These leftover turkey quesadillas are a delightful way to repurpose Thanksgiving or holiday turkey into a Mexican-inspired meal. You can even customize them with your favorite ingredients!
Are you wondering how to transform those Thanksgiving remnants into a scrumptious meal? Then these turkey leftover quesadillas come to the rescue with their speedy preparation!
Serve them as a quick lunch or appetizer with classic toppings like guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Yum!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and easy: After all the cooking and cleaning, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen again? These quesadillas are ready in a jiffy.
- Customizable: You can get creative with the fillings! Add some veggies, beans, or even cranberry sauce if you like.
- No food waste: We can’t bear to waste all that delicious leftover turkey, right? Leftover turkey quesadillas are the perfect way to use them up and make sure none of that goodness goes to waste.
- Comfort food: Quesadillas are the definition of comfort food. Warm, cheesy, and satisfying.
- Turkey leftovers: Nicely shredded or cut into small bite sizes.
- Tortillas: You can use homemade or store-bought wheat tortillas or corn tortillas.
- Cheese: Any melty cheese works fine on this recipe such as mozzarella cheese, Mexican quesadilla blend, cheddar, or Monterey Jack.
- Beans: You’ll need some refried beans, canned or homemade.
- Salsa: Salsa will be needed for heating and adding flavor to turkey and for serving your quesadillas. You can use store-bought or make my salsa roja recipe.
- Oil: Any vegetable oil you prefer.
- For serving: Guacamole & pico de gallo are the best combo for quesadillas.
How to Make Leftover Turkey Quesadillas
Place turkey in a pan and add a few tablespoons of salsa, start with 1-2 then add more to taste.
Reheat stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
Reheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
Brush the griddle with a bit of cooking oil and place a tortilla. Spread one spoonful of refried beans on one side.
Add some shredded cheese on top of beans and then pile some of the turkey mixture
Top Tip: When assembling, layer the ingredients evenly and avoid overloading them to ensure that the tortilla crisps up nicely.
Fold the tortilla over the filling, creating a half-moon shape. Press down gently with a spatula to keep the fillings in place.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until the cheese is nicely melted and the tortilla becomes crispy and golden brown.
Repeat to make all your quesadillas, then serve them whole with toppings or cut them into wedges to serve as an appetizer.
- Make it kid-friendly: If you intend to serve this dish to kids, don’t heat the leftover turkey with a spicy salsa, you can use tomato sauce or leave it out and use the salsa for serving only.
- Cover: I like to use a lid on my skillet while cooking the quesadilla. This helps trap heat and encourages the cheese to melt more quickly and evenly.
- Heat control: Use medium heat. Too high heat can brown the quesadilla outside quickly while leaving the inside soggy. A moderate heat allows the cheese to melt evenly without burning the tortilla.
- Avoid sogginess: When cooking the quesadilla, don’t press down too hard with a spatula; this can push out the melted cheese and moisture.
A soup is also a good side to serve with, my favorite is this vegetables soup to balance the meal.
Alternatively, you can serve them as an appetizer. Cut them into wedges and serve with a dipping sauce like my cilantro lime crema or with a dollop of sour cream.
Store & Reheat
Leftover quesadillas last for up to 2-3 days in the fridge. Allow them to cool to room temperature, then wrap each quesadilla with plastic wrap and place them all in an airtight container.
When ready to enjoy again, reheat them in an oiled skillet or pan over medium heat until lightly crispy again.
Take in mind the quesadillas will lose their original crispy texture and become a little soggy, even after reheated. But they will be delicious anyway!
Can I make it with chicken?
Absolutely, you can make quesadillas with chicken instead of turkey! In fact, chicken quesadillas are a popular and delicious variation of this classic dish.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
I made my leftover turkey quesadillas using wheat flour tortillas (as you can see in the photos), which aren’t free of gluten. However, you can use corn tortillas but check the packaging to ensure they are labeled as gluten-free.
More Quesadilla Recipes
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Leftover Turkey Quesadillas
- Place turkey in a pan and add a few tablespoons of salsa roja, start with 1-2 then add more to taste.
- Reheat stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat.
- Brush the skillet with a bit of cooking oil and place a tortilla.
- Spread one spoonful of refried beans in one side and add some cheese on top.
- Follow with some of the turkey mixture and fold the tortilla over the filling, creating a half-moon shape. Press down gently with a spatula.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until the cheese is nicely melted and the tortilla becomes crispy and golden brown.
- Repeat to make 10 quesadillas and serve immediately.
- If you intend to serve this dish to kids, don’t heat the leftover turkey with a spicy salsa, you can use tomato sauce or just leave out and use the salsa for serving only.
- When assembling, layer the ingredients evenly and avoid overloading it to ensure that the tortilla crisps up nicely.
- Use medium heat to allow the cheese to melt evenly without burning the tortilla.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.