20-Minute Cheesy Taco Skillet Recipe

For the times when you may be craving bold Mexican flavors, but don't want to get takeout or spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it's great to have a go-to recipe or two in your back pocket. Everyone needs meals that can be whipped up in a snap using mostly ingredients you already have in your pantry, and that's just what recipe developer and private practice registered dietician Kristen Carli has come up with. This 20-minute cheesy taco skillet is so filling, flavorful, whips up in a snap with items you most likely have, and will keep your cleanup to a minimum since it can all be prepared in one pot. "I love a one-pan meal," Carli says, and we could not agree more.

This dish is also versatile, as it can be served over Mexican rice as a main course, alongside chips for a delicious party dip, or even completely on its own. All of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand, making this cheesy taco skillet a great choice to add to your regular rotation of quick weeknight recipes.

Gather your ingredients to prepare this cheesy taco skillet recipe

One of the best things about this recipe is that once it's a family favorite, you can be sure to keep most of the ingredients on hand in your pantry so that it's easy to whip up without a last-minute trip to the store. For this cheesy taco skillet, the only things you'll need from your fridge are ground beef (Carli recommends 80/20 ground chuck.), shredded Mexican cheese, and fresh cilantro. From the pantry, grab one can each of black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Head to your spice cabinet for ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Drain your beans and corn, but leave the tomatoes in their juice to help flavor the dish. Then, all you have to do is give the cilantro a quick chop, and you're good to start cooking.

Brown the beef in a large skillet

For this dish, you'll need a big skillet or wide pot, since you ultimately need enough room to add all of your ingredients to the meat. Over medium-high heat, brown the beef until all the pink is gone, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. At this point, season the meat with salt and pepper, making sure to sprinkle it evenly over the beef.

If beef isn't your thing, you can also substitute ground chicken or ground turkey. Whether you use beef or a different ground meat, there's no need to drain off the fat in this recipe, making the process fast and simple.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the skillet

Into the same skillet as your browned meat, add the drained beans and corn, diced tomatoes with their juices, dried cumin, chili powder, and onion powder. Stir everything around well until it's thoroughly combined, as you don't want to have clumps of dried spices in your finished dish. At this point, it's just a matter of heating everything through and allowing the flavors to combine. Five minutes on the stovetop should do it.

Once everything in the skillet is piping hot and smelling absolutely delicious, it's time to cheese it up. Sprinkle your shredded cheese evenly over the top of the dish, and cover the skillet for a couple minutes, just long enough for the cheese to melt to ooey gooey perfection.

Serve it up

Once the cheese is melted, it's time for the best part of all — eating and enjoying. There are a variety of ways you can serve this cheesy taco skillet, depending on your mood and needs. You can sprinkle the cilantro straight over the pot, put out a bag of chips, and serve it as a tasty party dip for a crowd. But if you're serving it as a main course, Carli recommends spooning it over some flavor-packed Mexican rice, then sprinkling chopped cilantro over the whole thing. This cheesy delight is such a colorful dish and will look amazing on your table!

How you can tweak this recipe

One of the great things about this cheesy taco skillet is how adaptable it is to different tastes and dietary restrictions. If you want to punch up the veggie content, packing in more nutrients, you can easily do so. "I'd recommend zucchini, squash, and peppers," Carli says.

This cheesy taco skillet also adjusts well if you want to make it entirely meat-free. "For vegetarians," Carli says, "I would omit the meat and double up the beans using both black beans and pinto beans." In that case, you could skip the browning step, and simply start by dumping everything into your pot.

20-Minute Cheesy Taco Skillet Recipe
5 from 33 ratings
For the times when you're craving bold Mexican flavors, but don't want to get takeout, this 20-minute cheesy taco skillet recipe will come in handy.
Prep Time
Cook Time
taco skillet with melted cheese
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • Mexican rice, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving
  1. Drain the beans and corn, but leave the tomatoes in their juice to help flavor the dish. Then, wash and chop the cilantro.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef. Break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the drained black beans, drained corn, diced tomatoes, ground cumin, chili powder, and onion powder. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Top with shredded Mexican cheese. Cover with lid for about 2 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve over rice with cilantro.
Calories per Serving 505
Total Fat 31.7 g
Saturated Fat 14.5 g
Trans Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 98.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 26.8 g
Dietary Fiber 8.4 g
Total Sugars 3.9 g
Sodium 778.5 mg
Protein 30.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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