These homemade turkey tacos are perfectly seasoned with a slight sweetness from brown sugar. Serve with your favorite taco toppings or in a taco salad!
I found this recipe for ground beef tacos in my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook and decided to try substituting ground turkey for the beef. The only kind of ground turkey tacos I’ve made in the past have been with a store bought taco seasoning packet; in fact, I don’t know that it ever occurred to me to make the filling from scratch!
I am so glad we tried these because they are soooo good! The spices are perfect, and the mixture is so flavorful, with a slight sweetness from the brown sugar. Bob and I have made these probably 6 times in the last few months. They are one of the few dinners that I actually made while I was pregnant to keep in the freezer and have after the baby arrived – we were sure glad to have this dinner twice in those first weeks home with Ava, when simply taking a shower is an accomplishment for the day!
I typically use lean ground turkey exclusively (not the extra-lean) because I find it has more flavor and isn’t as dry. I had Bob grocery shop for the ingredients for this recipe once, and he got the extra-lean by accident. We used it anyway, and these were still phenomenal! It ended up being serendipitous because now we know that we can use the healthier turkey and not compromise on the flavor!
I double the amount of sauce from the original recipe because we like a little more sauce. My change is reflected in the recipe below.
This filling could be used for a taco salad or burrito bowl as well.
For the filling:
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
- 1 small onion (chopped small, about 2/3 cup)
- 3 medium cloves garlic (minced or pressed through garlic press, about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey (lean or extra-lean)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
- Ground black pepper
- Hard or soft taco shells
- Shredded cheese
- Shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
- Small tomatoes (chopped small)
- Sour cream
- Minced fresh cilantro leaves
- Hot sauce or bottled taco sauce
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground turkey and cook, breaking meat up with a spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately.