Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe) - Wholesome Yum (2024)

Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe) - Wholesome Yum (1)

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In This Post

  • Why You Need My Taco Bowl Recipe
  • How To Make Taco Bowls
  • My Recipe Tips
  • Topping Variations
  • More Taco Inspired Recipes
  • Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe)Recipe card
  • Gratitude Moment
  • Recipe Reviews

I’ve been on a “bowl meals” kick lately, and this taco bowl recipe is my latest one on repeat. It was my random creation when I was tired of my usual burger bowls, egg roll bowls, and salmon bowls. I had all the ingredients I needed for my taco salad, but wanted something a little more hearty. Enter taco bowls! They’re a lot like my salad version, but with a base of rice and a creamy, dreamy cilantro sauce that ties everything together. Try them with me!

Why You Need My Taco Bowl Recipe

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  • So much flavor and texture – Between the zesty seasoned beef, crisp and juicy veggies, tender rice, and creamy cilantro sauce (oh, that sauce…), every bite of this Mexican taco bowl is a little different.
  • Quick and easy – You can have this meal on the table in under 30 minutes. Which is it’s been on my dinner rotation on repeat.
  • Totally customizable – Use regular rice or cauliflower rice (my go-to), and let each person choose their favorite toppings. It’s perfect for picky eaters.
  • Healthier than traditional tacos – By skipping the fried shells and loading up on fresh veggies and lean protein, my taco bowls keep things light without skimping on flavor.
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Ingredients & Substitutions

Here I explain the best ingredients for my taco bowl recipe, what each one does, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card.

Taco Meat:

I usually have my taco meat ready to go in the freezer. But if you don’t have any stashed away, you’ll need:

  • Ground Beef – I get 85/15 grass-fed beef, which is flavorful without excess grease. Any variety you’ve got fine. You can even use ground turkey or chicken. I’ve also made these taco bowls with leftover barbacoa beef, chorizo, and carne asada.
  • Avocado Oil – I like this because the mild flavor plays nice with the Mexican spices, but olive oil also works.
  • Taco Seasoning – Whip up my homemade taco seasoning with chili powder, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika (sweet works too), oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne. If you’re using store-bought and it’s unsalted, add a teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.
  • Water– If you’ve got beef broth on hand, using that instead of water adds even more flavor.

Taco Bowls:

I served this taco bowl recipe when my parents stayed with us, and between myself, my husband, my kids, and my parents, I had to customize the bowls in 4 different ways. But it’s easy to do! Here’s my base recipe, and you can leave out anything you don’t like:

  • Cooked Rice– This is the base. You can use cooked white or brown rice, fresh cauliflower rice, or my cilantro lime riced cauliflower version. For a quick and easy option, I always keep frozen cauliflower rice on hand.
  • Black Beans – Although optional, canned black beans make this dish more filling. My kids also like canned corn in theirs.
  • Shredded Lettuce – I used romaine lettuce, but feel free to use your favorite kind.
  • Fresh Tomatoes – If you have my fresh salsa, pico de gallo, or regular homemade salsa on hand, those work great, too.
  • Avocado– I keep it simple with fresh avocado, but my homemade guacamole would also taste amazing.
  • Onion – Thinly slice the red onion for a crisp, colorful bite. Yellow onion works, too.

Cilantro Sauce:

This is my favorite part of the taco bowl! It’s so simple, but cuts the heat of the taco meat perfectly.

  • Sour Cream – A.k.a. the base. You can use Greek yogurt to lighten it up.
  • Half and Half– This thins out the sauce, so you can drizzle it. You can use heavy cream for extra richness, or regular milk to make it lighter.
  • Fresh Cilantro– The flavor part! If you’re not a fan, parsley will do the trick.
  • Sea Salt – Feel free to throw in some black pepper, too.
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How To Make Taco Bowls

I have step-by-step photos here to help you visualize the recipe. For full instructions with amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card.

  1. Brown the meat. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then toss in the ground beef. Break it up with a spatula and cook until browned.
  2. Stir in the taco seasoning. If you like, add a 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer to make the meat more moist.
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  1. Assemble your taco bowls. Divide the cooked rice among 4 bowls. Top with lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, onions, and avocado. (This is where I customize each person’s bowl based on what they like!) Add the beef last, so it’s still warm.
  2. Make the cilantro sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, half and half, fresh cilantro, and salt.
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  1. Top with sauce. Drizzle the sauce over each taco bowl. Enjoy!
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My Recipe Tips

  • Crank up the heat. For the best browning, I recommend a cast iron skillet, keeping the heat at medium-high, and not pulling it too soon. Look for those crispy browned edges you see in my pictures above.
  • Drain the beef if you need to. I usually don’t with my 85/15 beef, but it’s a good idea if you use 80/20 beef.
  • The amount of half and half (or milk or cream) you need can vary depending on how thick your sour cream is. Just add more if your sauce is too thick to drizzle.

Topping Variations

  • Shredded Cheese – I didn’t add any this time, but many taco bowl recipes do. My family likes shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend when we do add it.
  • Hot Sauce – While taco seasoning makes this dish mildly spicy, hot sauce makes a nice addition if you like extra heat.
  • Lime Juice – Try a squeeze of lime at the end for extra zing. You can also whisk it into the sauce.
  • Chips – Crumble my baked tortilla chips over your taco bowl for crunch, or serve them on the side with salsa, guac, or even queso dip. I also love using them to scoop up the last bits in the bowl.

Storage & Meal Prep

  • Store: Pop any leftover taco bowl ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Beef and rice can last up to 3-5 days, while fresh veggies are best within 1-2 days. If you only have some parts left, toss them into my taco soup or taco casserole.
  • Meal prep: These are awesome for meal prep! I pop the components in separate containers at the start of the week, then assemble them fresh when I’m ready to eat. Just wait to cut the avocado.
  • Reheat: Warm up the rice and beef in the microwave or on the stovetop. If the beef seems a bit dry, add a splash of water.
  • Freeze: Cooked taco meat and rice freeze well in zip lock bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before you reheat. Avoid freezing the fresh veggies and sauce.

More Taco Inspired Recipes

There are so many fun ways to enjoy taco night! Try some of my other favorites:

Taco Dip

Taco Slaw

Zucchini Taco Boats

Taco Skillet

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Recipe Card

Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe) - Wholesome Yum (16)

5 from 2 votes☝️ Tap stars to rate or tap here to leave a review!

Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe)

Whip up my taco bowl recipe with ground beef, rice, veggies, and a creamy cilantro sauce. A fresh, satisfying meal in only 20 minutes!

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

Author: Maya Krampf from Wholesome Yum

Servings: 4 (adjust to scale recipe)

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Tap underlined ingredients to see the ones I use.

Taco Meat:




Tap on the times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer.

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef. Cook the meat, breaking up with a spatula, for 8-10 minutes, until the beef is browned, and any moisture has cooked away.

  2. Stir the taco seasoning into the ground beef, until well combined. If you like, you can also add 1/4 cup of water when adding the seasoning and let it simmer a bit.

  3. Divide the cooked rice among 4 bowls. Top with lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, onions, and avocado. When the beef is done, add the ground beef.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, avocado oil, fresh cilantro, and salt. If the sauce is too thick to drizzle, add more half and half, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency you like.

  5. Drizzle the cilantro sauce over your taco bowls.

Did You Make My Recipe?

Leave a rating to help other readers, tag me @wholesomeyum on Instagram (I’d love to see!), or save the recipe to your email.

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Try More Of My Recipes

  • Elote Recipe (Mexican Street Corn)

  • Sheet Pan Fajitas

  • Salsa Chicken Recipe

  • Taco Salad

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 taco bowl

Nutrition info does not include optional ingredients, and uses regular white rice. Use cauliflower rice to make this dish low carb.

Nutrition Facts

Amounts per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.




Total Carbs54.6g

Net Carbs48.8g



I provide nutrition facts as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see my nutrition policy.

Course:Main Course


Keywords:taco bowl, taco bowl recipe, taco bowls

Calories: 632 kcal

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead.

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Gratitude Moment

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If you’ve seen my recipe development process, you know that it takes a long time from when I develop a recipe to when it actually makes it on my blog. I developed this taco bowl recipe back in May.

But funny enough, the day I’m hitting publish, I’ve got taco bowls on my family’s meal plan for tonight! We’re leaving on a trip in a few days, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. And every time I meal prep, I’m always grateful that I did.

Do you want to see more meal prep recipes, or do you tend to cook the day-of most of the time? Let me know in the comments, so I can tailor my future content for you!

Taco Bowl (Easy 20-Min Recipe) - Wholesome Yum (2024)
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