After I had Sidney back in 2020 Tony and I seriously lived off of Mexican food. Abra brought over some delicious enchiladas and Tony’s sister came with takeout from Big Star tacos here in Chicago. YUM.
The second we felt up for cooking something, we made these fabulous, healthy turkey tacos, which inspired me to share the recipe again with you today… because hello, they’re perfect for game day or any weeknight meals! We’re skipping the taco seasoning packets and making my wonderful, homemade taco seasoning (bc homemade is better, of course.)
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It’s become clear that you all LOVE some of my easy weeknight meals: turkey chili, salmon tacos, maple glazed salmon, chickpea curry, etc. Thus, I’ve decided to put more of these go-to easy meals on the blog starting with these tacos. They’re such an easy 20-minute dinner!
Turkey vs. beef tacos
I know many people love ground beef, but I’m just not into it and haven’t been for years. Occasionally I crave a burger, but it would be very, very rare for you to find beef in our fridge. However, I find myself constantly buying ground turkey, only because it’s much leaner, but because of how lovely it absorbs flavors.
While you could use beef in this recipe, I suggest trying out ground turkey for a change. We usually use 94% lean ground turkey for the best flavor.
How about you: are you a beef or turkey lover?! Or maybe you’re a tofu lover? Holla.
Everything you’ll need to make the best turkey tacos
This healthy turkey taco recipe couldn’t be easier to make! As I mentioned, there’s a DIY taco seasoning involved that you’re going to LOVE, plus all of the fresh toppings your heart desires. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Turkey: feel free to use 94% or 99% lean ground turkey (or even chicken!) We prefer 94% because it absorbs the seasoning best.
- Onion & garlic: some fresh diced onion and minced garlic add lots of great flavor to the taco meat.
- Tomato sauce: you’ll need some tomato sauce for cooking the ground turkey, and a little water if you’re cooking it on the stovetop.
- Spices: say hello to your new favorite taco seasoning!
- For serving: here’s where you can get creative. We like these tacos with salsa, sour cream/yogurt, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, etc. Plus a side of tortilla chips + my famous guacamole.
Customize your healthy turkey tacos
Because this turkey taco recipe is so easy, it’s also easy to customize to your taste preferences and what you have on hand! Here’s what I can recommend:
- Keep them gluten free: simply use gluten free corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. You can also try using grain free tortillas, if you prefer. We love the Siete brand.
- Make them paleo: leave out the tortillas and pile the taco meat on your favorite salad. Or try the Siete Food almond flour or cashew flour tortillas.
- Make them vegan & vegetarian: you can swap the chicken for tofu! Cube your tofu or break it up so that it’s like ground meat, and cook it just like you would with the ground turkey.
- Add a sauce: I love adding my Spicy Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, Avocado Lime Sauce, or my Jalapeño Cashew Cream Sauce.
Turkey tacos in the slow cooker or on the stovetop
There’s one of two ways to make these turkey tacos: in the slow cooker OR on the stovetop. The slow cooker option is perfect for entertaining or game day and the stovetop version is one of our go-to weeknight meals.
- In the slow cooker: all you have to do is brown the turkey then throw it in the slow cooker and let it cook for a few hours. The flavors are insanely good.
- On the stovetop: brown the turkey on the stovetop then add the spices and tomato sauce and a little water. Simmer for 10 minutes then enjoy!
Reasons to love these easy turkey tacos
- They’re easy. That’s right, all you have to do is brown the turkey then throw it in the slow cooker or cook on the stovetop. EASY.
- They can be made for a crowd. You can double, triple or even quadruple this recipe. So if you’re having a party (or celebrating Taco Tuesday), this is a freaking awesome inexpensive meal.
- Hello DIY taco bar. Use this to make your own taco bar. Just get all the fixin’s chopped up and let your turkey cook in the slow cooker. Then have your guests make their own tacos with soft or hard shell tortillas, or even lettuce wraps! A taco salad bar would be amazing, too. Such a party pleaser.
- Homemade taco seasoning is involved. A few simple spices + tomato sauce and you’ve got awesome REAL deal taco seasoning with no JUNK.
How to store & freeze turkey taco meat
Store any leftover taco meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To freeze: let the taco meat cool completely to room temperature before transferring it to a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- To reheat: thaw the frozen taco meat in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
Anyway, this recipe is a keeper. We make it 1x per week and always go back for seconds!
More weeknight dinner recipes you’ll love
- Slow Cooker Black Bean Quinoa Pumpkin Chicken Chili
- The Best Healthy Turkey Chili
- Jalapeño-Cheddar Stuffed Enchilada Turkey Meatloaf
- White Bean, Spinach & Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers with Burrata
- Skinny Refried Bean & Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
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Enjoy! If you make this recipe, I’d love to see you tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram — otherwise leave a comment and rate the recipe below letting me know how you liked the turkey tacos! xo.
Amazing Easy Turkey Tacos (with a slow cooker option!)
Easy healthy ground turkey tacos made on the stovetop or in your slow cooker. These delicious turkey tacos are made with a perfectly spiced, flavorful DIY homemade taco seasoning that you'll want to use for tons of recipes. This is our go-to weeknight healthy taco recipe!
- For the taco meat:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 pound 94% lean ground turkey (can also use 99% lean if you desire)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup water (only if making stovetop version)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Optional toppings:
- 8 soft corn tortillas (or flour if you prefer)
- 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered (can also use 1 large tomato, diced)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado, diced (or sub guacamole)
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced fresh or pickled jalapenos
Add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium high heat. Add diced onions and turkey. Brown the turkey, and break up the meat with a wooden spoon until nice and browned, about 5 minutes.
TO MAKE ON THE STOVETOP: add in garlic, tomato sauce, water, cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken up.
TO MAKE IN THE SLOW COOKER: Transfer to the slow cooker and add in garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
Once ready to serve, divide meat between 8 corn tortillas. Add optional toppings: tomatoes, cheese, diced avocado/guacamole, lettuce and jalapeno. Serves 4. Optional to serve with greek yogurt, if desired.
To make dairy free: sub dairy free cheese or simply leave off the cheese.
To make gluten free: use corn tortillas or your favorite gluten/grain free tortillas.
See the full post for storing tips and ways to customize your tacos!
Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen // Photography by: Sarah Fennel
These sound delicious!!
ALWAYS up to try new taco recipes, and this one is now next on my list! 🙂
I feel a little bit bad that every time my husband want to go out to dinner and asks me what kind of food sounds good, I want to say tacos Every. Single. Time. So the more taco recipes the merrier. Especially EASY ones:) YUM!
I made these last night and they were SO good! Even my Mexican-food-hating Husband liked them. I will definitely be making these tacos again.
Nice, I love using turkey as a replacement in various recipes – meatballs, chili, etc… Excited to give these fresh tacos a try!
[…] ambitiouskitchen.com […]
Yum. I added black beans. Mixed with quinoa and spinach with some Greek yogurt on top for an awesome lunch.
I just made these tonight. Huge hit! So tasty and so freaking easy. Will definitely make it again.
Glad you loved these! They’re awesome for an easy, tasty dinner 🙂
Delicious!!! Easy, healthy and my family loved them. I’m trying them with fish next!
I’m so glad the family loved these! Fish tacos are fabulous, too!
[…] Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos […]
In the slow cooker right now. The hubs and I could eat rice bowls everyday which is why I welcome a new taco meat mixture. I added black beans too. Thank you for the inspo!
Awesome – I hope you two enjoyed!!
This recipe is amazing!!!!! This is my go to for taco night.
That makes me so happy!! Best taco night ever!
Do you have to brown the meat first, before putting it in the crockpot? Many other recipes I’ve seen indicate you can just put the raw ground turkey in the crockpot with onion and spices, break it up when it’s done cooking, and drain any excess fat.
I’m looking for an easy, yummy turkey meat recipe I can throw in the crockpot to serve with a taco/nacho bar for a Super Bowl party my husband and I are hosting; since I’ll be making large quantities, I was hoping to dump everything in the crockpot, without browning the meat first, to save on time (and dishes). Would this be ok?
I like to brown the meat beforehand because it gives it more flavor, but the other way you’ve read should work just fine!
Tried this last night after seeing it in my feeds. I didn’t have time to make it in the crock pot, so I let it simmer on the stove for about an hour and it turned out great! Flavors were off the chart. This is my new go-to taco recipe!
Amazing! So happy you enjoyed it. They’re my absolute go-to’s, too!
Could I make this in the Instant Pot? I am thinking it would work but not sure how much time.
I don’t own an Instant Pot so I’m not 100% sure on the instructions, but I think it should work!
By chance did you make this in the InstaPot? Wondering how long to pressure cook. Planning a kitchen renovation in a few weeks and looking for meals I will able to make totally in the one pot (like the InstaPot or slow cooker with no sautéing). Love your recipes Monique!
I did this in my instant pot using the sautée and slow cooker function. The only change I made was to sautee The garlic with the onions. I didn’t have as much cumin as the recipe called for, bur with all the other spices these are delicious! If you wanted to pressure cook them, Instant Pot has a handy conversion chart you can search up.
Directions on how to make the Amazing Turkey Tacos when you don’r have a slow cooker? Thanks iin advance. Nancy
You can just cook everything on the stove! Add in the rest of the ingredients (spices, etc.) to your skillet until it’s fully cooked 🙂
This recipe is AMAZING, and even my very picky boyfriend loved it!
So happy to hear that!!
[…] lemon. It’s tangy, spicy and the perfect recipe for drizzling on southwest inspired salads or my homemade turkey tacos or even using as a dip for fries or […]
[…] Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos […]
[…] it’s a good, healthier alternative to carnitas or carne asada. This versatile taco recipe from Ambitious Kitchen ticks all the boxes — healthy, fresh, flavorful and easy. And it’s got less than 250 […]
First, I made the recipe as written, this is only fair….and it was delicious! (I certainly browned the turkey with the onions)
Next time I made it my own; I tripled all the ingredients so I would have it for lunches and emergency frozen dinners. Instead of 3 cups tomato sauce, I used 2 cups and then used an 8 oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies. (I could have just diced some tomatoes). I also added a 7 oz can of diced green chilies. At serving, I stirred in some fresh cut cilantro and used butter lettuce for a wrap. I added Mexican crema to the topping choices. A keeper recipe either way!
That sounds delicious! Love the extra cilantro and the lettuce wrap idea 🙂 So good!
Have you ever tripled this? We are having a Fiesta graduation party and I wanted a big batch.
You can definitely triple this!
[…] https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/amazing-slow-cooker-turkey-tacos/ […]
Can I just say, THESE ARE THE BEST TACO RECIPE I HAVE EVER MADE. I have not found a taco recipe that I have loved in FOUR years. This recipe is AMAZING. I just used a taco seasoning packet instead cause I didnt have all the spices on hand. Amazing just amazing!
So happy to hear that Gerry!! Love this recipe – it’s perfect for adapting with your fav spices, too!
[…] Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos (picture 2): Loved this! I have no idea why it was so amazing because it is so simple. But it was really really good. My husband does not prefer turkey for the meat in tacos but he was all about this. […]
I mixed the taco mixture in with spaghetti squash to make a pseudo taco bowl rather than the tortillas. Delish!
[…] Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos […]
Hi! I’m making tacos to feed a crowd so I’m using 4lbs of ground turkey. Do you think the cooking time should be adjusted in the crockpot or if that’s too much to put in the pot all at once? Thanks!
I think it should be just fine. The time will be 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low 🙂
[…] the need for extra spices and sauces. I love serving the beans on the side with roasted chicken, turkey tacos or even using them in these cute little taco […]
[…] favorites include these sloppy joes, slow cooker turkey tacos, grilled fish tacos and now this beautiful arugula pasta […]
[…] As a dip or spread for tacos and sandwiches. Okay YUM add a drizzle to your fav tacos and be sure to include it in your taco bar. It would also be incredible as a hummus-esque spread […]
Really yummy tacos! Much better than using the boring ole seasoning pack 🙂 great recipe to make for taco night with friends!
Absolutely! Love this recipe for big groups 🙂 glad you enjoyed!
Could you do this in an instapot for slow cooker taste but faster? If so, what settings??
Thanks! Look relish!
I haven’t tried this in an Instant Pot so I’m not 100% sure what the settings would be. Let me know if you try it!
Very Good! Made as written on the stove top. Will make again. Quick and easy dinner. Thank you for the recipe!
Perfect! So happy you liked it!
This dish was great. The spice combination was right on! I made it on the stove top and it was super easy. It probably took longer to chop up all the garlic than cooking the actual dish. The taste overall was great. Normally I am not a big fan of turkey, but the spices and sauce really ups the flavor profile. Added guacamole and salsa to the tacos.
Delicious! You can hardly tell it’s turkey with all of the amazing flavors 🙂 glad you enjoyed!
One of my go to recipes and love that it’s one pot. I do the stove too version which is quick, easy and delicious!!
Perfect! One of my fav dinners, too 🙂 glad you love it!
I made this tonight for my family, its hard to get my kids who are 11 and 12 to eat healthier. They thought I was feeding them ground beef. Hahaha! My Hispanic boyfriend loved it as well. I will make this again when it is our kid week, in the three pound quantity I made tonight, so I can just make quick lunches for them. The leftovers I have will be used in a taco sald. Cilantro lime dressing will be amazing with this. So easy for a busy mom.
Amazing! So happy to hear that. This is perfect for leftovers and busy weekdays!
A new favorite of mine and my man! We’ve made this three times in quarantine, SO yummy!
So happy to hear that!
I really loved this recipe. It was incredibly user friendly. I am amazed at how flavourful the slow-cooked turkey is. I did adjust the spicing a bit to add more heat (incorporated chile flakes) which made it taste like my favourite taco restaurant from home. Overall, a beautiful and easy recipe that I will use again.
Perfect! So glad you enjoyed!
Just as easy to prepare as it says and just as delicious as you can imagine!!!! So many different ways to eat the prepared turkey ( i subbed chicken thighs) after using it in the tacos..We used the leftovers in sub rolls and then over jasmine rice. Yummy!!!
Absolutely! Love that idea 🙂
This is one of my go-to recipes! It’s super easy and comes together so quickly. I love tacos but yesterday we had the turkey on top of sweet potatoes with avocado and cornbread on the side… I think that’s my new favorite way to eat it!
Perfect! Glad you love these!
Easily the best tacos I’ve ever made! Weekly staple in my house now 🙂
Amazing! One of our favs, too 🙂
This one is a hit in our house. My kid devours them. We usually use ground chicken & he likes to add cheese on his 🙂
Seriously simple and delicious!
EASIEST weeknight dinner! I’ve made both the slow cooker version and the stovetop version. I’m sticking the stovetop version because it gets less dishes dirty! Both methods are great! Definitely recommend if you only have a half hour to cook!
My go-to taco recipe now. It’s so easy (both stovetop and slow cooker) and I don’t have to plan to buy a pack of taco seasoning in advance… just things I already have in my kitchen. I’ve used to meat on nachos and in quesadillas as well!
This is the simplest recipe with maximum flavor! I always make this as my taco/nacho/quesadilla meat! I have made with ground turkey, beef, and chicken and all taste amazing in this recipe. I double this recipe (just for two people) and we love eating this as leftovers!
Hands down our new FAVORITE taco recipe (even my husband agrees and he practically lived off tacos for the entirety of his bachelor life). Love that there is an option to throw this in the slow cooker although just as easy on the stovetop too!
I make these exactly as the slow cooker version recipe specifies, and they are indeed AMAZING! My whole family loves them, and this is now the ONLY turkey taco recipe that I make.
Love it! So happy to hear that 🙂
Very easy for a beginner to follow and enjoy
Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
Delicious. Definitely make this again.
This recipe is great. I used my instant pot. Sautéed the onions, added the turkey and browned. Stirred in garlic and spices to cook a minute before adding tomato sauce. High pressure for 8 minutes. I let it do a full natural release, but I think you could do a quick release. Bonus if using an instant pot -there’s only one pot to clean!
Perfect! So glad it worked out well!
This was one of the first AK recipes I tried many, many years ago when I first learned that you don’t have to buy taco seasoning to make tacos haha. It has been my go-to ever since. I haven’t made them in forever though and forgot how good they are so I had to come back and leave a review! The only change I make to the recipe is using Trader Joes Chili Lime seasoning in place of chili powder (sooo good!). Today we used extra lean ground beef and served over lettuce instead of tortillas.
Oh I’m so happy to hear you’re such a fan of this one! Thanks for the review 🙂 And I bet that chili lime seasoning is AMAZING in here!
Perfectly easy and delicious weeknight dinner recipe!
Yay! Glad to hear that 🙂 Thanks for the review!
We love tacos and this recipe was perfect for a taco bar we did for friends coming over. Easy to put together and really yummy!
These tacos are amazing. Even my husband who is a very picky eater loved them. I wish I would have added a little squeeze of lime to complement the flavors. I made them in the crock pot – easy and delicious!
So glad you both loved them, Karen! Thank you!
WOW!!! This is delicious!!! I’m never using store bought taco seasoning ever again!!! I made tacos and guacamole. The guacamole made a nice topping for the tacos. Thanks for the recipe.
YAY I’m so happy to hear that!! Yes I’m obsessed with that seasoning, too 🙂