These easy taco bites are made with crispy phyllo cups filled with seasoned ground beef and topped with melted cheese. They are the perfect party appetizer for a football party or dinner party with friends.
Looking for a fun and easy appetizer to serve for a football party or potluck?
These easy taco bites are made with prepared phyllo cups and take just a few minutes to prep and bake.
The bite-sized appetizer is a great mess-free recipe for guests to pick up and enjoy with their fingers and are much neater to serve than traditional tacos.
They are a fun twist on family game night or movie night snacks, too!
Serve these taco bites alongside chips and queso or my favorite strawberry mango salsa with cinnamon chips for a light and nibble-y dinner on a Friday night.
This easy appetizer comes together so quickly with a few shortcut ingredients.
The biggest time saver is using prepared phyllo shells which are baked phyllo dough cups that are ready to use with easy fillings. I buy the ones that come in a box like this.
In addition, you'll need:
- Ground Beef: You could substitute ground pork or ground turkey if you prefer.
- Taco Seasoning
- Rotel Canned Tomatoes
- Shredded Mexican Cheese
Prepare the Taco Filling
Preheat the oven to 350°F while you prep the taco bites.
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and drain the fat that cooks off.
Add the chopped onion and cook until softened.
Add the taco seasoning and the drained can of Rotel tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add the water and stir. Cook until the mixture has thickened, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Stir in HALF of the shredded cheese. This will help the meat filling stick together when you bite into the taco bites.
Assemble the Taco Bites
Use a regular table spoon to scoop the filling into the prepared phyllo cups.
They should be nice and full, but not overflowing.
Line them up on a baking sheet as you fill them and then bake them for 6 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over each cup and bake 2 - 3 minutes more or until the cheese has melted.
Make Ahead Tips
The taco bites are best served fresh from the oven but this is still a wonderful prep ahead recipe for a party.
You can brown the taco filling up to 3 days in advance and keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You could also freeze the filling up to 6 months.
Simply reheat the filling in the microwave and then fill the cups as directed and bake.
How to Bake from Frozen
Do not try to fill the phyllo cups ahead of time and just keep them in the fridge, they will soften from the moisture of the beef filling.
To keep them nice and crispy, just fill them with the prepared filling and bake immediately or you can freeze the taco bites once they are completely cooled.
Be sure to store them in an airtight container with waxed paper separating the layers so they don't stick together.
To bake them from frozen:
Bake the frozen taco bites at 350°F until they are crisp and heated through. There's no need to thaw them first.
My very simple taco bites are always a huge hit because they are so easy to eat and not very messy to pick up.
If you want to add more taco flavor, you could always add chopped fresh tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream, or a sprinkle of fresh green onions over the top but this will make them more difficult to pick up and nibble at a party so consider how you'll use them first.
You could also play around with these other variations:
- Lighter Taco Bites: Use ground turkey or ground chicken instead of beef.
- Spicy Taco Bites: Add a dash of cayenne pepper to the filling or use a spicy taco seasoning blend. You could also mince a fresh jalapeno to add alongside the onion when you brown the beef filling.
As long as you don't overfill the phyllo cups, this is a very easy appetizer to serve and guests can pick up the taco bites with their fingers and eat them fairly mess-free.
You could set out a bowl of salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, or chopped green onions if you want your friends to be able to top their taco bites with something fresh and cool.
If you want to serve the taco bites as part of a Mexican-themed menu, I would pair them with a unique salsa and chips.
You could try my savory chunky corn salsa with tortilla chips but I think the sweet and spicy peach salsa or my strawberry mango salsa would make a wonderful fruity complement to the savory taco bites.
More Easy Appetizers
Looking for more easy nibbles to serve for your gathering?
Bake a batch of sausage crescent roll swirls, this is a great freezer friendly app to make ahead of time.
Deviled eggs are always a classic party dish, mine is perfect if you don't like mayo.
And my easy veggie pizza always disappears in a flash and is a nice cold appetizer to serve that you can easily prep ahead of time.
Easy Taco Bites
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 packet (or 4 tbsp) of taco seasoning
- 1 (10 oz) can of Rotel tomatoes drained
- ¾ cup water
- 1 ¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 4 packages of 15 shells each miniature phyllo tart shells
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a large baking sheet.
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break it up into crumbles as it cooks. Add the onions and saute until they are softened and translucent. Drain the extra fat and juices from the pan and return the skillet to the burner.
- Add the taco seasoning and stir to combine with the beef until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes (DRAINED!) and stir to combine. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add half of the shredded cheese to the mixture. Stir to combine.
- Fill each phyllo cup with a spoonful of beef mixture. Do not mound the meat into the cup or they will be difficult to eat. Place each phyllo cup onto the baking sheet as you fill them.
- Bake the taco bites for 6 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the taco bites and bake for an additional 2 - 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
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