Taco Soup

Heather says:
Before I took the training wheels off my Internet I used to hang out on AOL’s Kitchen Frugality message board. This soup came from one of those fine ladies and has become a standard in our home. Even if you think you can’t boil water, I promise you can make this soup while standing on your head. The recipe, as written, makes 10 one cup servings. If you have a microwave available at work, freeze several portions in individual containers, and enjoy the glare of your jealous co-workers.

I should also note that you don’t have to use the beans listed in the ingredients. Use three cans of what you have on hand: pinto, black, kidney, even navy. If you prefer your soup to be less brothy, simply omit one can of water. My good friend Kendra uses hominy instead of corn, which you may be able to find in the Hispanic / Latino section of your supermarket.

Taco Soup with Tortilla Chips
Taco Soup with Tortilla Chips
  • 1 lb ground beef or pork or turkey (or use lentils)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 pkg ranch-style dressing mix or substitute 1 – 2 TBSP homemade ranch dressing mix
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning mix or use your own homemade taco seasoning mix 
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes w/ green chilis (substitute plain tomatoes if family members prefer a mild soup)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can corn (try cream style) or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cans of water
  • grated cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro for garnish
  • tortilla chips

Brown the ground beef and drain as much fat as possible. Return it to the pan with the chopped onion over medium low heat, Stir in the two seasoning packets. As soon as the onion is soft add all the remaining ingredients except the garnish and chips.

Simmer for twenty minutes.



Ridiculously simple, no?


  1. Keter says

    Mmmm…hominy. I always thought of hominy as “soul food” though…not Mexican food. I grew up on “fried hominy” – I can feel my arteries hardening at the very thought. ;o) And for those who may have trouble digesting corn – hominy is very digestible.

    I would be really tempted to add some thinly sliced avocado to this soup right before serving.

    BTW, if beans are an “issue,” try adding a tablespoon of dried Epazote (a green herb) to your dish. It adds a very light flavor (somewhere between anise and sage) and gets rid of the gas.

  2. JRae says

    How much would a package of ranch dressing mix be (I have a bottle of Ranch Penzey’s spice)?

    Where can I get taco seasoning packets? At my store I only seem to see them in taco shell boxes.

    Can’t wait to try it, thanks! :)

  3. Keter says

    @JRae – The usual “Hidden Valley” type of ranch dressing mix contains stuff not in the Penzey’s mix, which is just dried herbs and spices, and is MUCH more concentrated than the packaged mix. To make an equivalent of “Hidden Valley” using the Penzey’s mix, you’ll probably need to add a little sugar, a little lemon juice, some cornstarch, and some dried buttermilk powder to the Penzey’s – but you’ll have a much healthier mix.

    Taco seasoning typically is a blend of chili powder and cumin (comino) with finely ground dehydrated onion and garlic.

    With a little “it’s easier to add more than to take it out” experimentation and you’ll be able to replicate this recipe from scratch. ;o)

  4. says

    That looks lovely, I think I’m going to replace the tortilla chips with something else like bread to soak it up. Will definitely give this a try!

  5. Kelly says

    I make this with just the taco seasoning , red pepper flakes , and pretty much whatever canned or frozen veggies I have on hand . I have also added a can of spicey V-8 to give some extra flavor . We serve it with shredded cheese (whatever cheese is on hand ) and cornbread . It is one of my husbands favorite soups .

    • says

      There are definitely low sodium or homemade options -I generally just toss in chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder… The package is for convenience if someone needs that.

  6. Vince says

    This is a little more complicated than the taco soup recipe my family uses. It sounds good and I’ll have to make it side by side with what I’m used to. My usual recipe is a can each of tomato with green chiles, kidney beans, pinto beans, whole kernel corn, a ranch packet, a taco seasoning packet (or fajita for more kick), and a lb of meat (ground beef for mild or spice it up with hot Italian sausage).

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