15-Minute Turkey Enchiladas Recipe

Tender roast turkey stuffed into crisp tortillas and served with a rich, complex mole sauce.

Overhead shot of a plate of turkey enchiladas served with mole poblano and lime wedges.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • Roast turkey and mole sauce are a classic Mexican combination.
  • An easy stove-top method delivers tasty results in just 15 minutes.

Things I learned when I was 18 years old:

  • Finding an older friend who looks something like you is much more effective than getting a fake-and-looks-it fake ID in Boston bars.
  • Turkeys are from Mexico.
  • Other people really really care about how one defines "sexual relations".
  • Titanic is a really great movie to tell your mom you're going to see because it gives you a solid three and a half hours of uninterrupted free time to do something else.

It's the second one there that we're going to focus on today because a) it's interesting (did you know that there were fully domesticated turkeys in Mexico well before the Spaniards colonized it in the 16th century) and b) it's delicious (turkey is the most traditional meat to serve with mole poblano).

Now supposing that you've got yourself a big 'ol pile of leftover turkey sitting in the fridge, and right next to it happens to be a batch of the mole poblano you made a few weeks back. There's only one possible outcome to this situation: turkey and mole enchiladas (or, if you want to get really technical about it, enmoladas).

There are dozens of ways to make enchiladas, and while most have you roll up fillings in corn tortillas, cover them with sauce, and bake them until hot, when I'm in a hurry (as is often the case around lunchtime with leftovers), I fall back on a technique I learned from a Mexican woman in her kitchen in Baja. I hovered around her for a few days as she cooked lunch for Adri and me while her daughter sat in the kitchen doing her English homework.

It starts the same basic way as any enchilada, by rolling up a filling in a freshly warmed corn tortilla.

Rolling turkey in corn tortilla.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

I use about an ounce and a half of picked turkey meat seasoned with just a little salt per tortilla. It's tempting to overstuff these, but remember, with an enchilada, it's just as much about that tortilla as it is about the filling. Your tortilla should end up no bigger than a wide cigar.

Next, add the rolled tortillas seam-side-down to a cast iron or non-stick skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Let the tortillas fry without moving until they're crispy on the bottom, then carefully turn them over, making sure they don't unravel as you do.

Four enchiladas frying in a cast iron skillet.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Fry the second side, then remove the tortillas with a slotted spatula and transfer them to a paper towel to drain briefly. Make sure to salt them as soon as they're out of the pan and still hot!

Finally, heat up some mole in a small saucepan on the stovetop and spoon it onto a plate. I used this recipe from Josh Bousel, though your favorite recipe or even a good store-bought variety will do. Don't want to make mole? No problem, these guys are just as good with some basic salsa verde.

Place the enchiladas on top, spoon some more sauce over them, drizzle them with Mexican crema (you can use a mixture of milk and sour cream if you can't find it), some crumbled cotija cheese, sliced onions, and cilantro, and you're ready to eat.

Enchiladas served with mole poblano in a plate, a fork and spoon picking up a portion.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

In some circles you might call these taquitos or perhaps flautas, though they are only crisp on two sides while maintaining tender centers, so it's really somewhere in between an enmolada and a taquito.

Whatever you call them, they're delicious (and a good inspiration to start working on a recipe-packed guide to all manner of Mexican stuffed-into-a-tortilla-things).

November 2014

Recipe Details

15-Minute Turkey Enchiladas Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Serves 2 to 3 servings

Tender roast turkey stuffed into crisp tortillas and served with a rich, complex mole sauce.


  • 4 to 8 soft corn tortillas, warmed in the microwave or in a foil-wrapped pouch in the oven or toaster oven

  • 1 1/2 ounces picked roast turkey meat per tortilla

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup homemade or store-bought mole poblano per tortilla (see notes)

  • 1 tablespoon Mexican-style crema per tortilla (see notes)

  • Crumbled cotija cheese for serving

  • Sliced white onions for serving

  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for serving

  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. Place a single tortilla on a cutting board. Add 1 1/2 ounces of turkey meat. Roll tightly into a cigar shape and rest on seam side. Repeat with remaining tortillas and turkey.

    Rolling up turkey in a tortilla.
  2. Heat oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to medium. Add enchiladas seam-side-down in a single row (you may have to work in batches). Cook without moving until crisp on first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn with tongs or a slotted spatula and cook on second side until crisp.

    A pair of tongs touching an enchilada frying in a cast iron skillet.
  3. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Season with salt immediately. If cooking in batches, cooked enchiladas can be held in a 200°F (95°C) oven while you cook the second batch.

    Transferring a batch of turkey enchilada to a paper towel with a fish turner.
  4. To serve, spread half of sauce on a plate. Top with enchiladas and spoon remaining sauce on top. Drizzle with crema. Sprinkle with cotija, onions, and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

    Turkey enchiladas in a serving plate with mole poblano, cotija cheese, and lime wedges.

Special Equipment

Large cast iron skillet


You can use store-bought mole or any other enchilada-style salsa for this dish, such as this salsa verde. Mexican crema can be found in Latin markets or most large supermarkets. If unavailable, combine 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup sour cream in a small bowl and whisk together. Season with salt.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
556 Calories
33g Fat
36g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 556
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 535mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 147mg 11%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 528mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)