Shredded Turkey Tacos (With Thanksgiving Leftovers)
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Quick and easy shredded turkey tacos recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 20 minutes. Great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
This recipe is different than ground turkey tacos. That’s because it utilizes leftover turkey and the meat is shredded instead of ground.
At some point, everyone gets a little sick of plain turkey or the classic Shredded Chicken Tacos (One Pot). So, re-inventing tacos with a different flavor profile, such as today’s recipe, allows you to make an unexpectedly delicious meal!
How to make turkey tacos?
- Saute vegetables– Saute onions, jalapeno in oil and butter and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add spices and turkey– Add shredded turkey, cumin powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and mix everything together.
- Cook- Cook for a few minutes until turkey is heated through.
- Enjoy!– Spoon some of this mixture in a tortilla shell, along with toppings of your choice and dig in.
Is ground turkey better for you than ground beef? Do they taste the same?
Ground turkey is better for you because it is lower in calories and saturated fat than ground beef. They taste slightly different due to the fat contents. Beef will be juicier and softer, while some people feel that turkey can be a little drier since it has less fat.
What sides to serve with leftover turkey taco recipe?
Serve them with a wide range of toppings such as salsa, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions. My favorite Thanksgiving time is cranberry sauce or Cranberry Relish (One Bowl).
Rice will also accompany them perfectly, such as this Cilantro Lime Rice (One Pot).
Turkey taco seasoning
Homemade or store-bought seasoning can be used in this meal. To make a DIY homemade taco seasoning, mix together the following spices:
- 1 tbsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
Any of the spice quantities can be adjusted to your liking.
There are many different options. However, don’t use all the toppings at once. Pick and choose a few from the list to develop different flavor profiles.
Sour cream– Full fat is best.
Greek Yogurt– Plain Greek yogurt is a great sour cream substitute with more protein and less fat.
Lettuce– Roughly chopped.
Guacamole– Homemade or store-bought.
Sliced avocados– Use ripe ones.
Tomatoes– Finely chopped.
Onions- Finely chopped red onions are great.
Make it spicy– Add fresh chili peppers, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or crushed red chili flakes.
Add beans- Black beans are my first choice, followed by red beans. Remember to drain and rinse them, if using canned ones.
Make is Asian– Use broccoli slaw as a topping with cilantro and sesame seeds. Use ginger, garlic, pepper, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil as the meat seasoning.
Add vegetables– Such as corn, bell peppers, onions and perhaps even zucchini.
Add cheese– Such as shredded Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, cheddar or even mozzarella cheese.
Turkey taco salad– Fill a salad bowl with lettuce, spinach, green peppers, cucumbers, onions, celery, tomatoes, shredded or diced turkey taco meat, shredded cheese, dried cranberries with a simple lemon lime vinaigrette and a crunchy topping of fried tortilla chips.
Make lettuce wraps– Replace hard shells with lettuce for a healthy, low carb option.
Tips and Techniques
Make ahead instructions– Saute onions and jalapenos. Then, add the turkey and seasonings and cook till heated through. Then refrigerate the meat until you are ready to serve, and reheat on the stove. Fill the tacos when you are ready to serve them.
Soft taco shells vs. Hard taco shells– You can use either. I like the crunch of hard taco shells. It also holds the filling more securely than a soft corn or flour tortilla. I highly recommend using taco shells with a flat base because they don’t wobble around your plate, making it easier to fill more than one at a time.
Adjust seasoning– Add more or less seasoning according to your personal preference.
Use a non-stick pot or pan– Because this prevents the meat from sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan.
Can you freeze these tacos? You can freeze the seasoned meat, and reheat it over the stove. You may need to add a little broth as you reheat so that the meat doesn’t dry out. You cannot freeze prepared tacos though since they don’t thaw well.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing (One Pot)
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (One Pan)
- Candied Sweet Potatoes (One Pot)
- Honey Glazed Carrots (One Pot)
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes (One Pan)
- Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes (One Pan)
- Easy Sweet Potato Casserole (One Pan)
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes (One Pot)
- Homemade Brown Gravy Recipe (One Pot)
- Oven Roasted Broccoli (One Pan)
- Green Beans and Potatoes (One Pot)
One Pot Shredded Turkey Tacos
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Butter, Unsalted
- 1 cup Onions, Finely chopped
- 1 Jalapeno , Seeds removed, Finely chopped, Or use 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilis that's been drained
- 2.5 cups Leftover turkey , Shredded
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1 cup Cranberry sauce
- 8 Taco Shells
- Heat oil and butter in a nonstick pot or pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, jalapeno and saute until becomes soft and translucent.
- Add turkey, cumin powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and mix everything together.
- Cook for a few minutes until turkey is heated through.
- To serve, spoon some of this turkey mixture in a tortilla shell, along with some lettuce, cranberry sauce and other toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Tastes best when served immediately. Leftover tacos cannot be stored for later because the shells will become soggy. However, you can store this prepared shredded turkey mixture and all the toppings separately in a sealed container in the fridge and assemble tacos together when you are ready to enjoy them.
Happy cooking everyone!