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Turkey Tamales

Turkey Tamales: A Delicious Twist to the Classic Dish

Are you a fan of Mexican cuisine? Do you love the rich flavors and hearty dishes that come from the land of tacos and enchiladas? If so, then you’re in for a treat with turkey tamales!

What are Tamales?

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that consists of masa, a dough made from corn, filled with various ingredients, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed to perfection. They are a labor of love, often prepared during special occasions and holidays.

Think of tamales as little gifts, wrapped in a flavorful package. The corn husk serves as the wrapping paper, while the masa and filling are the surprises waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed.

A Twist on Tradition: Turkey Tamales

While traditional tamales are typically made with pork or chicken, turkey tamales offer a unique twist. Turkey meat provides a leaner and lighter alternative, without compromising on taste.

Imagine tender, juicy turkey meat combined with a flavorful masa, seasoned to perfection with spices like cumin and chili powder. Each bite is a burst of savory goodness that will leave you craving for more.

The Perfect Holiday Dish

Turkey tamales are not only delicious, but they also make a perfect addition to your holiday feast. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, these tamales will add a touch of Mexican flair to your table.

Picture this: a plate filled with steaming hot turkey tamales, surrounded by colorful side dishes and festive decorations. Your guests will be impressed by your culinary skills and the unique flavors they get to experience.

How to Make Turkey Tamales

Making turkey tamales may seem like a daunting task, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll become a tamale expert in no time. The key is to take it step by step, allowing each layer of flavor to develop.

First, you’ll need to prepare the masa. This involves mixing masa harina (a type of corn flour), broth, and fat to create a smooth and pliable dough. Once the masa is ready, it’s time to prepare the turkey filling.

Shred the cooked turkey meat and season it with your favorite spices. Then, it’s time to assemble the tamales. Spread a thin layer of masa on a soaked corn husk, spoon a generous amount of turkey filling in the center, and fold the husk to enclose the filling.

Finally, the tamales are steamed until they are cooked through and the masa is firm. The result? A batch of delicious turkey tamales that will have everyone coming back for seconds.


1. Can I use leftover turkey for tamales?

Yes, you can! Leftover turkey is a great way to add a twist to your tamales and reduce food waste.

2. Can I freeze turkey tamales?

Absolutely! Turkey tamales freeze well, allowing you to enjoy them at a later date. Just make sure to wrap them tightly to prevent freezer burn.

3. Are turkey tamales spicy?

The level of spiciness in turkey tamales can be adjusted to your preference. If you enjoy a little kick, add some jalapenos or hot sauce to the filling.

4. Can I substitute the corn husks?

If you can’t find corn husks, you can use parchment paper or banana leaves as an alternative wrapping material.

5. How long do turkey tamales last?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, turkey tamales can last for up to five days. Just reheat them in a steamer or microwave before enjoying.

6. Can I add other fillings to turkey tamales?

Absolutely! Get creative and experiment with different fillings like cheese, vegetables, or even sweet fillings like chocolate or fruit.

7. Are turkey tamales gluten-free?

Turkey tamales can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free masa harina. Make sure to double-check the ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.

8. Can I serve turkey tamales with salsa?

Of course! Salsa is a perfect accompaniment to turkey tamales. Whether it’s a mild salsa or a spicy one, it adds an extra layer of flavor to each bite.

In Conclusion

Turkey tamales are a delicious twist on the classic dish, offering a lighter alternative without compromising on flavor. They make a perfect addition to your holiday feast or any special occasion. With a little practice, you can become a master tamale maker and enjoy these flavorful treats whenever you please.

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Turkey Tamales

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Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 raw turkey legs , about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion , finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 serrano chile , seeded and finely minced
  • 2 dozen dried corn husks
  • 15 oz masa harina , about 3 1/2 cups
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz lard , about 1/2 cup
  • 2 to 4 cups reserved cooking liquid


  • Meat Filling:
  • In a 6-quart pot, combine chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, black pepper, and turkey legs.
  • Add enough water to cover the meat (approximately 2 1/2 quarts).
  • Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart.
  • Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool on a cutting board.
  • Once cooled, shred the meat, discarding any skin or cartilage.
  • In a 4-quart saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and cook until semi-translucent (around 2 minutes).
  • Stir in garlic and chili and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the shredded meat and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
  • Cook until heated through and the liquid has evaporated (around 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Husks:
  • Place the corn husks in a large bowl or container.
  • Submerge the husks completely in hot water.
  • Soak the husks for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 hours until they become soft and pliable.
  • Masa Dough:
  • In a large
Keyword Cinco de Mayo, gluten free, High Fiber, Holiday, main-dish, Poultry, Turkey Recipes
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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