Spice Up Cold, Winter Days with Taco Soup

Cold, winter days like those we’ve been experiencing lately make me especially thankful that I no longer have to trek across Iowa State University’s campus to attend class like I did last winter!  It was on one of those bitterly cold days, when we were frozen after walking across campus all day, that my roommate made this recipe for taco soup.  Being the classic college students that we were, our grocery supply was stretched over multiple weeks.  Fortunately, we were both Ag students and our families made sure we had home-grown meat in the freezer and home-made salsa in the pantry. Ajá! We had everything needed to mix up Taco Soup – what a perfect way to warm up!

My roomie, Chelsea Ewen, actually concocted the original recipe when she was trying to come up with a prize-winning entry for a soup cook-off in her hometown.  I’d say this one was a winner!

Now that I’m married, I make this recipe for my husband and he absolutely loves it.  He works hard and has the appetite to match it, so it’s nice that it makes a big batch.  This soup freezes well, so you can save the leftovers for another day if you don’t have someone around like my husband to make sure you don’t have leftovers!

Taco Soup can be made with any type of meat, but we’re beef producers ourselves and always make it with our home-grown beef.  I love that it is so easy to make but also leaves room for interpretation as to what ingredients would make the “perfect taco” soup for you.  Plus, it’s just so easy to make.  You throw all the ingredients together in the crock pot in the morning and enjoy a hearty bowl of soup at the day’s end.

What’s your favorite soup recipe?

Taco Soup



  • 1 pound hamburger, browned
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning (choose whichever brand/amount of heat you would use on a normal taco)
  • 1 onion, medium-fine chopped and sautéed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced and sauteed with onion
  • 1 large box or can of beef broth
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can rotel (can use salsa)
  • ½ tsp. cilantro (only if dried, fresh cilantro will be much stronger, add to your liking for taste)
  • 1 pkg. medium tortilla shells cut into squares (pizza cutter works great for this)  Use these as “crackers” for your soup and add to your individual bowl when serving.



  1. Cook over medium heat covered for approx. 30 minutes, or enough to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Can also slow-cook in the crock pot.
  3. You’ll notice the measurements are vague as I didn’t include specific can/box sizes.
  4. This recipe isn’t dependant on perfect measurements or ingredients.
  5. I often substitute/add extra home-canned veggies, salsas, broth etc.


Photo from Kraft.com