Turkey Tacos (15 Minutes, Secret Ingredient!)

Turkey Tacos that are quick, easy, healthy, juicy and packed with flavor – you won’t even miss the beef with my secret ingredient!

These Ground Turkey Tacos can be on your table in 15 minutes!  They are the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight meal yet just as crave worthy as more labor intensive dinners.  You can make Turkey Tacos with this ground turkey taco meat or turkey taco salad, lettuce wraps, burritos, etc.  This turkey meat also freezes beautifully for prep ahead dinners – just when you didn’t think Turkey Tacos could get any easier!

up close of picking up a healthy turkey taco with ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados

With school back in session, I know quick and easy, yet still delicious dinners are in demand so I am trying to share more of what I eat on a regular basis. On days I am not filming recipe videos or photographing recipes, I am taking a break from cooking and making EASY, healthy recipes.

I make tons of smoothies, roasted veggies, stir-fries, soups, sheet pan meals and ground turkey tacos, turkey chili or turkey taco meat in some form or another because I CRAVE it!  Because this turkey taco meat isn’t bland and boring, it is juicy and infused with a secret ingredient that will change your life!

These Turkey Tacos are the answer to all those busy nights, lazy nights, don’t want to cook nights, “what should I make for dinner?” nights, need something NOW nights, need something everyone will LOVE nights but still want to eat HEALTHY nights!

LOOKING FOR MORE TACO RECIPES?

a row of easy turkey tacos on a white cutting board with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados

How do you make ground turkey tacos taste like beef?

When making ground turkey tacos, you want the turkey to still be juicy and flavorful instead of dry and bland.

Many cooks shy away from using ground turkey in anything but sauces, soups, and casseroles where its flavor isn’t as prevalent or relevant.  In tacos, however, the ground turkey is front and center and more often than not, it is disappointing.

When I was making ground turkey tacos one night, Patrick suggested I add beef bouillon to the turkey.  It was an “ah-ha,” “why didn’t I think of that?!!!” moment that total delivered!

From that day forward, I have used 2 teaspoons beef bouillon for every one pound of ground turkey to infuse it with flavorful beefy goodness whether in tacos, soups, sauces etc. I can’t wait for you to try it – you will be amazed at the results!

You will want to omit the salt in your ground turkey tacos and other recipes you are adding beef bouillon to because the bouillon probably has all the salt you need (a twofer) so please DON’T add salt until you’ve tasted your ground turkey.

easy turkey taco laying with ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados

How do you make ground turkey moist?

Due to its low fat content, ground turkey tacos have a bad reputation for being dry.  To remedy this problem, stir in ¼ cup of your favorite salsa or more to taste.  You can even stir in enchilada sauce if you are in a bind.  This not only adds moisture back into your turkey taco meat, but adds another layer of flavor as well – winning!

If you are making burritos or burrito bowls as opposed to tacos, you can even stir in sour cream or Greek yogurt and refried beans in addition to the salsa.  I use this technique in my Beef, Bean and Cheese Burritos and it is phenomenal.

How do you cook turkey meat for tacos?

Making ground Turkey Tacos takes minutes – literally!

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add ground turkey and all of the seasonings (starting with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper) and cook until almost cooked through, but still slightly pink then add water and salsa and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through. Taste and add additional cayenne or hot sauce to taste.
  3. Divide filling between tortillas and serve with your favorite toppings such as tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, etc.  That’s it!
showing how to make ground turkey tacos by making ground turkey in a skillet with taco seasonings

How to Customize Ground Turkey Taco Meat

  • Add Beans. Add your favorite beans – some refried beans, black, pinto, etc.
  • Add Veggies. The possibilities are as endless as there are veggies!  You can add bell peppers, corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Add Enchilada Sauce. Add some enchilada sauce for creamy turkey and simmer until reduced to desired consistency.
  • More or Less Heat.  would start with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper if you don’t like much heat and start with ½ teaspoon if you like heat.  Taste and add more as desired, remembering a little goes a long way!
  • Hot Sauce to taste. If it feels like it’s missing something, it is probably a depth of heat.  You can add additional cayenne pepper as mentioned above or hot sauce to taste.
  • Make it creamy. You can make your turkey taco meat creamy by adding refried beans, Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Make it cheesy. After your turkey meat is cooked, stir in desired amount of cheese to melt.
  • Add rice or quinoa. Stir in cooked rice or cooked quinoa for added texture.  If you do this, you may need to up the salsa.  Alternatively, you can serve on top of Cilantro Lime Rice or Mexican Rice.
  • Toppings! Serve with all your favorite toppings from avocados/guacamole to chopped tomatoes, salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, chopped lettuce cilantro, hot sauce, etc.
top view of easy turkey taco laying with ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados

How to Freeze Turkey Taco Meat

This ground turkey taco meat freezes beautifully!  To freeze:

  1. Cook turkey taco meat according to recipe.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add ground turkey to a freezer size plastic bag.
  4. Press bag flat, squeeze out excess air and seal.
  5. When ready to use, defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Remove from freezer bag and reheat ground turkey in a skillet on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave. You may want to add additional salsa for juicier turkey.
picking uo a healthy turkey taco with one hand

What should I make with Turkey Taco Meat?

In additional to ground turkey tacos, you can make all your favorite Mexican dishes!

  • Turkey tacos
  • Turkey taco salad
  • Turkey lettuce wraps
  • Turkey burritos
  • Turkey burrito bowls
  • Turkey quesadillas
  • Turkey nachos
  • Turkey chilaquiles

Is ground turkey better for you than ground beef?

This is a huge debate but in the end, it really depends on the lean meat to fatty meat ratio you choose.  Ground turkey is available in several lean to fat ratios that determine its nutritional content, some of which contain more dark meat and therefore are not as lean as the leanest ground beef.

If you choose the leanest ground beef which is about 93 percent lean, and choose the leanest ground turkey which is also 93 percent lean, you might be surprised to learn they come up pretty even in protein, and fat.  When it comes to saturated fat, however, turkey wins.

So if you are purchasing ground turkey to cut calories, be sure to check the Nutritional Label or you could be defeating the purpose.

up close top view of a row of easy turkey taco with ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

up close of ground turkey taco with ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados
picking uo a healthy turkey taco with one hand

Turkey Tacos

Turkey Tacos that are quick, easy, healthy, juicy and packed with flavor – you won’t even miss the beef with my secret ingredient! They are the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight meal yet just as crave worthy as more labor intensive dinners.  You can make Turkey Tacos with this ground turkey or turkey taco salad, lettuce wraps, burritos, etc.  This turkey taco meat also freezes beautifully for prep ahead dinners – just when you didn’t think Turkey Tacos could get easier!
Servings: 4 -6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Turkey Taco Meat

For Serving

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
  • Add ground turkey and all of the seasonings and cook until almost cooked through, but still slightly pink then add salsa and water simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through and reduced. Taste and add salt or additional cayenne or hot sauce to taste.
  • Divide filling between tortillas and serve with your favorite toppings such as tomatoes, avocadoes, lettuce, etc

Notes

How to Customize Turkey Taco Meat

  • Add Beans. Add your favorite beans – some refried beans, black, pinto, etc.
  • Add Veggies. The possibilities are as endless as there are veggies!  You can add bell peppers, corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Add Enchilada Sauce. Add some enchilada sauce for creamy turkey and simmer until reduced to desired consistency.
  • More or Less Heat.  would start with ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper if you don’t like much heat and start with ½ teaspoon if you like heat.  Taste and add more as desired, remembering a little goes a long way!
  • Hot Sauce to taste. If it feels like it’s missing something, it is probably a depth of heat.  You can add additional cayenne pepper as mentioned above or hot sauce to taste.
  • Make it creamy. You can make your turkey taco meat creamy by adding refried beans, Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Make it cheesy. After your turkey meat is cooked, stir in desired amount of cheese to melt.
  • Add rice or quinoa. Stir in cooked rice or cooked quinoa for added texture.  If you do this, you may need to up the salsa.  Alternatively, you can serve on top of Cilantro Lime Rice or Mexican Rice.
  • Toppings! Serve with all your favorite toppings from avocados/guacamole to chopped tomatoes, salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, chopped lettuce cilantro, hot sauce, etc.

What should I make with Turkey Taco Meat?

In additional to ground turkey tacos, you can make all your favorite Mexican dishes!
  • Turkey tacos
  • Turkey taco salad
  • Turkey lettuce wraps
  • Turkey burritos
  • Turkey burrito bowls
  • Turkey quesadillas
  • Turkey nachos
  • Turkey chilaquiles

How to Freeze Turkey Taco Meat

This ground turkey taco meat freezes beautifully!  To freeze:
  1. Cook turkey taco meat according to recipe.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add ground turkey to a freezer size plastic bag.
  4. Press bag flat, squeeze out excess air and seal.
  5. When ready to use, defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Remove from freezer bag and reheat ground turkey in a skillet on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave. You may want to add additional salsa for juicier turkey.

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42 Comments

  1. Teri says

    This is a.great idea! Could I use Better than Bouillon instead of the powder stuff? How exactly would that work – since it’s typically dissolved in hot water. Thank you.

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! Just whisk the better than bouillon into the 2 tablespoons of water in the recipe, and if that’s enough, you can add the salsa too. Good luck!

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