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Tex Mex Ground Beef and Quinoa Skillet

Looking for a recipe that cooks ground beef and quinoa in the same pan? Well, you’re in the right place. This Tex-Mex skillet combines quinoa and ground beef with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and green chiles, and melty cheese to make a huge batch of food that’s great for weekly meal prep. Every serving has 21 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber!

serving cheesy ground beef and quinoa from a skillet

How to Make One Pan Ground Beef with Quinoa

If you’re in Texas and have access to H-E-B, you can get a look at the exact ingredients I used in the photo below. Don’t have access to H-E-B? No worries!

Any canned corn and black beans will work for this recipe. And you can add some pickled jalapeño peppers, lime juice, or even some chipotle peppers in adobo if you wanted.

Aside from what you see pictured here, you’ll only need ground beef, taco seasoning, and a little bit of garlic and onion powder.

quinoa, RO-TEL, black beans, corn, and beef broth

Cooking the Ground Beef

I calculated the nutrition facts with my go-to 96% lean ground beef.

Be sure to let your pan get hot before adding the beef to get the best browning via the Maillard reaction. Browning ground beef creates a ton of flavor, and it works best in a hot, dry environment.

browning ground beef in a cast iron skillet

Once you’ve cooked the beef, the hard part is over. Just add your seasoning and the rest of the ingredients straight to the pan.

taco seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder with cooked ground beef

Ground Beef Seasoning

You can always make your own taco seasoning, but I like to use a packet every now and then. Especially when you’re going for a simple recipe like this one.

That’s also why you see additional garlic and onion powder. While you could add freshly diced onion and minced garlic to the ground beef, you can achieve similar flavor profiles in less time with their dried counterparts.

quinoa, black beans, corn, and RO-TEL added to a skillet with cooked ground beef

Be sure you’re using at least an 11″ skillet. This ground beef and quinoa skillet is a high volume recipe that makes a big batch of food. You don’t want to add everything only to realize you’re out of room for the broth to cook the quinoa in.

Cooking the Quinoa

You’re looking for the quinoa to absorb liquid and become tender in the skillet. It should take around 12-15 minutes, but you may need to adjust based on the size of your pan or other factors.

quinoa and ground beef with beef broth simmering in a cast iron skillet

If you notice your ground beef and quinoa skillet is running low on liquid before the quinoa is completely tender, add a bit more broth or water and continue cooking.

cooked quinoa with the taco ground beef, black beans, and tomatoes

Can I use rice instead of quinoa?

Rice should work great in this recipe as a 1:1 substitute. Using my cheesy chicken broccoli and rice skillet as a guide, I would use short grain rice with a similar amount of broth.

While this recipe cooks uncovered, you may consider covering if you go with rice.

Topping with Cheese

I used Boar’s Head 3 Pepper Colby Jack cheese, which has to be one of the best cheeses on the block (pun intended). Any melting cheese will work great for topping your ground beef and quinoa.

shredded cheese on top of the ground beef and quinoa skillet

You can throw a cover on your skillet or pop it under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese. I prefer the broiler to get that golden brown, bubbly cheese finish.

By the way, if you’re a cheese fanatic like me, you’ll want to check out recipes like our pulled pork grilled cheese or BBQ chicken quesadillas.

broiled cheese on the ground beef and quinoa

What to Serve with Ground Beef and Quinoa

The beauty of a one pan recipe like this is that you basically have a full meal in one skillet. Just top each serving with your choice of fixin’s and dig in. I like to add some cotija cheese, a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt or sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro and maybe jalapeño, lime juice, and a little hot sauce.

To make a topping in bulk, try something like the creamy yogurt salsa drizzle from these taco meal prep bowls or some of our smoked guacamole salsa verde.

If you have some calories to spare, the textured crunch from baked tortilla chips is definitely a nice-to-have with this Tex-Mex quinoa and ground beef.

ground beef and quinoa in a bowl with lime wedges

Okay, you’ll find the printable recipe card below. If you have a question about the recipe I didn’t cover, drop it in the comments below. And if you love this ground beef quinoa skillet, recipe reviews are always appreciated!

wooden serving spoon in a cast iron skillet filled with cheesy Tex Mex quinoa and ground beef

One Pan Tex Mex Ground Beef and Quinoa

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Taco seasoned ground beef with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and green chiles, and quinoa all cooked in one skillet and topped with melted jack cheese.


  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 15 oz can Black Beans
  • 10 oz can Corn
  • 2 10 oz cans RO-TEL (diced tomatoes + green chiles)
  • 1 1/2 cup (270g) Quinoa
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 4 oz Colby Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro and Cotija Cheese, for garnish


  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet (you'll need at least an 11" skillet) before breaking apart and fully cooking.
  2. Once cooked, add the remaining ingredients up to the beef broth. Stir everything together and bring to a boil before reducing to a medium-low heat and simmering for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender. You can add 1/2 cup of broth towards the end of the cook time, if needed.
  3. Top with grated colby jack and either cover to melt or pop it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro, cotija cheese, and lime wedges, if desired. (A dollop of fat free Greek yogurt is a great way to boost the protein and substitute for sour cream.)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: about 10 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 10gProtein: 21g

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