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Easy Leftover Turkey Tacos Recipe

These leftover turkey tacos are a perfect blend of sweet and savory, with a bit of spice from the seasonings and jalapeños. They're a great way to reinvent your Thanksgiving leftovers and enjoy a different twist on traditional flavors. Enjoy!

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


Units Scale

For the Turkey Filling:

  • 2 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded or diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 small lime

For Assembling Tacos:

  • 8 small taco-sized tortillas (either corn tortillas or flour tortilla with options of hard taco shells or soft taco shells)
  • 1 cup leftover fresh cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or your favorite)
  • Sliced lettuce or cabbage
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese
  • Sliced jalapeños (optional, for heat)
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional, for topping)
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

Possibilities for toppings are endless so customize with your favorite taco toppings. 


  1. Prepare the Turkey Filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or cast iron skillet. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sauté for a few minutes until softened. 
  2. Mix the ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add them to the onion and garlic and cook for another few minutes to toast the spices.
  3. Add the shredded turkey to the skillet and toss to coat it with the spice mixture. Add the chicken broth and lime juice and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes until the turkey absorbs juices.
  4. Remove the lid and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the turkey. Cook until turkey is browned and crispy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Warm the Tortillas: Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet or microwave for a few seconds until they are warm and pliable.
  6. Assemble the Tacos: Lay out the warm tortillas on a clean surface.
    Spread a spoonful of cranberry relish on each tortilla. Add a generous portion of the turkey filling on top of the cranberry sauce. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the turkey.
  7. Add Fresh Toppings: Top each taco with sliced lettuce or cabbage, chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled cotija cheese, and jalapeño slices if you like a bit of heat.
  8. Serve and Enjoy: Serve leftover turkey tacos immediately with lime wedges on the side.
    You can also offer sour cream or Greek yogurt as optional toppings for extra creaminess.
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Mexican
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: turkey, meat, main dish, holiday, leftover turkey, tacos