Turkey or Beef Taco Skillet

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Taco Skillet?

Yep. We’re Home-Ec 101 here, and one of my goals for this year is to go back and share those simple recipes that we assume everyone already knows how to make. This is as close to Hamburger Helper™ as you can get without opening a HH box. Sometimes dinner is just thrown together with what’s on hand. This Taco Skillet recipe uses very basic pantry ingredients (including cheese and milk) and is great for those —oh crap, I don’t want to think, and I don’t feel like leaving the house, but these people expect to be fed—kind of nights. Steam some vegetables on the side, or throw together a salad, or don’t, and you’re good to go.

There is nothing wrong with using convenience food, but making skillets, like this taco skillet, from scratch gives you a lot more flexibility without adding much time. You have the ability to use items in your refrigerator that need to be used up, and you can add or subtract items that you or your family members like or don’t.

Also, if you have a big family like mine, it’s easy to double or triple the recipe.

Use ground turkey or beef, it’s up to you, just be sure to drain off the grease. Increase the cheese if you’d like and once you have the concept down, try variations like adding diced onion or bell pepper. Throw in a few handfuls of fresh spinach, a can of black, kidney, or pinto beans, and/or diced tomatoes. The choice is yours. Just remember, if you use a packet of store=bought taco seasoning, do NOT add the salt. Your final dish will end up too salty.

It’s not a pretty dish, but sometimes pretty isn’t needed.

Yield: 6 servings

Taco Skillet

Taco Skillet

Simple Tex Mex style skillet perfect for weeknights

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 2 ½ Tablesppons Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta, elbow, rotini, or bowtie
  • 1 ½ cups hot water or beef stock or chicken stock
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1 - 2 cups shredded cheddar or "fiesta mix" cheese


  1. Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a skillet, stirring frequently until it is no longer pink.
  2. Drain off the fat.
  3. Stir in the taco seasoning and add the stock.
  4. As soon as the liquid begins to bubble, add the pasta, and stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Add the milk and reduce the temperature so that it can't reach boiling again. You do want it to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 - 12 minutes.
  6. Stir every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking.
  7. After the pasta is done, stir in any optional ingredients and cook just until heated through.
  8. Stir in the cheese until melted and serve


If you use pre-packaged taco seasoning or stock, omit the salt.

Preparation time: 1 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6

Notes for Taco Skillet Recipe

*Do not add salt if you use a taco seasoning packet
**Do not add salt if you use commercial chicken or beef stock
***Use a total of 4 cups of liquid, feel free to play with the ratios until you find what you like
****I don’t measure the cheese, I just grate about 4oz of cheddar directly into the pan, stir and call it good. Do whatever you’d like

Taco Skillet


I’d love to hear how yours turns out!

Here are some more skillet recipes for you to try:

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