Transform your leftover Thanksgiving turkey into delicious and easy-to-make Leftover Turkey Tacos. This recipe offers a fresh twist to traditional post-holiday meals, ensuring that no part of your feast goes to waste. Everyone loves these delicious tacos!

three leftover turkey tacos on a white plate.

Who doesn’t end up with a refrigerator packed to the brim after a holiday meal? There’s just no way you can eat all the food from Thanksgiving dinner.

Put a spin on your leftovers and wow your family with these Leftover Turkey Tacos. They will have everyone begging for seconds, and you’ll be happy to clear some space in your crowded fridge.

I love finding creative leftover turkey recipes and this is one of my favorite things about the day after Thanksgiving. I hope you agree that this leftover turkey tacos recipe is an easy recipe that you love too.

Leftover Turkey Taco Benefits

  • Using lean and fresh ingredients, these tacos provide a healthy and lean meal after indulging in the holiday splurge. It’s also a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.
  • This recipe is gluten-free, using corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. You can adapt the toppings to meet most dietary needs.
  • Since you are using meat that has already been prepared, these tacos can be plated within 30 minutes. This recipe is great for a quick meal while everyone is recovering from the holiday rush.

Ingredients

ingredients for leftover turkey tacos on a counter.
  • Leftover turkey is surely hanging around for a while after a large Thanksgiving meal. Put it to work in these delectable tacos. I like making Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloins for the holiday.
  • Jalapeño pepper adds the perfect amount of spice to the turkey, making them oh-so-satisfying!
  • Lime juice freshens up the recipe and balances out the heat of the peppers and seasonings.
  • Red onions, cheese, sour cream, and seasonings help transform the flavors from Thanksgiving to Mexican). Or, you can lean into this leftover turkey taco recipe and use other leftovers like cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. My Mexican Mashed Potatoes would be great in these.

Please see the full recipe card below for the exact measurements.

Recipe Steps

process for cooking leftover turkey tacos.

Step One

Season the leftover turkey from the turkey carcass with cumin and chili powder. You can also use chopped turkey or leftover turkey breast if you wish.

You can also use homemade taco seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder if you wish.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Two

Re-heat the seasoned turkey and jalapeño in a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat or medium-high heat, stirring continuously for 5-7 minutes.

Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Step Three

Warm the tortillas in the same skillet for about 30 seconds on each side.

I like to use corn tortillas because they are gluten-free, but feel free to use a flour tortilla if you wish. You could also use hard taco shells.

Step Four

Spoon the turkey and pepper mixture over the tortillas and top with lettuce, onion, cheese, cilantro, sour cream, and lime juice.

Serve warm with lime wedges and salsa on the side. Enjoy!

I hope you agree that these Thanksgiving tacos are a perfect way to use up lots of leftovers. These delicious turkey tacos have a Mexican flair and are great the next day when you’re tired of traditional holiday fare.

someone holding a leftover turkey taco.

Recipe Tips

  • This recipe can be made using shredded cooked chicken or pork as well. Or, try these Ground Bison Tacos!
  • This recipe is very versatile! Feel free to serve the tacos with whatever favorite taco toppings you like. I like using black beans in addition to the shredded turkey. You can also add foods like white onion, tomato paste, and chicken broth depending on how dry your leftover turkey meat is.
  • If you want a lower-carb version of these tacos, feel free to serve them with low-carb tortillas or with cauliflower rice instead of corn tortillas.
  • Want another turkey recipe? Try this Turkey Vegetable Soup.

Recipe FAQs

Can this recipe be used with other types of meat?

Certainly! These tacos are also delicious with cooked chicken or pork. You can also check out my Instant Pot Chicken Tinga Tacos or Ground Chicken Lettuce Tacos with Mango Salsa for more twists on the traditional taco.

Should I use white meat or dark meat in the tacos?

Either one works fine. I often use a mixture of both white and dark meat since the dark meat tends to be richer. You can also use leftover chicken that is cooked and shredded.

three turkey tacos on a plate.

More Healthy Turkey Recipes You Might Like

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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three leftover turkey tacos on a white plate.

Leftover Turkey Tacos

Transform your leftover Thanksgiving turkey into delicious and easy-to-make Leftover Turkey Tacos. This recipe offers a fresh twist to traditional post-holiday meals, ensuring that no part of your feast goes to waste. Everyone loves these delicious tacos!

  • Total Time: 25 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional, for extra spice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or your choice)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Salsa or hot sauce of choice

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the shredded turkey and jalapeño to the skillet. Season the turkey with cumin and chili powder.
  3. Stir and cook the turkey and pepper, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Transfer the turkey mixture to a clean plate and set aside.
  5. Warm the tortillas in the same skillet for about 30 seconds on each side.
  6. Place some turkey on each tortilla after warmed. Add your toppings including the lettuce, onion, cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.
  7. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top. Add salsa or hot sauce if you want.
  8. Serve the tacos with extra lime wedges on the side.
  9. Enjoy hot!

Notes

  1. This recipe can be made using shredded cooked chicken or pork as well.
  2. This recipe is very versatile! Feel free to serve the tacos with whatever toppings you like.
  3. If you want a lower-carb version of these tacos, feel free to serve them with low-carb tortillas or with cauliflower rice instead of corn tortillas.
  • Author: Carrie Forrest, MPH in Nutrition
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 436
  • Sugar: 2.9 g
  • Sodium: 347.2 mg
  • Fat: 16.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.8 g
  • Fiber: 4.2 g
  • Protein: 42.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 140.9 mg

Keywords: turkey, Thanksgiving leftovers, turkey tacos

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with nearly 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.