Ground turkey is an affordable meat option. But if you don’t cook it right, it can be dry and lacking in flavor. This is a recipe for a flavorful Mexican-spiced skillet that is neither dry nor lacking in flavor. Eat on its own, or serve in a tortilla, over nachos or as the base for a burrito bowl.

Mexican ground turkey skillet: A delicious, flavorful way to prepare budget-friendly ground turkey.

With grocery prices soaring, most people are looking for recipes that taste great but don’t cost a lot of money.

When it comes to meat recipes, ground turkey is usually one of the cheapest meats available. But let’s be honest: it has a tendency to be kind of dry and flavorless. 

I’ve recently been experimenting with all kinds of ground turkey recipes. And I’ve learned a thing or two to make this meat taste great.

Let’s dive in.

The Trick To Making Ground Turkey Taste Great

Ground turkey can be dry and lacking in flavor – if you don’t cook it right!

That’s right. There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you want ground turkey to be flavorful and not dry.

Ground turkey is an extremely lean meat, so it is essential to add fat to it to make it taste great. And I’m not talking about oil. Adding fat from another meat source is essential.

Here are two options for adding more fat to ground turkey:

  • Cook the ground turkey in bacon grease. This is delicious and my favorite way to cook (and flavor) ground turkey. You simply brown the turkey in bacon grease. Start with 2 tablespoons of bacon grease per 1 lb. of ground turkey.
  • Add another ground meat to the mix: Ground beef and ground pork are both fattier than ground turkey, and lend more flavor to recipes. For this recipe, I recommend cooking the ground turkey in bacon grease – but you could also use a 50/50 mix of ground turkey and ground beef (or a 50/50 mix of ground turkey and ground pork) as an option.

See how they compare: Ground turkey vs. ground beef. Ground turkey is almost always cheaper than ground beef. To save even more money, purchase frozen ground turkey.  

Mexican ground turkey skillet: Serve with tortillas, tortilla chips - or solo!

Variations: Make This Recipe Your Own

This recipe is extremely adaptable. Here are some ways to save money on this recipe and make it your own:

  • Use ground turkey, ground beef – or a mixture of the two
  • Sub a less-expensive green pepper for the red bell pepper
  • Use frozen veggies instead of fresh
  • Use a different kind of bean (pinto would work well)
  • Omit toppings that you don’t already have on hand
  • Search your fridge for additional toppings or topping swaps – Use what you have on hand to save money

Mexican ground turkey skillet: Lots of flavor, not a lot of money. Click through for recipe!

Like Ground Beef Better?

Check out this very similar recipe, pictured below: Mexican ground beef skillet

Mexican ground beef skillet: A one pan dinner (or appetizer) that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Love tacos? Then try these ground turkey tacos that incorporate many of the same ingredients. Serve with a side of Mexican rice and refried beans.

Mexican ground turkey skillet: Lots of flavor, not a lot of money. Click through for recipe!

Mexican Ground Turkey Skillet

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Serve bowl-style or taco-style.


  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chicken Better Than Bouillon (or 2 small chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved in hot water)
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For serving

  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into small pieces
  • Chopped red onion
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Tortilla shells or tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add red bell pepper and cook for 3 more minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ground turkey and stir and break up meat until browned. Stir in beans, chili powder, Better Than Bouillon, and lime juice. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
  3. Top with tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro. Serve bowl-style, with tortilla chips on the side - or scoop the filling into tortillas.

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