Made with lean ground turkey, zucchini, peppers, salsa, and cheese, this easy Turkey Taco Skillet is low in carbs, but big on flavor!
And this super simple taco skillet is the perfect recipe if you are looking for a low-carb taco recipe OR a super fast, super flavorful skillet dinner.
why you will love this taco skillet recipe
- Flavorful Ground Turkey Recipe. Ground turkey has a reputation of being dry and bland. However, this recipe is anything but bland or boring! The turkey is sauteed with zucchini, peppers, and onions, which gives the lean turkey moisture. Flavored with taco seasoning and salsa, the flavors pack a punch. Finished with cheese, this turkey taco skillet is downright irresistible.
- Low-Carb & Gluten-Free. This taco skillet is made with protein, veggies, and cheese and proves you don't need carbs to enjoy the flavor of tacos.
- Ready in 30 Minutes. This simple turkey taco skillet comes together in one pan in under 30 minutes! Perfect for dinner any night of the week.
Notes on Ingredients
- Ground Turkey: This taco skillet is a great time to use lean ground turkey. It is inexpensive and benefits from the bold flavors in this skillet meal. However, you can swap out the turkey for ground chicken or ground beef if desired.
- Zucchini: I recommend using a small zucchini that is vibrantly green. Larger zucchini tends to be a bit more bitter and has quite a few seeds which can water down the flavors in this taco skillet.
- Peppers: Use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers rather than green bell peppers, as they work to flavor the taco skillet better than the green pepper variety.
- Jalapeno: The addition of jalapeno is optional but adds a subtle heat which helps to add flavor to this taco skillet. By all means, omit the jalapeno if you are sensitive to spice.
- Aromatics: Diced yellow onion and minced garlic pack immense flavor for minimal cost.
- Seasonings: I use my homemade taco seasoning to really pack in a ton of flavor while controlling the sodium and additives. If you don't have the taco seasoning on hand, simply use a combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
- Salsa: Using salsa instead of diced tomatoes, helps this skillet to develop deep flavor FAST! Use your favorite jarred or homemade salsa, keeping in mind that the spice level of your salsa, will impact how spicy your taco skillet turns out.
- Cheese: Use shredded cheddar or a Mexican blend of cheese. If you are dairy-free, simply omit the cheese.
- Lime: Another secret to giving this fast skillet recipe a lot of dimension, is to add the juice of a fresh lime at the end of cooking. The acidity will really brighten up the flavors.
- Dairy-Free Taco Skillet: Omit the cheese and serve with a scoop of homemade guacamole to replicate the creamy, rich finish that cheese adds.
- Lower-Sodium: Omit the salt from the taco seasoning and/or use low-sodium salsa.
- Add Corn: If you are not following a low-carb diet, feel free to add 1 cup of corn to the skillet with the salsa and taco seasoning. The corn will add a nice sweetness to the dish.
- Adjust the Spice. If you like your tacos spicy, don't remove the seeds of the jalapeno, increase the amount of the jalapeno used, or use salsa with a hot spice level. Alternatively, if you want this taco skillet on the more mild side, omit the jalapeno and use mild salsa.
Tips to Make The Best Taco Skillet
This recipe for taco skillet is a super easy recipe. And while you can find detailed directions in the recipe card, I do have some tips to achieve the best flavor in this simple taco dinner.
Tip #1: Brown the meat first. In order for the vegetables to not overcook, it is best to saute the ground turkey (or ground meat of your choice) until it is nearly cooked through.
Tip #2: Partially saute the vegetables. Before adding the salsa, you want to add the peppers, onions, jalapeno, and zucchini and saute until the vegetables are beginning to become tender. This will allow the vegetables to slightly caramelize and develop additional flavor, rather than simply steaming in the salsa.
Tip #3: Don't overlook the addition of lime juice. Adding fresh lime juice adds a bright, slightly acidic flavor to the taco skillet. This simple addition makes a good dish, a great dish!
Tip #4: Don't be shy with the cheese. I like to smoother this turkey taco mixture with a generous amount of shredded cheese. It makes this low-carb meal feel incredibly decadent.
How to Serve this Turkey Taco Skillet
This taco skillet is an easy, one-pot, healthy, 30-minute meal. You can dish it up and serve it as is, for a simple low-carb dinner. But if you aren't low carb, you may enjoy serving the taco skillet over rice or serving the mixture in warmed flour tortillas or taco shells, as a delicious taco filling.
If you happen to have any leftover taco skillet, allow it to cool slightly. Then transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in a dry skillet over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
Due to the zucchini and peppers, I don't recommend freezing leftover turkey taco skillet. It will become watered down after thawing.
More Easy Tex-Mex Recipes
- Tex-Mex Chicken Sweet Potato Skillet
- Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Vegetarian Fajitas
- Taco Salad
Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.
If you enjoyed this low-carb ground turkey recipe, please be sure to leave a review and comment below.
Easy Ground Turkey Taco Skillet
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or lean ground beef or ground chicken
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 small zucchini cut into ½" chunks
- ½ small jalapeno seeded and finely minced, optional
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 large lime juiced
- 1-½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Cilantro to garnish optional
- Add the oil to a large saute pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the ground meat and cook until no longer pink, crumbling well while cooking.
- Once the turkey has fully cooked, drain off any excess grease if needed (this is rarely needed when cooking with lean ground turkey.) Add in the onion, pepper, zucchini, and jalapeno if using, and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onion begins to become translucent. Add in the garlic, if using, and saute for 30-60 seconds, just until you begin to smell the garlic.
- Add in the salsa, and taco seasoning to the skillet and stir well.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 min, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.
- Turn off the heat and add in the lime juice, stirring to incorporate.
- Generously sprinkle the skillet mixture with the shredded cheese and let it sit for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Serve warm with cilantro, sour cream, and/or avocado as desired.