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20 Minute Taco Soup

An award-winning Taco Soup recipe made with just pantry staples and ready in 20 minutes. Packed with flavor and perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

Taco soup in a bowl on a pink background topped with avocado and chips

I am about to impart on you the recipe to my favorite comfort food.  My Mama’s own, award winning, super fast, one of a kind…TACO SOUP!

“Award-winning?” you wonder. Oh yea, friends. First place at the Alaskan state fair right here.

Since before I can remember, taco soup has been our family staple, its warmth getting us through long Alaskan winters, and its simplicity getting me through the cook-less college days. 

This was one of the first recipes published here on Live Eat Learn, back when I shared non-vegetarian recipes, and when my photography was pretty meh. So today I’m reviving this popular recipe with some new glamor shots and plant-based protein!

How to Make Taco Soup Video

Taco soup in a bowl on a pink background

Ingredients for taco soup

We’ll start with a lot of cans. Corn, black or kidney beans, kidney beans, Rotel tomatoes, and diced or stewed tomatoes.

Then you’ll need some packets. A packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix (‘merica), and a packet of taco seasoning.

And finally, your protein of choice: tofu, tempeh, turkey, or beef (we’re using tofu!)

Cans used to make taco soup on a pink background

How to make healthy taco soup

Start up the skillet and start cooking the tofu. Simply crumble it into pieces resembling ground meat, adding a splash of oil to promote browning. When I was little, I would always try to get the taco meat really fine so it could be “just like Taco Bell meat!” Apparently Taco Bell was my reference for good Mexican food. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Crumbling tofu in a pan

While that’s going, mix all the cans and Ranch seasoning together in a big pot and set on medium heat. Don’t drain the cans! Just throw it all in.

Beans, corn, and tomatoes in a pan on a pink background

Once the tofu has turned golden, mix in the taco seasoning.

Cooking tofu in a pan

Finally, throw the seasoned tofu in with everything else, put a lid on it, and let her simmer for a few minutes until everything is nice and warm. Badabing badaboom!

Adding crumbled tofu to taco soup

Some people would stop there, enjoy their Taco Soup, naked though it may be. But I like to dress it up a bit. Sprinkle on some shredded cheese, add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and finish it with some crunched up some tortilla chips. Now THAT, is Mama’s Award-Winning Taco Soup.

How to make Taco Soup in a Crockpot

You can easily make this taco soup recipe in a slow cooker. Saute your protein just like in the stovetop recipe, but instead of combining everything in a large pot, throw it all into your Crockpot. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Taco soup in a pan on a pink background

How to store taco soup

Taco soup will last for about one week in the fridge, though you can also freeze it! Store in individual portions in an airtight container or freezer-safe baggie. When ready to eat, simply reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

Taco soup in a bowl on a pink background

P.S. If you love this taco soup you’re also going to want to try this Tempeh Chili or this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili!

Taco soup in a bowl on a pink background

20 Minute Taco Soup

An award-winning Taco Soup recipe made with just pantry staples and ready in 20 minutes. Packed with flavor and perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Soups
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: easy taco soup, healthy taco soup, taco soup, vegetarian chili, vegetarian taco soup
Diet: Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: Cinco de Mayo, Game Day
Time: 30 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 220kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.58 from 19 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14-oz block firm tofu 400 g, or 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 15-oz can Rotel tomatoes 425 g
  • 1 15-oz can stewed or diced tomato 425 g
  • 1 15-oz can corn 425 g
  • 1 15-oz can pinto or black beans 425 g
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans 425 g
  • 1 1-oz packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix 28 g
  • 1 1-oz packet taco seasoning 28 g

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook Protein: In a large saute pan, cook meat/tofu until browned, drain fat if necessary, and add taco seasoning, stirring to coat.
  • Mix Everything: Mix all cans (don’t drain them) and Ranch seasoning in a large pot. Add in cooked, seasoned meat. Let sit on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup is hot.
  • Serve: Top with shredded cheese, sour cream/plain Greek yogurt, and crushed tortilla chips.

NOTES

  • Make taco soup in a slow cooker: Saute your protein just like in the stovetop recipe, but instead of combining everything in a large pot, throw it all into your Crockpot. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Storage: Taco soup will last for about one week in the fridge, though you can also freeze it! Store in individual portions in an airtight container or freezer-safe baggie. When ready to eat, simply reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.2g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 3.9g | Saturated Fat: 0.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 650mg | Potassium: 762mg | Fiber: 9.7g | Sugar: 4.7g | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 4.1mg
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Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Recipe Rating




  1. Holly says:

    Love this ..making it tonight ,following your recipe..(But doubling the meat and one xtra can of pinto ) and adding more cumin ..some red pepper flakes and crushed garlic.. and cilantro ?where in Texas are you ? #H.E.B. LOL thanks for sharing this ..

    1. Sarah says:

      All those additions sounds great, Holly, I’d love to hear how it turned out! 🙂 I was in San Antonio but just recently moved to the Netherlands. Oh how I do miss my HEB and Central Market!!

    2. Gigi says:

      Sarah
      Nor sure how to post,a comment so just using your reply button.. just wanted to say I add bell pepper, onion and minced garlic to mine. Makes it even healthier and delicious5 stars

    3. Sarah says:

      Those sound like such great revisions, Gigi!

  2. Shelbi says:

    I grew up with taco soup and I will say I like chicken better with it than ground beef but tonight we are doing ground beef. An easy way to prepare it is with an already made rotisserie chicken from the deli. We also use white hominy instead of corn! YUUMMM. I can’t wait to eat this tonight it is one of my favorites!!!5 stars

    1. Shelbi says:

      I feel dumb but white hominy is corn just not the usual golden corn LMAO

    2. Sarah says:

      Ha! I was just about to google what white hominy was. Learn something new everyday!

  3. Kelli says:

    I use a pastry cutter to chop up my hamburger meat bc I like it “Taco Bell style” too”

  4. Lindsay says:

    Is there a way i can thicken ot up. I added a little water by mistake and now its too watery.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Lindsay, if you have it on hand, a spoonful of starch (cornstarch, flour, oat flour, something like that) will thicken up your soup quickly. You can also just cook it uncovered for 30 minutes to an hour and let the extra water just evaporate out 🙂

  5. Daphne Felde says:

    This is my go to Taco Soup! Add a small can of diced green chilis. They ate not hot and amp up the Mexican flavors.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh great idea!! I’ve have to try that next time I make it!

  6. Dianna says:

    What is purpose of Hidden Valley Ddressing?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Dianna! The ranch adds a lot of creamy/herby-ness and rounds out the flavors really well. You can make the soup without, but I highly recommend you use it! 🙂

    2. Brooke says:

      I have fiesta ranch do you think it will alter it any?

    3. Sarah says:

      Hi Brooke! I think it will change the flavor some but not in a bad way 🙂 The ranch seasoning acts to make it really creamy and herby, yours will just have some zing as well!

  7. Candice says:

    I’m not a big fan of whole tomatoes, would tomato sauce work just as well?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Candice! I totally feel ya, I’m usually not a fan of whole raw tomatoes. Tomato sauce will work for giving that tomato flavor, your soup just may be a bit more liquidy 🙂

  8. Rochelle says:

    Sounds yummy!! Do you drain the beans first?

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Rochelle! It’s SO yummy! Don’t drain anything, just pour all the cans right in 🙂

  9. Allison says:

    Hello, if I chose ground meat and did not use any of your toppings, would the serving size be the same? Looking for calorie total. Thanks ?

    1. Sarah says:

      The servings should be about the same with ground meat! 🙂 Calories will really depend on what kind of meat you’re using though (for example, beef will have more fat and calories and turkey).

  10. Stacy C says:

    This soup sounds So good, and I’m glad it Gluten free. If you were going to make it in a slow cooker, what would you do different?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Stacy! I haven’t tried it in a slow cooker before but I would probably make it roughly the same. Brown the tofu or meat, add taco seasoning, then mix everything together in your slow cooker on low for a few hours.

  11. Jessica says:

    Hi! If I was to use more hamburger meat say 3 pounds worth, would I need to double up on the other ingredients as well?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jessica, yep I would double or even triple the rest of the other ingredients. It freezes really well (I keep it in the freezer for ultra-quick dinners), so any extra won’t go wasted! 😀

  12. Catherine says:

    I made this this morning . Easy and very tasty . I will definitely make it again. Thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Catherine! 😀

  13. Patty says:

    Made it with shredded pork, was delicious. Hubby said it was a keeper. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Patty! 😀

  14. Barbara says:

    Try putting tomatoes in food processor.

  15. Mike says:

    I love taco soup and normally make a double batch. I add a step to give my soup an extra creamy texture. Once everything is combined, remove a cup of the soup and process it until smooth. Then just add it back to the soup and stir well. I use a Vitamix blender, but any blender or food processor will do. Give it a shot! You’ll love the smooth texture and your guests will think you’ve been working on that soup for hours.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      SUCH a good idea, Mike!! I do this with many soups but the thought never occurred to me to do it with this Taco Soup. Thanks for the inspiration! 😀

  16. Billie Van Guilder says:

    Not flavorful enough.

  17. Hayley says:

    How do you defrost it after it’s been frozen? Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      I usually place it in the fridge a day in advance of when I want to eat it so it can start thawing, then just throw it in a pot or in the microwave to heat up 🙂

  18. Mare says:

    I need to ask, if one is to crumble up the tofu? As I do not eat dead ground up creatures who share our planet.

  19. Sarah says:

    Hi Mare! Sorry for the delay. Yes, crumble the tofu 🙂

  20. Emily says:

    This looks soooo good! My partner has a dairy allergy, though, and most ranch flavoring has dairy in it. Can you recommend an alternative that gets the same flavor?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Emily! I’ve used this blend in place of the ranch seasoning and it’s tasty: 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 2 tsp dried, dill, 2 tsp dried chives. For the creaminess, you could just top each serving with a healthy dollop of dairy-free sour cream or yogurt 😀

  21. Orla Hyland says:

    What type of flavours are in the seasoning and dressing mixes. I am in Australia and I don’t think I can get the ones you are recommending.

    1. Sarah says:

      HI Orla! The ranch seasoning is a blend of roughly 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 2 tsp dried, dill, 2 tsp dried chives. For the creaminess, you could just top each serving with a healthy dollop of sour cream or yogurt. For the taco seasoning, I would haven’t tried exact substitutes but it is a combination of cumin, chili pepper, oregano, and paprika 😀

  22. Linda says:

    Why the tofu?

    1. Sarah says:

      I use this in place of meat for vegetarian protein and bulk 😀

  23. Kp says:

    Sodium overload. Very unhealthy.

  24. Orla says:

    So funny! I was scrolling through all the comments to figure out how to substitute the dressings and found my own question on 2018 and that you’d answered me too! Thank you. I’m going to make this today.

    1. Sarah says:

      Perfect! Let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy!

  25. Tiffany Rudd says:

    Such an easy recipe after a night of work!

    My partner and I switched out the tofu for TVP (textured vegetable protein), which is basically dried soy crumbles. We also used creamed corn instead of regular since that’s what we had on hand. We added everything to the pot, with equal amounts veggie stock to TVP we added so it wouldn’t suck up all the juices. Let it all simmer and boom! Tasty meal. Since we used TVP, it turned this into a one pot meal, which I absolutely love. Topped with shredded extra sharp cheddar and dug in.

    I had never thought to use a Hidden Valley packet for seasoning, but I actually really enjoyed it. Will probably add some cilantro and sour cream to a few servings since that sounds delicious. Maybe even some Fritos for a tasty, salty crunch.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh I’ll have to try it with TVP, sounds delish! And I definitely recommend the sour cream and crumbled chips on top 😛 Enjoy!!

  26. Lauren says:

    This was seriously so good! We used Longeve pea protein crumbles instead of the tofu and it worked perfectly!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh that sounds delish, I’ll have to try it! Thanks for dropping in to let us know how it went 😀

  27. SUSAN MCCONNELL says:

    Can I make this WITHOUT the protein? Just dump the canned stuff and both packets of seasoning in a big soup pot?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep I think that would be fine! 😀

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