Tasty Taco Cups are the ultimate appetizer for any occasion. Yummy taco filling layered with melted cheese in crispy wonton wrappers will disappear before your very eyes and have your guests clamoring for more. What’s even better is that they’re super easy to make and just as amazing when made ahead of time and reheated!
Tasty Taco Cups use just a few ingredients to produce amazing finger foods:
- Ground Beef: I generally use 93% ground beef. Sometimes, however, I use ground turkey in place of ground beef. The reason is that the ground turkey tends to be more tender than ground beef.
- Taco Seasoning: You can buy packets of taco seasoning at the grocery store. However, if you’re really concerned about what goes into the taco seasoning, then you should use my own DIY taco seasoning. The results are outstanding!
- Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies with added water: The taco seasoning produces just the right amount of the various flavors that define tacos. However, the Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilies take the meat mixture over the top.
- Wonton Wrappers: Wonton wrappers are a key ingredient in building these Tasty Taco Cups.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: You can’t have tacos without cheese, right? Well, the shredded cheddar cheese adds the crowning flavor.
- Garnishes: I like to garnish the Tasty Taco Cups with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of sliced green onion tops and diced tomatoes.
Making the Meat Mixture
As a first step, I made the taco filling. I browned ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat (Photo 1). Then, I transferred the cooked ground beef to a colander to drain.
One thing that I like to do is to remove as much of the fat as possible from the cooked ground beef. To do this, I rinse the cooked ground beef in a colander with hot water (Photo 2).
This may seem to rinse the cooked ground beef. I know that I’m also removing some flavor. However, I’ve consistently found that the ultimate flavor is provided by the taco seasoning and the Rotel tomatoes.
Once the ground beef was cooked and drained, I returned it to the skillet. I like to rub the cooked and cooled beef between the palms of my hands to further break it up into small pieces.
Anyway, I added the I added the taco seasoning, Rotel tomatoes and water to the cooked ground beef (Photo 3).
Then, I brought the mixture to a boil (Photo 4). Next, I cooked it uncovered over medium heat for about ten minutes until most of the liquid had evaporated.
Making the Tasty Taco Cups
While the meat mixture was cooling a bit, I brushed the muffin cups with some vegetable oil. Even though my muffin pan was non-stick, I wanted to ensure that the taco cups didn’t stick – and they didn’t!
When the meat mixture was done, I layered the Tasty Taco Cups in the prepared muffin pan as follows: (1) wonton wrappers (Photo 5); (2) taco filling (Photo 6); and (3) shredded cheddar cheese (Photo 7)
I repeated the layering of wonton wrappers, taco filling and shredded cheddar cheese (Photo 8).
I popped the Tasty Taco Cups into a preheated 375°F oven for about 12 minutes until the wontons were a crispy golden brown.
After allowing them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, I removed the taco cups from the muffin pan to a wire rack.
I garnished the Tasty Taco Cups with a dollop of sour cream, some chopped green onion tops and diced tomatoes.
Now was the moment of truth – did they taste as good as they looked? The answer – a resounding yes! The Tasty Taco Cups were absolutely delicious. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Both ground beef and ground turkey can be used interchangeably in this recipe. The ground turkey tends to be more tender than the ground beef.
I like to make my own taco seasoning which is significantly better than the store-bought kind. I mix together the following: 1 ½ Tablespoons corn masa flour; 1 ½ Tablespoons chili powder; ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt; ½ teaspoon onion powder; ½ teaspoon garlic powder; ½ teaspoon black pepper; ½ teaspoon paprika; ½ teaspoon cumin; ¼ teaspoon sugar; ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.
I like to remove as much fat as possible from the taco meat. The best way that I’ve found to do this is to rinse the cooked ground beef (or ground turkey) with hot water. While I may be washing away some flavor, I’ve consistently found that it is the Rotel tomatoes and the taco seasoning that give the taco meat its flavor.
You can make and bake the Tasty Taco Cups ahead of time, minus the garnishing with the sour cream, sliced green onion tops and diced tomatoes. Reheat at 350°F for 15 minutes and garnish as desired.
The Tasty Taco Cups make excellent leftovers. I don’t garnish those that will be leftover and reheat them at 350°F for about 15 minutes.
You should use a regular size muffin pan. This will not work in a mini-muffin pan.
Other Great Recipes Using Wonton Wrappers
Wonton wrappers can be used for a lot of things other than making wontons. I like to use them to make not only these delicious Tasty Taco Cups, but also the following:
- Wonton Mac & Cheese Bites: Wonton Mac & Cheese Bites take the ultimate comfort food to new levels. Three-cheese macaroni and cheese is packaged in a crispy wonton cup and topped with melted cheese and crumbled bacon.
- Wonton Jalapeño Poppers: If you like jalapeño poppers, you’ll absolutely love Wonton Jalapeño Popper Bites. The wonton wraps are stuffed with an amazing filling and baked to crispy perfection. They’re super easy to make, and can be eaten hot, warm, or cold.
- Lasagna Cups: Lasagna Cups take the traditional lasagna to new heights using wonton wrappers. Tasty lasagna fillings are layered in wontons to produce the ultimate in comfort food.
If you liked the recipe for Tasty Taco Cups, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. I’d love to know how you liked it!
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Tasty Taco Cups
- 1 pound (16-ounces) ground beef (93% lean or higher) (See Tip 1)
- 1 package (3 Tablespoons) taco seasoning (See Tip 2)
- 1 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
- ½ cup water
- 24 wonton wrappers
- 1 ¼ cups (5-ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (See Tip 3)
- 2 teaspoons Vegetable oil for brushing cups before baking
- Sour cream, sliced green onion tops and diced tomatoes for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Brush cups of regular size muffin pan with vegetable oil or spray with non-stick spray; set aside.
- Brown and crumble ground beef in skillet over medium heat. Drain in colander; rinse well under hot water to remove as much grease as possible; drain well. Return to skillet. Over medium heat, add taco seasoning, Rotel tomatoes, and water. Stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated. Cool 10 minutes. (See Tip 4)
- Layer taco cups in muffin cups as follows: (1) wonton wrapper; (2) 1 tablespoon meat mixture; (3) 1 tablespoon shredded cheese; (4) another wonton wrapper; (5) another tablespoon of meat mixture; (6) another tablespoon of shredded cheese. Brush top lightly with vegetable oil.
- Bake at 375° F for 12 to 15 minutes or until wonton wrappers are golden brown.
- Remove from oven; let cool 10 minutes. Remove from muffin pan. (See Tip 5)
- If desired, garnish with sour cream and/or sliced green onion tops. Serve warm.
- Yield: 12 Tasty Taco Cups.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- May use ground turkey in place of the ground beef. You won’t be able to taste the difference. In fact, ground turkey tends to be more tender than ground beef.
- I like to make my own taco seasoning which is significantly better than the store-bought kind. I mix together the following: 1 ½ Tablespoons corn masa flour; 1 ½ Tablespoons chili powder; ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt; ½ teaspoon onion powder; ½ teaspoon garlic powder; ½ teaspoon black pepper; ½ teaspoon paprika; ½ teaspoon cumin; ¼ teaspoon sugar; ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.
- I like to use extra sharp cheddar cheese. However, you can also use sharp or regular cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, Colby Jack cheese, etc.
- You might think it odd that I rinse the cooked meat given that I’m probably washing away some of the taste. However, I’ve found that the Rotel tomatoes and taco seasoning provide the real taste of the meat mixture.
- You can make the Tasty Taco Cups ahead of time, minus the garnishing with the sour cream and/or sliced green onion tops. Reheat at 350°F for 15 minutes and garnish as desired.