Like many families, we LOVE taco night at our house — however, my kids are still in the more-filling-lands-on-the-floor-than-in-their-mouth stage of eating tacos.
Pro tip: sweep the floor the day after dinner when the ground beef and rice have hardened and are easy to clean up. Follow me for random parenting advice.
Anyway, problem solved with Cheesy Taco Soup which dishes up all the irresistible flavor of a loaded beef taco in a cheesy, hearty, totally satisfying soup format!
Easy Taco Soup Recipe
Easy Cheesy Taco Soup is almost like a taco chowder in that it’s super thick and creamy, and flavored with homemade taco seasoning. Everyone’s favorite taco topper — shredded cheese, of course — is used to create a homemade cheese sauce that not only flavors but thickens the taco soup.
OH – and there’s no chopping required!! Sure, you may want to dice up an avocado or chop a handful of fresh cilantro to top your bowl of taco soup with, but the soup recipe itself doesn’t required a knife nor cutting board. Love that!
- Ground beef. We love ground beef tacos, but feel free to use ground turkey or even ground chicken in here if you’d like.
- Diced tomatoes and green chilis. Aka Rotel, y’all. Disclaimer: Rotel doesn’t have gluten-containing ingredients BUT it hasn’t been verified to be gluten free under 20ppm by Conagra Foods. I’m not saying it doesn’t, I’m just saying the company hasn’t taken the steps to verify it. Our local grocery chain, Hy-Vee, has their own GF version of Rotel, which is what I use. That said, if you don’t need to eat gluten free, a can of Rotel is great.
- Black beans. I like Bush’s low sodium black beans.
- Butter. Forms the base of our homemade cheese sauce
- Gluten free flour blend. Thickens the cheese sauce. You can use all-purpose flour if you don’t need to eat gluten free. I usually use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
- Milk. I recommend 2% milk fat or higher for a nice smooth cheese sauce, and soup!
- Sharp cheddar cheese. I love using sharp cheddar cheese because you can really taste it in the soup. Be sure to freshly grate your own cheese vs using pre-shredded.
- Seasonings: The homemade taco seasoning is made from a blend of everyday herbs, seasonings, and spices including chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. A couple teaspoons of cornstarch also helps thicken the taco soup.
What to Top Your Bowl With
Just like regular beef tacos, this soup is ALL about the toppings! It’s nice to set out a toppings bar then scoop the Cheesy Taco Soup into bowls and let everyone add what they like best. Here’s what we love:
- Tortilla chips
- Pickled jalapenos
- Chopped green onions
- Sliced black olives
- Pico de gallo or salsa
- Diced avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Green Tabasco Sauce
I usually add a ton of crushed tortilla chips plus a forkful of pickled jalapenos then I’m off to the races.
How to Store Cheesy Taco Soup
This soup reheats like a dream, making it ideal for meal prep. Make a big batch on the weekend then ladle into individual storage containers to reheat in the microwave all week long.
If you find the soup is too thick after reheating (I haven’t run into this personally!) stir in a splash of beef broth or chicken broth.
Can you Freeze Cheesy Taco Soup?
You bet! Let leftovers cool completely then scoop into a Ziplock freezer bag and freeze flat.
Transfer to the refrigerator to let thaw completely then warm individual bowls in the microwave, or re-warm larger portions in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring often.
How to Make Cheesy Taco Soup
Step 1: Make the homemade taco seasoning.
First thing’s first – make the homemade taco seasoning which flavors our soup. This is a blend of cornstarch plus those everyday spice cupboard and pantry staples mentioned above.
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl or dish then mix with a fork to combine and set aside.
Could you use a store-bought taco seasoning packet? Sure. I think this homemade version is just as easy though, and more flavorful too!
Step 2: Brown the ground beef.
To a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add ground beef then season with salt and pepper. Brown the beef, breaking it up as it cooks, then drain to remove excess grease and fat, and return to the pot.
Next add a can of diced tomatoes and green chilis, a can of drained and rinsed black beans, the homemade taco seasoning, and milk then stir to combine and set aside.
Step 3: Make the homemade cheese sauce.
In a small saucepan next door, melt butter over medium heat then add gluten free flour and cook while whisking for 1 minute.
Slowly stream in milk — again, I recommend 2% milk fat or higher — while whisking to create a smooth sauce then season with salt and pepper.
Switch to a spatula then cook while stirring until the milk has thickened, 3-4 minutes, being careful to not let it boil.
Once the milk mixture has thickened, take the pan off the heat then stir in freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese in two batches, stirring until the cheese has completely melted and is smooth before adding the next batch.
Step 4: Combine then simmer.
Add the thickened cheese sauce to the soup pot then turn the heat to medium-high to bring the soup to a simmer while stirring often. Turn the heat down to medium-low then simmer the Cheesy Taco Soup for 10 minutes, stirring often.
With cheese-based soups is very important to not let the heat get so high that the soup boils — stick with a gentle simmer.
That’s all she wrote! Scoop the thick and cheesy soup that’s packed with taco flavor into bowls then top and devour. Remix your next taco night with this delicious, hot and hearty soup – enjoy!
More Satisfying Soup and Chili Recipes
- Taco Chili
- Green Enchilada Soup
- Signature Smoky, Spicy, Sweet Chili
- Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
- Black Bean Soup
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Cheesy Taco Soup
Cheesy Taco Soup is a thick and hearty soup recipe that's loaded with taco-inspired ingredients. Filling, cozy, and totally satisfying!
- 1lb ground beef
- salt and pepper
- 10oz can gluten free diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
- 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour blend
- 3 cups milk, divided (2% or higher milk fat recommended)
- 6oz freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- For serving: shredded cheese, tortilla chips, pickled jalapenos, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, pico de gallo, diced avocado, chopped cilantro
- For the Taco Seasoning:
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder (I use mild)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- For the Homemade Taco Seasoning: add ingredients to a small bowl then stir to combine and set aside.
- Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat then add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Turn off heat then drain ground beef and add back into the pot along with the diced tomatoes and green chilies, black beans, taco seasoning mixture, and 1-1/2 cups milk. Stir to combine then set aside.
- Heat a small saucepan over medium heat then add butter. Once melted, sprinkle in flour then whisk while cooking for one minute. Slowly stream in remaining 1-1/2 cups milk while whisking to create a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper then switch to a spatula and cook while stirring until the mixture has thickened, 3-4 minutes, being careful to not let it boil. Turn off heat then add half the shredded cheese and stir until smooth. Add remaining cheese then stir until smooth.
- Add cheese sauce to the soup pot then stir to combine. Turn heat on to medium-high then bring soup to a simmer, stirring often. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Scoop into bowls then serve with toppings.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin