Experience the ultimate solution for leftover turkey with our Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas. A swift and effortless creation, these quesadillas boast a delightful combination of gooey, hearty, tart, and sweet flavors, all embraced between two perfectly buttery and crispy tortilla shells. Say goodbye to leftover complaints and hello to a scrumptious reinvention!

Diving into the world of holiday feasts, one of the highlights for me is undoubtedly the aftermath – the glorious leftovers! There’s an undeniable joy in concocting inventive ways to breathe new life into turkey remnants, ensuring that each leftover meal remains as exciting as the original feast. However, before venturing into uncharted culinary territories, I must pay homage to my all-time favorite way of relishing turkey leftovers: the classic turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich.

Once I’ve savored that initial craving, it’s time to embark on a flavorful journey. Given that both the turkey and cranberry sauce are already infused with Tex-Mex flair, the natural progression led me to dream up turkey and cranberry sauce tacos, or even better, quesadillas. While the cranberry sauce had a hint of jalapeños, my quest for the perfect quesadilla spice urged me to add more jalapeños, complemented by fragrant cilantro – a personal favorite herb and a Tex-Mex essential.

The end result? A triumph! The marriage of sweet, tart, and spicy cranberry sauce with the tender turkey and gooey melted cheese in the quesadillas was a delightful surprise. The fusion of flavors worked like magic, leaving me with a dish that I’ll undoubtedly be recreating again. These turkey and cranberry sauce quesadillas have earned their spot as a cherished addition to my leftover repertoire!

Reasons to love Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas

  • Festive Fusion: Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas bring together the best of holiday and Tex-Mex flavors, creating a festive fusion that satisfies both seasonal cravings and a love for Mexican-inspired cuisine.
  • Leftover Magic: Make the most of your holiday turkey leftovers with this creative and delicious spin. It’s a fantastic way to transform the remnants of a traditional feast into an entirely new culinary experience.
  • Sweet and Tart Harmony: Experience the delightful balance of sweet and tart flavors as the cranberry sauce weaves its magic with the succulent turkey. It’s a symphony of tastes that dances on your palate.
  • Crispy Texture Delight: The golden-brown, buttery, and crispy tortilla shells provide the perfect crunch to complement the tender turkey and melted cheese, adding a textural delight to every bite.
  • Quick and Easy: Enjoy a hassle-free cooking experience with this easy-to-follow recipe. Perfect for busy days when you want a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
  • Customizable Creation: Get creative in the kitchen by adding your favorite ingredients. Whether it’s extra jalapeños for a spicy kick or a sprinkle of cilantro for freshness, these quesadillas can be customized to suit your taste.
  • Kid-Friendly Twist: Turn mealtime into a joyous occasion for the whole family. The combination of familiar turkey and the sweetness of cranberry appeals to even the pickiest eaters.

Ingredients need to make Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas

  • Cooked Turkey: Tender shreds of leftover turkey provide the savory and protein-rich base for the quesadillas, ensuring a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Cranberry Sauce: A sweet and tart cranberry sauce adds a burst of festive flavor, creating a delightful contrast to the savory turkey and cheese. Look for a quality cranberry sauce or make your own for an extra personal touch.
  • Flour Tortillas: Soft, pliable flour tortillas serve as the perfect vehicle to hold the turkey, cranberry sauce, and cheese together. When cooked, they become golden and crispy, enhancing the overall texture of the dish.
  • Cheese (e.g., Cheddar or Monterey Jack): Gooey melted cheese is a crucial element, binding the quesadilla ingredients together and providing that irresistible, cheesy pull. Choose your favorite melting cheese for a rich and indulgent experience.
  • Jalapeños: For a touch of heat, jalapeños add spice to the quesadillas. Whether in the cranberry sauce or sliced and added directly to the filling, they contribute to the Tex-Mex flair of the dish.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a burst of herbal freshness, balancing the richness of the turkey and cheese. Its vibrant flavor complements the other ingredients, enhancing the overall taste profile.
  • Butter: Used to coat the tortillas before cooking, butter contributes to the golden-brown and crispy texture of the quesadillas, elevating them to a delectable level.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning the turkey and ensuring all the flavors in the quesadillas are well-balanced. Adjust according to your taste preferences.
  • Cooking Spray or Oil: Helps prevent sticking and promotes even browning while cooking the quesadillas. A quick spray or brush of oil adds that final touch to achieve the perfect crispiness.
  • Optional Extras (e.g., Avocado, Sour Cream): Customize your quesadillas with additional toppings like creamy avocado or a dollop of sour cream for added richness and freshness. These extras provide the opportunity to tailor the dish to your personal preferences.

How to make Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas

  • Prepare Ingredients: Gather cooked turkey, cranberry sauce, flour tortillas, cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, butter, salt, pepper, and any optional extras like avocado or sour cream.
  • Shred Turkey: Ensure the cooked turkey is shredded into bite-sized pieces, making it easier to distribute evenly across the quesadilla.
  • Mix Cranberry Sauce: If the cranberry sauce doesn’t already contain jalapeños, consider mixing in some finely chopped jalapeños for an extra kick.
  • Assemble Quesadilla: Lay out a flour tortilla and spread a layer of cranberry sauce on one half. Add a portion of shredded turkey, cheese, sliced jalapeños, and cilantro. Fold the other half of the tortilla over to create a half-moon shape.
  • Cooking Process: In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Place the assembled quesadilla in the skillet and cook until the tortilla becomes golden brown and crispy. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat for Additional Quesadillas: If making multiple quesadillas, repeat the assembly and cooking process for each one. Adjust the quantity of ingredients based on your preferences.
  • Slice and Serve: Once both sides are crispy and the cheese is melted, remove the quesadilla from the skillet. Allow it to cool for a moment before slicing into wedges. Serve with optional extras like avocado slices or a dollop of sour cream.


  • Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla Wrap: Transform the quesadilla into a wrap by using a large tortilla. Add fresh greens like spinach or arugula for added crunch and a burst of freshness. Roll it up for a portable and satisfying meal.
  • Brie and Cranberry Quesadilla: Elevate the cheese profile by using creamy brie instead of a traditional melting cheese. The combination of brie, turkey, and cranberry creates a more upscale and indulgent flavor.
  • Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla Sliders: Miniaturize the quesadillas by using smaller tortillas, creating cute sliders perfect for appetizers or party snacks. Serve them with toothpicks for easy handling.
  • Mango Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla: Introduce a tropical twist by incorporating diced mango along with the cranberry sauce. The combination of sweet mango, tart cranberry, and savory turkey creates a flavor explosion.
  • Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla Salad: Deconstruct the quesadilla by using the ingredients to create a hearty salad. Toss shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, cheese, and tortilla strips over a bed of greens. Drizzle with a light vinaigrette for a refreshing twist.
  • Caprese-Inspired Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla: Infuse a Mediterranean touch by incorporating classic Caprese ingredients. Add slices of fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil to the quesadilla, along with the cranberry sauce and turkey for a unique flavor combination.
cranberry turkey quesadilla

Tips and Suggestions

  • Use Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality turkey, cranberry sauce, and cheese to enhance the overall flavor and texture of your quesadillas.
  • Experiment with Cheese: Explore different cheese varieties such as Monterey Jack, cheddar, or even a combination of cheeses to find your favorite flavor profile.
  • Adjust Spice Levels: Tailor the spice level to your preference. If you enjoy heat, add more jalapeños or incorporate hot sauce into the cranberry sauce.
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Consider making your cranberry sauce for a more personalized touch. Experiment with flavors like orange zest or a hint of cinnamon for extra depth.
  • Preheat the Pan: Ensure your skillet is well-heated before adding the quesadilla. This helps achieve that desirable golden-brown and crispy exterior.
  • Don’t Overstuff: While it’s tempting to load up on ingredients, avoid overstuffing the quesadilla. This ensures even cooking and prevents the filling from spilling out.
  • Customize Toppings: Serve your quesadillas with personalized toppings like sliced avocado, sour cream, or a drizzle of lime juice for added flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of meat besides turkey?

Absolutely! While turkey is the star in the classic recipe, you can experiment with other meats like chicken, shredded beef, or even a plant-based alternative if you prefer.

Can I make the cranberry sauce from scratch?

Certainly! Homemade cranberry sauce can add a personal touch to your quesadillas. Combine fresh cranberries, sugar, water, and your preferred flavor enhancers like orange zest or spices. Simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.

What cheese works best for Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas?

Traditional choices include cheddar or Monterey Jack for their melting qualities. However, feel free to experiment with your favorite melting cheeses like mozzarella, pepper jack, or a cheese blend.

How do I prevent the quesadillas from getting soggy?

To avoid sogginess, ensure the cranberry sauce is not overly liquid. Pat the turkey dry to remove excess moisture, and don’t overstuff the quesadilla. Cook on medium-high heat to achieve a crispy exterior.

turkey quesadilla

Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas

Cranberry turkey quesadillas are a creative and delicious way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce. These quesadillas combine the savory flavor of turkey with the sweet and tangy taste of cranberry sauce, all melted together with cheese in a tortilla.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 large Tortillas
  • 2 cups Cooked turkeys
  • 1 cup Cranberry sauce Homemade or store-bought
  • 1-1/2 cups Shredded cheese Cheddar, mozzarella, or your choice
  • 2 tbsp Butter Or cooking oil for frying


  • In a skillet or on a griddle, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter or heat some cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce over half of the tortilla.
  • On top of the cranberry sauce, add a portion of shredded turkey.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese over the turkey and cranberry sauce.
  • Fold the tortilla in half, covering the filling, creating a half-moon shape.
  • Cook the quesadilla for about 2–3 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the cooked quesadilla from the skillet and let it cool for a minute or two.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and filling.
  • Slice each quesadilla into wedges and serve hot.
Keyword Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas, Leftover Turkey, Turkey and Cranberry
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x