Turkey Tamales

December 2, 2008 – 10:23 am

Yet another use for leftover turkey. I haven’t made these yet this year, so the pictures are from last year, but hopefully I’ll get to these soon with some of the now frozen leftover meat.

This is a take on a traditional Mexican meal. I use regular masa rather than tamale mix masa, but either one will work fine – just follow the instructions on the package to make the dough. Most of the time I just use parchment paper rather than soaked corn husks. It’s easier to get a consistent size and shape for the wrapper that way. These are time consuming to make, but fun, so get a group of friends and have a tamale party 🙂

Turkey Tamales
Makes about 16 tamales


Tamale Dough:
2 cups masa (Maseca is the brand I use)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups warm turkey stock (or water)
⅓ cup butter
⅓ cup canola oil
Parchment paper

1 lb leftover turkey (or the meat from a store bought rotisserie chicken or one pound of ground turkey, browned)
1 tbsp dark chili powder (Gebhart recommended)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced

Topping/dipping sauce of your choice
I usually make green chile sauce to go with these (recipe below), but they’re fine naked, and kids seem to like them with ketchup.


Tamale Dough: Combine the masa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix in the stock with your fingers to make a soft dough. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and canola oil until light and fluffy. Add the masa mixture and beat until the dough has a spongy texture.

Filling: Shred the turkey finely and mix with the seasonings.

Assembly and steaming: Spread about two tablespoons of masa evenly over the center of a square of parchment paper. Add a tablespoon of filling in a line down the middle of the masa. Gently roll the dough around the filling and twist the ends of the parchment together to seal. Place in a large steamer and steam for about an hour, or until the masa is firm and easily pulls away from the parchment.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 Tamale)

Calories 170
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 34 mg
Sodium 375 mg
Carbohydrates 12 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 10 g
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 4%
Iron 9%

Green Chile Sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock (I usually use turkey stock since I have it on hand from the turkey carcass)
1 can (7 oz ) diced green chiles
1 tsp ground cumin

In a sauce pan over medium heat, warm the butter and sauté the garlic for a couple minutes until just turning golden brown. Stir in the flour to make a roux and heat until bubbling and smooth. Add the chicken stock, the green chiles, and the cumin and simmer over low heat until thickened.

Nutritional Information Per 2 Tbsp Serving

Calories 22
Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 4 mg
Sodium 87 mg
Carbohydrates 1 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 35%
Calcium 0%
Iron 2%

  1. 3 Responses to “Turkey Tamales”

  2. Love the idea of using leftovers in tamales! I normally use lard in my masa but will try it with butter for a little healthier spin 🙂

    By Joelen on Dec 2, 2008

  3. Wow, Those look fun! You have soooo much more leftover turkey than I do!

    By Annemarie on Dec 2, 2008

  4. Much leftover turkey results from a 13 pound turkey with all the fixings and just two people to eat 😀

    By Cassie on Dec 2, 2008

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