Thanksgiving Leftover Tamales

Homemade tamales are always delicious, but when they’re also a crafty way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, they’re downright out of this world! We’ve heaped these bad boys up with leftover turkey and stuffing and smothered the whole thing fresh cranberry salsa for tamales so good, you’ll wish you had even more leftovers.

  • Serves: 20 Tamales
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 1 lb. Cranberries
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Orange, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 Shallot, finely minced
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/3 c. Masa Harina
  • 1 ¼ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/3 c. Turkey Stock
  • 2 c. Leftover Stuffing (ideally cornbread)
  • 1 ½ c. Leftover Turkey, shredded
  • 1 c. Lard, at room temperature
  • 6 dried Guajillo Chiles, stems & seeds removed
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 3 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 c. Leftover Gravy
  • 20 Cornhusks, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. To make the salsa, heat cranberries in a medium saucepan until they begin to burst, then add orange, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Cook until berries have released all juices and mixture has thickened slightly; remove from stove and allow to cool. When cool, add shallot, crushed garlic, lemon juice, and jalapeno; chill until needed.

  2. To make the tamales, soak Guajillo chiles in warm water until soft, about 20 minutes. When soft, add chiles, 2 cloves of garlic, cumin, and ½ cup of soaking water to a blender and puree until smooth.

  3. In a large bowl, combine masa, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, and ¾ of a teaspoon salt, then stir in turkey stock. Whip lard until fluffy, then fold into masa mixture; add leftover stuffing and continue to beat until a batter forms. If too thin, add more masa until consistency is spreadable.

  4. Add chili puree to a small saucepan with 1 cup of soaking liquid; cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove ½ cup and set aside. Add shredded turkey to remaining chili sauce and cook until turkey is warmed through, then remove from heat.

  5. To form tamales, place husk concave side-up with wide end facing you. Spread ¼ cup masa dough across bottom third of husk, leaving a ½ inch border on all sides. Top with 1 tablespoon of filling, then fold in the sides and press to seal in filling. Fold the skinny end over and secure with a strip of corn husk or twine. Repeat until dough and filling have been used up, then arrange tamales standing with open sides up in a steamer set over boiling water. Steam for about 1 hour or until dough separate easily from wrapper.

  6. While tamales are steaming, combine remaining chile puree and leftover gravy with 1 tablespoon of chili powder and heat. Serve tamales warm with chile sauce and cranberry salsa.

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