These 20-minute lean ground turkey tacos are made with homemade taco seasoning (or use store-bought packets), lean ground turkey, olive oil, water, taco shells, and your favorite taco toppings.
These delicious turkey tacos are the perfect option for reducing your red meat, eating on the Mediterranean diet, or if you are tracking your macros. And if you have leftover turkey taco meat, make a turkey taco salad.
Lean ground turkey has high protein content with few calories. Another great way to use lean ground turkey is this one-pot turkey chili.
What You Will Love
These healthy turkey tacos are something the whole family will love because everyone can customize their own taco. This turkey tacos recipe is perfect for busy nights or taco Tuesdays.
- Turkey taco meat: I prefer 99% lean ground turkey (or substitute ground chicken breast), homemade taco seasoning (or use store-bought packets), olive oil, and water.
- Taco shells: Use store-bought hard shell tacos that you crisp up in the oven prior to serving. Alternatively, substitute flour tortillas or corn tortillas.
- Taco toppings: My favorite toppings are shredded lettuce, Mexican cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and creamy avocado. Other toppings for tacos are sour cream, black beans, pico de gallo, red onions, bell pepper, and guacamole.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
Steps 1 thru 6: Make the taco meat.
Steps 7 & 8: Bake the taco shells, prep the toppings, and stuff the tacos.
How To Make Turkey Taco Meat
In a large nonstick skillet on medium heat, add some olive oil.
Add the ground turkey.
Break up the clumps while the ground turkey cooks fully.
Mix in the taco seasoning.
Pour in the water. Cover the pan and simmer the turkey meat for about 7 to 8 minutes. While the meat is simmering, put the taco shells in the oven to crisp up. Follow the instructions on the box. I baked my taco shells for 7 minutes at 325 ℉ (160 ℃).
The taco meat is finished when the sauce has thickened up nicely.
How To Assemble Tacos
Stuff the hard shell tacos with taco meat, shredded cheese, fresh toppings, and whatever you feel like!
The best turkey taco is eaten right away. Otherwise, the taco shell gets soggy.
Tips and Tricks
- Use leftover taco meat or double batch the turkey mixture for turkey taco salad or a burrito bowl.
- Save time by baking the taco shells and cutting the toppings while the taco mixture simmers.
- Make your own taco seasoning. It takes 5 minutes to make bulk taco seasoning using pantry ingredients you probably already have. Make sure your homemade taco seasoning has cornstarch mixed in. The ratio is 3 tablespoon of taco seasoning to 2 teaspoon of cornstarch. Cornstarch gives taco meat a thick sauce.
⭐️ Taco Tip: I don't know what it is about taco shell boxes from the store, but I always have broken taco shells. When I made this recipe, two of the twelve taco shells were shattered. To account for the lost souls along the way, I now buy two taco shell boxes. ⭐️
Variations and Substitutions
- Make ground beef tacos or chicken tacos using ground lean meat.
- Use spicy chili powder to add some heat to the turkey meat.
- Drizzle some hot sauce on top of these tasty ground turkey tacos.
- Substitute corn tortillas or flour tortillas instead of corn taco shells.
Store the taco filling in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep the taco shells in a Ziploc bag at room temperature. Store the taco toppings separately in the fridge as well.
Typically lean ground turkey meat has lower fat than lean ground beef. Reducing fat content helps to reduce calories.
Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for ground beef and vice versa. Also, you can substitute ground chicken breast.
Mexican Inspired Recipes
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Easy Lean Ground Turkey Tacos
Ground Turkey Taco Meat
- 1 lb lean ground turkey 99% or 93%
- 3 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning or use store-bought taco mix, see note 3
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 package hard shell tacos about 12 tacos in a box, see note 1
- ¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 tomato finely diced
- 2 cups shredded lettuce see note 2
- ½ cup onion optional
- ½ cup fresh cilantro optional
- 1 avocado optional
Make the Turkey Taco Mixture
- In a large nonstick skillet on medium heat, add olive oil. Cook the ground turkey continuing to break up the clumps as it cooks fully.
- Pour in the taco seasoning and water. Cover the skillet. Simmer the taco meat on medium for about 7 to 8 minutes.
Assemble the Turkey Tacos
- While the taco meat is simmering, bake the taco shells in the oven per the instructions on the box. I baked my tacos for 7 minutes at 325 ℉ (160 ℃).
- Chop the tomatoes, onions, and fresh cilantro. Shred the lettuce. Prepare the avocado (in slices or mashed).
- Stuff the taco shells with taco meat, cheese, and taco toppings.
- Substitute corn tortilla or flour tortilla for hard-shell tacos. If concerned the taco shells might be broken, buy a second box, just in case.
- Buy store-bought pre-shredded iceberg lettuce or shred iceberg lettuce yourself.
- Homemade taco seasoning (enough for 4 lbs of meat): Mix 3 tablespoon mild chili powder, 1-½ tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon sea salt, ½ tablespoon black pepper, ½ tablespoon garlic powder, ½ tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon chili flakes, and 2 tablespoon cornstarch. You will have some leftover taco seasoning to use for taco salad or another taco night!
- The recipe video shows a double batch of turkey taco meat (2 lbs). I made extra for the week to use in taco salad and egg breakfast tacos.
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