Food

The Best Taco Soup You’ll Ever Have

Do you like tacos? (Is the sky blue?) Well, our friends Laura and Ryan from Smith & Ratliff make a rich, hearty taco soup that they call “the ultimate soup recipe for the non-cook.” Here’s how to make it…

The Best Taco Soup You’ll Ever Have
By Ryan Smith and Laura Ratliff of Smith & Ratliff

Laura: When the new year rolls around, I always find myself with a craving for taco soup. There are many variations on the basic recipe—some good (lots of green chilies!), some not so good (canned corn!). But whenever I make it, I use the recipe that my mom and aunt have been using for years. It instantly transports me back to Christmas and New Years’ holidays spent with my family in Colorado and Santa Fe, where we would sit next to the fireplace and watch the snow fall or look out over the mountains.

Of course, this isn’t a super gourmet recipe, but the simplistic charm of dumping cans and spice packets into a Dutch oven to create a tasty, hearty soup can’t be beat. This is the ultimate soup recipe for the non-cook. If you do want to upgrade it, you can substitute your own combination of spices for the spice packets, or even stew your own tomatoes. You can also use ground beef in lieu of turkey, and the soup is delicious served with homemade cornbread.

The recipe below makes a lot of soup, but even if you’re a household of two (as we are), it lasts for several days in the fridge and gets even better as time passes. It’s one of our favorite simple winter meals, so I hope you enjoy it as well.

Recipe: The Best Taco Soup You’ll Ever Have
Makes 6-8 generous portions

You’ll need:

1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
2 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes (preferably Mexican recipe)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans (try Trappey’s with jalapenos for an extra kick!)
1 15 oz. can white hominy
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups water

What to do:

Brown meat with onion and green chiles in a Dutch oven, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Drain fat. Add tomatoes with juice, can of beans with liquid, hominy with juice, dry taco and ranch mixes and water. Stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with cornbread.

Thank you, Laura and Ryan! Looks delicious.

P.S. More best recipes, including broccoli soup and roasted tomato soup. Plus, the perfect winter lunch

(Recipe and photos by Ryan Smith and Laura Ratliff of Smith & Ratliff. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Carla Slaughter says...

    Dinner tonight!! Thank you!

  2. Tamara fox says...

    Your recipe was absolutely delicious. Everyone thinks they are a cook. Try the damn recipe first please , then make your educated adjustments

  3. Great recipes. Just pinned this one. thanks, Anna

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  5. This soup is so quick and tasty! Thank you so much. This has become a family favorite. I make it every few weeks.

  6. This soup is so quick and tasty! Thank you so much. This has become a family favorite. I make it every few weeks.

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  8. Great, easy recipe! I made this tonight and my husband and I loved it. I really like the use of hominy instead of corn. Thanks!

  9. HY says...

    Made this yesterday along with honey cornbread from a box and it was the easiest and most comforting meal we’ve had in a long time. Will definitely add this to my rotation of easy dinners! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Made this recipe this weekend, and it was deeeeee-licious! Used kidney beans instead of pinto and put some shredded cheddar on top! Thanks for sharing such great recipes! :)

  11. This totally works in a crockpot, too :)
    Excited to try this variation.

  12. OOH yum! I’m from Santa Fe myself, so this looks excellent- the more green chile the better! XX

  13. Yum! I want to make this tonight!

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  15. I made it tonight-delicious! Trader Joes didn’t have hominy so I went with fresh corn. I know she specifically said no to corn, but I was hoping it would be okay and it was! But look out for the Trader Joes taco seasoning-super spicy!!

    • Haha, my “no corn” was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. You can really add whatever you like to it. :) I’m glad you liked it!

  16. Omg! I just made it and it was delicious!! Thank you. This will be a winter staple for sure.

  17. Now that sounds wonderful. Anything with “taco” in its name has to be delicious! AND then, I started jumping around to your other posts which included recipes – yummy!

  18. Sounds delicious! Wish I could try it out, I have to stay away from the dressing packets because I get migraines from MSG. I know how to replicate taco seasoning, but what is the secret to getting the same kick for the ranch flavoring?

  19. This is also delicious made in the crockpot. Just brown your meat/onions and then dump that plus the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker and forget about it. So easy and great to have it ready at the end of the day!

    And yes, the ranch dressing pack is GENIUS. Totally makes the soup.

    • That’s great to hear because I don’t have a dutch oven, but I do have a crockpot! How long would you suggest cooking it for?

  20. Love taco soup – especially the canned corn. I always add extra. My kids spoon it up with corn chips and everyone is happy.

  21. It’s -7 right now and this looks about perfect. I’ve never thought of tacos being a jump off for soup but I’m excited to try it now.

  22. This soup looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it!

  23. Yum! Tonight is taco night — I almost have all the ingredients. So close.

  24. This looks delish! My favorite way to make cornbread is to add actual corn (can or frozen).. so good!

  25. Not to be a jerk but the comment about how canned corn is “bad” when this recipe uses ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix is a joke, right?

    • Kelly, I think you just might have misread my tone. Canned corn is only “bad” because I personally don’t like, not because there’s actually anything wrong with it. :) -LR

    • Laura & Ryan, do you know if this would work in a standard metal pot (rather than a dutch oven)? Or a crock pot? I really want to make this asap but I don’t have a dutch oven!

    • Of course—any big metal pot will do. I’ve made it in both (our Dutch oven is too heavy to fuss with, haha). It’s best if you make it in a pot with sturdy bottom though (or stir it regularly), so that it doesn’t scorch. :) Enjoy!

    • Wonderful, thank you!

  26. jm says...

    I have never heard of taco soup. Perfect for a winter night this week – it is freezing here in the midwest!

  27. This looks great, kind of like a taco soup/chili to me. I’m going to try it! You had me at “delicious served with homemade cornbread.” :)

    Usually when I am going for the soup-with-Mexican-flavors-thing, I make a tortilla soup. Just a simple but flavorful broth base with large shreds of poached chicken, green chilies and sometimes white beans. It’s all about toppings: tortilla strips crisped in oil in the oven, cheese, onion, piles of fresh cilantro, and lots of lime juice. So good on a cold, blah winter day!!

  28. Really loving this “Best You Ever Had” series!

  29. Thank you….this is exactly what I was looking for, a true and tested delicious taco soup. : )

  30. I am making everything in my Dutch oven during the cold winter months here in the Netherlands…we become stewtarians from November all the way til February!

  31. Thank you for sharing! I’ll definitely have to give this one a whirl. There’s nothing quite like a good soup to feel warm and cozy during the bleakest winter months!

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  32. OH my gosh i am so trying this tonight!! thank you so much for sharing this!

  33. Erm, as a “non-cook,” i had to look up a “dutch oven” (I just thought it was a fart prank, who knew!). Otherwise, this looks delicious and great for my level. :P I think I’ll try it this winter!

    • Haha same here! Well I knew a dutch oven was an actual cooking thing, but I didn’t know exactly what it was, so I also had to look it up. Turns out I don’t have anything that qualifies as a dutch oven (unless you count my boyfriend…). Does anyone know if this would work in a regular pot? I hope so because I really want to try it!

  34. Oh wow, looks like the perfect way to overcome all our snowy British weather… Yum!

  35. This looks so perfect for these cold days.

  36. Yum – sounds delish! Perfect for winter!

  37. An envelope of ranch dressing mix?! Genius.

  38. We are expecting weather that feels like -43 today here in Montreal! This is the perfect soup to warm up with, thanks for this recipe :)

  39. Oh my, this looks delicious! And it’s defintely soup weather out; I will also be making this tonight :)

  40. THANK YOU! This is what I needed today. It’s an arctic blast here and I think everyone in the house would enjoy this tonight :)