I love taco soup. It’s perfect for that transition from summer to fall. It’s so easy and fast and a really great recipe for weeknights.
Have you ever had taco soup? It’s seriously one of my favorites. I used to make this all the time, but that was years ago. My old recipe used to include ranch dressing mix.
When I had to go dairy free, I tried making taco soup without the ranch mix and it was just never the same. I’ve been working on this recipe for a long time and I feel like I’ve finally perfected it.
Some recipes come to life the first time I ever throw them together and others are developed over time. If every bite doesn’t make me say mmm, then I know the recipe still needs work.
I really hope you try this taco soup recipe. I’m really excited to to finally share it. Honestly, now that I’ve finally nailed it, I’m really excited to have it written down so I can make it like this every time.
Perfect Weeknight Meal
What I really love the best is how easy this is to make on a weeknight. You don’t even need to use a crockpot. You just cook some hamburger meat until it’s almost done, dump everything else in the pot, stir it up and let it simmer for a few minutes. So easy, and so fast.
Not only that, but it makes enough for leftovers. In less than 30 minutes, you have dinner made for two nights in a row.
Nothing goes better with taco night (or taco soup night) than a delicious, fresh and perfect margarita. Check these out:
The traditional margarita is a favorite in my house. My husband and I love them. Not only are they absolutely delicious and refreshing, but they’re ever-so-easy to make.
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Lean ground beef is best, preferably 93/7. If you have too much fat, then you’ll just have to drain it off and then your 1 pound package actually only has 3/4 of a pound of actual meat.
Just good ole canned pinto beans. You can get low sodium if you want, but you may have to add salt to soup at the end.
Light Red Kidney Beans
I prefer light red kidney beans instead of dark red because the skins are usually a little thinner. Just a personal preference, but you can use either one.
Brand doesn’t matter here. Use whatever is cheapest.
Use original or mild for spice preference, but don’t use the fire roasted or any other flavor because that will change the flavor of the soup.
I love the Taco Bell brand of taco seasoning for taco soup because it has the best balance of spices for the flavor I want. Ortega is a close second. Both are dairy free.
Garlic and Onion Powder
The extra garlic and onion along with the taco seasoning just adds the right amount of savory deliciousness.
I’ve tried this recipe with and without the parsley. The flavor is close, but the added herbaceous element really rounds this out.
I like to use frozen corn instead of canned. It’s easy to keep a big bag in the freezer for recipes like this. I also think canned corn is a bit mushy.
Water and Bouillon Paste
Make sure you buy the organic Better Than Bouillon paste because that’s the one that’s dairy free. The non-organic one has dairy in it.
If you don’t want to buy the chicken bouillon paste, you can substitute 2 cups of chicken stock.
Dairy Free Ranch Dressing
The brand here really matters. There are lots of dairy free ranch dressings on the market, but the flavors of them vary widely. The Hidden Valley Plant Powered Ranch Dressing has the closest flavor to real ranch dressing that I’ve had since going dairy free.
A little goes a long way. I know the recipe only calls for 1 teaspoon, but it really doesn’t take much to overpower the flavor of the soup. Just a tiny bit gives it the tang and depth of flavor I’ve been missing. You can definitely experiment with adding more or leaving it out entirely. The soup tastes great without it, but the ranch flavor just gives it a little extra something.
How to Make Taco Soup
In a dutch oven or soup pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until it’s almost done, but not browned.
Add the taco seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley and stir it in well.
Add in the pinto beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, Rotel, water and bouillon paste. Mix well and increase the heat to bring the soup to a low boil.
Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat again to medium-high and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so.
Suggestions for Serving
While your soup is simmering, you can quickly prep some toppings. Suggested toppings are:
- sour cream (Kite Hill is my favorite for dairy free)
- tortilla chips or corn chips
- sliced black olives
- shredded cheese (vegan or otherwise)
Serve this hot or let it cool completely and then cover it and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze extras in individual portions. Just leave half an inch of a gap in the top of the container because it will expand as it freezes.
- dutch oven or soup pot
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 one ounce packet taco seasoning - Taco Bell brand preferred
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1 16oz can pinto beans - undrained
- 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
- 1 15.5oz can light red kidney beans
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp Organic Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base - only organic is dairy free
- 1 tsp dairy free ranch dressing - hidden valley brand recommended
- black olives
- Kite Hill dairy free sour cream
- vegan shredded cheese
- tortilla chips or corn chips
- In a dutch oven or soup pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until it's almost fully cooked, but not browned.
- Stir in taco seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley until fully mixed.
- Add the diced tomatoes and green chilies, plain diced tomatoes, beans, corn, water, bouillon and ranch. Stir well. (Ranch isn't required but adds a very slight tang that's nice.)
- Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Serve with desired toppings. Let cool completely and cover to store leftovers for up to 5 days.
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