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!

Use one of my turkey recipes to start, such as this Easy Thanksgiving Turkey (One Pan) or this Roast Turkey Breast (One Pan).

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos Recipe

How to make turkey tacos?

  1. Saute vegetables– Saute onions, jalapeno in oil and butter and cook until soft and translucent.
  2. Add spices and turkey– Add shredded turkey, cumin powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and mix everything together.
  3. Cook- Cook for a few minutes until turkey is heated through.
  4. 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).

These tacos pair perfectly with any corn side. Try one of these: Grilled Corn On The Cobb or Mexican Corn On The Cobb (One Pan) or Mexican Corn Salad Recipe (One Bowl).

Rice will also accompany them perfectly, such as this Cilantro Lime Rice (One Pot).

Soup is another great pairing option. Try one of these soups: Instant Pot Mexican Soup or Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup or Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (One Pot).

Easy Turkey Taco Recipe

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.

Taco Toppings

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.

Salsa– Such as Corn Salsa (One Bowl) or Mango Salsa (One Bowl) or Pineapple Salsa (One Bowl) or Pico De Gallo Salsa (One Bowl) or even Strawberry Salsa (One Bowl)

Variations

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.

Shredded Turkey Tacos

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

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos Recipe
Print

One Pot Shredded Turkey Tacos

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
 

Quick and easy shredded turkey tacos recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 20 minutes. Great use of leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Servings: 8 Tacos
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: homemade tacos
Calories: 231 kcal
Author: Abeer

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a nonstick pot or pan over medium-high heat.

  2. Add onions, jalapeno and saute until becomes soft and translucent.

  3. Add turkey, cumin powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and mix everything together.

  4. Cook for a few minutes until turkey is heated through.

  5. 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!

Recipe Notes

  • 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. 
     
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Shredded Turkey Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 104mg4%
Potassium 182mg5%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 230IU5%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Happy cooking everyone!

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