How much calories are ground turkey tacos?

Ground turkey tacos can be a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional beef tacos. Turkey is lower in fat and calories compared to beef, making it a smart choice for those looking to lighten up their taco night. But just how many calories are actually in a turkey taco? The answer depends on a few factors.

Calories in Ground Turkey

The first thing to look at is the turkey itself. The calorie content of ground turkey can vary greatly depending on the fat percentage. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Lean or Extra Lean Ground Turkey (93% lean): 120 calories per 4 oz uncooked
  • Ground Turkey Breast (99% fat free): 110 calories per 4 oz uncooked
  • Regular Ground Turkey (85% lean): 160 calories per 4 oz uncooked

As you can see, the leaner the turkey, the fewer calories it contains. Extra lean ground turkey only has about 120 calories in a standard 4 oz portion compared to 160 calories for regular 85% lean ground turkey.

Turkey breast is the leanest option, with just 110 calories per 4 oz uncooked. So when making turkey tacos, choose the lowest fat ground turkey you can find to minimize the calories.

Calories in Taco Seasoning

To add flavor to the ground turkey, most recipes call for taco seasoning. The calories in taco seasoning vary based on the brand and recipe, but on average, 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning contains around:

  • 20 calories
  • 370 mg sodium

When added to a pound of ground turkey for taco meat, the taco seasoning will add approximately 20 calories total.

Some lower sodium taco seasoning blends may have slightly fewer calories. You can also make your own homemade taco seasoning with spices like chili powder, cumin, and oregano to avoid added calories and sodium.

Calories in Taco Shells

The taco shell is the next component that factors into the total calories. Here’s a look at the calories in different types of taco shells:

  • Hard taco shells: 50 calories each
  • Soft taco tortillas (6-inch): About 70 calories each
  • Lettuce wraps: 5 calories each

Hard taco shells tend to have the lowest calories, ranging from 45-60 calories per shell depending on the brand. Soft taco tortillas are a bit higher at around 70 calories each.

For the lowest calorie option, skip the taco shells entirely and use lettuce leaves instead, which provide just 5 calories each.

Calories in Taco Toppings

Don’t forget to account for any taco toppings you plan to add! Things like cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and olives can quickly add extra calories and fat.

Here are the calories in typical taco toppings:

Taco Topping Calories
Shredded Cheddar Cheese 110 calories per 1/4 cup
Sour Cream 45 calories per tablespoon
Guacamole 45 calories per 2 tablespoons
Salsa 10 calories per 2 tablespoons
Chopped Tomatoes 10 calories per 1/4 cup
Sliced Olives 25 calories per 5 olives

Going light on high-calorie items like cheese and sour cream and opting for lower cal toppings like salsa and tomatoes will help keep your taco calories down. Avoid things like refried beans, rice, and tortilla chips on the side which can quickly add a few hundred extra calories.

Putting it All Together

Now let’s put the whole taco together and calculate total calories!

For each taco, here are the estimated calories using low calorie ingredients:

  • 3 oz lean ground turkey taco meat: 90 calories
  • 1 hard taco shell: 50 calories
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat Mexican cheese blend: 50 calories
  • 1 Tbsp salsa: 5 calories
  • 1 Tbsp chopped tomatoes: 5 calories

Total calories per taco: Around 200 calories

So for a single ground turkey taco made with lean meat, a hard shell, and moderate amounts of cheese and veggies, you’re looking at about 200 calories.

If you opt for extras like sour cream, guacamole or tortilla chips, the calories will go up from there. Choosing soft tortillas over hard shells will also increase the per taco calorie count.

Here’s a look at the estimated calories for a higher calorie turkey taco with more toppings:

  • 3 oz regular ground turkey: 120 calories
  • 1 soft taco tortilla: 70 calories
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese: 110 calories
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream: 45 calories
  • 2 Tbsp guacamole: 90 calories

Total calories per fully loaded taco: Around 435 calories

So a more indulgent ground turkey taco with a soft tortilla and more high-calorie toppings can easily approach 435 or more calories.

Watch your portions and ingredient choices to keep your ground turkey tacos around 200 calories or less.

Calories for a Full Ground Turkey Taco Meal

For a complete turkey taco dinner, you’ll need to account for sides as well. Here are estimated calorie totals for a full meal:

2 Light Turkey Tacos with Hard Shells

  • 2 tacos (200 calories each): 400 calories
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli: 50 calories
  • 1/2 cup rice: 110 calories

Total meal calories: Around 560

3 Fully Loaded Turkey Tacos with Soft Tortillas

  • 3 tacos (435 calories each): 1305 calories
  • 1 cup refried beans: 145 calories
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole: 250 calories

Total meal calories: Around 1700

As you can see, tacos made with soft tortillas, more toppings and higher calorie sides like beans, rice and chips can add up to well over 1,500 calories for a single meal!

Sticking with hard shells, lighter toppings and lower calorie veggie sides will keep your total taco dinner to around 500-600 calories.

Healthy Ground Turkey Taco Tips

Here are some tips for lightening up your ground turkey tacos:

  • Use extra lean ground turkey breast for the fewest calories.
  • Limit cheese, sour cream, guacamole and other high-fat toppings.
  • Load up on veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers and corn.
  • Use hard taco shells instead of soft flour tortillas.
  • Skip the tortilla chips, rice and beans as sides.
  • Flavor with salsa, cilantro and lime instead of heavy toppings.
  • Grill or bake the taco shells and turkey to avoid excess oil.

With smart ingredient substitutions and cooking methods, you can enjoy flavorful turkey tacos for around 200-300 calories each.

Ground Turkey Taco Recipe

Here is a delicious recipe for lighter ground turkey tacos:


  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 6 hard taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp light sour cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place taco shells on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes until crispy.
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water to turkey. Stir well and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Assemble tacos by layering turkey meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and sour cream (if using) in the taco shells.

This recipe makes 6 tacos with around 210 calories each. Serve with a side salad or veggies for a light and delicious taco dinner.


Ground turkey tacos can range from around 200 calories for a light version to over 400 calories for one packed with toppings and tortilla chips. Choosing lean turkey meat, limiting high-fat extras, and using hard taco shells instead of soft tortillas will help keep the calories down. With flavorful seasonings and plenty of veggies, you can feel satisfied with healthier turkey tacos in the 200-300 calorie range.

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