Mexican Beef Gringos Tacos Recipe

December 24, 2023
Finished gringos tacos with toppings and cheese

Gringos Tacos get a bad rap.

Gringos tacos get a bad rap. This mostly comes from pretentious hipsters who think a cuisine has to be authentic for it to be good. Don’t get me wrong. There are few things that I like more than finding the hole-in-the-wall taco joint that has four things on the menu, not a lick of English spoken, and the entire family is probably living above the restaurant.

But just because it’s not authentic Mexican cuisine, doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. The trick is, just to make it fresh. Don’t buy anything premade from the grocery store. It’s insanely easy.

Cilantro for gringos tacos.

You can’t forget the Cotija cheese.

This simple recipe will teach your taste buds the difference between good gringo tacos and chain restaurant nonsense. These gringos tacos will just contain some ground beef, a fresh pico de gallo, some cotija cheese, and simple hard shells.

Next time you want to do White People Taco Night TM, follow this recipe.

Pico for gringos tacos.

Here is what you will need to make these tacos!

For the pico de Gallo:

For the Cilantro Lime Crema:

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

For the Taco Shells:

Just buy the shells. Pretty much any brand other than Old El Paso will do. Your local grocery store will likely have some nice craft brands made with corn. It’s not a gringo taco unless you use a hard shell. See? I can be a pretentious hipster about my tacos too.

Taco shells

Trust the process

Time to get started. Make the pico de gallo first. This is one of the two stars of the gringo taco show. Dice your roma tomatoes and toss the guts. Dice your half of a red onion. Seed your jalapenos and dice them. The tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos should all be roughly the same size after you dice them.

Chop your cilantro and combine all previous ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Juice the lime over the diced veggies and top with about a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine everything. Place aside.

Next, make your cilantro lime aioli.

Time to make your spice blend. This is the other star of the show. Simply combine all of the spices in a small bowl and stir together. Did you know that Taco Bell’s signature beef seasoning has seven ingredients? I’m not saying that my seasoning blend is better because Taco Bell fucks hard, but it’s damn good.

ground beef for tacos cooking

The hard part is over!

Guess what? All of the hard parts are done.

Bring a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil, about three tablespoons. Add your ground beef and break it up with a heavy wooden spoon. Add roughly half of your seasoning blend. You can add more if you want a little extra spice. Cook the beef and seasoning until it is cooked through; you won’t see any red in the meat once it’s cooked through.

Remove the meat from the skillet and it’s time to make the tacos.

Spoon a layer of cilantro lime aioli on the bottom of the shell first. This will help keep the hard shell crispy when you add the meat, which will have some natural grease dripping from it.

Add the beef, spoon some pico de gallo on top of that, and finish off with as much cotija cheese as you’d like. If you want some extra spice, top with your favorite hot sauce.

This is white people’s taco night done right. It’ll taste so good that you’ll want to give it a Yelp review.

Plated gringos tacos.

Tools we used

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Plated gringos tacos.

Gringos Tacos

  • Author: A Couple Bites


These gringos tacos are sure to be a hit at any dinner!


Units Scale

For the Tacos:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 box corn hard taco shells
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro for topping (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

For the Pico de gallo:

  • 45 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt to taste

Cilantro Lime Crema


  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 oz tequila (yes, really.)

For the Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Combine all the ingredients for your taco seasoning, stir to combine, and set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for your cilantro lime crema, stir to combine, and set aside.
  3. In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat add your ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook, breaking up the meat while doing so,  until it is all brown. About 5-7 minutes.
  4. When meat is done remove from the skillet and into a bowl for easy plating.
  5. Take one taco shell and add your cilantro lime crema to the bottom. Layer on the cooked beef, pico de gallo, cilantro, cotija cheese, and hot sauce.
  6. Build as many tacos as you would like to eat and enjoy!
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We’re Matt and Melissa, and this is our food blog, though it may not be the food blog you are expecting. We are here to take you on a culinary adventure through our kitchen, our passions, our stories, and our liquor cabinet. Residing in Monmouth County, NJ (the best county in NJ) we love to cook and create in our kitchen. But we know we’re not the real experts and the only thing more fun than tasting our own creations are tasting others’. When we’re not cooking for you, we’re around town sampling all that New Jersey’s culinary scene has to offer. Let take A Couple Bites!

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