Sweet and Spicy Tacos

These sweet and spicy tacos, made with three (yes, 3!) types of meat are like an amped-up version of the classic taco that everyone adores. Taco party, anyone?

Three sweet and spicy tacos on a white plate with wedges of lime alongside.

These tacos are always a big hit. I use three different kinds of meat in my taco mix, and the sausage really adds zing. And it’s easy to throw together.–Lulu Powers

LC Zing! Note

Yup. As author Lulu Powers—no relation to Austin—asserts above, there’s zing in these here tacos. It’s not just the intriguing interplay of citrus and spice that makes these tacos compelling, though that has quite a lot to do with it. What else entices us is the sassy and savvy nature of how she sets up all the requisite fixings. Each taco is completely customizable by each guest, with no two exactly alike. It couldn’t be simpler to make a seemingly sophomoric supper from childhood take on spectacularness. Talk about zing!

Sweet and Spicy Taco

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
4.8/5 - 4 reviews
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In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil or butter, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the ground turkey, beef, and sausage and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to crumble any large chunks, until the meat begins to brown but isn’t cooked through.

Add the scallions, half the cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, Tabasco, cayenne, jalapeño, and orange juice and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Set out the meat, tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and remaining cilantro and let guests assemble their own tacos.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Taco night! Growing up, I remember having tacos at least a couple times per month. However, you know which tacos I mean. We bought a pound of ground beef and a spice envelope to mix into the cooked beef and voila. This recipe for sweet and spicy tacos was original and very tasty. I loved the use of turkey, beef, and Italian sausage—what a delicious mixture that really lent itself to all those wonderful spices. The reason I was intrigued to make this recipe was the last-minute addition of orange juice. That sweet taste really played well with the overall spiciness of the dish. I halved this recipe, seeing that the original feeds 10 to 12 people, and my husband I are looking forward to the leftovers. I used olive oil instead of butter to sauté the onion and garlic and we used soft tacos instead of hard shells. Lastly, we ended up just slicing avocado for each plate instead of making guacamole. As a delicious side dish we did a fennel and sliced radish salad. A wonderful meal. This great recipe may have started a new taco night tradition in our house! Yum!

An unusual and very tasty recipe for tacos. Despite a daunting list of ingredients, I found that this came together quickly and with ease. I used just under 2 cups of the orange juice. I was surprised to see OJ in the ingredient list, but it was just a sweet background note in the overall taste. I would definitely make this again, perhaps adding some fresh chilies for a little more heat and fresh chili taste. I did add the cilantro just before serving to keep the taste fresh. I served this with a fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded Montery Jack, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Delish!


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  1. This was a really nice recipe my family loved it. I used fresh corn tortillias and made a roasted corn/ poblano salsa to go with. Love your web site 🙂

  2. I used mild breakfast sausage and ground venison. My “next time” comment for my taste buds are “more heat” and onion. My taco shell search brought up many recipes and this one I chose as the best.

  3. These tacos were a hit! I will definitely make them again. The taco mixture freezes beautifully so it’s an easy make-ahead dinner. Great for entertaining or a family weeknight dinner.

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