Turkey Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

If you want a super quick way of making the tacos, you can do them in the microwave. Just soften the tortillas first by cooking two tortillas at a time in a single layer on a paper towel, on high heat for 20 seconds per tortilla. Add the shredded cheese and turkey, fold over the tortillas, and heat them again on high for another 15 seconds each, or until the cheese melts.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


Turkey Tacos

  • 8-12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese, or mild cheddar
  • Cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Cranberry Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 an apple, peeled and cored
  • Chopped serrano or jalapeno chili to taste (about a half a chili, but taste for desired heat)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped peeled ginger
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp of lime or lemon juice
  • Dash of salt


1 Prepare cranberry salsa. Put the cranberries, apple, chile, sugar, ginger, cilantro, and lime or lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until coarsely shredded, about 10 short pulses. Let sit 15 minutes for the cranberries to macerate. You can also use cranberry relish, just add chopped chiles and cilantro.

2 Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Unless you are using freshly made homemade tortillas, you will need to soften them first. Place a small amount (1/2 a teaspoon) of oil in the pan and spread to coat the bottom of the pan. Place a tortilla in the pan and let it heat up until bubbles start to form. Then flip it over.

3 Sprinkle grated cheese on half of the tortilla, and top with chopped cooked turkey. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the side with cheese and turkey (like an omelette). Cook until the cheese begins to melt, then flip the taco over so that the tortilla browns on the other side as well. Continue to cook the tacos in this manner.

4 To serve, open up the tacos and put some chopped lettuce and plenty of cranberry salsa over the cheese and turkey. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

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  • Suzanne Holt

    What a great combination of flavors! Appreciate the fact that you can also make this gluten free if you use the correct kind of tortillas. Pinned to my ‘Taste of Fall” board.

  • Lisa

    I lay in wait for cranberries to be in season and in the stores and buy extra bags just to be able to freeze some so that I can have this recipe any time of the year I want to! It is (in my humble opinion), the best way to use up the rest of your white meat from your Thanksgiving turkey. The cranberry salsa has so many complex flavors, with sweet, sour and hot notes. It pairs really well with the crunchy, salty shells, creamy cheese and turkey in the taco! All I have to say is YUM!…Oh and MAKE THIS!

  • Lisa

    Yummmmm! I made this recipe with some of my leftover turkey and it did not disappoint! It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! I loved the cranberry salsa; it had such a great combination of flavors that really complimented the turkey. My husband wants me to make another turkey just so he can have these again. Elise – I was wondering…are there other recipes (that doesn’t involve roasting another turkey) that you use the cranberry salsa with?

    Hi Lisa, you can also serve the cranberry salsa with steak. All kinds of salsa taste great with steak. I would try it with roast chicken too for that matter. ~Elise

  • Maya

    Elise dear! :-)
    Wow…I miss so much mexican food for a couple of years now and this one is soooooo appetizing I can imagine eating a couple of them right now. Gosh…can I be your permanent guinea pig for all these recipes? I wish…;-)

  • Rachel

    This looks delicious – it makes me wish I had snagged the leftover turkey from my family Thanksgiving! Someone hinted above, but it sounds like this would make fantastic quesadillas also.

  • Christine

    That salsa sounds delicious, Elise. I’m going to surprise my husband (the taco epicure) with it.

  • meeso

    Hey, this is cool! What a great idea!!!

  • jenteel

    Sounds delish!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Alanna

    My sister says she wants us to cook a turkey for Christmas, not for the turkey, but for the excuse to make your cranberry salsa!

  • Susan

    What a nice idea for turkey leftovers. I love the salsa recipe. There are a lot of things I’d slather that on!

  • Lady Amalthea

    Oh, yum! Unfortunately, I, too, have no leftover turkey this year. But I just may make more turkey this week so as to have leftovers. And I love the idea of Cranberry salsa–minus the cilantro, of course.

  • crystal

    You just made my family’s night. Tres Chic.

  • Kara Lewis

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog and am hooked! I’m looking forward to reading all the archives. I have mucho cranberries in my freezer, so this salsa sounds perfect — do you think it could be canned, and therefore giftable?

    Note from Elise: Since it is raw, not cooked, you can’t can it as is. You would have to cook it to can it, which you might want to try anyway, just to see how it tastes.

  • Hank Osborne

    Wow. I must admit that I had never tried cranberry sauce with turkey until this past week. I loved it. Unfortunately, at least from a left-over perspective, we had Thanksgiving dinner with friends and have no left-over turkey. :-(

    I may just have to roast a turkey breast just to be able to have this recipe.

  • Elise

    Hi Jonathan – Well, the reason the tortillas are sturdy looking is that I made the tortillas from scratch. They are definitely thicker than most store-bought. In fact, I was too lazy to drive to Trader Joes to get the corn-tortillas we usually use, and I had some masa harina in the cupboard, so there you have it. I may retake the shot when we get more regular store-bought tortillas.

    Regarding the melting of the cheese, yep, these are more quesadilla-like, but that really is splitting hairs. There are so many ways to prepare a taco. You can deep fry the tortillas, you can fry them lightly, you can essentially steam them by heating them in a microwave. A taco is just a tortilla, usually corn, with a bunch of stuff in it.

    Leftovers? We only had 6 people at the table this Thanksgiving for a 15 pound turkey, so yeah, we had some leftovers. Not much mind you, and I’ve called dibs on all of it for recipes for the site.

  • jonathan

    ¡Que delicioso!

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but that prep seems “quesadilla-like” with the flipping over and the melting of the cheese. And those tortillas you’re using look very sturdy (thick, almost like a fry bread). I’m also diggin’ that spicy cranberry salsa. Nice combo with the tart, sweet and heat.

    More importantly, I still can’t figure out…

    Where are all these leftovers coming from? You have a leftover tree in the backyard? Or perhaps you roasted a 40 lb. turkey this year? ;)

  • Becki

    This looks great. I can’t wait to try that cranberry salsa.

    I use your recipes constantly and rarely comment, but wanted to share with you my favorite recipe I’ve made from leftover turkey this year. There are no real measurements:

    Turkey Curry Salad
    Combine about 1 cup plain yogurt, a couple of tablespoons of curry powder (to taste), chopped chives, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. To this mixture, add chopped turkey, golden raisins, chopped pecans, chopped celery, and chopped granny smith apple. This is better if you leave it in the fridge overnight before eating.

    Thanks for all your great recipes, Elise!

  • JEP

    What a great idea! Love the salsa ingredients!

  • Liza

    Mmmm, that makes my mouth water, I think we have found the Monday night meal. I never thought of making a turkey taco with cranberry sauce until now. Now I wonder what I am missing. Elise I love your blog and want to say keep it up.

  • Jerry

    Funny, I made something similar just the other day, but on corn tortillas. Simply wonderful. I add some taco seasoning mix to the turkey and use a bit of cilantro.

    I suppose sometimes great minds (and mine, which may or may not be so great) think alike!

  • MrsPresley

    Yum! This looks like a great way to use up leftover turkey… I can’t way to try these! :)