Making Hamburger for Tacos: How Much to Get for a Large Group

Because many people enjoy eating tacos and require few ingredients, they are a great option for feeding large groups of people. Finding the correct amount of taco meat to prepare can be tricky, though.

The average person will put about 2 ounces of hamburger meat on a street-sized taco and will generally eat between 4 to 6 street-size tacos. So, plan on making eight ounces of beef for each adult. Children will eat about half, so prepare 4 ounces of hamburger per child.

Tacos are very popular, but everyone makes tacos differently, including using different tortillas. The meat can even be different, so the results can be quite different.

How Much Taco Meat is Needed

When making taco meat, the average person will need to put between 2 and 2.5 ounces on their shell. It is best to use 2 ounces, though, so you can add toppings to your taco without ripping the shell. This is only per shell, though, and it can change depending on how many tacos each guest will eat.

On average, people will eat around 3 tacos if the tortillas are big or between 4 and 5 if the tortillas are smaller. The amount of meat each person will eat will not change depending on the size of the tortillas, though, which is why people will eat more between 4 and 5 tacos if they use corn tortillas.

The following table will help you decide how much taco meat to prepare.

Amount of PeopleAmount of Tacos Per Person (Corn Tortillas)Amount of Taco Meat Needed
25 people4-5 tacos6.25-9.375 pounds
50 people4-5 tacos12.5-18.75 pounds
75 people4-5 tacos18.75-28.125 pounds
100 people4-5 tacos25-37.5 pounds
150 people4-5 tacos37.5-56.25 pounds
Keep in mind that buying 2 to 3 flour tortillas per person will not change the amount of meat you will need to have prepared.

This range might seem big, but if you have a hungry group of people, or are unsure, err on the side of over preparing. If lots of children will be present, you can use the smaller range.

How to Make Hamburger Meat for Tacos

The basic definition of a taco is a Mexican dish consisting of a fried tortilla, filled with a mixture of seasoned meat, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. The meat used can change, and often people will use various kinds of meat. For example, there are tacos made of fish, barbacoa, carnitas, carne asada, and ground beef/ hamburger meat just to name a few.

People often use hamburger meat and ground beef interchangeably, so it is important to not let yourself become confused between the two.

There are multiple ways to make tacos. You can make completely homemade tacos, or you can make tacos with hamburger meat and a taco seasoning packet. I buy the McCormick or Lawry’s brand since that is what my family used growing up.

If you want to flavor your taco meat without a taco seasoning packet, use garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. You can increase the heat in your tacos by continuing to add flavoring. You can even add hot sauce to the result if the taco meat is still not as hot as you prefer it to be.

The Amount of Meat Correlates with the Shells Needed

Another important part of tacos is the tortilla. If you are preparing corn tortillas or street-taco tortillas, prepare to serve around 4 to 6 tortillas per person.

Bigger tortillas will mean less tacos, but not less meat.

Hamburger Meat for Tacos – How to Make the Meat Go Further

If you are making tacos for a large group, it is most common to have a taco bar so people can make their own tacos.

For the perfect taco bar, you will need more than just the meat, though. Other necessities include plates, napkins, toppings, and tortillas. Forgetting these necessities can be detrimental to your get-together and eliminate the word “taco” from your party.

There are two kinds of tortillas that you can use: flour tortillas and corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are the best to use when it comes to burritos and quesadillas, but corn tortillas are the best when it comes to making street tacos, regular tacos, and taquitos. This does not mean you cannot use flour tortillas, though.

The number of tortillas you will need for each person will be around 4 to 5 corn tortillas or 2 to 3 flour tortillas. The amount of meat you will need for the tortillas will remain the same. The only thing that changes is the way you spread the meat in the shell.

Because corn tortillas are smaller than flour tortillas, people will appear to be putting more meat on their tortillas, if they are using flour tortillas. People, on average, will use around the same amount of meat in total because you can only fit about 2 ounces of meat on a street taco, which is made with corn tortillas. The totals end up being equal because 2 corn tortillas are equivalent to 1 flour tortilla.

Types of Tortillas to Use

The tortillas you are using are very important. In fact, without them, your guests will just be eating amazing flavored meat.

First, decide on what kind of tortillas you want to use for the taco bar. You can have both, but each package will have a different amount in the package. To find the number of tortillas you will need, multiply the number of people you expect to have by the average amount of tortillas a person eats.

For example, if you are feeding 25 people, you will need between 50 and 75 flour tortillas or between 100 and 125 corn tortillas. Though the amount of corn tortillas seems to be many more tortillas than flour tortillas, it is important to remember that flour tortillas are bigger than corn tortillas which is why people will eat more corn tortillas.

They are unable to fit as much meat in corn tortillas as they can in flour tortillas. They will eat the same amount of meat, no matter what kind of tortillas you decide to use.

How Many Tortillas to Heat up

It is important to calculate how many tortillas each person may eat. It is a good idea to have 6 corn tortillas per person. If you are using flour tortillas, you will need 6 flour tortillas per person. Since the tortillas will get less flimsy the longer they are away from heat, you can put as many as you think you need on a griddle and add to that amount as the event unfolds.

You can heat tortillas on a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. They will need to heat for about 15 to 30 seconds. If they have a few brown or dark spots, you are doing it right.

You can also fry the tortillas. My family often fried our tortillas because we liked the taste. When you fry the tortillas, it is important to use corn tortillas because they work the best. You will only keep them in the oil for 30 seconds because otherwise, they will be too crunchy.

Heating them to a flimsy consistency helps them fold around the meat, and let’s not forget the toppings!

Taco Toppings with Meat

People put toppings on their tacos. Common taco toppings include lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, hot sauce, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, cilantro, pico de gallo, olives, and cheese.

The more options you provide will decrease the amount of meat consumed by each individual. You can only fit so much on a taco and the more toppings that can be added cause the consumers to use less meat in order to include their other favorite fillings.

When having toppings available for a large gathering, it is important to have as many types of toppings as you can. You do not have to have every topping available, but there should be a wide variety so people can pick and choose what they would like.


Being part of a really big family, cooking for big groups of people is just how we do things. Cooking, baking, and outdoor cooking have all been huge parts of my life, and I love sharing what I've learned with you.

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