Ground Turkey Tacos
These easy ground turkey tacos are a great choice for dinner when you’re looking for something that’s light, fresh, and full of flavor.
Making great-tasting soft tacos at home is healthy, quick, and easy. The secret is perfectly seasoned meat and fresh ingredients.
This finishing touch to this delicious blend of contrasting textures and temperatures is a drizzle of lime crema that pulls all the flavors together.
What you need to make these turkey tacos
Here’s a rundown of the ingredients we use to make this recipe along with some suggestions for substitutions.
- Ground turkey: We recommend using regular ground turkey, not ground turkey breast because it is too lean and would have a tendency to be dry. You can also use ground chicken or lean ground beef.
- Flour tortillas: Choose a brand of soft flour tortillas about six to eight inches in diameter. We like the “soft taco size” made by La Tortilla Factory.
- Lettuce: Crisp lettuce varieties like romaine and iceberg add a nice texture to every bite.
- Tomatoes: Chopped plum tomatoes are best for tacos because they’re not quite as juicy as other varieties and won’t sog through the tortilla.
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend: For convenience, we usually use finely shredded Mexican cheese, but Monterey Jack and cheddar are good as well.
Our ground turkey mixture is seasoned with onion and garlic sautéed in olive oil and the following Mexican-inspired spices:
- Chili powder: Chili powder is a blend of ground chiles, garlic, oregano, and other spices.
- Ground cumin: Cumin is a seed harvested from a plant that’s a member of the parsley family. The most common variety is brown (or amber) cumin. It has a nutty, aromatic flavor and is a popular ingredient in Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisine.
- Ground Coriander: Like cumin, coriander is also a member of the parsley family. This fragrant herb is used in two ways. Ground coriander is made by grinding the plant’s seeds. The fresh leaves and stems, called cilantro, are most often used like fresh parsley.
- Cayenne pepper: Cayenne (aka red pepper) is a hot and spicy powder made by grinding a blend of dried chiles.
These three key ingredients add the contrasting flavors and textures that make fresh tacos so satisfying.
- Scallions: Sliced scallions add a hint of sweet onion flavor that works as a nice contrast to the earthiness of the meat mixture.
- Fresh cilantro: A sprinkling of cilantro leaves on top of each taco delivers garden-fresh, herby flavor in every bite.
- Crema: Similar to sour cream, Mexican crema can be drizzled on everything from fresh fruit to enchiladas. It’s available ready-made in stores, but for this recipe, it’s just as easy to whisk some fresh-squeezed lime juice and grated lime zest into regular sour cream.
More soft taco recipes
Ground Turkey Tacos
- 1 lb ground turkey, see notes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- Cayenne pepper to taste
For the lime crema:
- 1 cup sour cream
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
For the tacos:
- 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, loosely packed
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup finely shredded Mexican cheese blend, or more to taste
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add the ground turkey along with 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Sauté until lightly browned, breaking the meat up as much as possible while it cooks.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, coriander and 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin. Combine well and continue cooking, for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Season to taste with cayenne and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
- Make the crema by combining the sour cream, lime juice, lime zest and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin in a small bowl.
- To assemble the tacos, place a portion of lettuce in the center of each tortilla. Top with tomatoes and a portion of the meat mixture.
- Sprinkle with shredded cheese, chopped scallions and cilantro. Using a spoon, drizzle each taco with some of the crema and serve immediately.