These crunchy Beef Taco Cups are a fun twist on taco night, or a delicious party appetizer! Baked instead of fried, they’re packed with taco beef, refried beans, plenty of cheese, and all your favorite taco toppings!
This is one of my Mexican-inspired recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
There’s not a whole lot that can beat a great Taco Tuesday, but these taco cups are a fantastic way to switch things up a bit!
Plus they’re portable, which is awesome if you’re serving these for a party or when you’re tailgating.
I like to think of this as a base recipe, that you can then customize however you’d like! Feel free to switch up the protein, add more or different cheese, and the toppings… oh man, go crazy with those.
When it comes to tacos and chili, I’m all about the toppings! I’ve listed several of our favorites, but don’t feel like you have to stick to those.
So let’s make these taco cups!
How to make beef taco cups?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Make meat mixture. Brown the beef, drain, then combine with taco seasoning, broth and picante sauce (or salsa). Simmer until thick.
- Assemble. Add wonton wrappers to muffin pan, then top with refried beans, meat mixture, and cheese.
- Bake. These taco cups don’t take very long, about 12-16 minutes.
- Serve. With any toppings you’d like.
When working with wonton wrappers, try to keep the stack of them covered with a damp paper towel (so they don’t dry out). Dry wonton wrappers won’t be very pliable, and are prone to ripping.
Variations of this recipe
- Single wonton – for stability, I like to use 2 wonton wrappers per muffin pan well, but if you want to make your package of wrappers stretch more, you can use only one.
- Double stacked – for a fun twist, sometimes I like to add the layer of refried beans on top of the first wonton wrapper. Then add the second wrapper on top of that, and top with beef and cheese.
- Ground turkey – this recipe works really well with ground turkey as well as beef.
- Vegetarian – to make this recipe vegetarian, use plant-based meat or vegetarian crumbles, and use water or vegetable broth instead of beef.
- Tortillas – if you can’t find wonton wrappers, you can also use flour or corn tortillas. Use a large biscuit cutter or trace an inverted bowl with a knife to cut out 3-4 inch circles from the center of the tortillas. Bake as directed, watching to make sure the tortillas don’t burn (since they may have slightly different cooking times).
I haven’t specifically tested this recipe in an air fryer, so I can’t say for certain. But provided you have a muffin pan that will fit in your air fryer, I think it would work well, I just can’t speak to the exact temperature or time.
They are softer on the bottom than they are at the edges, just due to the way they cook in the oven. But they shouldn’t be soggy or fall apart. If you do end up with really soggy bottoms, the next time you make them, use a little less oil, and be careful not to overfill them.
Wonton wrappers are found in more and more mainstream grocery stores, usually in the refrigerated section of the product department. Mine are always near the tofu and refrigerated salad dressings. You can also find them in Asian markets.
Making taco cups ahead of time
While I don’t recommend baking these taco cups ahead of time, you can definitely assemble them.
Cover the muffin pan full of assembled cups with a damp paper towel, then cover that with aluminum foil.
Let the pan sit on the counter for a bit to come up to room temperature, then bake as directed (possibly adding another minute or two if the pan is still cool).
Leftover taco cups should be refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoyed within 4-5 days.
Leftover are stored best when toppings are left off. Reheat in a 350°F oven, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes, or until hot.
I’ve had several of these pans for years, and they’ve held up so well! Not to mention they clean up like a dream.
Taco Cup Topping Ideas!
Feel free to top these taco cups with any toppings you normally love on your tacos, but here are some great homemade ideas to get you started! These are all links to my recipes, so just click on the ones that interest you.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 lb. ground beef (I like to use 85/15)
- 1 packet taco seasoning or 2-3 Tbsp of homemade seasoning
- 2/3 cup reduced sodium beef broth or water
- 1/4 cup picante sauce we use mild or medium
- 24 wonton wrappers
- 1/2 cup refried beans
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese
- pico de gallo or diced tomatoes
- minced fresh cilantro
- avocado cilantro sauce (recipe below in notes section)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and set out a 12 cup muffin pan.
Make meat mixture
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet over MED HIGH heat, crumbling as it cooks, for about 4-5 minutes (or until cooked through), then drain.
- Reduce heat to MED. Return beef to skillet and add taco seasoning, stirring to combine. Add broth and picante sauce, stir, then simmer until thick, about 7-10 minutes.
Assemble taco cups
- If desired, warm refried beans in the microwave or on the stovetop. This will make the beans a bit more spreadable, but is optional.
- Lightly spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, then line with wonton wrappers (2 wrappers in each well, wrappers offset from each other).
- Add a dollop of refried beans to the bottom of each cup, then top with some of the meat mixture. Top with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, until cheese is melted and wontons are golden brown.
- Serve hot, topped with desired toppings.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- Recipe makes 12 taco cups and can easily be doubled (just use two muffin pans).
- These taco cups are topped with Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Dip, but can also be topped using the cream sauce detailed below.
- I like to use a small cookie scoop to portion the meat, but you can use a spoon or fork.
Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 avocado, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1 lime
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth and creamy.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.