Taco Rice Skillet: Quick and Easy Meal
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This recipe for taco rice skillet is a fast and filling one-pan meal that’s perfect for busy nights. Customize each serving by adding your favorite taco add-ins.
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or any other night of the week, this quick and easy beef taco rice skillet will feed hungry stomachs quickly. Flavored Minute Rice recipes, like this one, are time-savers for the busy, at-home chef. Plus, the variations of minute rice dinners are endless.
Based on a staple recipe of the past, this Mexican rice dinner uses minute rice (also called instant rice) to speed up the cooking process.
Ingredients for Taco Rice Skillet
The ingredients for cheesy taco ground beef and rice are simple, and you might have most of them in your kitchen already. Check out our Amazon Store for many of the pantry items below and other kitchen must-haves.
- Ground Beef – Use your favorite ground beef or ground chuck, or substitute ground pork, chicken or turkey.
- Water – Want a bit more flavor? Substitute chicken or beef broth for the water.
- Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup – You might not know that Campbell’s (and others) sell a condensed Cheddar cheese soup. It can be found in the canned soup aisle of your supermarket. Want to add a kick to this dish? Use Fiesta Nacho Cheese Condensed Soup (also found in the canned soup aisle.)
- Taco Seasoning – Grab a taco seasoning packet of your choice, whether it’s mild or spicy!
- Frozen Vegetable Blend (Peppers and Onions) – Using frozen vegetables is a great time saver! Find this peppers and onions blend with the rest of the frozen vegetables.
- Minute Rice – ATTENTION…you must use Minute Rice (also called instant rice) for this recipe or the cooking time will be dramatically altered.
- Shredded Cheese – Use your favorite kind of cheese. For convenience, we like using pre-shredded sharp Cheddar or a Mexican blend. If you prefer, shred your own cheese!
- Crushed Tortilla Chips – This recipe is a great way to use up the 2-3 open, almost empty tortilla chips in your pantry!
Ground Beef and Rice Recipe without Tomatoes
If tomatoes are on your do not eat list, you’re in luck because this Mexican skillet with rice and ground beef doesn’t contain any tomatoes!
On the flip side, if you think no taco dinner is complete without tomatoes, then sprinkle fresh tomatoes over the top before serving.
How to Make Taco Rice with Minute Rice
For the full ingredient amounts, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Check out our Amazon Store for many of the pantry items below and other kitchen must-haves.
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain excess grease, if needed.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the instant rice, cheese and tortilla chips, to the ground beef in the skillet.
- Bring to boil and stir in Minute Rice. Simmer for a minute. Turn off heat and cover.
- Let the taco rice recipe stand for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork.
- Sprinkle with shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips over the rice mixture. Put the lid back on until cheese is melted.
- Top with your favorite taco toppings, including sour cream, avocado, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, cilantro or salsa.
How to Store Leftover Taco Rice
- Let the taco ground beef and rice cool completely.
- Place leftovers in an airtight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Do you cook ground beef with oil?
You do not need to use oil when cooking ground beef as it contains a percentage of fat that will render out during cooking. This creates its own fat at the bottom of the pan, so there is no need to add additional oil. Sometimes, I add a little water to help steam the meat at first while the fat is rendering out.
Do you drain grease when making taco meat?
Whether you need to drain grease off your ground beef is going to depend on how much fat is in your meat. If there is visible grease in the bottom of the skillet after browning the ground beef, then you should draft away the excess grease.
If you are using a leaner ground beef ratio, there may not be visible grease in your pan after cooking, and you do not need to drain the meat.
What rice to use in Minute Rice Skillet Recipe?
The base of this Mexican skillet rice meal is instant rice, not to be confused with regular white rice. The cooking time is short since instant rice cooks in just a matter of minutes…hence the name – Minute rice!
To cook the instant rice in this recipe, you’ll bring the water-soup mixture up to a boil for a minute, add the instant rice and stir. Turn off the heat and cover tightly with a lid. The hot liquids will cook the minute rice in 5-7 minutes.
Every once in a while at the end of 5-7 minutes, the rice isn’t quite tender when I check it. In that case, I put the lid back on and turn the burner to low for a couple more minutes to finish cooking. Don’t sweat that when it happens…just a couple more minutes of cooking time and it will be just fine.
What side dishes to serve with Taco Skillet?
Corn is a must have side dish with this meal. While you could do corn on the cob or simple cooked corn, I suggest you try this crock pot cheesy corn or crock pot cheesy creamed corn. If you want an appetizer to serve with this, I suggest this Mexicorn dip or black bean salsa to go with tortilla chips. Want something a bit unique? Try this cheesy frosted cauliflower as a side.
Can I substitute other meats for ground beef? Substitute ground chicken, ground turkey, ground beef or even diced, cooked chicken for the ground beef.
Can I add extra spice to this taco skillet dish? Use Condensed Fiesta Cheese Soup instead of regular Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup. A teaspoon of cumin or chili powder would also be a great addition of heat.
Do I have to use frozen peppers and onions in my dish? If your family is picky, you don’t have to add the diced bell peppers and onions. You can substitute a different blend of frozen vegetables.
What toppings can be added to this easy Mexican ground beef and rice dish? The great thing about this dish is that each family member can customize theirs by adding their favorite taco toppings. Some options include sour cream, avocado or guacamole, salsa, black olives, jalapeños and diced tomatoes. Add some shredded lettuce and it almost becomes a salad!
Variations of Taco Rice Skillet
The original author of this recipe in my Taste of Indian Creek Cookbook, made numerous variations of this minute rice dinner using different proteins, including ground sausage or diced, cooked chicken. You can use ground pork, chicken or turkey. She also swapped out the condensed cheese soups for cream of chicken or cream of mushrooms soup.
She would also omit the taco seasoning and add in Worcestershire sauce and/or hot sauce to change up the flavors. The frozen vegetables could be any of the numerous packages you see at the grocery store with broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, etc.
Essentially, the sky is the limit.
Best Ground Beef Recipes
Ground beef is a versatile protein that can be used in soups, sandwiches and so much more. Here are a few of our favorite ground beef dinners.
Hamburger Gravy with Cream of Mushroom Soup is an old-fashioned meal that can be served over mashed potatoes, noodles or toast.
Cabbage and Ground Beef Soup with kidney beans is a hearty meal that is easy to make and gets better as it sits in the refrigerator.
These Ground Beef Stromboli Sandwiches are served on hoagie rolls and covered in cheese that is melted to perfection.
Taco Rice Skillet
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cups water
- 10.5 ounces cheddar cheese soup, condensed
- 12 ounces 3 pepper and onion blend, frozen
- 1 ounce taco seasoning packet
- 2 cups Minute rice (instant rice)
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded use as much as you want
- 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed use as many as you want
- Brown ground beef in skillet, drain grease if needed.
- Add water, cheddar cheese soup, frozen vegetables, and taco seasoning to the ground beef in the skillet. Stir.
- Bring mixture to a boil for one minute.
- Add minute rice and stir. Turn off heat and cover tightly for 5-7 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with cheese and crushed chips. Put lid back on until cheese melts.
- Serve with your favorite taco toppings.
- Substitute ground chicken or diced, cooked chicken for ground beef.
- For more spice, use condensed fiesta cheese soup.
- Any type of frozen vegetable will work.
- If your minute rice doesn’t seem cooked after sitting with the lid on for 5-7 minutes, turn the heat on low for a couple extra minutes and that should do it.
- Love taco-inspired meals? Try this yummy Mexican beef.
- Please note that the carb counts, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on the products you use. The auto-calculation is an automated estimate and should NOT be used for specific dietary needs.