the filling!

  • Add seasonings and tomato products. I love using salsa, enchilada sauce or diced tomatoes for flavor. Simmer until heated through.

  • Make sure the meat is cooked to 160 F for food safety. Use a meat thermometer to verify.

  • Keep warm in a slow cooker or over very low heat until serving time. You can always add more spices too.

  • Provide lots of topping options like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese, avocado and sour cream.

Putting It All Together

Here are a few last tips to make taco prep easy:

  • Make the meat a day ahead – one less thing to worry about before guests arrive!

  • Warm up tortillas in the oven – use the oven to reheat and soften purchased tortillas. So much faster than one-by-one in the microwave.

  • Set up a taco bar with the warmed tortillas, meat, toppings, sauces and other fillings. Let guests build their own.

  • Have backups ready – extra tortillas, meat, chips and salsa in case you need them. Running out of anything would be tragic!

  • Send guests home with leftovers. Wrap up extra meat filling in tortillas or small containers – the gift of tacos!

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


How much beef for tacos for 50 people?

The average taco actually only has 1 to 1 1/2 oz of meat on them. If I was making tacos for fifty I would calculate 3 tacos per person. So 150 tacos, so 150 x 1.5 oz so 225 oz. or 14 pounds of ground beef. I would use a lean ground beef so that there would be too much grease to dispose of.

How many pounds of ground beef to feed 50 people?

6-1/2–9-1/2 pounds
13–15 pounds
Ham or roast beef
10 pounds
20 pounds
Hot dogs
4 pounds
7 pounds

How much does 5 lbs of ground beef feed for tacos?

I figure 2 tacos per person, 2oz ground beef raw weight per shell, which comes out to a quarter pound per person, so you’d need 5lbs of ground beef to feed 20 people, more if you want to allow for seconds.

How many tacos will 10 pounds of ground beef 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.

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