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Tacos de Relleno Negro Recipe

Tacos de Relleno Negro is a type of taco that originated in the Yucatan region of Mexico. The filling for these tacos is made with a mixture of shredded turkey or chicken, spices, and a sauce called recado negro, which is made from charred chilies, garlic, and other ingredients. The recado negro sauce gives the filling a dark color and a smoky, spicy flavor. Once the filling is prepared, it is served in warm tortillas and topped with various garnishes, such as chopped onion, cilantro, and lime wedges. Tacos de Relleno Negro is a popular dish in Yucatecan cuisine and is often served at special occasions and celebrations. The exact ingredients used in Tacos de Relleno Negro can vary depending on the recipe and the region of Mexico, but they typically include turkey or chicken, recado negro sauce, and various seasonings and toppings

Key Takeaways

  • Who This Meal Appeals To: Fans of Yucatecan cuisine, adventurous eaters, and anyone who loves a rich, spicy taco filling.
  • Estimated Duration: Prep time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 1 hour.
  • Nutrition Facts: Approximately 350-400 calories per serving, rich in protein and vitamins from the achiote and spices.

About this Recipe

Relleno Negro is a traditional Yucatecan dish that involves a black recado or spice paste, made from charred chilies and spices. The sauce is typically used with turkey, resulting in a deeply flavored, dark meat dish. These are then served in taco form for a handheld delight.

Equipment Required

  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Blender or food processor
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Tongs
  • Tortilla warmer or cloth


  • Turkey meat: 1.5 lbs, cut into chunks
  • Corn tortillas: 10 pieces
  • Dried ancho chilies: 3
  • Dried guajillo chilies: 2
  • Achiote paste: 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic cloves: 4, peeled
  • Black peppercorns: 1 teaspoon
  • Allspice berries: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Vinegar: 1/4 cup
  • Optional garnishes: pickled red onions, chopped cilantro


  1. Char Chilies: Over an open flame or in a dry skillet, char the dried ancho and guajillo chilies until blackened.
  2. Blend Spices: In a blender, combine charred chilies, achiote paste, garlic, peppercorns, allspice, salt, and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
  3. Marinate Turkey: Coat the turkey meat with the blended spice paste. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Cook Turkey: In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the marinated turkey and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Shred Meat: Once cooked, shred the turkey meat using forks.
  6. Assemble Tacos: Place shredded turkey in a corn tortilla, spooning some of the black sauce over it. Garnish as desired.

Side Dishes

  • Jicama salad
  • Yucatecan-style fried plantains
  • White rice

Storage Options

  • Store leftover turkey and sauce in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat on the stove for optimal flavor and texture.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Chicken can be used in place of turkey.
  • Ancho and guajillo chilies can be substituted with other dried chilies, though the flavor profile may change.

Alternatives to this Meal

  • Tacos de Cochinita Pibil: Pork tacos in achiote marinade
  • Tacos de Pollo Pibil: Chicken tacos in a similar Yucatecan style
  • Tacos de Camarones al Mojo de Ajo: Garlic shrimp tacos

A number of taco recipes can be found on this page.


Tacos de Relleno Negro offer a unique, deeply satisfying experience that transcends the typical taco fare. The complex flavors of the blackened sauce paired with tender turkey meat create a culinary masterpiece worthy of any fiesta or family gathering. Get ready to be transported to the Yucatán with each bite. Happy cooking!