Leftover Turkey Tacos

After a delicious Thanksgiving feast, you might find yourself with an abundance of leftover turkey. Instead of reheating the same meal for days on end, why not transform your holiday main course into a mouthwatering, easy-to-make dish?

Look no further because we present to you the perfect solution: leftover turkey tacos.

This delightful recipe puts a unique twist on your traditional tacos by incorporating leftover turkey as the protein, guaranteeing a delicious and satisfying bite in every mouthful. Not only is this an excellent way to repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers, but the recipe is also both quick and simple, ensuring a hassle-free experience in the kitchen.

The best part about turkey tacos is their versatility – feel free to get creative with your favorite toppings and sauces to complement the succulent turkey. So, gather your leftover turkey and get ready to impress your loved ones with a delectable main course that’s anything but ordinary.

Ingredients and Preparation

Leftover Turkey Tacos

Leftover Turkey Tacos are a fantastic way to repurpose your holiday feast leftovers into a delicious and easy-to-make meal. In this section, we’ll go over the necessary ingredients and preparation steps for these tasty tacos. Remember to feel free to personalize your tacos by adding or subtracting ingredients to suit your taste preferences.

To make Leftover Turkey Tacos, gather the following main ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked turkey meat (shredded or diced)
  • 8-10 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced red onion or green onion)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or your preferred cheese)
  • 1 cup lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 cup salsa (tomato salsa or your favorite variety)

For the taco seasoning, you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Optional toppings and garnishes can include:

  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (cooked and drained)
  • 1/2 cup corn (cooked kernels)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce or relish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • Hot sauce (to taste)

To prepare the Leftover Turkey Tacos, follow these simple steps:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the taco seasoning ingredients (cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and sugar). In a larger bowl, mix the cooked turkey meat with the taco seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil or butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next, stir in the seasoned turkey meat and cook for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Warm the tortillas by wrapping them in foil and heating them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can warm them on a skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side.
  5. To assemble the tacos, lay out the warm tortillas and top each one with the seasoned turkey mixture, followed by the shredded cheese, lettuce, and salsa. Add your choice of optional toppings and garnishes, such as avocado, cilantro, black beans, corn, cranberry sauce, sour cream, or hot sauce.

Serve your Leftover Turkey Tacos immediately, and enjoy a delightful twist on a classic holiday leftover dish.

Cooking Method

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos Recipe with Chef Aaron | Home with Q for the Holidays

Transforming your leftover Thanksgiving turkey into delicious and juicy turkey tacos is incredibly simple. Just follow these straightforward steps and your taste buds will thank you later.

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients Gather the essential ingredients for your turkey tacos:

  • Leftover turkey (shredded or chopped)
  • Taco shells or tortillas
  • Your choice of toppings (diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, lettuce, etc.)
  • Taco seasoning or a homemade mix of spices

Tip: If you’re feeling extra creative, try making a batch of turkey carnitas by using some homemade turkey stock for added flavor!

Step 2: Reheat the turkey Place your leftover turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of water or turkey stock to help keep the meat tender and moist. Sprinkle in your preferred taco seasoning, stirring to evenly coat the turkey. Cook for a few minutes until the turkey is heated through and the flavors have melded together.

Step 3: Warm the taco shells or tortillas While your turkey is heating up, warm up your taco shells or tortillas. Simply place them in the oven at 350°F for 3-5 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of crispness.

Step 4: Assemble the tacos Now it’s time to assemble your turkey tacos. Start by placing a generous amount of the seasoned turkey into each taco shell or tortilla. Add your choice of toppings, such as diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and lettuce. Feel free to get creative with additional toppings like avocado, jalapeños, or even a dollop of sour cream.

With just a few easy steps, you’ve successfully transformed your leftover turkey into a mouthwatering dish that’s perfect for a post-Thanksgiving meal. Say goodbye to the traditional turkey sandwich and hello to these scrumptious turkey tacos!

Serving Suggestions


When preparing your Leftover Turkey Tacos, there are various serving suggestions that can enhance the overall flavor and presentation. Let’s go through some of the key elements including seasonal toppings, type of shells, and versatile accompaniments.

To start, select a combination of toppings that complement the turkey’s flavor and add an extra dimension to your tacos. Favorites include:

  • Seasoning: homemade taco seasoning or adobo sauce
  • Acidic: lime juice or pickled red onions
  • Sweet: cranberry relish or a drizzle of orange juice mixed with brown sugar
  • Rich: sour cream, cream cheese, or guacamole
  • Herbs: fresh cilantro or green onions
  • Heat: hot sauce or pepper

Table_1: Toppings Selection

AcidicLime Juice, Pickled Red Onions
SweetCranberry Relish, Orange Juice
RichSour Cream, Cream Cheese
HerbsFresh Cilantro, Green Onions
HeatHot Sauce, Pepper

For the taco shells, you have two main options: corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Corn tortillas provide a more authentic Mexican taste, while flour tortillas are softer and easier to handle. Warm your tortillas in a skillet with a tad of butter or olive oil for extra flavor.

Amp up your tacos with additional filling options such as:

  • Dark meat, rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or turkey breast for added protein
  • Veggies like shredded lettuce, avocado, and green onions for a wholesome touch
  • A side of rice or a dollop of gravy for extra moisture

Table_2: Additional Fillings

ProteinDark Meat, Rotisserie Chicken, Leftovers
VeggiesShredded Lettuce, Avocado, Green Onions
MoistureRice, Gravy

Lastly, make sure to season your turkey meat well using salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to keep it moist and flavorful—especially if using chicken broth or stock in its preparation.

Remember, enjoying Leftover Turkey Tacos is all about experimenting with flavors, toppings and accompaniments you relish the most. Use these serving suggestions as a guide to craft delectable tacos that cater to your tastes and make the most of your holiday leftovers.

Nutritional Information

GROUND TURKEY TACOS (건강한 타코) | Recipes for a Healthy Diet #tacos #turkey #thanksgiving

When it comes to Leftover Turkey Tacos, the various ingredients contribute different nutritional benefits to the recipe. Not only does this tasty meal utilize leftover turkey meat, but it also includes several other flavorful elements which make it a delicious and nutritious option.

Turkey meat serves as a lean source of protein, whether you are using white turkey breast or darker meat. If you prefer a slightly lower-fat option, go for the turkey breast. Alternatively, you can substitute the turkey altogether with rotisserie chicken for a similar protein source.

The flour tortilla or corn tortilla that you choose to wrap the taco in will affect the calories and carbohydrates. Generally speaking, corn tortillas have less calories and carbs than their flour counterparts.

Now, let’s break down the nutritional information for the various taco components:

  • Cheese: Adds a bit of protein and calcium, but also contributes some fat and sodium. Opt for a low-fat cheese if you’re looking to reduce the fat content.
  • Corn: Provides a source of fiber and naturally occurring sugar. Additionally, corn is a source of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin B, magnesium, and iron.
  • Black beans: An excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and various minerals like iron and magnesium.
  • Lettuce and Veggies: Supply your taco with essential vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a refreshing crunch.
  • Sour cream: Although it contributes some creaminess, it can also add saturated fat to the recipe. Consider using a light or fat-free version to lower the fat content.

For the seasoning, homemade taco seasoning allows you to control the amount of sugar and sodium present. Using spices like garlic powder and paprika not only enhances the flavor but also provides additional health benefits such as immune support and anti-inflammatory properties. Remember to monitor your salt intake as well, especially if you’re trying to reduce your sodium consumption.

Lastly, using butter to cook your taco fillings adds a rich flavor, but it also increases the recipe’s fat content. You can choose to use a small amount of butter or substitute it with a plant-based oil like olive or avocado oil for a more health-conscious approach.

In summary, Leftover Turkey Tacos offer a well-rounded meal filled with ample protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By being mindful of the specific ingredients and their nutritional properties, you can tailor this versatile recipe to suit your personal dietary preferences and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Easy Leftover Turkey Tacos & All Purpose Mexican Spice Mix Recipe #shorts

What is the best way to prepare leftover turkey for tacos?

To prepare leftover turkey for tacos, first remove the meat from the bones and shred it using a fork or your hands. Make sure to keep the meat moist by adding a bit of turkey broth or water while reheating. You can also add some spices or seasonings like taco seasoning, cumin, or chili powder to give the turkey a Mexican twist.

How to make turkey taco filling from leftover roast turkey?

Making turkey taco filling is quite simple. In a large skillet, heat some oil and sauté chopped onions and minced garlic until softened. Add shredded turkey, your preferred taco seasoning, and a bit of minced chipotle pepper or some adobo sauce to give it a smoky flavor. Cook for a few minutes until heated through and well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Your filling is now ready to be used in tacos.

Are leftover turkey tacos considered a healthy meal option?

Yes, leftover turkey tacos can be a healthy meal option. Turkey is a lean protein, which provides essential nutrients like selenium and vitamin B6. By including whole wheat tortillas, plenty of colorful vegetables, and using lighter toppings such as salsa and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, you can create a wholesome and nutritious meal.

What are the most suitable toppings for turkey tacos?

Topping options for turkey tacos are vast and can be customized to your preference. Some popular toppings include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced avocados, black beans, corn, red onion, jalapeños, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and Greek yogurt or sour cream. Feel free to get creative and include any of your favorite toppings.

How can I give my leftover turkey tacos a smoky flavor?

To give your leftover turkey tacos a smoky flavor, consider adding a bit of minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce to the taco filling while cooking. Alternatively, you can also use smoked paprika or a small dash of liquid smoke. Be cautious with liquid smoke, though, as it can be quite potent – start with a small amount and adjust to your liking.

What are the differences between shredded and ground turkey in tacos?

Shredded turkey is made by pulling cooked meat apart into smaller, thin strips. This is typically done with leftover roast, baked, or grilled turkey. Ground turkey, on the other hand, is made from raw, uncooked turkey meat that is minced or ground using a meat grinder or food processor. Both options can be used in tacos, but the texture and flavor will vary. Shredded turkey may be more tender in the taco, while ground turkey gives a more traditional filling texture, similar to ground beef.

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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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