Turkey Tacos

Turkey tacos recipe

The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
447 Calories
12g Fat
51g Carbs
37g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 447
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 108mg 36%
Sodium 1541mg 67%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Protein 37g
Calcium 199mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cooking ho-hum ground turkey with chiles, garlic, and cumin and then hitting the whole thing with fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro makes a fabulous filling for easy, at-home tacos.

Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients—they're largely suggestions and you can use any toppings you like. For a quick weeknight dinner, use store-bought condiments. You can also use shredded cooked turkey meat instead of ground turkey (a perfect use for leftover holiday turkey!); just follow the slight change in cooking method below.


  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 or 2 fresh chili peppers (like serranos or jalapeños, chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey meat (or 2 cups shredded cooked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • 1 lime
  • 8 corn tortillas (or taco shells)
  • Optional: salsa, guacamole, spring mix lettuce, cheese, and sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for turkey tacos
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

    Oil in pan
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  3. Add the garlic and chiles. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes.

    Add the garlic
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu 
  4. Add the cumin and cayenne and stir to combine until spices sizzle, about 30 seconds.

    Add the cumin and cayenne
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  5. Add the turkey and salt. Stir to combine and break up meat with the back of the spoon or spatula.

    Add turkey
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu 
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is cooked through. Note: if using shredded cooked turkey, also add 1/4 cup of water, stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover to heat everything up and let the flavors blend a bit, about 10 minutes.

    Cook turkey
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  7. When the meat is fully cooked, take it off the heat, and stir in the cilantro.

    Stir in cilantro
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  8. Juice the lime over the meat and stir to combine.

    Juice the lime
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu 
  9. Heat the tortillas, if using, and top each one with some ground turkey, salsa, guacamole, and lettuce (or fill each taco shell). Add sour cream or shredded cheese, if you like.

    Heat the tortillas
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  10. Serve and enjoy!

    Turkey tacos
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu 


  • Heating tortillas can be done a few ways: directly over a gas flame, for 15 to 30 seconds per side; wrapped in tin foil in a warm oven; wrapped in a lightly dampened kitchen towel and microwaved until heated through, about 30 seconds.