Home » Recipes » Mexican + Tex-Mex » Easy Turkey Tinga Tacos (Best Way to Use Up Leftover Turkey)
3 turkey tinga tacos in hard tortilla shells with hot sauce drizzled on top

Easy Turkey Tinga Tacos (Best Way to Use Up Leftover Turkey)

Turkey tinga tacos are the perfect way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey but we love them so much we make them year-round. They’re smoky, tangy, a little bit spicy and so good it’s hard to believe how quick and easy they are to make. And don’t worry if you don’t have a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (a key ingredient for making tinga tacos), we have a 2-minute DIY adobo sauce that won’t leave you with 3/4 of a can of chilis you don’t know what to do with. 

 

What Are Tinga Tacos?

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating tinga tacos, now’s the time to try them. These tacos are typically made using shredded chicken (and sometimes beef and pork) and they come from Puebla, Mexico. Traditional tinga will always include tomatoes, onions, and chipotle peppers(smoked, roasted jalapeño peppers) which give it its robust flavor and bright reddish hue that this taco meat is known for. The traditional recipe also gets some of its flavor from the addition of chorizo (a spicy Mexican sausage), but most tinga recipes floating around online don’t include it. 

Why We Love This Turkey Tinga Taco Recipe

  • Ready in less than 30 minutes
  • They’re SO yummy
  • A great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey
  • Tastes great with crunchy or soft tacos (even in tinga quesadillas)
  • A perfect recipe to MealPrep and freeze for even easier taco Tuesday dinners
  • They’re the perfect amount of spicy, smoky, tangy, and juicy
  • You can sub chicken for turkey and it makes the BEST chicken tinga tacos 
  • This recipe uses just a handful of basic pantry staple ingredients 

Easy Turkey Tinga Ingredients 

Easy doesn’t begin to describe how simple this taco recipe is. If you want to try it out, but you’re vegan or vegetarian, replace the turkey with cooked Beyond Meat Mince, Unconventional Burger “Meat”, or crumbled fried tofu, or even roasted cauliflower (it’s delicious).

  • cooked turkey (sub chicken)
  • chilis in adobo sauce (sub our delicious DIY version)
  • canned tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • smoked paprika
  • onion powder
  • ground cumin
  • dried or fresh oregano
  • turkey or chicken stock (sub water)
  • extra virgin olive oil

Optional Taco Garnishes

  • salsa
  • pineapple-cilantro salsa
  • avocado-lime crema
  • guacamole
  • pico de gallo
  • smoky quick pickled red onions
  • smoky fire-roasted bell peppers
  • caramelized onions
  • freshly lime wedges

How to Make Extra Delicious Turkey Tinga Tacos 

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Double it for larger families (or hungry eaters) or freeze and thaw for 10-minute Taco Tuesday dinners. 

  1. Sauté vegetables + toast the spices. In a small bowl, measure the onion powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Over medium-high heat, add the smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, and measured spices to a skillet and toast for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped onion, season with a little salt, and sauté until tender and soft, or about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle chilis (or DIY adobo sauce substitute) and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  2. Purée the tinga sauce. Using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor, purée 1/2 cup tomatoes and the sautéed onion and spice mixture until smooth and well combined.
  3. Finish the tinga sauce. Add the tinga sauce to the skillet, increase the temperature to high and bring it to a rolling simmer. Adjust seasonings, stir in the turkey, and continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally until the turkey has absorbed most of the sauce or about 10 minutes. Serve with crunchy or warmed fresh tortillas and your favorite taco toppings and a wedge of fresh lime. Enjoy!

How to Make Turkey Tinga Tacos step-by-step recipe photos

How to Make Vegan & Vegetarian Tinga Tacos

Tinga tacos are a great addition to your vegan and vegetarian taco dinner roster. If turkey meat (or any meat) isn’t your thing, you can simply use our tinga sauce recipe to make tofu tinga tacos, seitan tinga tacos, roasted cauliflower tinga tacos, and Beyond “meat” tinga tacos. 

Looking for Other Leftover Turkey Recipes or More Mexican & Tex-Mex Recipes?

Above are a few of our favorite ways to use up leftover turkey, but I’ve also included a few delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes you may also enjoy. 

 Let’s get started!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
3 turkey tinga tacos in hard tortilla shells with hot sauce drizzled on top

Turkey Tinga Tacos (a Perfect Way to Use up Leftover Turkey)


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Turkey tinga tacos are the perfect way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey but we love them so much we make them year-round. They’re smoky, tangy, a little bit spicy and so good it’s hard to believe how quick and easy they are to make. And don’t worry if you don’t have a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (a key ingredient for making tinga tacos), we have a 2-minute DIY adobo sauce that won’t leave you with 3/4 of a can of chilis you don’t know what to do with. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups cooked turkey (450g) (sub cooked chicken, beef, pork, or vegan meat alternative)
  • 1 to 2 chilis in adobo sauce (sub our delicious DIY version)
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes (210g)
  • 1 cup chopped onions (1 medium onion) (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (14g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (0.5g)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (2g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (1g)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (sub fresh oregano to taste)
  • 1/4 cup turkey or chicken stock (sub water)

Optional Taco Garnishes

  • salsa
  • pineapple-cilantro salsa
  • avocado-lime crema
  • guacamole
  • pico de gallo
  • smoky quick pickled red onions
  • smoky fire-roasted bell peppers
  • caramelized onions
  • freshly lime wedges


Instructions

  1. Sauté vegetables &  toast the spices. In a small bowl, measure the onion powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Over medium-high heat, add the smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, and measured spices to a skillet and toast for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped onion, season with a little salt, and sauté until tender and soft, or about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle chilis (or DIY adobo sauce substitute) and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  2. Purée the tinga sauce. Using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor, purée 1/2 cup tomatoes and the sautéed onion and spice mixture until smooth and well combined.
  3. Finish the tinga sauce. Add the tinga sauce to the skillet, increase the temperature to high and bring it to a rolling simmer. Adjust seasonings, stir in the turkey, and continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally until the turkey has absorbed most of the sauce or about 10 minutes. Serve with crunchy or warmed fresh tortillas and your favorite taco toppings and a wedge of fresh lime. Enjoy!

Notes

  • How to adjust the spice level. Chipotles in adobo sauce pack a lot of flavor and are pretty spicy. Add 1 chili pepper for medium-spicy, 2 chili peppers for spicy, and 3 if you want it really hot. Obviously, use fewer chilis if you have difficulties with spicy food.  The same goes if you’re using our DIY chipotle in adobo substitute.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze them in an airtight container for one month or more.
  • If you use a can of chipotles in adobo sauce for this recipe, portion and freeze any remaining chilis in sauce that you don’t use. This way they don’t go bad sitting in the back of your fridge and you can easily pull out just what you need whenever you feel like making a batch of tinga tacos.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Meat + Chicken
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 Tacos

Keywords: turkey tacos, tinga tacos, turkey recipe, turkey taco meat, taco meat, turkey meat recipe, taco seasoning, easy taco meat, healthy taco meat, healthy turkey recipe, healthy tacos, easy tinga sauce, best tinga sauce, thanksgiving leftovers, chicken tinga, turkey tinga, tinga taco sauce, best tinga tacos, thanksgiving turkey leftovers recipe, leftover turkey recipe, chicken tinga tacos, best tinga tacos, homemade adobo sauce, diy adobo sauce, easy taco recipe, spicy tacos, easy pollo tinga, Ricetta tinga taco facile, easy turkey recipes,

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

*