Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

These easy taco cups are perfect way to use some leftover ingredients you have in the fridge. You wonder what to do with three tortillas, half pound of ground meat and half cup of canned tomatoes? Here is an interesting idea from me.

You can prepare the recipe for a party, game night, potluck or sleepover. To impress your guests, you can serve them as a main dish, side dish or appetizer. No utensils are needed to eat the taco cups. Therefore, people can enjoy them while standing and holding a drink in their hand. Kids are the happiest when there are foods they can eat with their hands. They devour them in two bites. Sometimes I pack these mini tacos in my daughter’s lunchbox. She loves to share them with friends.

Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

Helpful Tips

I have tried this recipe with ground chicken, beef and turkey. Every time I get great results. Just keep in mind that the leaner the meat the less time it needs cooking.

You can also substitute the canned tomatoes and chilies for fresh. Add the fresh chopped jalapeños with the onions in the pan. Once they get softer add the meat. Brown it and then and finely cubed tomatoes. You might need to increase cooking time for fresh ingredients.

Customize the filling by adding ingredients that you like. For example, you can add canned beans or corn. Improvise with flavors that you and your family enjoy.

Cheese can also be replaced. Make sure you use cheeses that melt good. You want a gooey, stretchy bite. At most grocery stores there are bags of Mexican blend cheeses that can be perfect for this recipe. I avoid buying shredded cheese, because there are anti clumping agents added to the cheese. I don’t know about you, but I avoid eating cellulose and potato starches with my cheese. Instead I prefer to buy a block of cheese and grate it on myself. It really doesn’t take much time and I’m in control with the amount I need.

Use the remaining tortilla pieces to make tortilla chips. Just cut them in a bitesized pieces and bake or fry them. Season with desired spices. 

Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, lunch box, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: easy taco cups, ground beef, muffin pan taco cups, taco cups, tortillas
Servings: 12


  • muffin pan


  • 3 large flour tortillas 9 inches in diameter
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil I used avocado
  • ½ pound ground meat of your choice I use a mix of pork and beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup canned petite tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nonstick spray
  • Toppings: sour cream, jalapeños, olives, chives, cilantro, avocado, tomato optional


  • Preheat the oven to 380F.
  • Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  • Use a large cup or a round cookie cutter (about 4 inches in diameter) to cut out circles from the tortillas. I use a glass and a knife to cut out the tortilla circles. I get 4 circles out of one tortilla.
    Easy taco cups
  • Make a cut in the tortilla (look at the picture). This will help you place the tortilla circles easily in the muffin pan nests.
    Easy taco cups
  • Place 12 mini tortilla circles into 12 nests by overlapping the edges. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tortillas are slightly browned and crisped.
    Easy taco cups
  • Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil in a pan and heat it up. Then add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Add the minced meat to the pan with the onions. Break it apart to small pieces and brown it.
  • Add the canned petite tomatoes and chiles, salt and pepper to taste and the spices and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Divide the meat mixture evenly between each tortilla cup.
    Easy taco cups
  • Top with shredded cheese and bake 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
    Easy taco cups
  • Serve while still warm, with toppings that you like.
Easy Taco Cups with Leftovers

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