These Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos are ready in 10 minutes, making them perfect for weeknight dinners. Especially Taco Tuesday! 

 

Small black cast iron pan holding tacos topped with tomatoes and lettuce.

The easiest at-home Taco Tuesday yet.

We love jazzed up tacos in this house—grilled mahi-mahi, shrimp—but we’re back to the basics with this quick and easy 10-minute recipe for ground turkey tacos. Ground turkey is pressure cooked in chunky salsa to offer up a tender and saucy filling. They’re so flavorful, that toppings can be kept minimal! Just a smear of sour cream or Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of shredded cheese, crisp lettuce, and tomatoes do the trick. Of course, ground turkey tacos are flexible enough to add various other toppings, too. You can kick things up with sliced jalapeño or make things extra gooey with a drizzle of queso.

Ground turkey on a plate next to a pinch bowl of spices, canned chiles, salsa, hard shells and soft shells.

How to cook ground turkey for tacos in the Instant Pot.

Start things off by turning on the Instant Pot’s sauté function on low or medium. (High gets too hot and the ground turkey will stick, so I avoid it.) Once the pot is warm, add a drizzle of olive oil and let it heat up for about 30 seconds or so. Then, add the ground turkey, breaking it down into chunks with a spatula. Simmer it for about two minutes stirring occasionally. You want the meat to be just partially cooked. Once you’re at this point, turn off the sauté function. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the ground turkey, and then add the salsa and the green chilies (liquid included; don’t drain). Stir everything to mix it well, then lock the lid into place. Position the valve to “sealing”, and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. While the ground turkey cooks, you can prep your toppings. Once the Instant Pot timer goes off, do a quick release. When all of the steam has escaped, remove the lid from the Instant Pot and give the ground turkey a good stir. Finally, pile the filling into your taco shells, top with your favorite stuff, and enjoy!

How to season ground turkey for tacos.

Since ground turkey is leaner than ground beef, it can lack in the flavor department a little. But properly seasoning it solves that issue. This recipe calls for just two tablespoons of taco seasoning—the salsa and the chilies do the rest.

Here’s what’s in my ground turkey taco seasoning:

  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • dried oregano
  • paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

You can also use pre-packaged taco seasoning, but only 2 tablespoons are necessary. 

Tacos drizzled with taco sauce.

Instant Pot Ground TurkeyTacos laid out on table.

Are you getting a burn notice when making this recipe?

Several of my readers have reported burn notices when making this recipe. This hasn’t ever happened to me—and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count—so I’m not sure if it has to do with the Instant Pot model or an oversight in the method of preparation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Lightly browning the ground turkey on sauté mode is imperative. If you simply drop the meat into the pot and let it go, meat will stick to the bottom of the pot and will stick, signaling the burn notice.
  • When you add the salsa and chilies, it’s important to give everything a good stir. This allows you to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan that might stick and signal a burn notice. This is similar to deglazing the pan.
  • If you tend to get burn notices with your model, go ahead and add a few splashes of water in addition to the salsa and green chilies to see if that helps.Hand drizzling taco with taco sauce.

What to do if you get a burn notice.

There’s no need to panic. It’s an easy fix! The burn notice is literally just a safety feature to keep your dinner from turning into a charred failure. If you get a burn notice, follow these steps:

  • Press the cancel button and hit the quick release if there’s any steam build up.
  • Remove the lid and take a look at the contents in the Instant Pot. Technically the salsa and the green chilies plus their liquid should count for enough liquid to pressure cook (this can be argued, as some swear it has to be thin liquid, but again I’ve never had an issue or burn notice with this recipe and my model).
  • Stir the contents to break apart any debris that might be stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of extra liquid.
  • Then, cook as per the recipe says; secure the lid, set the valve to sealing, and commence the pressure cooking cycle.

Off-centered shot of cast iron tray holding ground turkey tacos and a blue hand towel next to it.

Equipment you’ll need:

Recipe tips + tricks.

  1. This recipe will work with ground beef if you don’t want to use ground turkey.
  2. If you omit the green chilies, simply add two tablespoons of water to make up for the liquid you’d get from the can of chilies.
  3. Any jarred salsa will work in this recipe—chunky or smooth. However, if you’re using a homemade salsa, make sure it’s more of a smooth and liquidy salsa. (You wouldn’t want to use my homemade salsa recipe for this as you wouldn’t have enough liquid).
  4. For an extra kick, feel free to add hot sauce to the Instant Pot before you pressure cook.

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Close up of Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos.

Get the Recipe:

Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos

These Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos are ready in 10 minutes, making them perfect for weeknight dinners. Especially Taco Tuesday! 

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 lb ground turkey
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 TBSP taco seasoning, I used my homemade blend; find it in the notes!
  • 4 oz canned green chilies (not drained)
  • 6 taco shells, hard and/or soft; whichever your prefer!

Toppings (all optional/adaptable)

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheese (I like to use a Mexican blend)
  • Hot sauce
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions 

  • Press the sauté function button on your Instant Pot and let the pot get warm. Add olive oil, then add the ground turkey. Let the ground turkey simmer for about two minutes, stirring occasionally, just to lightly brown it.
  • Turn the sauté function off. Add the taco seasoning, the salsa, and the green chilies (liquid from can included). Give everything a good stir to evenly distribute seasoning.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure it's locked into place. Ensure that the valve is pointing towards "sealing". Finally, cook everything for 8 minutes on high pressure.
  • While the turkey cooks, prep your toppings and set them aside.
  • When the Instant Pot beeps, indicating that it's done, carefully move the valve to *venting* for a quick release. Be cautious as hot steam will spit out of the valve. Once all of the steam escapes, open the lid and give everything a stir.
  • Serve on tacos with your favorite toppings! 

Notes

Give my homemade taco seasoning a whirl!

Don't have an Instant Pot?

No worries; I got you! This recipe can easily be done in a regular ol' skillet on the stove. The only changes to be made would be to use 1/2 cup of salsa to start (add more later if you want it saucier), and drain the can of chilies. All of that extra liquid is necessary in the IP, but not on the stovetop.
Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos