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Easy Taco Soup Recipe (Instant Pot, Stovetop or Crockpot)



By: The Real Food Dietitians Posted: 9/6/23

Ready to level up your Taco Tuesday? Our easy taco soup recipe takes just 28 minutes from beginning to end when you make it in your favorite Instant Pot. It’s loaded with veggies for a hearty, flavorful weeknight meal with endless topping possibilities.

Plus, it’s meal prep- and freezer-friendly! You can reheat this delicious, healthy taco soup in the days, weeks, or even months to come when stored properly.

A white bowl of taco soup topped with avocado, cheese, and cilantro.

Recipe Highlights

  • It’s super fast. Instant Pot Taco Soup is a meal you can make and get on the table in less than 30 minutes (even faster if you pre-chop the veggies). You only need 20 minutes of prep time, even if you’re making a lot at one time. And we’ve streamlined the process so you don’t need to dirty any extra dishes!
  • Our taco soup is nutrient-dense. Quick meals can be healthy, and this is a great example. This taco soup recipe is rich in fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin C, not to mention filling with 10 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein in a single serving.
  • This recipe is perfect for meal prep and keeps well in the freezer. Our taco soup recipe was designed for busy families looking for delicious, fast meals that keep for a long time. Make as much as you have space to store, then freeze anything you won’t eat in the next 5 days or so. Reheat and enjoy your soup from the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • It’s easily customizable to any eating plan. You can make this taco soup work for nearly any diet. As-is, this recipe is already gluten-, dairy-, egg- and grain-free. It’s easy to adjust for Whole30 and Paleo, too!
  • It contains easy-to-find ingredients. We picked pantry staples like cilantro, tomato sauce, avocados, and ground meat to make this recipe easy to shop for (not just to make). Our yummy turkey, beef, or chicken taco soup can be adjusted for what you already have available.
An overhead view of all the ingredients needed for Instant Pot Taco Soup recipe

Ingredients To Make Taco Soup

Here’s what you need to get this taco soup simmering away:

  • Lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey — all of these meats work equally well for this easy Instant Pot taco soup. Just pick what you prefer! For the leanest nutrition profile, go with ground turkey or chicken
  • Olive oil or avocado oilthese will prepare the same; choose what you have available
  • Garlic cloves — cloves of garlic offer a more complex flavor than just using garlic powder, but you can substitute the powder in a pinch
  • Onion, zucchini, and carrots — for the fastest meal prep, dice these ahead of time
  • Bell pepper — any color will do. We liked orange and red for our recipe
  • Chili powder, cumin, and oregano — we found this was our favorite combo for a perfect Tex-Mex ‘taco-y’ feel to our soup. As with any spices, feel free to adjust to your own taste. Other spices you may try might include onion powder, paprika, or even a taco seasoning packet. If you want more of a spicy kick, sprinkle in a ½ teaspoon of cayenne. (If you eat a lot of taco recipes, check out our homemade taco seasoning recipe and keep some on hand.)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Water or broth — water works just fine, but for a heartier taste, try beef broth or chicken broth
  • Diced tomatoes — we recommend choosing an option with green chilies or fire-roasted tomatoes for the boldest flavor profile
  • Black beans — this bean choice is our favorite because it’s the most authentic bean to use in a recipe like this. However, you can customize your taco soup and use any favorite legume, such as canned pinto beans or kidney beans
  • Corn
  • Lime juice — don’t skip this one, as it brightens all the flavors! 
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt — a dollop of sour cream will offer a slightly thinner consistency than Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt also contains more gut-friendly probiotics and is lower in fat and dairy than sour cream. Choose what works best for you
  • Optional toppings — the possibilities are virtually endless. Our favorite toppings include avocado or guacamole, cilantro, green onion, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and/or lime wedges

Find the full ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Ingredient Highlight: Don’t Skip the Lime

The flavor-boosting ingredient is the lime juice — it truly takes this recipe to another level. While it might be tempting to omit the lime (because one less ingredient, right?), we highly recommend you add it. Heck, you might as well toss a couple of extra limes in your cart to whip up our Real Food Margaritas, too! You won’t be sorry.

Taco soup in instant pot with wooden spoon in soup
Taco soup being ladled into white bowl

How To Make Taco Soup

We think making taco soup is easiest in the Instant Pot. However, our full instructions include how to make this taco soup recipe in an Instant Pot, slow cooker/crock pot, or on the stove.

Here, we walk you through the Instant Pot steps.

  1. Using the ‘sauté’ setting on the Instant Pot, sauté the ground beef (or turkey or chicken) and chopped veggies until the meat is no longer pink.
  2. Turn the ‘sauté’ setting off and add the spices, tomato sauce, broth or water, diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Stir to combine.
  3. Lock the cover into place and turn the valve to ‘sealing.’ Set the Instant Pot for 8 minutes on high pressure. If you have the older version, use the ‘manual’ button; with the newer version, use the ‘pressure cook’ button. 
  4. While the soup is pressure-cooking, prepare the toppings. Go all out, or keep it simple!
  5. After the 8 minutes is up, allow for 5-7 minutes of natural release before flipping the valve to ‘venting.’
  6. Once the pressure is fully released and the lid unlocks, remove the lid and stir in the sour cream and lime juice until evenly combined. This adds a delicious creaminess to the soup!
  7. Instant Pot Taco Soup is ready to serve. Don’t forget the toppings!

For serving size and the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories (kcals), protein, carbohydrates/carb, fiber, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and more per serving.

Close up overhead view taco soup in white bowl topped with sour cream, cheese, cilantro and blue chips on side


Meal Prep Your Taco Soup and Freeze for Later

As long as you store it in an airtight container, you can meal prep a big batch of this taco soup recipe and keep it for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Since it’s so easy to keep and reheat, we also use this as a meal for neighbors, friends, and family members who just became new parents or are just going through a tough time and could use a good, home-cooked meal.

To make this recipe Whole30, skip the beans and sour cream or Greek yogurt, and don’t add toppings like cheese or tortilla chips. Replace the missing beans with an additional ½ pound of your chosen ground meat.

To make this recipe Paleo, skip the beans and sour cream, and don’t use cheese or tortilla chips to top your soup. Replace the missing beans with an additional ½ pound of your chosen ground meat. Depending on how strictly you follow a Paleo diet, you may be able to use minimally-processed Greek yogurt rather than the traditional sour cream.

To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute to the sour cream for dairy-free alternative or you can also use coconut milk. It will change the flavor a bit but it will still be delicious.

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How To Store Taco Soup

Our taco soup recipe keeps for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.

To reheat it from the refrigerator, pop it into a crock pot on medium or microwave it on high for 90 seconds. You can also reheat it on the stove; use a soup pot or Dutch oven and heat it on medium for 10-15 minutes.

You can reheat previously frozen taco soup in a slow cooker, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Be sure to remove the frozen soup from the freezer and place it in your refrigerator to thaw for 24 hours before reheating.

To reheat in the slow cooker, simply heat on the high-heat setting for 2 hours. Soup may also be reheated in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Reheat individual servings of soup in a bowl in the microwave for 90 seconds or more as needed.

Our Favorite Tool For Freezing Soup

We can’t say enough about Souper Cubes trays! These high-quality silicone trays with lids make it so easy to freezer single portions (as well as full batches) of soups, casseroles, and so much more. They’re super sturdy and we find that foods just freeze better in Souper Cubes. The 1-cup portion trays and the 2-cup portion trays are a most-used tool in our kitchens.

Shop Souper Cubes

Close up view taco soup in white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, cheese and cilantro

Endless Topping Ideas for Your Taco Soup

While this soup has amazing flavor and is incredibly tasty on its own, why not add in some fun toppings?! Here are a few ideas for a garnish using your favorite taco toppings…

  • Avocado, sliced or diced (you can even try guacamole, if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Green onion, thinly sliced
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Crushed or whole corn tortilla strips
  • Cheese (shredded or cotija)
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Lime wedges
  • Rotel
  • Hot sauce (if you’re feeling spicy)
  • Cornbread

More Recipes To Try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Taco Soup in a crockpot?

Of course, you can make Taco Soup in a crockpot. We’ve included the instructions for slow cookers in the recipe card below. Please note that depending on your heat setting, the total cook time may be as long as 7 hours.

How can I make Taco Soup on the stove?

Taco Soup can be made on the stove just like in the Instant Pot, but instead of cooking your soup under pressure, you will need to bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

For more detailed instructions see the recipe card!


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (any color)
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce + 1 can full of water or broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted-tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (1 large lime or 2 small)
  • ⅔ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (may want more for optional toppings)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional Taco Toppings: Diced avocado, fresh cilantro (chopped), green onion, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and/or lime wedges for serving

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Select ‘Saute’ on the Instant Pot and add the oil. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add ground beef, garlic, onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and carrots.
  3. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the meat is cooked and no longer pink.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomato sauce, water or broth, diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Stir to combine. 
  5. Lock the lid into place and flip the valve to the sealing position.
  6. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Allow for 5-7 minutes of natural pressure release before flipping the valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure.
  7. Remove the lid. Stir in the sour cream and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with toppings of choice.

Stovetop Directions:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots.
  3. Sauté for 7-9 minutes or until the meat is cooked and no longer pink.
  4. Add all of the seasonings, the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, corn, and water. 
  5. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat
  6. Reduce heat to low. 
  7. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  8. Stir in sour cream and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with toppings of choice.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat on the stovetop, add the oil. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots.
  3. Sauté for 7-9 minutes or until the meat is cooked and no longer pink.
  4. Add the cooked ground beef and vegetable mixture to a slow cooker.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (except for the sour cream and lime juice) and stir to combine.
  6. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  7. Stir in sour cream and lime juice just before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with toppings of choice.

Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive so we can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe (~1½ cups)
  • Calories: 285
  • Fat: 7 g
  • (Sat Fat: 3 g)
  • Sodium: 802 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 32 g
  • (Fiber: 10 g
  • Sugar: 11 g)
  • Protein: 26 g
  • Cholesterol: 52 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

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White bowls filled with instant pot taco soup topped with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and avocado chunks

The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel Cook of Half Acre House.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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