Taco Skillet

4.34 from 6 votes
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This 25-minute Southwestern Taco Skillet is a must-try for any busy household. Perfectly caramelized ground turkey and onions are simmered together with satisfying black beans, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and brown rice and then topped with gooey, melty Mexican-blend cheese.

Taco skillet in a skillet near a bunch of fresh cilantro.


 

As a busy mom, I often find myself in a bind for dinner. Don’t we all? This taco skillet recipe is my saving grace. It only takes 25 minutes to make and is a total winner for the whole family. It’s made up of perfectly seasoned ground turkey, tomatoes, beans, and sweet corn (basically everything you love about tacos) simmered together with instant rice and topped with melty Mexican blend cheese. It’s so flavorful and satisfying. You’ll be spooning it out of the skillet before it even makes it to the table.

Why You’ll Love This Taco Skillet Recipe

  • Quick and easy. This one-skillet recipe is a busy parent’s dream come true. It’s super easy to make and you’ll have dinner on the table in 25 minutes. Plus it’s all made in one skillet, so even cleanup is a breeze!
  • Customizable. I love how easy it is to tailor this recipe to your taste buds. Swap the turkey out for ground beef, add extra veggies, and/or kick up the heat. Check out the section below titled “Fun Variations” for more.
  • Great for leftovers. You will end up with plenty of food here and the leftovers are amazing. It’s the perfect recipe to double and enjoy throughout the week.
A spoon lifting up a scoop of taco skillet.

What You’ll Need

Time to get yourself to the grocery store! Here’s what you’ll need to make this taco skillet recipe. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for a printable list of ingredients.

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion – A red onion will also work.
  • Ground turkey – I like using 99% fat-free turkey but you can totally go with ground chicken, beef, or pork instead. Vegetarian? Try Impossible Meat or something similar.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canned whole sweet corn kernels – White or yellow. I tend to prefer yellow corn.
  • Canned diced tomatoes – You could use fresh diced tomatoes. I included the liquid from the canned tomatoes in this dish. If you go the fresh tomato route, you’ll need to add a little extra veggie broth.
  • Instant brown rice – Instant white rice (long grain) will also work. Just note that it may take a little longer to cook. Give it a taste for tenderness before serving. If it’s still firm, cook everything for a bit longer.
  • Low-sodium vegetable broth – Feel free to use chicken broth or beef broth instead.
  • Seasoning – Chili powder and ground cumin.
  • Canned black beans – Pinto beans would also be fun.
  • Shredded Taco-Blend Cheese – You can use shredded cheddar cheese or even pepper jack if you’d like.

Tips for Success

  • Drain the grease. Unless you want a greasy taco skillet, don’t forget to drain the grease from the pan after you cook the turkey.
  • Keep the heat to medium. This taco skillet is already quick enough to make. No need to turn up the heat to speed things up. If you do, you will likely end up with burned rice at the bottom of the pan. No bueno!
  • Check on the rice. Not all instant rice is created equal. If your rice is still firm after 5 or so minutes of simmering, add a little extra veggie broth (or water) and let it cook for a bit longer.

Fun Variations

  • Swap out the meat. I love ground turkey here but you could just as easily use ground beef, pork, or chicken. If you aren’t a meat eater, Impossible Meat or something similar will work just as well.
  • Add extra veggies. I kept things simple with onion, tomato, and corn. If you want to add some more veggies to the picture, you totally can. Just saute some sliced zucchini, diced bell pepper, and/or [insert your favorite veggie here] in olive oil and stir them in with the rice, corn, and tomatoes.
  • Spicy kick. If you’re a spice person, you can add more chili powder to the taco skillet. A dash or two of hot sauce would also work. So would swapping half of the diced tomatoes out for your favorite chunky, spicy salsa.
  • Try pinto beans. Pinto beans will work equally as well as black beans in this recipe. Use canned beans or make them from scratch!
Tortillas filled with taco skillet.

Serving Suggestions

You are more than welcome to serve this Mexican-themed main as is for a quick lunch or dinner but, if you have the extra time, go ahead and make it the main event of a larger meal. It goes so well with an appetizer of chips and Fresh Mango Guacamole. Maybe a Strawberry Beer Margarita or a sweet, cool glass of Horchata on the side. I’ve also really been enjoying serving it with my classic Elote. Room for dessert? Try my Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Fudge.

Side note – if you’re craving actual tacos, don’t hesitate to use this taco skillet as a hearty taco filling. Just pick your favorite taco-sized tortillas (corn or flour) and scoop some of your creation into each.

Proper Storage

  • Refrigerator. Once your leftovers have cooled to room temperature, seal them in an airtight container. You can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. Seal the fully cooled leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the freezer fup to to 3 months.
  • To reheat. Allow the leftovers to thaw in the fridge (if frozen) before transferring them to a skillet. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until warm. You can add a little extra water or broth if needed. Alternatively, microwave individual servings in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until heated through.

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4.34 from 6 votes

Southwestern Taco Skillet

The delicious Southwestern flavors of a taco are made quick and easy in this one-skillet recipe! Super quick weeknight meal!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, , diced
  • 1- pound 99% fat free ground turkey, (I used turkey, but if you like, you can use ground chicken, beef, pork, etc…)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, , to taste
  • 1 can, (15-ounces) whole kernel sweet corn
  • 1 can, (14-ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, , or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can, (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded Taco-Blend Cheese
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Instructions 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add onions and ground meat and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until meat is browned.
  • Remove from heat, drain and transfer meat to a bowl.
  • Return skillet to heat; add corn, tomatoes, brown rice, vegetable broth, chili powder, and cumin.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
  • Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Remove cover, stir in beans and cooked meat and continue to cook for 2 more minutes or until heated through.
  • Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese, cover and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 2.1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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13 Comments

  1. MO4G says:

    This dish is great, especially for large families. It was a winner tonight at the dinner table!

  2. Pamela Newcomer says:

    This was amazing! I added a 4oz can of diced green chilies. I also used 2 cans 11 oz ea mexicorn. Defenitely a new go to recipe.

  3. Kristyn says:

    YUM!! This look great. Thanks for an awesome recipe. 🙂

  4. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says:

    This is one of my husband’s go-to meals when he’s in charge of cooking. He always uses leftover chicken. His does not look as pretty as yours though! A lot of times we turn the leftovers into burritos! Pinning!

  5. Justine | Cooking and Beer says:

    You make skillet cooking soooooo pretty! I’d have rice flying all over the place! Love all of the flavors in this one! Pinned!

  6. Becky Hardin | The Cookie Rookie says:

    Can I come over for dinner!! I need some laughs and this dinner looks like my heaven!!

  7. Michelle | A latte Food says:

    I’m so with you on missing the college days–and the college metabolism! Del Taco, or “DTR runs” as we referred to them as, was the place of choice for us! But Taco Bell has those amazing cinnamon twists I love! Anyway, this skillet looks phenomenal!

  8. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats says:

    haha… every time I hear that saw I think of Pitch Perfect! I would have so been singing and dancing with you!

    Lets talk about this taco skillet though… um.. i need it in my life! Love how easy it is and how packed full of tex mex flavor it is! YUM!

  9. KalynsKitchen says:

    That sounds so delicious! I love skillet dinners, so quick and easy.

  10. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    This is so perfect for busy Tuesdays when I don’t have time to pull everything out for tacos! Skillet dinners to the rescue!