Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

After a festive holiday feast, you might find yourself with an abundance of leftover turkey. Instead of letting it go to waste or repeating the same old turkey sandwiches, why not try something new and exciting?

One tasty option is to turn those leftovers into mouthwatering turkey enchiladas, perfect for satisfying your cravings and feeding your family for days to come.

Turkey enchiladas are a delicious and hearty meal that combines tender shredded turkey with rich, bold flavors. With a blend of Mexican spices, melted cheese, and a savory sauce, this dish transforms your day-old bird into a new culinary delight. Plus, it’s a great way to make sure your hard-earned turkey doesn’t go to waste.

Preparing this dish is simple and efficient, making it a great weeknight dinner option. You’ll just need a few ingredients and some basic kitchen tools to create an unforgettable meal that’ll have your guests asking for seconds. So, gather your turkey leftovers and let’s dive into the delightful world of turkey enchiladas.

Ingredient Checklist

Before you begin making your delicious, mouthwatering Leftover Turkey Enchiladas, it’s important to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients at hand. Here’s a quick rundown of what you will need:

For the enchiladas:

  • Leftover Turkey: You’ll need approximately 3 cups of shredded turkey meat, a perfect use for your Thanksgiving leftovers.
  • Tortillas: Choose between corn tortillas or flour tortillas, depending on your preference. You’ll need around 10-12 of either variety.
  • Cheese: Use a combination of Monterrey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese for a delicious, melty blend. You will need about 2 cups of shredded cheese to cover the enchiladas.

For the sauce:

  • Enchilada Sauce: 2 cups of store-bought or homemade enchilada sauce. Red or green, the choice is yours.
  • Beans: Black beans and/or pinto beans for an added hearty touch, 1 cup of either choice, drained and rinsed.
  • Corn: Sweet corn adds color and a touch of sweetness; use a 1 cup portion, either fresh or frozen.
  • Green Chiles: 1 (4 ounces) can of diced green chiles for extra flavor.
  • Additional Seasonings: A pinch each of kosher salt, ground cumin, chili powder, and onion powder to elevate the sauce flavors.

For assembly and garnishing:

  • Cooking Oil: A tablespoon of either vegetable oil or olive oil to lightly grease your baking dish.
  • Optional Additions: Customize your enchiladas by incorporating additional ingredients like diced tomatoes, sliced olives, and peppers.
  • Toppings: Elevate your dish by using toppings, such as sour cream, guacamole, or avocado slices, pico de gallo, and freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

You’ll also need a saucepan to prepare the enchilada sauce and a 9×13-inch baking dish for assembling the enchiladas before popping them into the oven.

Now that you’ve checked off your ingredient list, it’s time to get to work on creating your Leftover Turkey Enchiladas masterpiece.

Preparation Steps

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools at hand. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C), and have a baking dish and a skillet ready for use.

  1. First, lightly oil your baking dish and set it aside. Then, start heating the skillet over medium heat.
  2. In the skillet, cook your onions and peppers until they’re tender – this should take about 5 minutes. Afterward, mix in the diced green chilies, cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, shred your leftover turkey and mix it with the diced vegetables. Add in the enchilada sauce, saving around 1/2 cup for later. Stir well, ensuring that the turkey and vegetables are coated evenly.
  4. Assemble the turkey enchiladas by laying a tortilla on a flat surface, such as a plate or a clean countertop. Scoop around 1/4 cup of the turkey mixture onto the tortilla, spreading it evenly. Roll the tortilla tightly, and then place it seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat this step until you’ve used up all the filling and tortillas.
  5. Once the enchiladas are assembled, pour the reserved 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the top. You can also sprinkle some shredded cheese on top, if desired.
  6. Now it’s time to bake the enchiladas in the preheated oven. Let them cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the cheese is bubbly.
  7. Allow the enchiladas to cool for a few minutes before serving. If you have planned-ahead, you can freeze enchiladas by placing them in an airtight container and freezing them for up to 3 months. Simply reheat them in the oven when you’re ready to enjoy them again.

Enjoy your flavorful and satisfying leftover turkey enchiladas, and make sure to store the recipe card for future reference!

Serving Options

When it comes to serving your Leftover Turkey Enchiladas, there are various options to elevate your dish, enhance its flavors, and create a visually appealing presentation.

First, let’s consider your choice of garnish. A combination of garnishes can be used to complement and contrast the hearty flavors of your enchiladas. Try adding thinly sliced onions, fresh cilantro, and a generous dollop of guacamole on top of your enchiladas. To add some heat and a burst of color, consider incorporating diced green chiles or sliced jalapeno peppers. If you’re a fan of olives, black olives would make an excellent addition.

Now let’s move on to side dishes. Pairing your enchiladas with the perfect side dish will create a satisfying and well-rounded meal. Consider the following options:

  • Cilantro Lime Rice: A light and refreshing side dish, cilantro lime rice can balance the rich flavors of your enchiladas.
  • Shredded Lettuce: This light, fresh option adds a touch of crispness to your meal, which can be enhanced with a drizzle of lime juice.
  • Avocado Salad: A simple avocado salad with onions, tomatoes, and pico de gallo adds a creamy element that complements the turkey filling.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Grilling vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini with a light coat of oil and a sprinkle of cumin can provide a smoky, earthy complement to your enchiladas.

Finally, let’s discuss storage and reheating options. If you have any leftovers or want to prepare your enchiladas ahead of time for holidays or gatherings, these tips will ensure that your dish retains its quality:

  • Freezing: Wrap each enchilada individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Label your container with the contents and date, and store it in the freezer for up to three months.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your enchiladas, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Transfer the thawed enchiladas to a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

Experiment with the different serving options and discover which combinations best suit your taste preferences. With these suggestions, you’re well-equipped to serve a memorable and delicious meal using your leftover turkey.

Enchilada Variations

There are numerous ways to customize and vary your leftover turkey enchiladas. You can change the ingredients, modify the sauce, or switch up the style of the dish to create a unique and delicious meal. Here are some ideas to help you get creative with your turkey enchiladas:


Choose between flour tortillas and corn tortillas as the base for your enchiladas. Both options have their unique textures and flavors. While flour tortillas are soft and foldable, corn tortillas are denser and provide a more authentic Mexican taste.


Although this recipe focuses on using leftover turkey, you can easily swap in ground turkey or substitute chicken if you prefer chicken enchiladas. Make sure you precook the ground turkey before adding it to your enchiladas.


Experiment with different types of sauces to drench your enchiladas in. Try using a zesty salsa verde or a milder sauce made with green chiles. For a more traditional Tex-Mex flavor, you could use a red enchilada sauce.

Toppings and Veggie Add-Ins

Feel free to personalize your enchiladas with an assortment of toppings and veggies. Some options to consider are:

  • Green onions: for a pop of color and a slight tangy flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes: to add freshness and acidity.
  • Olive oil: drizzled over the top for added richness.

You can also add a dollop of salsa on top of your enchiladas for extra zest.

As you explore these variations, remember that the key is to remain confident in your cooking skills and feel free to adapt the recipe to your taste preferences. So, enjoy creating your unique take on delicious, satisfying turkey enchiladas, and don’t forget to savor every bite!

Frequently Asked Questions

What sauces can be used in turkey enchiladas?

There are various sauces you can use for turkey enchiladas, such as traditional red enchilada sauce, green enchilada sauce made with tomatillos, or a creamy white sauce made with sour cream and green chiles. Feel free to experiment with different sauces based on your taste preferences.

How to prepare the tortillas for enchiladas?

To prepare the tortillas for enchiladas, you can either warm them in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 15-20 seconds on each side or wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Warming the tortillas makes them more pliable and less likely to crack or break when rolling the enchiladas.

Which vegetables pair well with turkey enchiladas?

Several vegetables pair well with turkey enchiladas, including bell peppers, onions, corn, zucchini, and spinach. You can also add black or pinto beans for extra protein and fiber. Experiment with different combinations to find your preferred mix.

What are some side dishes to serve with turkey enchiladas?

Side dishes that complement turkey enchiladas include Mexican rice, refried beans, a simple green salad, or a coleslaw with a lime-based dressing. You can also serve them with additional toppings like avocado, sour cream, pico de gallo, or chopped cilantro.

Can the turkey enchiladas be made ahead and refrigerated?

Yes, you can prepare turkey enchiladas ahead and refrigerate them before baking. Assemble the enchiladas as directed in the recipe, cover them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, remove the covering and add a few extra minutes to the baking time to ensure they are cooked through and heated evenly.

How to store and reheat leftover turkey enchiladas?

To store leftover turkey enchiladas, wrap them individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw them in the refrigerator if frozen, and then bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the microwave, but the tortillas may become softer during the reheating process.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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