Turkey Birria with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as a participant in the Walmart Moms Program.


Birria is a Mexican stew typically made with beef or goat meat. My grandmother was famous for her Thanksgiving Turkey Birria. I’ve been craving this dish for years and never felt confident to make it. Little did I know this is one of the easiest stews to put together especially when using leftovers!


Since one of the most leftover foods in the post thanksgiving feasts is turkey, I wanted to make my own take on birria. My grandmother use a whole raw turkey to do her birria but I’ve found using turkey leftovers is just as great!

To test out my recipe we purchased Jenni-O turkey breast at Walmart and cooked in the oven. I didn’t know Walmart had these grab bags of turkey available. Honestly the turkey went in frozen as directed and came out so delicious! A total win in my books!

I had my dad walk me through the actual sauce recipe because he knows it like the back of his hand. The ingredients are simple and I am so happy to share this easy delicious stew. It’s perfect for the cold weather season and holiday leftovers!

Ingredients for Turkey Birria

turkey birria ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs of turkey meat
  • 1pk of dried californian chiles
  • 1pk of dried pasia chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of ground ginger
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of  ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • appx 2 cups of chile juice from boiling dried chiles
  • appx 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice freshly squeezed or simply orange juice not concentrated
  • Optional toppings- cilantro, onion, and limes

How to make Birria

boil chiles for birriaIn at least 6 cups of water boil your chiles (appx 10 chiles) for 20 minutes. Remove chiles from water and let them cool.Once cool, clean chiles by removing stem and seeds. Do not dispose of the water from boiling chiles you will need it to make your stew.

blend ingredients for birria

Cut ingredients small enough to blend. Blend your ingredients in two parts.
Blend the onions, tomatoes, chiles, garlic, ginger, pepper, cumin, and  1-2 cups of water used to boil chiles.

You want the consistence to be like a runny salsa. It’s ok to add more water if needed because the juice of tomatoes vary.  Once completely liquefied put in a container and blend your second half of ingredients.

making birria

Pass the liquefied juice through a mesh colander having the juice pour into the pot you will cook your birria in.  Toss the pulp once all the juice seems to have seeped through.

TIP: use a larger colander than the one pictured it will make this process go faster. Use a spoon to get all the juice through leaving behind the pulp of your ingredients.

add turkey to the birria

Add your 1/2 cup of orange juice and at least 2 cups of water. You want the consistency of your birria to be like a soup. Add salt for taste.  Let your birria come to a boil and then add your turkey.  Cook for an additional 1-2 hours at medium-low.

TIP: Add a few bones during cooking process from your turkey for added flavor!

turkey birria cooking

Your birria should look like this. A bright colored stew.

serve birria stew with onion lime and cilantro

Serve and top with onion, cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy this delicious stew made with Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Gracias Papuchoni por la receta me salio deliciosa mi birria! 

What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftover dishes?

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