These Healthy Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos will always be one of my favorite meal preps. They can feed a small army, but they freeze and reheat perfectly--side note, 26 tacos is the correct number of tacos you should make, if not more. What I like about these healthy baked beef and cheese tacos is that it uses real beef and real cheese--no fat-free or reduced-fat cheese in my house.
Full fatty cheese goodness really makes these baked beef and cheese tacos stand out from other healthy baked beef and cheese tacos. We are also skipping the prepackaged spices and doing this from scratch. Trust me, if you have made more than three of my recipes in the past you probably have all the pantry items.
Why you should use full fat cheese while eating healthy
I will always choose real cheese over reduced-fat or fat free cheese. Not only is the taste way better, but it melts amazingly. While I agree you get a better calorie or Weight Watchers point bang for your buck with LF and FF cheese, I'll always choose flavor over quantity. You and your family deserve real cheese.
The flavor of full fat cheese is almost always better than reduced and fat free cheese. You'll see in this recipe I'm using 1/4 oz of cheese per taco which equates to about 1.5 tbsp. This is enough cheese for awesome flavor and meltiness. The meltiness is key for amazing tacos. I know prepackaged shredded cheese is convenient, but shredded at home cheese is way better and melts noticeably better. The Pioneer Woman taught me this, but pre-shredded cheese often has anti-clumping ingredients which makes it harder to melt.
You do you, but you should know that using the same amount of reduced-fat cheese will make an individual baked beef and cheese taco 2 WW SP and 2 will still be 5 WW SP. Treat yourself and your family to real cheese when you make these baked beef and cheese tacos. Again, you deserve real cheese. Side note, fat-free cheddar is an abomination and has no taste.
Assembling the baked beef tacos
The beef and cheese taco filling will make a little more than 3 ¼ cups of filling which will make 26 tacos. Cook the meat first and let cool before assembly. Again, you can even do this the night before and put it in the refrigerator.
Take your corn tortillas and stack about 5-12 on a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave for 45-60 seconds--this will make the tortillas pliable. Add two tbsp of the filling to each shell, fold, and place on a sprayed baking sheet until you are ready for the cheese. Work in shifts until all tortillas are filled.
Shred your block of cheese and weigh out 6 ½ ounces of cheese. Each ounce of shredded cheese came to about ¼ cup, but always weigh for accuracy. You will add ¼ oz of cheese to each taco which should be about 1 tbsp. Sprinkle the cheese into each taco, fold, spray with cooking spray and you’re on your way to a Taco Tuesday you won’t soon forget.
Baked Taco Toppings
Nobody prefers to top their tacos with bagged salad from a bowl, Susan. That's why there's always so much left. I appreciate the added crunch and crispness of lettuce, but topping the tacos with my Simple Slaw will really make these shine.
The slaw is so fresh and bright, it really elevates these smoky, cheesy tacos. Speaking of elevating, do you know what is better than sour cream? My chipotle mayo. You can find both the slaw and chipotle mayo recipes down below. You can also find them on my original Chipotle Chicken Biscuit recipe post-- my favorite sandwich I've ever made. You can easily add both of these to a meal plan and have two totally different and incredible dinners.
- 1 lb lean ground beef 96% lean
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 onion diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced and seeded
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 26 Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas
- 6.5 oz Colby Jack shredded
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)
- 1 can fat free refried beans (16 oz)
- Saute onions and poblano pepper in a large pan (I prefer cast iron or stainless steel for a better crust of the beef). Sprinkle a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent. While onions and peppers cook, add cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt to the ground beef and mix well.
- Add garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook until fully cooked and no longer pink. Reduce heat.
- Add tomato sauce and refried beans. Stir until fully incorporated. Turn heat off and set aside.
- Microwave a stack of corn tortillas with a wet paper towel for 45-60 seconds to make the tortillas pliable.
- Spoon 2 tbsp of filling into each tortilla and fold. Work in shifts until all tortillas are filled.
- Add 1/4 oz of shredded cheese to each taco. Place tacos on a baking sheet that is sprayed with your preferred cooking spray. Spray the tacos with cooking spray and bake at 400 for about 12-16 minutes.
- Tacos will be golden brown, crunchy, and delicious. Top with your favorite pico, simple slaw, and chipotle mayo.
To keep tortillas from cracking, make sure they are pliable and soft from the microwave.
Serving Size:2 tacos
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 506mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g
- 1/2 c lite mayo
- 1/4 c fat free Greek yogurt
- 3 tsp adobo sauce the sauce in the can of chipotles
- 1 tsp chipotle peppers minced
- Combine all the ingredients.
- Reserve the chipotle peppers until last, and taste after adding half to have better control of your spice preference.
SERVING: 1.5 TBSP YIELD: ¾ CUP
Green - 2 (1sp for 1 tbsp)
Blue & Purple - 1
Serving Size:1.5 tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Dwardcooks Simple Slaw
- 1 lb red cabbage thinly sliced or shredded
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- optional: shredded carrots, thinly sliced jalapeno
- Combine all ingredients and toss. Allow slaw to sit for about 10 minutes before serving, and drain any liquid that comes out of the salted cabbage before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions bout my Weight Watchers Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos
Could I just use taco seasoning?
No. I will find out and be really, really upset and write about you in my journal while weeping and watching The Notebook. Of course, you can. Knock your socks off. I like making my own spice blend instead of taco seasoning because I like knowing all of the ingredients.
Take my recipe and run with it, and make it work for your family, your kitchen, your budget. If you’ve cooked any of my recipes before, you probably have them: Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, and Kosher Salt. You can add about ½ tsp of chipotle powder, but I wanted to keep this mild enough for the kids.
Feel free to swap the poblano (my favorite, smoky yet mild pepper) for another one. You can also swap the tomato sauce with salsa too. People always ask if they can omit ingredients or swap things, so I figured I’d put it out there that of course, you can.
Can I make taco meat ahead of time?
The beef mixture for the Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos can be made the day before which makes this an excellent make-ahead meal. Make the meat filling on Sunday, and you’re all set for a quick and easy Taco Tuesday.
Can I halve the recipe?
Of course you can. I won't cyber bully you for making adjustments to fit your family. I came up with 26 because I wanted to use the full can of refried beans and full pound of beef. A half of a pound of beef would not feed my family, so making more and freezing helps me reduce food waste. Also, these are awesome and I ate 8 tacos in 48 hours.
How do I reheat frozen beef and cheese tacos?
Low and slow. I reheat mine at 360°F for 5-8 minutes in my air fryer. Remember, all air fryers are different and this is a fully cooked taco. The name of the game is just heating it up. In the oven, I do 350°F for 10ish minutes.