Leftover Turkey Quesadillas are made with 5 simple ingredients in 20 minutes! Because no one wants to cook the day after Thanksgiving and everyone has leftover turkey. These are simply genius!

Leftover turkey quesadillas with pesto, cranberry sauce and melted cheese on a plate.

This leftover turkey quesadillas recipe just needs some leftover cranberry sauce, pesto, cheese and of course your beloved turkey. It doesn’t even feel like you are eating leftovers!

Getting creative with your Thanksgiving leftovers can sometimes be challenging! There is only so many sandwiches you can make and turkey noodle soup might seem like a lot of work because Black Friday.

That’s when turkey quesadilla comes to the rescue and makes you fall in love with turkey all over again. If it is even possible the day after Thanksgiving dinner.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and easy: Made in your panini grill or on the stovetop, in 20 minutes.
  • Budget friendly: Check your fridge, you may already have everything on hand to make this recipe.
  • Creative: Fight food fatigue and wow your family with a Thanksgiving quesadilla instead of serving too many leftover turkey sandwiches!

Ingredients and Notes

Shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, mozzarella cheese, pesto, wheat tortillas.

Turkey and cheese quesadilla is the perfect solution to holiday leftovers situation! Here are 5 simple ingredients you need:

  • Leftover turkey meat: Any leftover turkey works. I prefer it shredded, so it distributes evenly throughout the quesadilla.
  • Mozzarella cheese: Freshly grated cheese from a block, cheddar cheese, monterey jack, pepper jack or sliced brie cheese would also work.
  • Pesto: I buy the Costco size jar and always have some on hand! Use your favorite.
  • Cranberry sauce: Leftover cranberry sauce, there is always some leftover, am I right?!
  • Whole wheat tortillas: I prefer whole wheat as it adds nutritional fiber, but you can use white flour tortillas too. Remember, easy is the name of the game. As long as you don’t use corn tortillas.

How to Make Turkey Quesadillas

These turkey quesadillas are my solution to how to use turkey leftovers!

To start you will need to heat your panini grill or skillet and spray it with cooking spray or add oil, if you are concerned about sticking. This quesadilla is a bit on a greasy side because cheese and pesto, so go easy on oil.

How to make quesadillas with leftover turkey step by step.
  1. Assemble quesadilla: On one half of the tortilla spread 1 tablespoon pesto, top with 1 cup turkey mixture, dollop 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.
  2. Repeat with remaining tortillas: Fold the other half of tortilla over and repeat with remaining ingredients.
  3. Grill: Grill for 3-4 minutes or until cheese has melted and folded tortillas are browned. Alternately, pan fry in a large skillet over medium heat or stovetop griddle, flipping once to ensure second side is crispy, too.
  4. Cut and serve: Using large spatula transfer your crispy tortilla onto a cutting board, wait 2 minutes and cut in half. Serve.

Recipe Tip

Do not overgrill your leftover turkey quesadilla as cheese and pesto will start oozing out and cranberry sauce can make the whole thing soggy.

Cooking Tips

  • Soft tortillas: Save your hard corn tortillas for ground turkey tacos. You need soft wheat flour tortillas for these delicious quesadillas.
  • Shredded turkey: If you shred your turkey as you put it away, you can save yourself that extra prep.
  • Don’t overcook and let cool: This is when quesadillas stay thick, have cheese and hold their shape better.
  • Make as many as you need: That’s the great thing about these Thanksgiving quesadillas. Make as many as you need more or less, just remember that you need 1 cup of turkey per tortilla and 1/2 cup cheese. That’s easy!
Five quesadillas on a plate and cranberry sauce on a side.

Variations

  • Vegetables: Add some chopped red bell peppers or jalapeno pepper!
  • Beans: Black beans or refried beans are a welcome addition to any quesadilla!
  • Seasoning: Toss your turkey with some taco seasoning or fajita seasoning for different flavors with a southwest flair.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh sage or fresh coriander would be amazing!
  • Chicken: No turkey left? Feel free to use leftover shredded chicken in this recipe!

Serving Suggestions

Serve turkey quesadillas like you would any other quesadillas with salsa, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and avocado.

Dip your quesadilla into extra cranberry sauce or even make some simple cranberry salsa by combining your favorite salsa with some of the sauce. Or try another salsa recipe like mango salsa or pineapple salsa!

I pair my easy guacamole recipe with turkey burgers and it’s a match made in heaven. Try it here, too, so delicious!

How to Store

Fridge: While these are best fresh, you can store leftover quesadillas refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days. Reheat in a frying pan to crisp up or microwave to warm up.

Freezer: Wrap cooked quesadillas in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat.

FAQs

Should I use white or dark meat?

Either works, so use whatever you have more of! Breast meat is easier to shred or cut into small pieces, while dark meat is more moist. Your decision or just use a combination if you can’t decide.

Can I make these in the oven?

Yes! Brush each side with a little melted butter (or olive oil) and finish them in the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. You could probably even use your toaster oven!

Can I make air fryer quesadillas?

Yes! Quesadillas with leftover turkey in air fryer is so simple to make, too! Just cut each folded tortilla in half, place each triangle in a single layer in your air fryer at 370 degrees F for 2 minutes. Such an easy lunch idea!

How to reheat quesadillas?

While these leftover turkey quesadillas are best fresh when they are the crispiest, you can reheat them in a skillet until the cheese is melted or in the microwave just until warmed through.

You can also reheat these bad boys in air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 350 degrees F.

More Leftover Turkey Recipes

More Quesadilla Recipes to Enjoy

Two pieces of turkey quesadilla stacked on top of each other on a plate.
Leftover turkey quesadillas with pesto, cranberry sauce and melted cheese on a plate.

Leftover Turkey Quesadillas

Leftover Turkey Quesadillas are made with 5 simple ingredients in 20 minutes! Because no one wants to cook the day after Thanksgiving and everyone has leftover turkey.
5 from 2 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 678
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 cups leftover turkey meat shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 4 tablespoons pesto
  • 8 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 4 large wheat tortillas or white flour tortillas 10-12 inches

Instructions 

  • Preheat panini grill.
  • To assemble quesadilla, on one half of the tortilla spread 1 tablespoon pesto, top with 1 cup shredded turkey, dollop 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Fold the other half of tortilla over and repeat with remaining ingredients.
  • Grill for 3-4 minutes or until cheese has melted and tortillas are browned. Do not overgrill as cheese and pesto will start oozing out and cranberry sauce can make quesadilla soggy.
  • Using large spatula transfer onto a cutting board, wait 2 minutes and cut in half. Serve.

Notes

  • Using a skillet: You can cook tortillas in large preheated skillet, flipping once with a large spatula.
  • Don’t overcook and let cool: This is when quesadillas stay thick, have cheese and hold their shape better.

Nutrition

Serving: 1full quesadilla | Calories: 678kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 58g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 201mg | Sodium: 930mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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