16 Leftover Turkey Recipes That Don't Start With 'Thanksgiving' or End With 'Sandwich'

A few creative ways to use up all that leftover turkey and more.

October 11, 2021
Photo by James Ransom

It's almost Thanksgiving! Have you signed up for our newsletter yet? Leading up to the big day, get all the best tips from Food52 editors right to your inbox. Today, we're talking about Thanksgiving leftovers, namely what to do with all that leftover turkey. Tuck in:

Whether you stuff rolls with slices of turkey and ham, or spoonfuls of green bean casserole and creamy mashed potatoes—the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich is as classic as the bird itself. But even tried-and-true favorites can get a bit stale; there’re only so many sandwiches you can stomach.

Instead, transform your turkey into a comforting pho or pot pie. Fry up mashed potatoes into savory pancakes or swirl spoonfuls into cake batter for moist, rich slices. Puree roasted roots into soups and whisk gravy or stocks into vinaigrettes. Even leftover pumpkin can make smooth and silky spreads.

So, go ahead and make your sandwich. But after, try one of these 10 ways to clean the fridge of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Best Leftover Turkey Recipes

1. Deconstructed Turkey & Brie Sandwich

The most festive charcuterie board that autumn has ever seen! Cheese board extraordinaire Marissa Mullen makes hers with deli turkey, but feel free to swap leftover Thanksgiving turkey in its place. Garlic confit, sliced apples, grapes, fresh brie, an assortment of nuts, and fig jam bring it all together.

2. Stock

First things first: Make turkey stock. This recipe below is for chicken, but turkey will work just as well.

3. Maple-Glazed Leftover Turkey Sandwiches With Cranberry Relish

I know I said this wasn’t a roundup of leftover turkey sandwich recipes, but I’m not above including one or two. And this one is really good. Instead of warming the leftover turkey up in the microwave or oven, recipe developer Catherine Yoo reheats the turkey in a skillet in a combination of melted butter and maple syrup.

4. Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

Did you smoke a turkey this year? Repurpose it in the form of this garlicky, balsamic-laced turkey salad that’s inspired by Amanda Hesser’s favorite meal from the now-closed Iris Cafe in Brooklyn Heights.

5. Turkey Pot Pie

What could be better than tucking into a creamy, buttery, flaky pot pie after Thanksgiving? Not much.

6. The Silver Palate's Turkey Hash Salad

“This salad is exactly what you'll want to eat (and cook) the day after Thanksgiving—and includes a smart hack for quicker roasted garlic, too,” according to our editors. It’s the perfect recipe to use up Thanksgiving leftovers like roasted potatoes, shredded cooked turkey, and salad greens.

7. Leftover Turkey Soup

The best part of Thanksgiving is getting to gather with loved ones to share a delicious meal. But a close second is leftovers! They can get a little boring on their own, so recipe developer Rachel Gurjar turned cooked turkey meat and homemade turkey stock into a cozy soup that will keep you warm for chilly days to come.

8. Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast "Burritos"

For a delicious twist on a day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast, fill a large flour tortilla with all the fixins'—a spoonful of leftover mashed potatoes, a scoop of leftover cranberry sauce, diced roast turkey, and stuffing.

9. Turkey Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually made with beef or chicken—but turkey adds a rich, gamier spin on the comforting classic.

10. Turkey Empanadas

Turkey empanadas are, yes, little pockets for your Thanksgiving leftovers.

11. Turkey Tetrazzini

Did you know that "turkey tetrazzini" is one of the most googled phrases the day after Thanksgiving? Who knew?

12. 'Thankful for Leftover Turkey' Jambalaya

This leftover turkey jambalaya gives us something to be thankful for.

13. Turkey Quiche

Your quiche would be very, very happy if you fed it leftover turkey.

14. Pull-Apart Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffed Bread

You know dump cakes? Well, this one's a leftover turkey dump bread. Dump away, little birdies!

15. Canal House Turkey & Potato Soup

All the familiar flavors of Thanksgiving, but in a cleaner, more refined format.

16. Best-Ever Turkey Chili

This recipe calls for ground turkey, but if you have some leftover Thanksgiving turkey lying around, just fold that in for a comforting bowl of chili.

What do you like to do with your leftovers? Share your favorite ways to use up your Thanksgiving turkey below!
Your Everything Guide to Thanksgiving
Check It Out
Your Everything Guide to Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and more—it's all right this way.

Check It Out

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tonya P. Jackson
    Tonya P. Jackson
  • Laurence Tillett
    Laurence Tillett
  • So sett
    So sett
  • Rich Altmaier
    Rich Altmaier
  • toni
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Tonya P. November 27, 2020
Turkey, sweet potato, dressing, collard green egg rolls
Laurence T. November 26, 2020
I know it ends in “sandwich”, but a Hot Kentucky Brown (or three) is actually worth cooking an entire bird for.
So S. November 18, 2020
If you're lazy like me:
- turkey alfredo, use spaghetti squash for fall and add goat cheese to marry the alfredo and squash flavors
- cobb salad--replace the chicken breast with turkey
Rich A. December 3, 2019
Don't leave this one out, it's to die for: Turkey, stuffing and cranberry Chelsea buns!
toni December 2, 2019
where do you specify the quantity of salt one uses to dry brine a turkey? watched the video but missed how much salt you are using.
Deb H. November 26, 2020
I recall them saying 1 T Kosher salt for every 5 lbs. of bird... That's what I did for our turkey today, and it came out great.
Ann P. December 1, 2019
Turkey enchiladas with mole sauce! You can use botled mole sauce, cheese and onions mixed with leftover turkey, wrapped in a sauce-dipped tortilla and topped with more cheese and sauce--and the best part is you don't taste turkey!
Nancy November 13, 2019
Turkey Nam Jim salad, original from Xanthe Clay in Telegraph (UK paper) December 2008.
Vegetables, refreshingly crunchy after a day of cooked dishes heavy on the carbs.
AntoniaJames November 11, 2019
How about this - the very first recipe I ever posted on Food52, 10 years ago this month: a turkey+mushroom sort-of-stroganoff concoction that is altogether perfect over toast - a potato bread or honey wheat is what we use: https://food52.com/recipes/1965-leftover-turkey-sort-of-stroganoff

I've made something like this since I was first married, eons ago. It became sort-of-stroganoff-ish one year when I had a bit of leftover sour cream from the sour cream dinner rolls I often bake for the holidays: https://food52.com/recipes/8307-sour-cream-dinner-rolls.

If I ever wrote a cookbook, there would be an entire chapter devoted to "over-toast savory cooked dinner mains". Think about how long it takes and how easy it is to slice and toast bread, compared to cooking noodles, potatoes, etc. - and there are no dirty pots!

Of course, this stuff also worked well over mashed potatoes, but Mr T and I both come from Thanksgiving rice-not-potatoes families with roots in the South. Besides, when we do have mashed potatoes, I hoard / hide the leftovers to make Bert Greene's Fritterra. ;o)
Eric K. November 12, 2019

Please write a cookbook.
M.McAwesome November 27, 2017
Make enchiladas. My dad came up with this idea this year to use up a lot of turkey because he made 2 turkeys for 9 people.
AntoniaJames November 25, 2017
Dinner last night: waffles made from sausage stuffing; topped with the bacon and tamari gravy, recipe posted here recently (made with lots of thyme and good rich turkey stock). Great fun and so tasty. Leftover waffles + a fried egg on top = tomorrow's breakfast!

I recommend Burt Greene's frittera, a fine Genius recipe that is too often overlooked. We're not big fans of mashed potatoes but I'll make mashed potatoes just for those. Especially good with green garlic! ;o)
HalfPint November 27, 2017
I basically did the same thing but not waffles because I was lazy about cleaning the waffle iron. Pan-fried left over sausage stuffing, topped it with a fried egg. Yes, it was delicious!