Tex Mex Turkey Taco Skillet

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This easy Turkey Taco Skillet made with ground turkey, beans, brown rice, corn, and bell peppers comes together in about thirty minutes and is perfect for taco night.

485 CAL 41g CARBS 18g FAT 45g PROTEIN
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This easy Taco Skillet dish takes all the flavors of a traditional Tex-Mex style taco and combines them in an easy one-dish meal that is always a crowd-pleaser. It's hearty, and filling. Plus it's a complete meal made in a single skillet. No extra dirty dishes!

What can I say? Sometimes I just love a skillet dish. And of course, I love Mexican food. So, it just makes sense that I would tie the two together and make a Mexican Turkey Skillet.

Wait though, it just wouldn't be Slender Kitchen with just any ordinary Mexican skillet dish though, would it? No way, it has to be both tasty AND healthy. That's where the turkey and veggies come in.

If you find yourself without lots of time to cook, and you're craving Mexican, or basically just a yummy rice dish piled high with all the good stuff, like peppers, garlic, tomatoes, black beans, corn, rice, onions, cheese, then this recipe is for you!

This skillet dish went over great with my family but it's also a great menu item to pull out when you have unexpected guests in town or need something in a hurry. Done in just a little over 30 minutes, it's worth every second! Plus it's a way to use the homemade taco seasoning I shared earlier today. 

Reasons to Love This Taco Skillet

  • Quick and easy: This dish is ready in about 35 minutes and 20 of those minutes are hands-free! Although the ingredient list looks long, it's a simple recipe to prepare.
  • Complete meal cooked in one pan: This meal has it all - protein, fiber, and tons of veggies. There is no need to add any side dishes.
  • Healthy and filling: This dish is extremely filling and will keep you satisfied. It's packed with lean protein, fiber from the beans and rice, and tons of nutrients from all the vegetables.
  • Meal prep friendly: This dish keeps great in the fridge and can even be frozen in individual portions. This makes it perfect for meal prep.

Turkey taco skillet in a bowl with brown rice, black beans, ground turkey, and taco seasoning.

Ingredients, Shortcuts, and Easy Substitutions

  • Ground turkey: Use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, or ground pork. It also works with veggie crumbles for a vegetarian option. Or leave out the meat and double the beans.
  • Brown rice: Make sure to use quick-cooking brown rice for this recipe. Regular brown rice will not cook the same way. If you prefer white rice, swap in rice that cooks fully in 15-20 minutes. Quinoa works well in this dish and can also be used. 
  • Bell peppers: Use any color of bell peppers you have on hand. Feel free to add some extra vegetables as well. We love this with zucchini, spinach, and summer squash.
  • Black beans: Use black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili beans, or chickpeas.  Leave the beans out if you prefer not to use them.
  • Corn: Canned, fresh, or frozen corn all work in this recipe. Leave it out if you prefer.
  • Diced tomatoes: Diced tomatoes add liquid and flavor to this recipe. The liquid is needed to cook the rice. Swap in any flavor of diced tomatoes you like. It is really good with Rotel tomatoes if you like spice.
  • Taco seasoning: I always have homemade taco seasoning in my pantry but store-bought works as well.
  • Chicken broth: Use chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even water. The liquid is needed to cook the rice.
  • Toppings: This is the fun part! I always use fresh cilantro, green onions, and shredded cheese.  A dollop of sour cream or some sliced avocado is always welcome. Add some baked tortilla chips on the side for crunch. 

Shortcuts: Grab a bag of mixed frozen peppers and onions instead of chopping fresh bell peppers. Instead of cooking rice from scratch, skip the chicken broth and simply stir in precooked frozen or packaged rice. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until softened and ready to eat. This cuts 20 minutes off the cooking time. 

How do you make Turkey Taco Skillet?

Making this dish is easy! Have I emphasized that enough yet?

  1. Heat up your oil over medium-high heat. Add to that the diced onions and peppers. Cook these down until they begin to soften, about 4-6 minutes.
  2. Add the ground turkey, making sure to break it up as it cooks. It should be browned and cooked through after about 6-8 minutes. Add to the ground turkey the taco seasoning and the garlic. Cook for another minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. (Mmmm I just LOVE that smell, don't you?)
  3. Add the tomatoes, corn, brown rice, and chicken broth. Bring the whole mixture to a simmer then turn the burner down to low. Cover the skillet and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has soaked up most of the liquid. Make sure you are using quick-cooking brown rice. Regular brown rice will not cook completely in 15 minutes.
  4. Once the rice is tender, top the skillet dish with cheese, then cover again to melt the cheese. This should only take about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add all your favorite toppings! Sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, green onions, sour cream, pico de gallo! Anything that tastes good on a taco will taste good on this taco skillet.

Topping Ideas

While I mentioned that I like to top my Southwestern Taco Skillet with green onions and cilantro, there are other ways you can top this dish, such as:

  • Sliced black olives
  • Diced red onions
  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce
  • Pickled or sliced jalapenos
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Green chilis
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Diced tomatoes

Ground turkey taco skillet with brown rice being picked up with a fork.

Tips and Recipe Ideas

  • While you can make this dish using regular white rice, I like to use brown rice for its nutritional content. If you are going to use white rice, choose one that cooks in 15-20 minutes as well and keep an eye on it to make sure it's soaking up all liquids adequately and that it doesn't dry out too fast.
  • For onions, I like to use white or yellow onion, diced. But you can use whatever onion you have on hand. I save the green onions for toppings or garnish after the ground turkey skillet dish is done cooking.
  • If you like your skillet dishes to be spicier, add a finely diced, seeded jalapeno in with the bell pepper mixture and cook as directed.
  • If you don't have fresh, whole garlic to cut yourself, you can use frozen or jarred minced garlic.
  • To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and leave the meat out, but double up the vegetables or beans. Watch that the mixture doesn't get too liquidy though.

Storing and Freezing Leftovers

  • This dish will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days so long as it's covered properly.
  • You can freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months.
  • Turn leftovers in to taco lettuce wraps for a fun new meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to make a low-carb version of this dish, leave out the brown rice and chicken broth. Drain the tomatoes before adding them to the skillet. Then once everything is cooked, add 3-4 cups of cauliflower rice. Top with cheese and any toppings you like.

The best way to reheat this taco skillet is by popping it in the oven at 350 degrees until it is warmed through. Add extra broth if it looks like it is getting dry. It can also be reheated in the microwave, but the rice might get mushy. 

The Recipe
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Tex Mex Turkey Taco Skillet

485 CAL 41g CARBS 18g FAT 45g PROTEIN
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz canned diced tomatoes (or salsa)
  • 14 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quick cooking brown rice
  • 1 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

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Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers. Cook for 4-6 minutes until beginning to soften.


Add the turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for 6-8 minutes until browned and cooked through.


Stir in the taco seasoning and garlic. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.


Add the tomatoes, corn, brown rice, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and then turn down heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender and has soaked up most of the liquid.


Top with cheese and cover for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese.


Serve with green onions and cilantro.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 485
Calories from Fat 155
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
Saturated Fat 8g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 94mg
Sodium 1292mg
Total Carbohydrate 41g
Dietary Fiber 11g
Sugars 7g
Protein 45g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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