These delicious turkey tacos are a new and unique way to use up leftover Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey. It's a great boxing day leftover recipe that can give new life to dry turkey with Mexican spices, soft flour tortillas and sharp cheddar.
These shredded turkey tacos are made in a style that is similar to carnitas which results in extremely tender and flavourful turkey. Often leftover turkey can become dry, but cooking the tacos this way ensures moist and flavourful meat every time!
This leftover turkey chili is also a great option that reinvents leftovers.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's quick and easy to make using leftover turkey meat and some basic ingredients.
- These tacos only take 30 minutes to make.
- Reinvents leftovers in a completely new way!
- leftover turkey meat- white or dark meat works. It's best shredded with two forks to get the most flavour. *Be sure not to include any turkey skin in this recipe. The texture won't be very nice.
- spices for making your own taco seasoning- garlic powder, ground coriander, and smoked paprika. But you can also use a premade seasoning, too.
- flour tortillas- you can use corn tortillas or crispy taco shells if you prefer.
- toppings- I've used light creme fraiche leftover from Christmas, but you can use sour cream or Greek yogurt. Either plain or mix it with Sriracha.
See recipe card for quantities.
Seasoning a recipe
A note on seasoning- Every recipe will require salt. I do not specify the amount because the seasoning is very subjective to taste, tolerance, and diet. The best way to use salt is to start early in the cooking process and taste and layer as you cook and as the dish develops.
👩🏻🍳 Step By Step
1 & 2
- Start by mixing the spices in a medium bowl. Feel free to adjust the quantities to make the seasoning a little spicier or milder.
- Shred the leftover turkey with two forks and toss with the spices.
*Shredding the turkey will make it easier to distribute the spices and create a more tender taco.
3 & 4
- Heat some olive oil in a cast iron pan and add in the thinly sliced onions.
- Continue to cook the onions until they are golden and caramelized. This should take about 10 minutes. When the onions are cooked remove them from the pan and set them aside.
*If you don't love onions, then feel free to skip them and just start by cooking the turkey. I just think they add a lot of flavour with very little effort.
5 & 6
- Place the spiced and shredded turkey in the hot pan and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and orange juice and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Once the turkey has absorbed the stock, you can turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook it until it's crispy, or you can remove it from the heat and build your tacos.
* I've tried this recipe crispy and tender and love them both ways. Having them tender is a faster version.
- Assuming that the turkey is leftover, these tacos can't be reheated again. But you can store the other ingredients separately.
- Fridge- store the fried onions and herbs along with the diced tomato and any toppings. Store everything in separate containers.
Store the tortillas at room temperature or in the freezer.
💡 Top Tip
After Christmas, you may be looking for much lighter dinners. You can use lettuce wraps in place of the tortillas to make these tacos.
Leftover turkey (and chicken) can become tough when reheated. The best way to combat this is by choosing a moist cooking method. So, any recipe that uses a liquid during the cooking process. That's why we've used the stock and orange juice for these tacos.
Absolutely! Dark meat has more flavour and fat than white meat which means that it won't dry out when cooking. You can use dark, white or a mix of both. Just shred the meat with a couple of forks to get the right texture.
The Best Easy Leftover Turkey Tacos
- 500 g leftover turkey, shredded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, regular or smoked
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
- 100 ml chicken stock made with a stock cube or pot
- Juice of 1 orange
- 8-10 flour tortillas
- 1 avocado
- 50 g Greek yoghurt or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha, optional
- 50 g shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 bunch coriander
- Mix the spices in a medium bowl and toss with the shredded chicken.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet and add in the sliced onion. Cook until it’s softened but not coloured. Add the seasoned turkey to the pan and pour in the stock and orange juice. Gently simmer uncovered until the liquid has been absorbed into the turkey.
- In a small bowl mix the sour cream with the Sriracha until well combined. Add more Sriracha for extra spice.
- Place some of the spiced turkey filling into a tortilla shell along with the fried onions and top with spiced (or plain) sour cream, avocado and chopped coriander. Top with shredded cheddar and serve with lime wedges.
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