How to Make Taco Meat (Beef or Turkey)

Taco meat is always a family dinner favorite. Whether you use ground beef or ground turkey, this recipe features the best homemade taco seasoning (no MSG!) and yields juicy and flavorful meat for tacos, salads, and more in no time.

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Southwestern
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 242 kcal
Author Alyssa


  • 2 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef (see note)


  1. Stir together chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. Add ground turkey or beef to a skillet set over medium heat. Break the meat up into crumbles as it cooks, stirring everything up as needed until no pink remains and the meat is fully cooked.

  3. If using beef, drain the fat off.

  4. Evenly sprinkle the taco seasoning mix over the beef in the skillet. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the water. Let everything simmer, stirring occasionally, until the water has nearly all reduced. Serve.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is estimated for one-quarter of a batch made with ground turkey. It will vary depending upon the meat you use.

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Taco Meat (Beef or Turkey)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 242 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 4.5g 23%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 652mg 27%
Protein 20.2g 40%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.