The Best Taco Soup {Stovetop or Slow Cooker}

This easy recipe for the best taco soup calls for every day pantry ingredients and can be made on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. So simple, so delicious!

Pot of the best taco soup with ladle in center.

Shockingly until this very moment I did not have a taco soup recipe posted on my site. I can hardly believe it, and yes, I’m a little disappointed in myself. I mean, after 11 years of blogging, you’d kind of expect more. 

My solace is that I haven’t left you completely hanging. This creamy black bean taco soup, while obviously not a classic taco soup, is wildly delicious. And is probably the reason I’ve been a little lazy getting a real, live taco soup recipe posted. 

But today’s the day. And honestly, as simple as this taco soup is, it’s been worth the wait. Using every day pantry ingredients (and a quick-easy homemade taco seasoning), it comes together really fast and can be made on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.


Ladle of taco soup pouring into white bowl.

Make-Ahead or Freezer Meal

Like any good taco-style soup or chili, the flavor gets better with time, which makes this an excellent make-ahead soup or freezer meal. Yep, it freezes great. 

But it is fantastic made and served same day, too. There’s just something really comforting about loading up a bowl with the best taco soup, piling it high with cheese and sour cream and tortilla chips and digging in. It’s actually my current favorite thing to do in October. Move over apple picking and pumpkin carving. All I need is a bowl of taco soup. 

White bowl filled with taco soup, cheese, sour cream and tortilla strips.

Variations Galore

As simple as this soup is, it’s very open to a lot of different variations. 

  • Beans: sub in or out beans of your choice – white beans, black beans, some of my kids would say no beans (don’t listen to them); my favorite lineup is a can of red kidney beans and a can of pinto beans
  • Broth: you can decrease the amount of broth for a thicker soup, but keep in mind that the longer it cooks (both on the stove and in the slow cooker) the more it will thicken and reduce. You can always add broth in at the end to thin it out a little.
  • Heat: chili powder and green chiles vary in spicy heat, so use a chili powder you enjoy the taste of (and isn’t too spicy for your family if that’s a concern) and buy green chiles according to your heat preference (mild, medium, or hot)
  • Tomatoes: if you can’t stomach the thought of tomato chunks in your taco soup, you can give them a quick pulse in the blender or consider using crushed tomatoes…but don’t leave them out. The taco soup needs them for consistency and flavor.

Spoon digging in to White bowl filled with taco soup, cheese, sour cream and tortilla strips.

You just can’t beat the simplicity and deliciousness of this taco soup. It really is the best. I’ve frozen several batches and every time we reheat it for dinner, I’m over on my little stool exclaiming how yummy it is and my family’s looking at me like I’m slightly crazy since I did the same thing the week before. Like, “Yep, we got it mom, you really like this soup.”

Oh well. What can I say? I love me some taco soup.

This version really is the best taco soup I’ve ever had. Subbing in a few simple seasonings for prepackaged taco seasoning makes all the difference. Modeling the seasoning profile after this much-loved taco recipe was definitely the right way to pursue this taco soup. I hope you love it as much as I do!


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The Best Taco Soup {Stovetop or Slow Cooker}

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
The Best Taco Soup {Stovetop or Slow Cooker}

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth (see note)
  • 2 cans (4-ounces each) green chiles, mild, medium or hot
  • 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (see note)
  • 2 cans (8-ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • Toppings: tortilla chips or strips, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, etc.

Instructions

  1. Stovetop: in a 6-quart pot, brown the ground beef with the salt and pepper until cooked through, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain grease. To the pot add the remaining ingredients except the corn and toppings. Stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes). Stir in the corn and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve with toppings of choice.
  2. Slow Cooker: in a 10- or 12-inch skillet, brown the ground beef with the salt and pepper until cooked through, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain grease. You can add the beef to the slow cooker now or wait and add it in at the end with the frozen corn. To the insert of a slow cooker add all the remaining ingredients except the corn and toppings. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the corn (and meat, if it was reserved until later) and heat through on high. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve with toppings of choice.

Notes

Broth: the broth sets this recipe apart as a soup and not a chili. One cup broth is the sweet spot for me - you can add more or less depending on how thick/thin you want the soup.

Chili Powder: I usually use McCormick or Penzey's chili powder. This lends a mild kick to the taco soup without being overly spicy. If the chili powder you have is spicy and you don't want this soup overly spicy, decrease to 1/2 tablespoon.

Tomatoes: for a smoother texture, you can pulse the diced tomatoes in a blender (or use a can of crushed tomatoes).

Make-ahead: this soup tastes delicious served immediately, but it tastes even better the next day (and it freezes great).

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe