Beef Burritos

This recipe is adapted from one I found in the June 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living called Crispy Tacos Picadillo. As you can see from the recipe pic, it’s been used a lot – food splashes and all.

It’s one of my son’s favourite recipes since he was little. I also made it a lot when he had friends sleepover. Earlier this year, his friend who is now 19 asked for the recipe. Happiness.

A few modifications were made to the original recipe reflected below. The first change, an early one, was to use flour tortilla shells (preferably homemade!) instead of hard taco shells. I like the crunch factor of taco shells, but find they crack too easily with most of the toppings ending up on your plate (not first date food). Flour tortilla shells are much easier to eat, keeping all that beef and topping goodness wrapped up together.

My good friend Tricia made her own taco seasoning (recipe included below) and gave me a jar, so I’ve been using that instead of all the spices listed separately in the recipe.

This is a fun meal to serve as a dinner party, as guests can assemble their own burritos.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound (500 g) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (1 to 2 cloves)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (2 3/4 cups), or a can of whole or crushed tomatoes
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 3 Tbsp taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Homemade flour tortillas (C’mon, you can do it! Or use store-bought)

(Suggested) Toppings:

  • Shredded cheese (we use gouda, but cheddar or feta is nice too)
  • Lettuce (I like arugula)
  • Guacamole
  • Yogurt dressing
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Tricia’s Taco Seasoning

Combine all ingredients and mix well:

  • 10g cayenne pepper
  • 50g garlic powder
  • 23g onion powder or flakes
  • 8g dried oregano
  • 50g ground cumin
  • 20g black pepper
  • 45g paprika (hot)
  • 10g chili powder or chili flakes
  • 65g fine sea salt

Store in a sealed container for up to 1 year.


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, and cook until just starting to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef, and cook, breaking up pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until beef has browned, about 4 minutes. Spoon out excess fat so that 1 tablespoon remains (if you use organic beef, you likely won’t have much fat).
  4. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin (or taco seasoning).
  5. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until thick and very little liquid remains, about 18 minutes.
  6. Stir in vinegar.
  7. Spoon beef mixture onto flour tortilla shell, then add your favourite toppings.
  8. Roll into a burrito and enjoy comfort food at it’s finest.


  • If you plan to make the flour tortillas, make the beef mixture first and then work on the tortillas as the beef simmers away.
  • Double the recipe and freeze leftovers for another meal. Can also use this to make nachos.

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