These Ranch Taco Bites make the perfect appetizer for parties and game days, or the best family dinner for kiddos. Add all your favorite tacos toppings for the perfect finish!
Fall is quickly approaching which means football season will (hopefully) be starting soon! These Mexican style Ranch Taco Bites make the perfect mini party appetizer for friends and family. The tortilla shells are crispy and are filled with ground beef, ranch dressing, Rotel and then topped off with cheese and extra goodies.
I love this recipe because they are not just the perfect appetizer, but also a quick and easy weeknight dinner perfect for kids and adults. My family LOVES when I make these and they are easier for my toddler to eat than traditional tacos. I hope you and your family find lots of great occasions to enjoy this recipe.
- A Muffin Pan: You will want to use a regular 12 cup muffin tin and not a mini muffin or jumbo size.
- A Pizza Cutter: Personally, I think this is the easiest way to cut the tortillas, but you could use a knife instead.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- A Large Skillet
- A Wooden Spoon or Spatula
- Ground Beef
- Rotel: You could use mild, medium, hot, or the Chipotle flavor. Also, any off-brand will work I just really like classic Rotel.
- Tortillas: You will want to use taco or fajita size tortillas. Also, I used flour tortillas because I think they stay together better, but corn can be used.
- Taco Seasoning: I like using my homemade version, but you can use any brand you like.
- Ranch Dressing: Again, I love my homemade ranch and it is extremely easy to make. You could make your own of use your favorite store bought brand.
- Shredded Cheese: My favorite cheese to use is A Mexican Blend cheese, but you could use shredded cheddar or pepper-jack.
- Spices: I used a simple combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. If you want a hit of spice or smoke you could add some cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or smoked paprika to the recipe.
- Additional Toppings
How to Make Taco Bites
- Prep the Tortillas
Lay out your tortillas and cut them into squares. I like to use a pizza cutter and just try my best to make the cuts even. After they are all cut spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and fold them into a muffin tin forming a sort of cup.
- Bake the Tortillas
Once they are folded spray all the tortillas again with the cooking spray. This will help them not stick to the pan and crisp up. Bake the tortilla cups for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until they are crisp and hold their shape.
- Cook the Taco Meat
While the tortillas are baking, brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Once the meat is cooked, strain the grease out and return to the pan. Add in the Rotel, ranch dressing, taco seasoning, and additional spices and stir until combined.
- Assemble the Taco Cups
Once the taco cup filling is cooked begin to assemble the bites. Divide the filling between the twelve cups as evenly as possible. Top with shredded cheese and return to the oven for 2-5 minutes just until the cheese is good and melted.
- Finishing Touches
Once the cheese has melted, remove from the oven and remove from the muffin tin carefully with a fork. They should stay together and not stick. Top with additional toppings of choice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Topper Ideas: These Mexican Beef Taco Cups pair perfectly with all the classic taco toppings. Some great things to top these with include: salsa, sour cream, guacamole, diced avocado, diced tomato, fresh cilantro, lime juice, shredded lettuce, or some diced jalapeno.
Of course this is all optional and you could use some, non or all of these. If you are serving these as an appetizer I like to sit all the toppings out on the side and let guests decide what they want on top.
Meat Options: So I think that the classic ground beef taco is the way to go and the filling is great. If you are not a fan of red meat the meat could be swapped out for ground turkey or chicken. Alternatively, they could be made vegetarian by using a plant based meat alternative. Of course any swap will alter the taste, but the idea will still be the same.
Make it a Meal: I love that these taco bites work great as an appetizer or main dish. My kids (and husband) love when I make this "fun" recipe for dinner. If making as a main I usually serve with either rice, beans, a Mexican blend salad or my warm corn salad.
The Perfect Fold: Getting the fold of the tortilla right can be a bit tricky at first, but really you just want the in the shape of a bowl. They don't have to be perfect and as you can see a lot of mine look different. Don't fight the tortilla and just pinch/curve until they fit snugly in.
Tortilla Tips: When baking the tortilla into cups it is very important you spray both the insides of the muffin tins and tops of tortillas with cooking spray. This helps them not stick and get crispy to help them hold their new bowl shape. Also, if you do not want to waste the edges of the cut tortillas you can save them and make your own tortilla chips with them.
Extra Cheese: So if you are really a cheese head then you can double up the cheese in these taco cups. I usually just sprinkle some cheese over the tops, but you could also stir some cheese into the cooked beef and ranch mix. This will make them even more gooey and cheesy!
More Appetizer Ideas
Store leftover taco bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I find that these are best eaten within 24 hours and when rewarming to heat in the oven instead of a microwave.
Yes, these can be frozen. Follow the recipe instructions from start to finish and let them cool at room temperature. Once they are cool, wrap them tightly in several layers of foil and store cup side down in a large freezer safe container. When ready to enjoy place them back in a muffin tin or pan in the foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove from foil, top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until warmed through.
The beef filling and tortilla cups can be made ahead of time, but I recommend assembling and baking right before you are ready to serve. Make the beef taco filling according to the recipe instructions and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Also, make the tortilla cups according to the recipe, but store them at room temperature sealed in a bag. Try to store them flat so they do not get crushed or broken.
I hope you love these Taco Bites and enjoy them whether it is for a game day with friends, or for family dinner with the kiddos. If you love this recipe leave a comment down below and let me know!
Easy Ranch Taco Bites Recipe
- 12 Flour Tortillas Taco or Fajita Size
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 10 Oz Can Rotel
- 1/2 Cup Ranch
- 3 Tbsp Homemade Taco Seasoning or 1 Packet of your favorite store brand
- 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheese Cheddar, Mexican Blend or Pepperjack work great
Optional Toppers for Serving
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Lettuce
- Diced Jalapeno
- Diced Tomato
- Lime Juice
- Fresh Cilantro
- Lay out your flour tortillas and cut them into squares. I like to use a pizza cutter and just try my best to make the cuts even. After they are all cut spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and fold.pinch them into a muffin tin forming a sort of cup.
- Once they are folded spray all the tortillas again with the cooking spray. This will help them crisp up. Bake the tortilla cups for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until they are crisp and hold their shape.
- While the tortillas are in the oven, brown the ground beef in a large skillet until brown and strain the grease. Return the meat to the pan and add in the Rotel, ranch dressing, taco seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until combined.
- Once the taco cup filling is cooked begin to assemble the bites. Divide the filling between the twelve cups as evenly as possible. Top with shredded cheese and return to the oven for 2-5 minutes just until the cheese is good and melted.
- Once the cheese has melted, remove the taco cups from the muffin tin and serve warm with additional toppings of choice, enjoy!
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