What do you do with leftover taco meat? My kids love tacos so I always make a large batch, but sometimes I am left with more leftover meat than we can use in a couple of days. Sometimes I freeze small portions of taco meat for the kids to reheat for lunch. Other times I try to use the leftovers in a new way. That is why I love this recipe so much. Taco Soup uses that leftover taco meat so it doesn’t go to waste.
Why is this recipe different than Tortilla Soup
The difference between this soup from a traditional Tortilla Soup is not only the meat but also because this recipe does not use limes or cilantro. It also uses 18% cream as well as cream cheese to make this a creamy soup.
I have made Tortilla Soup in the past and I love it. But it is usually made with shredded chicken, this recipe uses seasoned ground beef left over from taco night. If you just want to make the soup, you can use ground beef and taco seasoning to cook just the amount needed for the soup.
This easy-to-put-together recipe uses beef or chicken stock as the liquid so it doesn’t take as long to make. I prefer beef stock, but chicken stock works just as well. I have even made this soup with vegetable stock and the results were still great.
The meat used is leftover taco meat but there are times when I crave this soup and I don’t have any leftover taco meat. That’s when I cook meat fresh to add to the soup and it is just as good.
For the diced tomatoes, I like to use the ones with red chilies in them. In Canada, we have Aylmer’s Accents Tomatoes with red chilies, but I have also used two 284 ml cans of Rotel original in its place. Plain diced tomatoes can also be used.
Half and Half (10%) cream can replace the table (18%) cream. It is lower in fat which can alter the creaminess of the soup but it still works. For lower calories, light cream which is 5% can also be used. I have not tried using milk since I prefer the creamy richness that table cream gives to this dish.
When it comes to the tortilla strips I use, President’s Choice™ Chipotle and Cheddar strips are my favourite. These tortilla strips add flavour and I usually always have them on hand for topping salads. They also come in Chili Lime Flavour, which can also be used. These are only available in Canada, but I am sure you can buy tortilla strips just about anywhere. Or Tostitos can be used as well, but you may want to adjust the salt in the recipe because Tostitos are saltier.
I also top the soup with sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, and more tortilla strips. My son adds hot sauce on top as well.
What Alternatives Can Be Used For Ground Beef In Taco Soup?
This recipe uses leftover ground beef that was seasoned for tacos. I have also made this recipe by cooking the meat fresh to add to the soup when I don’t have leftovers.
If you don’t have leftover taco meat, you can make this soup without the meat.
Alternatively, Taco Soup can also be made with ground chicken, turkey, or pork. The meat should be cooked before adding it to the soup.
What Goes With Taco Soup?
This soup is topped with tortilla strips, sour cream, and shredded cheese. We usually eat this soup with a side of tortillas that we dip in the soup like crackers.
Fresh buns or bread are also a good side to serve with this dish. Cornbread is also a good choice.
Storing Taco Soup
Any leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I have also frozen it in single-serve sizes. If I know there are going to be leftovers to be refrigerated or frozen, I don’t put the tortillas in until I have packaged a few servings for freezing. It is better to add the tortilla strips when reheating.
- Slow Cooker
- 2 cups leftover taco meat
- 4 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes, 540 ml
- 1 can black beans, 540ml
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 4 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- ½ cup table cream, 18%
- ½ cup cream cheese
- 1 package Chipotle and cheddar tortilla strips, 99 grams
- Add ingredients, except table cream, cream cheese and tortillas to slow cooker
- Cook on high for 4 hours.
- Add table cream and cream cheese and continue cooking for an additional hour.
- Add tortilla strips and cook 30 minutes.
- Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and additional tortilla strips