After Thanksgiving, what will you do with all the leftovers? These recipes will help! From entrees to desserts, here’s how to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers.
Hope you had a wonderful, happy and delicious Thanksgiving yesterday! Ours was just perfect — filled with family, ridiculous amounts of food and our favorite traditions. Our table was overflowing with food from my juicy slow cooker turkey to two kinds of cranberry sauce. We all have so much to be thankful for. Here’s to a joyous holiday season!
Now that it’s the day after, you probably have a fridge full of leftovers just begging to be used. I sure do! But seriously, there are only so many meals that you can eat reheated turkey and mashed potatoes without getting a little tired of it all. Instead of zapping everything back to life, give the turkey, stuffing and cranberries a new life with these delicious recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Recipes for Turkey Leftovers
- Lots of people are all about the traditional turkey sandwich, but sometimes you want the leftovers to take on a new life. If that’s you (and, ahem, me) try a Turkey, Fontina and Pancetta Pita Sandwich. Substitute warmed leftover turkey for the turkey cutlets. Or, whip up Big Girls Small Kitchen’s mouthwatering Turkey Reuben sandwiches.
- I love Tex-Mex twists on turkey leftovers. Almost every year, I whip up Turkey Enchiladas. Or take a cue from Kalyn’s Kitchen and try Turkey and Guacamole Quesadillas. I am such a guacamole addict, so that sounds incredible.
- If you love risotto like I do, then you have to try Artichoke, Turkey and Kalamata Risotto — it’s a big family favorite. With the days getting cold, this is the perfect substantial bite for a chilly winter night.
- I can attest that the recipe for Thanksgiving Stromboli from Sweetnicks is absolutely amazing. Flavorful, economical and just plain delish, you really need to try it. Mmm.
- Don’t toss the turkey carcass! It’s easy to transform it into a fantastic turkey stock. Then, that use that turkey stock to create a fabulous soup like Leftover Turkey Spicy Miso Ramen on Cooking with a Wallflower or, for a more traditional take, Turkey Noodle Soup from Skinnytaste.
- I am a sucker for spring rolls and the Leftover Turkey Spring Rolls recipe from The Pioneer Woman looks like an amazing revamp of turkey leftovers.
- One of my favorite things to do with holiday leftovers is to make hash but I’ve never tried it with turkey. Time for that to change! Check out the fragrant Turkey and Yam Hash with Sage on Nourished Kitchen — she suggests serving it with a dollop of cranberry sauce (or for breakfast). Or for a more traditional breakfast-ready version, whip up some craveworthy Turkey Hash with this recipe from Feast on the Cheap.
- When I saw this recipe for Turkey a La King recipe from Lauren’s Latest, I was smitten. It looks so creamy, dreamy and comforting for a day after Thanksgiving dinner, doesn’t it?
- If you have two cups of leftover turkey, then try this recipe for Turkey Gumbo from Steamy Kitchen. Served over rice, this colorful dish combines salty kielbasa with lots of veggies and turkey. Mmm …
- Indian spices like garam masala can make turkey leftovers into something really unique and delicious like in Leftover Turkey and Vegetable Curry on Food for my Family.
Recipes for Cranberry Sauce Leftovers
- Cranberry sauce is a natural for transforming into breakfast. Try my tender, sweet-tart Cranberry Coffee Cake made with leftover cranberry sauce. It’s awesome to wake up to. Or for a speedier breakfast goodie, bake up some Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls with the recipe at Serious Eats.
- Of course, if pancakes are your thing (Will adores them), then the recipe for Cranberry Buttermilk Pancakes on The Kitchn could be perfect.
- How about dessert? Cranberry sauce can easily slide into tasty sweets too, like my Cranberry Cheesecake Bars. Try the Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie on Epicurious or whip up the Cranberry Swirl Pumpkin Bars recipe on Baking Bites.
- Of course, cranberry sauce can also go savory too like in Fall Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette on The (ex)Expatriate’s Kitchen or Day after Thanksgiving Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette on The Sensitive Pantry.
Recipes for Stuffing/Dressing Leftovers
- If you have leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, you can reinvent all of these leftovers by making Cheesy Turkey Stuffing Burritos with Spicy Cranberry Salsa. With these, you can totally enjoy the leftovers in a whole new way.
- Stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. And the leftovers? They should be totally celebrated like in Robin Miller’s Stuffing Frittata recipe on Food Network. With a healthy dose of two cheeses and some leftover stuffing, it sounds delightful.
- For me, the best part of stuffing are the crispy bits. How about making your leftover stuffing into a crispy Stuffing Bite? Better yet, Sunny Anderson’s recipe also uses up some leftover cranberry sauce.
- If you are headed out, bring along a plate of Stuffed Mushrooms make with leftover stuffing. Pham Fatale has a recipe for them.
Recipes for Mashed Potato Leftovers
- What about the mashed potatoes? 101 Cookbooks transforms leftover mashed potatoes into a crusty, mouthwatering Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread.
- And how delicious do these Smashed Browns look with runny eggs on In Jennie’s Kitchen?
- Delicate crepes can also be made with leftover mashed potatoes, as in the recipe for Leftover Mashed Potato Crepes on Healthy Mama.
- Take a step away from the flavors of Thanksgiving for a delicious meal with Salmon Patties made with mashed potatoes from Cristina Ferrare.
- I saved the best for last. Seriously. Take those leftover mashed potatoes … and make them into delightful Chocolate Mashed Potato Cupcakes with the recipe from Sprinkle Bakes. Cupcakes! With a chocolate dipped potato chip! YUM!
(Originally published Nov. 27, 2009 … Updated Nov. 26, 2015 … and again Nov. 23, 2018)
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.