If you’re still throwing a pound of meat in a skillet with packaged taco seasoning, it’s time for an upgrade. This ground turkey taco meat is still a simple one-pot or one-pan recipe, but it’s packed with lots of other goodies. These extras make the taco meat rich, flavorful, and they add some bulk to stretch a pound of meat even further.
In the post below, I’ll walk you through the recipe and cover ingredients substitution notes, how to make this ground turkey taco meat if you don’t have an Instant Pot, and how to make the cheesy tacos you see in photos. You can also skip down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post and jump back up if you have a question.
Step 1: Cook onion and garlic in olive oil using the Instant Pot’s sauté function before browning ground turkey.
If you have picky eaters, you could probably sneak the onion and garlic in if you finely mince everything. That said, this taco meat will still work without the added veggies.
Whether you add onion and garlic or not, be sure to brown your ground turkey in this step. Meaning, add the turkey to the Instant Pot and don’t touch it until you get a crispy brown crust on the bottom. This creates flavors you’d otherwise miss out on if you just throw the ground turkey in and stir the entire time.
Step 2: Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, lime juice, honey, broth, salt, cumin, and coriander.
Going with chopped chipotle peppers both eliminates the need for dirtying your food processor and creates some different textures similar to my pressure cooker picadillo. Though similar to the onion and garlic for picky eaters, you may want to blend them up like I did for my chipotle beef sweet potato nachos.
The recipe has a 6-8 pepper range for personal spice preferences. If you have spice sensitive people in your house, you may want to scale it back even further. I’ve been accused of having a higher spice tolerance before.
That’s about it for ingredient notes here but if you’d like to upgrade the broth, you could swap it for a bit of cerveza or light beer like in my pressure cooker Mexican shredded chicken and chipotle cerveza beef stuffed peppers.
Step 3: Seal the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 6 minutes with quick release pressure.
Part of the beauty of pressure cooking is how it can force liquid and moisture into foods like meat. It also can oddly create some caramelization like flavors in a short period of time. Both of these things occur with this Instant Pot taco meat. The onion, garlic, and chipotle peppers create deep, rich flavors, and those flavors get crammed into the ground turkey in the quick 6-minute cook time.
That’s a nerdy way of saying, this ground turkey taco meat is too legit to quit. Since the ground turkey is fully cooked before sealing, you’re not worried about food safety during pressure cooking. If you vent your Instant Pot and some liquid remains, you can always fire up the sauté function again to further reduce the taco meat.
And that’s it. You’re ready to rock. Similar to my pressure cooker carnitas, this taco meat goes great with a simple combo of corn tortilla, diced white onion, and cilantro. Check out my creamy salsa verde and spicy roasted zucchini salsa recipes for two ways to elevate your ground turkey tacos.
And if you’d like to seriously up your game, check out the tacos below.
Optional: Make cheesy grilled tacos with your ground turkey taco meat.
Okay, let’s not argue over whether to call these tacos or quesadillas. Technically, you could call it a quesadilla, and I used the same method I used for my black bean and corn quesadillas. But I had these Instant Pot chicken birria quesatacos in mind. So, we’re rolling with cheesy tacos. Deal with it!
I’ve included nutrition facts and instructions for these tacos in the recipe card below. While this taco meat is great in classic tacos or on its own, I’d highly encourage you to make at least a few tacos this way.
Other ways to use your ground turkey taco meat:
- swap for the ground beef in my cheesy beef baked tacos
- serve over homemade tortilla chips like my buffalo chicken nachos
- swap for the chicken in my buffalo chicken empanadas
- add some rice, beans, and corn like in my Tex-Mex ground beef and rice skillet
- make my Traeger stuffed poblano peppers
- swap green for red in my ground turkey green chile enchiladas
Whatever you end up doing with your Instant Pot taco meat, I’d love to hear about it. Come back and let me know in a comment or with a recipe review. If you have any recipe questions I missed, you can also ask away via the comments section as well.
Instant Pot Ground Turkey Taco Meat
Ground turkey transformed into ultra flavorful taco meat that's perfectly smoky, sweet, and spicy.
- 1 lb Ground Turkey (97/3)
- 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
- 1 (250g) White Onion, diced
- 5 cloves Garlic, minced
- 6-8 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C (60g) Lime Juice
- 1 Tbsp (21g) Honey
- 4 oz Broth or Water
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Use the Instant Pot's sauté function to cook the onion in the olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Adding the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Push the onion and garlic to the sides of the Instant Pot, creating a well in the center. Add the ground turkey to the center of the pot and leave it alone until the bottom browns, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown both sides before crumbling and fully cooking.
- Once the ground turkey is fully cooked, add the remaining ingredients. (If you don't like the chipotle pepper seeds, you can blend everything together before adding to the cooked ground turkey.)
- Seal and pressure cook for 6 minutes with quick release. Salt and pepper to taste once cooked.
- Serve on tortillas with fresh white onion, cilantro, and fat free Greek yogurt, if desired. You can also make cheesy grilled tacos (instructions in notes below).
For Cheesy Tacos
Place flour tortillas on a griddle or skillet with nonstick spray or some of the juices from the ground turkey taco meat. Top each tortilla with an ounce of cheese and about 3 ounces of the taco meat. Fold the tortilla over and grill both sides until golden brown. You can make 8 tacos with this amount of taco meat.
To Make This Ground Turkey Taco Meat without an Instant Pot
Cook the onion and garlic in a large skillet before browning the ground turkey. Add the remaining ingredients once the turkey is fully cooked and continue cooking until very little liquid remains, about 6-8 minutes. You can add more broth and extend the cook time if you'd like to cook the onion/peppers down a bit more.
Nutrition Facts Notes
Each 3-ounce serving of this ground turkey taco meat has 2 WW SmartPoints (blue).
Macros for 8 tacos with Mission Carb Balance flour tortillas and shredded Mexican cheese (per taco): 315 calories, 23g protein, 23g carbs, 15g fat, and 7 WW SmartPoints
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 3 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 14g
Tuesday 8th of February 2022
Would this recipe work the exact same if I wanted to use ground chicken?
Thursday 10th of February 2022
For sure. Ground chicken would honestly be my preference.
Thursday 19th of August 2021
This was amazing!! My wife and I always do taco Tuesday and we have been ground turkey tacos for a while now. When I saw your recipe for instant pot turkey taco meat, I knew we had to try it. I’m sure glad we, it has replace our old turkey tacos for these!! Thank you Mason!! Keep the recipes coming.
Tuesday 2nd of February 2021
What are your favorite tortillas to use for the tacos?
Wednesday 3rd of February 2021
I tend to mix it up, but my favorites are fresh made flour tortillas from HEB or Central Market.
Tuesday 13th of October 2020
These are mind blowing! All the flavors and textures going on in the cheesy way of making them, I dipped the tortillas in the taco meat oil. Definitely reminiscent of a birria taco. Mason has outdone himself once again!
Thursday 15th of October 2020
Now if we could only figure out how to bottle and sell taco meat oil!
Sunday 11th of October 2020
SO good. Incredibly flavorful, my kids devoured them. Genius idea to grill them - not sure I'll ever be able to make tacos the normal way again!