Spicy 10 Minute Taco Filling

By Sally Cameron on July 05, 2016

beef & pork, chicken & turkey, gluten-free, Paleo, the daniel plan,


Spicy and juicy, 10 minute taco filling with your choice of ground meat. Seriously, 10 minutes. I’ve made it over and over again these past few weeks for the two of us for lunch and decided it was time to post it for you.

Spicy 10 Minute Taco Filling

Everyone needs quick and easy recipes these days, so here is my latest one. We’ve been eating this 2-3 times a week for lunches because its so easy and tastes so good. For variety, make 10 minute taco filling with dark ground turkey, dark ground chicken, or lean ground beef (15%),  Choose what you prefer. Ground bison would be good too. I usually cook 12 ounces (3/4 pound) of ground meat, which is 2-3 about servings. That amount really takes 10 minutes. Doubling it for 4 -6 servings will take a little longer. Maybe 15-20. Still pretty quick.

10 minute taco filling | AFoodCentricLife.com

How To Make 10 Minute Taco Filling

Chop up some onion and a few cloves of garlic and cook until soft in a little oil. Add the spices and cook 1 minute more, then add the ground meat. Cook until no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spatula as it cooks, about 8 minutes. Towards the end of cooking add a tablespoon of water to make sure the spices are not stuck on the bottom of the pan and to keep the meat juicy and moist.

It’s hard to believe how fast it comes together. At first I couldn’t believe it but I’ve timed myself over and over again. Even if it takes you a minute longer.

10 minute taco filling | AFoodCentricLife.com

Optional Adds

If you want to get “fancy” you can add a little chopped tomato or chopped tomatillo for more flavor. Sauté with the onion or add at the end then stir just to heat through with the cooked meat. But you don’t have to; simple is good.

Big Flavor: The Spices & Chilies

What makes taco filling so delicious is the spices. I use ground cumin, ground coriander, a little sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika (but you could use regular). And for the chilies I use ancho chili powder and my new favorite chili to cook with – crushed Urfa Chilies.

New Spice! Crushed Urfa Chilies

From Turkey, crushed Urfa chilies are similar to Aleppo peppers. They are a deep, purplish black in color and have an earthy, lightly smoky flavor. I’ve been adding them to my taco filling, eggs, and other dishes for their marvelous taste and a little heat; about 3-4 on the scale of 1-10. Buy them at a local Savory Spice Shop (there are shops across the US) or order online.

While you are there, pick up all of your other spices as Savory Spice Shop has great quality, prices, variety and ordering options. My spice drawer is full of their stuff. If you go to a store, it’s like Disneyland for cooks. And their website is full of helpful information.

10 minute taco filling | AFoodCentricLife.com

How To Serve 10 Minute Taco Filling

Serve 10 minute taco filling in butter lettuce leaves for a no-grain or paleo approach, or in organic corn tortillas for tacos. For garnishes, top with chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, finely sliced cabbage, and grated cheese if you enjoy dairy. For sauce I use my avocado cream dip recipe and dollop it on top for a cool and creamy counterpart. Lime wedges are nice too.

Make it Ahead

Make this ahead on a Sunday afternoon or evening to use during the week. 10 minute taco filling will hold for up to 4 days refrigerated. You can even freeze it.

Spicy, juicy, and choose your ground meat, whether chicken, turkey, beef or bison. Use in lettuce wraps or corn tortillas. Make it in minutes and enjoy it right away, or make it ahead, refrigerate for use within 4 days.
10 minute taco filling | AFoodCentricLife.com
Print Recipe

Spicy 10 Minute Taco Filling

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular if that is what you have
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed Urfa chilies optional, see post notes
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces ground dark turkey 15% beef, dark chicken or bison
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 small tomato seeded and chopped
  • 2 small tomatillos optional, chopped

Options to Serve and Garnish

  • Butter lettuce leaves for wraps or tortillas for tacos
  • Chopped cilantro or Italian parsley
  • lime wedges
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes
  • Salsa of choice
  • Finely sliced cabbage
  • Creamy avocado sauce See link for recipe


  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add oil, then add onion and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute.
  2. Add the spices and chilies, stirring so they are coated in the oil and onion and cook 1 minute. If it seems dry add another teaspoon of oil.
  3. Turn the heat to medium and add meat to the pan in chunks. Cook meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or wooden spatula. Stir and turn the meat until it is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add a 1 tablespoon of water and stir to release any spices form the pan bottom and keep meat juicy. Add the tomatoes and tomatillos (if using). Stir to heat through, then serve.

Recipe Notes

You can double this recipe to serve 4 people with 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat or poultry of choice. Double the quantity will take a few minutes longer to cook.

Note on Urfa Chilies - Urfa chilies have a fantastic, earthy, smoky heat. Find them at some market, online and at spice stores like Savory Spice Shop. You can substitute red pepper flakes (pizza pepper). Try 1/4 teaspoon and taste for your personal heat level.

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Leave a Comment
Madonna | 07/05/2016 at 9:58 am

Great idea. I think I will mix up your spices in a small jar and have them ready. I think I may even be able to cut the time. 🙂 Love the use of butter lettuce. We used to go to the Chinese Restaurant in Fashion Island, but since I can no longer tolerate soy this sounds so good.

    Sally Cameron | 07/05/2016 at 10:52 am

    Thanks Madonna. Good idea on the spices. Have you tried the Urfa chilies yet? On another subject, have you tried liquid aminos yet instead of soy sauce? Not quite the same but an option.

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