This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Ground Turkey Taco Pasta is a super creamy and flavor-packed meal made a little lighter with lean ground turkey. This easy meal idea is going to change the way you do taco night!

Ground Turkey Taco Pasta overhead in a blue pot with limes on the side.
Pin this recipe for later!Pin This
Save this recipe
Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great new recipes from us every week!

About This Recipe

Taco Tuesday is something a lot of families look forward to, but as the one who actually has to make said tacos, I am always looking for ways to change things up a bit.

My Turkey Taco Pasta is loosely based on my super popular Taco Mac and Cheese recipe. It’s got tender pasta shells, sharp cheddar cheese, salsa, and lime. It’s a simple meal that packs a real punch of flavor.

The pasta is tender and the sauce is creamy and cheesy with a little bit of heat and a hint of lime. I used a jarred salsa for this taco pasta recipe, which adds a fantastic flavor, but you could also add some additional veggies, like peas and carrots, to round out this dish as a full meal. On the side, my taco salad (just leave out the meat) would be a delicious option.

I love creating ground turkey recipes as an alternative to ground beef. It’s tasty and packed with protein, and is much lighter than beef which will save a few calories and fat while still creating a delicious meal.

Ground Turkey Taco Pasta with a wooden spoon in a blue pot.

How to Make Turkey Taco Pasta

Making a big pan of my Ground Turkey Taco Pasta couldn’t be easier! You just need a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

  1. Start by cooking a pound of ground turkey with some onion and garlic. This will add flavor to the meat itself. If your turkey releases a lot of liquid during cooking, you may want to drain it before adding anything else.
  2. Next, add some of your favorite salsa, stir in some taco seasoning and water and let that pot simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The mixture will reduce and thicken a bit, so when time is up you can add some cheese to complete the sauce.
  3. While the turkey taco meat is simmering away, cook some pasta shells (or macaroni, or rotini) in a pot of boiling water. Depending on the brand and the size of the pasta the cooking time may vary, so be sure to check the package. You want al dente pasta – the pasta should be tender but still have a bit of a bite to it.
  4. Once everything is cooked, it’s time to bring it all together with some cheese! I used two kinds of cheese for this Turkey Taco Pasta – Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack, for a little added heat, and just sprinkled them on top and let them melt.
  5. Just before serving, garnish the pasta with some fresh tomatoes, green onions, avocado, sour cream, or any other taco toppings you can think of! We like to add crunchy tortilla chips sometimes, too.
Ground Turkey Taco meat in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Can You Freeze Leftover Taco Meat?

Sometimes I will make a double batch of the taco meat and yes, it freezes beautifully! Just scoop out the portion you plan to freeze to a separate bowl and let it cool completely. Then transfer it to a freezer bag, label it and freeze for up to 6 months. To thaw, place frozen taco meat in the refrigerator overnight.

A scoop of ground turkey taco pasta.

More Taco recipes for Taco Tuesday!

More ground turkey recipes to try:

Close up of Ground Turkey Taco Pasta

Turkey Taco Pasta

4.62 from 39 votes
Ground Turkey Taco Pasta is a super creamy and flavor-packed meal made a little lighter with lean ground turkey. This easy meal idea is going to change the way you do Taco night!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small onion diced (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup salsa not chunky
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ½ cups dry shell pasta macaroni or rotini
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese divided in half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided in half
  • Sliced green onions and diced tomatoes for garnish optional


  • Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onions until soft; 3-4 minutes. Add ground turkey and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink; about 5 minutes. Drain any liquid and return meat mixture to the pan.
  • Stir in salsa, taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is thickened and reduced. Stir in cheeses until melted.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and stir pasta into the meat mixture until coated.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheeses (½ cup of each) evenly over taco pasta, turn heat to low and cover for about 3 minutes or until cheese melts).
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and fresh diced tomatoes. Serve immediately.


Calories: 408kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 33gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 634mgPotassium: 499mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 640IUVitamin C: 2.9mgCalcium: 306mgIron: 1.7mg
Keyword ground turkey, taco pasta

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I made this for dinner last night. It was the first time I have ever seen my husband throw food away. It will not go into the rotation. I ate it with little complaint. I admit though that it lacked oomph. Perhaps it was just the brand of salsa I used.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. Depending on the brand of taco seasoning you used, it may have needed salt. Some brands aren’t as great as others.

  2. My husband said this was nostalgic 80s. He loved it. We added the whole packet of taco seasoning. This will be great with a green salad on the side.

  3. Simple and didn’t take long and was very tasty 😋 good flavor and likes the ground turkey in it. Me and my family likes it alot

  4. We have a tomato allergy so are unable to use any kind of salsa – what would be a good substitute for salsa for this recipe?

    1. Hi Nikki, The salsa is a main ingredient in the recipe. Could you maybe use a tomatillo salsa? I’m not sure what else to suggest because it would significantly alter the dish. I’d recommend trying my One Pot Taco Mac and Cheese instead and just omitting the tomatoes, and use ground turkey instead of beef. It’s a similar recipe but not as saucy.