Spicy Taco Turkey

When Elisa and I were seven we ruined a birthday party by hosting a taco eating competition between just the two of us.

We ate all the tacos.

You could say that tacos and I go way back. I make a vegetarian version with chickpeas which are delicious, but I also love that spicy, saucy meaty filling. Since I don’t really like to eat cows I use ground turkey in this recipe.

Taco spice packet?

Please don’t ever say those words to me.

You can do better! Jalapeños, cumin, chili powder, garlic and onions are all you need for this perfect turkey taco meat.

Spicy Taco Turkey

Spicy Taco Turkey


  • EVOO
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded if you’re a wimp like me, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp ground cumin,
  • 1 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder (I know I already have fresh garlic, but trust me)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup salsa (not salsa verde)
  • 1 Tbsp hot taco sauce like Cholula
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, coat bottom with thin layer of EVOO.
  2. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  3. Add jalapenos and garlic. Cook stirring continuously so that garlic doesn’t burn. Reduce heat if necessary.
  4. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, breaking up meat with wooden spoon.
  5. Add spices and stir to combine.
  6. Add salsa and taco sauce and cook over medium heat about 2 minutes. Meat should be saucy and thick, not watery.
  7. Season with salt as needed (salsa is usually fairly salty which is why salt is added last).
  8. Serve in taco shells with desired toppings, or however you like to eat your taco meat.

Spicy Taco Turkey