Super easy, quick and flavorful! This homemade Mexican taco meat recipe is one that I make often. You only need a handful of simple ingredients, your favorite taco toppings, and the options are endless with this delicious taco meat. Use it to create taco salads, enchiladas, burritos, or your favorite taco variations. This is seriously the best taco recipe! These tacos make for an easy dinner that the whole family will enjoy, even your pickiest eaters!

Taco night is our favorite night! Learn how to make taco meat and try some of our other super tasty taco recipes: these popular fish tacos, grilled chicken tacos, or even layered taco casserole.

soft tacos topped with diced avocado, sliced jalapeño and chopped cilantro

Best Taco Meat Recipe!

When I’m looking for an easy dinner that I know my kids will happily eat, I often turn to tacos. We enjoy this taco meat recipe several times a month, it’s so fast and easy! For even more enjoyment, I typically put out a condiments bar and let everyone assemble their perfect taco. And this makes a great recipe for entertaining because everyone can choose their own taco ingredients from the tortilla and toppings to the sauces. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person that didn’t love tacos!

Taco Ingredients

  • Ground meat. I like to use lean ground turkey to make these tacos. The taco seasoning is super tasty and moist, so there’s no way you’ll end up with dry, flavorless tacos. However, you can also use lean (or regular) ground beef, if preferred.
  • Onion, jalapeño, garlic. These fresh ingredients will give your taco meat a great depth of flavor. The little bit of jalapeño doesn’t make this taco meat too spicy, but feel free to leave it out.
  • Taco meat seasoning. I love the homemade taco meat seasoning in this recipe. It’s so much tastier than store-bought taco seasoning packets and so easy too!
  • Salsa. Adding in fresh salsa gives the taco meat extra flavor, and also helps to thicken it up and keeps it moist. If you don’t have salsa on hand, you can use tomato sauce or a combination of the two.
  • Tomato paste. If you don’t have tomato paste available, no worries, but I love the extra rich flavor it adds to this taco meat.

How To Make Taco Meat

This taco meat is so easy and comes together in just about 20 minutes. Simply follow the steps below and you’ll have a delicious dinner in no time at all. Scroll down for the full recipe.

  • Sauté veggies. Cook the onion, jalapeño, and garlic until soft. Once cooked, you can transfer the veggies to a plate or add the ground meat right in the skillet along with the cooked veggies.
  • Cook ground meat. Cook ground turkey or beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir frequently to break up any large pieces.
  • Add seasonings and simmer. If you’re using ground beef, you’ll want to drain any excess grease from the pan, then add taco seasoning, onion mixture back in, salsa (or tomato sauce), and tomato paste. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes and until mixture thickens.
  • Serve and enjoy! Use this delicious taco meat to fill tortillas, taco shells, taco salads, enchiladas or burritos. So many yummy options!
ingredients to make Healthy Taco Meat Recipe including ground turkey and spices

How To Serve Taco Meat

Of course, this Mexican taco meat is great served taco-style. You can use the traditional hard shells, which my kids usually prefer. But the soft flour tortillas or corn tortillas will work great and that’s typically what my husband and I enjoy. I also love to use Cut Da Carb wraps and make taco crunch wraps. My favorite!

Don’t stop with tacos, though, use this tasty taco meat for taco salads, burritos, quesadillas and more. The possibilities are endless!

Taco Seasoning Tips

This taco meat is very kid-friendly, however, if your kiddos or you are sensitive to extra spice, leave out one or both of the jalapeños, cut the chili powder down to 1 teaspoon and use more tomato sauce than salsa. Also, be aware of what salsa variety you use in this recipe. If you’re using a super spicy salsa, your taco meat is likely to be super spicy. These tacos are really versatile, so just adjust according to your family’s preference.

onion and jalapeño sautéing in a cast iron skillet

What To Serve With Tacos?

Beyond the signature dish itself, it’s nice to have a side dish or two to round out the meal. This healthy taco meat recipe pairs fabulously with my homemade salsa recipe (which has awesome reader feedback), my personal favorite homemade guacamole, and an easy Mexican brown rice recipe. You could also simply warm up some canned beans and enjoy your tacos with that and some chips and salsa. Easy peasy!

Healthy Taco Meat cooking in a large cast iron skillet

What Are The Best Toppings For Tacos?

I typically put out a toppings bar and include some or all of the following taco toppings.

  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Minced red onion
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Olives
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Diced avocado

Storing Leftovers

Leftovers will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5-7 days.

Freezer option. Double this recipe and store half in the freezer to have taco meat on-hand for an easy weeknight dinner. To freeze, place cooked and fully cooled meat in a freezer bag, remove all of the air, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight and then reheat on the skillet (or in the microwave) until warm.

Other Taco Recipes You’ll Love:

Super Simple Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Chickpea Avocado Tacos

Seared Salmon Tacos with Avocado Crema

If you try this taco meat recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Happy taco night, friends!

healthy soft tacos with avocado, jalapeño and cilantro
soft tacos topped with diced avocado, sliced jalapeño and chopped cilantro
Print
4.35 from 23 votes
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Taco Meat Recipe
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value*
Fat 5.5g8%
Saturated Fat 1.4g9%
Cholesterol 142mg47%
Sodium 375mg16%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1.6g7%
Sugar 2.9g3%
Protein 15.5g31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Servings:7 1/2 cup servings
Healthy Taco Meat Recipe
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
 

Homemade healthy tacos are filled with my go-to clean eating Mexican taco meat recipe and any other favorite toppings you love on your tacos. These healthy tacos make for an easy dinner recipe that the whole family will enjoy, even your pickiest eaters!

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or salsa (or a combination of the two)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6-7 taco shells or tortillas
  • Optional for topping: guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomato, fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and jalapeños; cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and until onions are soft.
  3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add turkey to the same skillet; cook, over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to break up turkey, for 8 to 10 minutes and until turkey is no longer pink.
  5. Season with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt.
  6. Add onion mixture, tomato sauce or salsa (or a combination of the two) and tomato paste. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes and until mixture thickens.
  7. Serve in tortillas or taco shells with all of your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Leftover taco meat will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5-7 days.

Freezer option. Double this recipe and store half in the freezer to have taco meat on-hand for an easy weeknight dinner. To freeze, place cooked and fully cooled meat in a freezer bag, remove all of the air, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight and then reheat on the skillet (or in the microwave) until warm.

 

Photos by Sasha at Eat Love Eats.

Author: Kim Lee
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: healthy taco meat, healthy taco recipe, low calorie taco meat

Did you make this recipe?

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This post was originally published September 2015. It was republished September 2020 with new content.