18 Delicious Ways to Use Up Those Thanksgiving Odds & Ends

Your fridge will thank you.

November 23, 2018
Photo by Ty Mecham

The big day has come and gone, and you made it out alive. Sure, you'll be having turkey sandwiches for a few more days, and you're now convinced your body composition's changed to at least 70% butter, but it's all good! We live for Thanksgiving and all its leftover glory.

But what to do with all of the leftover bits and bobs hanging out in your fridge? When it comes to the sturdier vegetables that you'd have around anyway this time of year (we see you winter squash, sweet potatoes & co.), you can just fold them into your weeknight cooking rotation. But for some ingredients—like season-specific cranberries—you might be looking for ways to give them a new life beyond sauce.

Scroll through for some of our favorite tasty ways to use up those Thanksgiving ingredients before they start to languish, and be sure to share your own ideas below.


Blitz them up for breadcrumbs and use them to make tender meatballs or coating for schnitzel. Cube up any end bits, baking them up with eggs and savory sausage for a warming strata. Or slice up leftover challah, dredge, and fry up the whole dang thing. Hot honey is optional, but totally encouraged.


Soft (parsley, mint, dill): Use these up quickly in an omelet, frittata, or atop your weekend bagel. Crush them into a loose pesto, or blend them after a quick blanch to make a gorgeous green herb oil. You can garnish everything from soups to salads to (even more) egg dishes.

Hardy (sage, thyme, rosemary): You can use them in the same egg dishes mentioned above, but can also extend the life of these hardier herbs by removing them from the stems, chopping them up, and freezing them with olive oil in ice cube trays. In the coming months, throw the cubes into winter stews, soups, and sauces.

Canned Pumpkin

If you've had your fill of pumpkin pie but still want to enjoy that taste in a sweet application, turn to always-welcome, pillowy breakfast rolls, or make a batch of highly giftable caramels. If savory's more your thing, get going on rolling out some gnocchi, or stir in a dollop of pumpkin puree next time you make risotto.

Condensed Milk

I think we all have an opened can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge right now—am I right? You can enjoy it simply, stirred into your morning coffee or iced tea, or drizzled over French toast. But if you're feeling ambitious, a coconut tres leches cake and fudge cookies are begging to be shared at another big gathering.

Cranberry Sauce & Fresh Cranberries

With leftover cranberry sauce, you can bake up hearty cookie bars for next week's breakfast or snack. Freeze any whole cranberries to garnish a festive holiday punch in the coming weeks.

What are your favorite ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving ingredients? Share your delicious ideas with us below!

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Hana Asbrink

Written by: Hana Asbrink

Hana is the senior lifestyle editor at Food52.