Leftover turkey taquitos with nutty buffalo dipping sauce

 Ole! It’s a post-Thanksgiving fiesta with these leftover turkey taquitos with nutty buffalo dipping sauce, created right here in our own Grateful test kitchen. Just because the Thanksgiving dinner is over doesn’t mean the party has to stop. Repurpose that extra turkey with these tasty taquitos. Flavored with Mexican seasoning, the roasted turkey is barely recognizable in these delicious rolled tacos.

Taquitos are a Mexican dish of tortillas stuffed with seasoned meat, usually chicken or beef, then deep fried. Topped with cheese, shredded lettuce and tomato and served with either sour cream or guacamole (or both), taquitos are great as a meal or a snack. Although they are best fresh, your teenager would not refuse reheated taquitos mid-afternoon. Taquitos are thought to have originated in San Diego, created by Ralph Pesqueria at his tortilla factory that later became known as El Indio Restaurant.

ALSO TRY: Scrumptious and simple leftover turkey Shepherd’s pie

The beauty of taquitos is the simplicity: a deep-fried meat-filled tortilla. It’s easy to make a bunch and fun for a crowd. What’s better than single-serving foods for parties and potlucks? Taquitos are great for using up leftovers: the meat is already cooked, so just roll up and fry. Many a taquito is made with previously-grilled chicken or pot roast.

Thanksgiving is the mother of all meals with leftovers. It can be daunting to try and figure out what to do with all that Thanksgiving turkey! However with this turkey taquito and nutty buffalo dipping sauce recipe, you’ll be the hit of the after-Thanksgiving festivities. In this recipe traditional taquitos are given a buffalo flair and dipped in a pistachio-buffalo sauce for a unique take on the Mexican favorite.

If deep frying isn’t your preferred cooking method, these can be baked. Instead of frying the tortillas initially, soften the tortillas by microwaving them in a damp paper towel for 10-15 seconds. Roll the taquitos as directed, but instead of frying the taquito, spray the rolled tortilla with cooking spray and sprinkle a dash of salt on top. Then bake at 375F for 10 minutes. The end result is just as crispy and slightly healthier.

This recipe is so good, your family will want to skip Thanksgiving next year and go straight for the leftovers. We think serving these taquitos for family card games, or as a game-time appetizer are great ideas for showcasing your leftover skills.

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Assemble buffalo dipping sauce

Combine chopped pistachios and store-bought buffalo sauce. Use water to thin it out to the desired consistency.

>Assemble buffalo dipping sauce


Prepare filling

Shred or cube the turkey and set aside. Saute the onions, celery, salt and cumin in melted butter until the onions are translucent. When the veggies are nice and soft, add cream cheese, blue cheese, a little bit more butter and some buffalo sauce. Let this mixture cook until the cheese is nice and melty. Stir in the turkey.

Prepare filling


Fry tortillas

Heat the oil in a pot to 350F. Be careful not to overheat the oil! Lightly fry tortillas one at a time. This helps prevent cracking when you start rolling.

Fry tortillas


Fill and roll

With the tortillas softened up, it is time to fill them. Take 1-1/2 tablespoons of filling and place along one side of the tortilla. Gently roll it, tucking the filling as you go, until it looks like a tightly rolled cigar.

Fill and roll


Deep fry taquitos

Cook until all are fried golden brown.

Deep fry the taquitos


Let oil drain

Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and wait for serving.

Let oil drain


They make a great platter for your next party

Put a platter out for your next party


The nutty buffalo dipping sauce almost looks too good to eat

The nutty buffalo dipping sauce almost looks too good to eat


Don’t be shy! Dip until your heart is content

Don't be shy! Dip until your heart is content


The flavors will excite your senses

The flavors will excite your senses


Crunchy and tangy these taquitos will hit the spot!

Crunchy and tangy these taquitos will hit the spot!


Leftover turkey taquitos with nutty buffalo dipping sauce

Yield 18-24 servings

Ingredients

Buffalo dipping sauce

  • 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water, if needed

Taquitos

  • 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded or cubed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided into 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 5 ounces blue cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 18-24 white or yellow corn-wheat tortillas
  • Extra Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce

Instructions

Buffalo dipping sauce

  1. In a small bowl, combine pistachios and buffalo sauce until well-blended.
  2. Drizzle in water and continue to mix to desired consistency.
  3. Set aside to serve as a dipping sauce.

Taquitos

  1. Place the shredded turkey in a medium bowl. Set aside
  2. In a large skillet on medium heat, melt one tablespoon butter. Add onions, celery, salt and cumin and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. 
  3. Add blue cheese, cream cheese, additional 2 tablespoons butter, and 1-1/2 tablespoons hot sauce into a large skillet. Stirring frequently, allow to simmer over medium heat until the cheese has melted.
  4. Place the shredded turkey into skillet of cheese mixture. Stir until well combined, then remove from heat. Set aside.
  5. Pour oil into a deep skillet. Heat oil until reaches 350F.
  6. Fry one tortilla at a time for 6-8 seconds, turn over and fry for 4 seconds more.
  7. Remove and drain on paper towel. Repeat process until all are lightly fried. Note: This step helps the tortilla roll better and keeps it from cracking.
  8. On a chopping board (or a dinner plate), lay one corn tortilla on the surface so it is flat. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons shredded turkey mixture into the center of the tortilla. Roll up tortilla tightly until it resembles a cigar. Secure ends with a toothpick.
  9. Deep fry the taquitos two at a time until brown and crispy.
  10. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Blot with paper towels to remove excess grease.
  11. Once cool enough to touch, remove toothpicks.
  12. Serve immediately with nutty buffalo dipping sauce.

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