Leftovers

10 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.

November 11, 2019
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. Stock

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

2. Turkey Pot Pie

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

3. 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.

4. Turkey Empanadas

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

5. Turkey Tetrazzini

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

6. 'Thankful for Leftover Turkey' Jambalaya

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

7. Turkey Quiche

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

8. Pull-Apart Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffed Bread

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

9. Canal House Turkey & Potato Soup

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

Share your favorite ways to use up your leftover turkey below!

10. 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? Let us know in the comments below.
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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

9 Comments

Rich A. December 3, 2019
Don't leave this one out, it's to die for: Turkey, stuffing and cranberry Chelsea buns!
https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/turkey_stuffing_and_77957
 
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.
 
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
Delicious!

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!