Did someone say crunchy tacos? Did someone else say keto-friendly? Between my (almost) famous taco seasoning and a simple shell swap for crisp, iceberg lettuce cups, Ground Beef Keto Tacos don’t miss a beat in the taste and texture departments. Plus, you can load up on most of your favorite toppings like cheese, avocado, and cilantro without loading up on carbs.
It’d be easy to lie and say these tacos were born out of necessity because I forgot to pick up tortillas, but no. Reader, I am trying to broaden my dietary horizons. Well, more accurately, I am trying to broaden them within the scope of my own comfort zone, palate, and moral, ethical, and philosophical food standards. Because I do have those. In spite of, and including, the half-bottle of chocolate syrup I just poured directly into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Personally, I am rarely, if ever, mindful of my own daily carbohydrate intake. I eat a well-balanced diet (ice cream included), avoid processed foods whose labels read like a chemistry exam, and indulge when I want and/or need to without (much) guilt. (Sorry, not sorry.) But I’ve got lots of friends and followers alike who regularly reach out to me and ask “Danielle, could I substitute x for y (wherein x equals cardboard and y equals happiness) if I wanted to make this recipe keto-friendly?”
While I am loathe to modify ingredients upon request in order to accommodate restrictions that the original recipe didn’t address, I am keenly interested in 1) eating delicious food and 2) giving the people what they want. And it would seem, people want fewer carbs. As fate would have it, most of the existing recipes on OSK that meet ketogenic or low-carb dietary standards just kind of happened in the course of creating meals to fit other plans, like Whole30 or paleo. How convenient! But I also hear you when you say “I want more!”.
While a ketogenic lifestyle could never suit someone who eats ice cream out of the container on a weekly basis (2020, y’all), I am definitely not opposed to balancing that tub of ice cream with something a bit less… well, completely and utterly loaded with sweet, mood-soothing sugar, for lack of a better term. Bottom line – I am all in and on board for creating recipes that make it easier for my carb-conscious connoisseurs to get more delicious, fast, easy, seasonal, affordable, meals that use real, whole foods in their lives.
Your wish is (generally) my command.
What makes these tacos keto-friendly?
Two of these ground beef keto tacos yields 23g of protein, 27g of fat, and just 1g net carbs before adding toppings.
- The filling: seasoned ground beef with my go-to homemade taco seasoning.
- The thickener: glucomannan, a plant-based, carb-neutral thickener from the konjac root.
- The “shells”: you’ll swap tortillas for fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce cups.
- The toppings: classic keto standbys like shredded cheddar, sour cream, and avocado, and even a bit of pico de gallo. Just be mindful of your carb count on the latter.
How to make keto tacos
Taco Tuesday, low carb style!
- Make the homemade taco seasoning. Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until well combined. Use more or less chili powder to taste depending on how spicy you like your tacos.
- Sauté an onion until soft. Add ground beef and cook with the onion until it’s no longer pink.
- Add the tomato paste and taco seasonings; work those into the beef until well distributed and very aromatic.
- Pour in beef broth and simmer until the sauce is thick.
- Portion into iceberg lettuce cups, add toppings, and NOM!
The best toppings for low carb or keto tacos
Some of these have more carbs than others, so top sparingly to keep your intake in check. Factoring in fiber, most of the toppings below average around 1g net carb per 1tbsp. Always use a nutrition calculator if you’re keeping a strict count.
- Pico de Gallo
- Diced Avocado
- Sliced Jalapeños
- Diced Red Onion
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Cheese or Queso Fresco
Keto taco seasoning
This is a riff on my ubiquitous taco seasoning that I use for everything! The only switch is to thicken with glucomannan powder instead of cornstarch or arrowroot powder (see below for why!).
Making your own homemade taco seasoning is a MUST! For one, you control the heat and the flavors. For two, it’s way more economical than anything you can buy in a store. And for three, store bought taco seasonings are often packed with sodium, sugar, preservatives, and gluten-based thickeners. No bueno.
- Chili Powder: 1-2 tbsp, depending on your preference for heat.
- Cumin: yes, a whole tablespoon. Do not skimp!
- Glucomannan Powder: natural thickening agent – see below for more information.
- Paprika: sweet or smoked
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Coriander: ground, not whole seeds
- Oregano: just a pinch; if you often make homemade taco seasoning, it’s worth seeking out Mexican oregano from a local Latin market or online via Penzeys Spices.
- Red Pepper Flakes: just a pinch for some added heat
While lots of people swear by Xantham Gum as a keto-friendly thickener, I’ve found it can sometimes lend an unpleasant, sour aftertaste even when used in very small amounts.
On the other hand, glucomannan, “a natural, water-soluble dietary fiber extracted from the roots of the elephant yam, also known as konjac,” (source) is not only a carb-neutral thickener, I’ve never had any issues with taste. Use it as a one-for-one substitute for cornstarch and arrowroot powder in certain situations where a bit of thickening improves texture, like the sauce in these ground beef tacos.
Just be mindful when you procure it – glucomannan comes in both powder and capsule form (since people do take it as a dietary supplement). You’ll want to purchase the powder for ease of use in cooking.
More Taco-Tuesday inspired keto recipes
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Did you make these keto tacos? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
While you’re at it, let’s be friends – follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for the latest and greatest.
Keto Ground Beef TacosPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced to 1/2"
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 portion taco seasoning, see below
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- pico de gallo, to taste
- diced avocdo, to taste
- sour cream, to taste
- shredded cheddar cheese, to taste
- Make the taco seasoning. Combine all the ingredients for the taco seasoning in a lidded jar. Shake to combine.
- Heat a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 7-8 minutes. Add the ground beef to the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally to break up the beef, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
- Add the taco seasoning and tomato paste to the skillet. Stir until the tomato paste is worked into the beef and onion mixture and the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Pour the broth into the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove any browned or bruised outer leaves from the lettuce. Slice the head of lettuce in half, then carefully remove individual pieces to create taco shells. Portion the taco meat into the shells and add toppings to preference.
- 1 recipe of prepared ground beef makes approximately eight tacos.
- 1 taco = 3.5oz prepared ground beef mixture
- Add 2 tbsp pico de gallo per taco = 1 g net carbs
- Add 1 tbsp sour cream per taco = <1g net carbs
- Add 1 tbsp diced avocado per taco = 1g net carbs
- Add 1/2 oz shredded cheddar cheese per taco = <1g net carbs
- Store leftover ground beef in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between.
- Freezer: ground beef taco meat is an excellent freezer stash. Cool the meat, then transfer to a ziplock freezer bag. Press out the air, seal, then freeze flat. Store for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then reheat on in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.