17 Yummy Leftover Taco Meat Recipes

I’m always looking for new and fun leftover taco meat recipes. Let’s be honest, making tacos isn’t rocket science, but estimating how much meat you need can be difficult. 

This is especially true when you’re cooking for a party or an entire family. The aftermath often consists of a bunch of leftover taco meat that stays in the fridge until it goes bad and has to be thrown away. It’s such a waste. And with life just getting increasingly expensive these days, who wants to waste perfectly good food?

So, if you’ve got leftover taco meat and don’t know what to do with it (or you just have completely run out of inspiration), you have come to the right place. We will show you can turn your leftover taco meat into beautiful, easy-to-make dishes.

Don’t Let Leftover Taco Meat Go to Waste

One of the best things about leftover taco meat is its versatility. There are a ton of different dishes you can make with taco meat. You can make dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply as finger food during a party.

It can be a great addition to a salad, or you can use it to make a beautiful omelet to add fun to your predictable morning routine. Or, you can make nachos, spaghetti, and even a taco pizza. The possibilities are endless. But before we dive in, let’s cover a few basics.


How long does leftover taco meat last?

Leftover taco meat lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge and can last from 6 months to a year if kept in an airtight container in the freezer. To ensure that your taco meat is still edible, look at 3 factors: appearance, smell, and texture.

If your leftover taco meat smells funny or looks moldy, it means it has gone bad and should be discarded. The smell and appearance of your taco meat are enough to tell if it has gone bad or not, so you should never risk doing a taste test.

Before storing your taco meat, whether it’s going in the fridge or freezer, allow it to cool first. This will prevent the growth of bacteria. Also, do not keep your taco meat out for more than 2 hours before storing it, as it allows bacteria to thrive.

How to Store Leftover Taco Meat

Properly storing your leftover taco meat will ensure you can make the most of your leftovers.

  • The first step is to ensure that the meat has cooled completely before storing it, as bacteria can rapidly spread in warm or hot foods. 
  • Once the taco meat has cooled, transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you want to keep it for longer, you can put it in a freezer-friendly container and freeze it until ready to eat. When freezing taco meat, wrap it tightly with cling wrap before placing it in the freezer to reduce any potential risk of freezer burn. 
  • Additionally, avoid overfilling containers as this can create extra space where air can get into the food and increase spoilage. Lastly, when reheating frozen taco meat, heat thoroughly until steaming hot using either an oven or microwave, as these methods will ensure that any bacteria present are killed before consumption.

Leftover Taco Meat Recipes

If you have leftover taco meat in the fridge, it doesn’t mean you need to cook tacos again. I’ll show you how to make the best of it with these fantastic leftover taco meat recipes. 

Walking Taco Casserole

Also known as Frito pie, this walking taco casserole is perfect when you have leftover taco meat. It’s savory, with a bit of spice. Top it with anything from sour cream to Greek yogurt. Yum!

Taco pie

Taco Pie is delicious. Hands down, it’s one of my favorite easy-to-make Mexican dishes to use up leftover taco meat. It’s perfect for busy weeknights. Whether you’re using leftover taco meat that is beef or ground turkey, this is an ideal dish to make sure nothing goes to waste.

The meat, paired with refried beans and cheese, all layered over a flaky crust and topped with crunchy Doritos, will be a hit with anyone around your table.

Cheesy taco lasagna

This cheesy taco pasta, a Mexican spin on lasagna, is a dish that you will want all to yourself. It includes layers and layers of tortillas with delicious taco meat, cheese, corn, and shredded cheese. There is no limit to how many layers you can add.

Dorito nachos in a bag

Dorito nachos in a bag is one of the most fun ways you can reuse your leftover taco meat. Just cut up a bag of Doritos (or any tortilla chips) and stuff it with deliciousness (aka leftover taco meat)! You can also use tortilla chips if you prefer. You can be sure that your guests (or kids) will appreciate the creativity.

Taco soup

If you have some leftover taco meat or taco seasoning and are in the mood for something warm and comforting, taco soup is a dish you can easily cook today and eat all week. Add some spices generously for a taco soup full of flavor. And don’t skimp on the veggies!

Taco meat pasta

Taco meat pasta perfectly encapsulates Mexican meets Italian, and this fusion dish is guaranteed to be loved by the entire family. Who knew Mexitalian comfort food was so delicious? Cook yourself a big batch today, and you won’t be disappointed.

Jalapeno popper

The best thing about this recipe is that it’s made super fast and simple by leveraging your air fryer. For this recipe, replace the cheese with a mixture of leftover taco meat and rice. Then add a mix of Mexican cheese on top for a soft, warm, and gooey finish.


Taco salad

If you’ve got leftover taco meat but are in the mood for something light, try out a fresh taco salad full of healthy veggies. It is loaded with protein, vegetables, and healthy fats and can be eaten guilt-free as a snack or even for a light dinner.

Stuffed banana peppers

Stuffed banana peppers are a delicious and unique twist on the traditional stuffed pepper recipe. These peppers are milder than their jalapeno counterparts (listed above), with a slightly sweet taste that pairs well with savory flavors. The thin skin of the peppers makes them easy to stuff and cook in comparison to larger bell peppers. When selecting banana peppers, look for even-colored, firm ones with no blemishes or soft spots.

Leftover taco meat is a perfect stuffing for these peppers. Have a ton of meet left? Stuff them only with meat and a heavy hand of cheese. Have less meat? Mix with rice and then add a good amount of cheese. Either way, don’t forget the cheese 😉

Taco Bell loaded potato griller

If you’re a Taco Bell fan, you’re probably familiar with the infamous loaded potato griller. Unfortunately, the fan-fave dish consisting of potato, cheese, and scrambled eggs rolled up in a flour tortilla has been discontinued. 

The good news? You can still make them at home. Try adding leftover taco meat in place of the scrambled eggs (or in addition!) for a satisfying and indulgent snack or meal.

loaded potato griller - last minute dinner ideas

Taco meat sliders

Taco meat sliders. Period. I bet you burger lovers out there are already salivating. Your leftover taco meat is perfect for making cute little taco meat sliders. You hardly need any ingredients. Add a little melted cheddar cheese, toast your baby buns, and voila!

Taco pizza

This one might seem a little strange, but if you love pizza and are a fan of fusion dishes, the taco pizza with black olives and fresh sour cream might be for you. But will you cook it on Taco Tuesday or Pizza Night?

Taco quinoa bowl

Quinoa seems to be all the craze these days, but did you know that you could pair it with your leftover taco meat? Add some chicken, black beans, lettuce, and other veggies such as roasted sweet potatoes or corn, and you’ve got a healthy and delicious taco quinoa bowl. You can also easily swap out the quinoa for rice.

Air fryer quesadillas

Even the most challenging children will love these air fryer quesadillas. Load them up with leftover taco meat and cheese and some salsa on the side. It’s one of the easiest dishes you can create with your leftovers from Mexican night. Serve it with some salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, and you’ve got a winning dish.


Crispy baked taco egg rolls

These Mexican spring rolls, filled with taco meat and melted cheese, are great as finger food for a party. Served with sour cream and hot sauce dip, these will be gone in minutes. And guests might even ask if more are coming out.

Mini sweet pepper nachos

Mini sweet pepper nachos are great if you want to indulge but still have a low-carb, gluten-free meal full of flavor. The hint of sweetness from the sweet peppers pairs beautifully with taco meat.

Taco omelet or scramble

You now know how to use your leftover taco meat for lunch and dinner, but what about breakfast? The taco omelet will add some variety to your morning meals. Like a regular omelet, you can add tomatoes, avocado, onion, or any veggies you prefer. For an extra oomph of flavor, add a dollop of sour cream.

Spicy Dorito taco salad

The spicy Dorito taco salad is a dish full of flavor that can be prepared in minutes. The Doritos give a nice crunch to the salad, and you can use Thousand Island or Ranch dressing.

More Tips For Using Up Extra Ingredients

Recipes to Use Up Extra Marshmallows

Leftover Shredded Chicken Recipes

Leftover Cornbread Recipes

Leftover Chili Recipes

Fried Spaghetti with Leftover Pasta

Recipes to Use Up Leftover Shrimp

Recipes for Using Up Extra Eggs

Recipes to Use Up Extra Half and Half


Looking for another spicy dish to try? Try our Cajun Boiled Peanuts. Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time: Stay salty, and sweet 😉

Looking to explore a new type of meat? Try out a ground bison recipe.

Leave a Comment