Turkey Taco Bowls are a tried & true family dinner recipe where everyone can make their own taco bowl. Ground turkey, beans, and corn simmer in a perfectly seasoned beef broth and tomato sauce base. Serve over rice and top with all your favorite taco toppings.
Be sure to also try my Slow Cooker Fritos Taco Bowls.
Taco Bowls Recipe
This recipe for turkey taco bowls is one of the very first recipes that I ever shared! They continue to be visited millions of times each year and made by thousands. They've been repined on Pinterest over 1 million times! Ground turkey taco bowls are a tried & true, very well tested recipe, that's perfect for the entire family.
I love making taco bowls because I can just lay out all the toppings, rice, and turkey taco mixture and everyone can make their own and top it how they like.
I've got some kids that like to make nachos out of this. Another kid likes to just eat the ground turkey mixture (he hates rice) topped with his favorite toppings. It's a super adaptable recipe that you can spice up, substitute ingredients, and really make it your own each time.
What You'll Need
These turkey taco bowls are made with simple, normal ingredients like some canned ingredients, seasonings, ground turkey, and of course whatever toppings you want.
- Ground Turkey - I like to use the 7% fat ground turkey. They have even lighter ground turkey at the store so feel free to use what one you prefer. The really low fat ground turkey won't have as much flavor and it's lighter in color so your mixture may look slightly different if you use it.
- Dried Seasonings - Lots of seasonings! Salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika.
- All-Purpose Flour - This is to help thicken the ground turkey mixture. You can use gluten-free flour if needed as well.
- Tomato Sauce - One 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.
- Beef Broth - You can use regular beef broth or 50% reduced-sodium beef broth.
- Black Beans - Be sure to drain & rinse the black beans before using.
- Frozen Corn - I like to use frozen gold n' white corn. You can also use yellow corn or white corn.
How to Make Turkey Taco Bowls
Making taco bowls is very simple and it requires only one skillet pan!
Cook the Ground Turkey : Add the ground turkey, salt, and pepper into a skillet pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the ground turkey is no longer pink. Crumble the meat as it cooks to get small pieces.
Add the Flour & Dried Seasonings : Coat the browned ground turkey in the flour and seasonings. Let it cook for about a minute to cook off any flour flavor. This helps thicken everything up so it's a very important step.
Add the Liquid : Stir in the beef broth and tomato sauce. Mix to combine.
Add Beans and Vegetables : Add drained & rinsed black beans and frozen corn.
Simmer : Simmer the mixture for at least 20 minutes so it has time to thicken up. If you try to rush it then you will end up with a more loose/liquid ground turkey mixture.
Tips For Success
There are a few extra tips that will hopefully help you make this recipe!
- Let it Simmer For at Least 20 Minutes : One of the biggest complaints I hear about this recipe is that the mixture is "soupy" and never thickens up. The reason your mixture may be "soupy" and not thicken is because you are not letting it simmer long enough. It may seem like it takes forever, but I promise within that 20 minute simmer time it will just magically thicken up perfectly towards the end.
- Make it Ahead of Time : If you are serving this for a crowd, at a party/gathering, or just want dinner prepared ahead of time try making the ground turkey taco bowl mixture and letting it sit on warm (or low heat depending on the length of time) in the slow cooker.
- Serve these Taco Bowls Buffet Style : I lay out everything in bowls, or pans that it cooked in, on my kitchen counter island. When it's time to eat everyone just comes and creates their own taco bowl. I also lay out some tortilla chips because lots of people like to make nachos out of it or scoop it up with the chips.
Don't feel like you have to make these taco bowls the same every time! You can switch up the meat, beans, seasonings, etc. Here are a few variations that you can try.
- Use Different Beans : Switch up the beans and use whatever you want. Other good options are pinto beans, navy beans, or even some kidney beans.
- Use Another Kind of Meat : I love using the ground turkey, and that's all I've ever used when I make this recipe, but you could also use ground chicken or even ground beef.
- Make it Spicy! : I feed 4 littles so my goal is not to cook spicy food. I love flavorful food but not spicy. But don't worry because this recipe can easily be made as spicy as you want. Add cayenne pepper in with the other seasonings. Add extra chili powder. Add a can of diced green chilies or a can of diced jalapeños. Top your taco bowl with Pepper Jack cheese and jalapeños.
Serving Suggestions for Ground Turkey Taco Bowls
Taco Bowls can be topped with anything you like! Traditionally you have a rice base, topped with some of the ground turkey mixture, and then the final step is to top it off with all your favorite taco toppings. I also like lay out all the toppings buffet style and let everyone create their own.
Here are some recipes that I like to make when I make these taco bowls.
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice OR Cilantro Lime Rice : I love to serve these with cilantro lime rice. The flavors compliment each other perfectly.
- You could also try this Easy Mexican Rice as the base.
- Make some guacamole
- Top with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and pico de gallo or chopped tomatoes
- Chopped Cilantro
How to Store and Reheat Taco Bowl Leftovers?
You can store the ground turkey taco bowl mixture in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.
Leftovers reheat really well in the microwave or you can throw it into a pot and warm it over medium heat on the stove top.
Can I Freeze Taco Bowls?
Sure! Make the recipe according to instructions and then freeze in airtight containers, or a freezer safe Ziplock bag, for up to 2 months.
When you're ready to use it simply let it thaw in the fridge overnight for best results. Add additional liquid (water or broth) as needed.
More Ground Turkey Dinner Recipes
Turkey Taco Burrito Bowls
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
- 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Cooked Rice
- Taco Toppings : shredded lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, guacamole, olives, lime, jalapenos, etc.
- In a large nonstick skillet, over medium high heat, cook the ground turkey with the salt & pepper until cooked through and no longer pink, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain.* If you are not using a nonstick pan, like a cast iron type pan, then you will want to add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to cook the ground turkey in.
- Add the cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, and flour. Stir the mixture constantly for 1 minute while it cooks. It will be crumbly (that's ok).
- Slowly add the beef broth, a little bit at a time, while whisking to let it thicken up. Add in tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil. Once boiling add the black beans and corn.
- Turn heat to medium and let simmer for at least 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Serve over rice and top with all your favorite taco toppings.