31 Genius Recipe Ideas to Use Up Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Move over, boring day-after turkey meals—new Thanksgiving leftover recipes are here. Try our Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup or the Ultimate Turkey Avocado Sandwich, or opt for a Leftover Turkey Salad if you're in the mood for something light. We have delicious ideas to use up all your leftovers: turkey, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, green beans and even the cranberry sauce!
Leftover Turkey Stew
This hearty and healthy turkey stew recipe is just about the best use of Thanksgiving leftovers we can think of. And we don't just mean the turkey. The stew is packed with leftover roasted vegetables—use whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as Brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes and green beans. And leftover gravy is used to add depth of flavor and body. Possibly the best part of this stew recipe? It comes together really quickly—because don't we all need a 20-minute dinner after the craziness of Thanksgiving? Add some leftover bread or rolls and dinner is done. This recipe is equally delicious with leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken, and we've included instructions for making a quick gravy in case you don't have leftovers, so you can serve this Thanksgiving-in-a-pot year-round.
The Ultimate Turkey Avocado Sandwich
After Thanksgiving, we cannot get enough leftover turkey recipes—and this healthy turkey avocado sandwich will help you use up Thanksgiving leftovers and more. If you really want to do this sandwich up, chef Hugh Acheson suggests searing a slice of turkey stuffing or bread pudding until it's nice and crispy and putting it between the turkey and avocado.
Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Use leftovers from turkey day to make this healthier twist on a classic creamy turkey and wild rice soup that hails from Minnesota. Serve with a crisp romaine salad and whole-grain bread.
Curry-Cashew Turkey Salad Sandwiches
Hot curry powder (sometimes labeled as Madras curry powder) gives this healthy sandwich a kick. For a mellower flavor, you can use regular or mild curry powder in its place.
Chipotle Turkey Tostadas
This recipe shows you how to make tostada shells from corn tortillas. Think of a tostada as an open-face taco: a crispy corn tortilla smothered in toppings.
Turkey, Pesto & Broccoli Pasta
This easy pasta recipe is a weeknight dinner lifesaver. While shelf-stable pesto will work here, we prefer the fresh flavor and more vibrant color of refrigerated pesto. Look for it in the refrigerated section of your supermarket, near the fresh pasta and marinara sauce.
Turkey, Pasta & Vegetable Soup
This simple, clean turkey soup is full of vegetables and shredded turkey, making it perfect for after the holidays when you have leftovers on hand. Don't forget to save your Parmesan rinds! Adding one to a soup like this adds a rich umami flavor.
Leftover Turkey Salad
Holiday leftovers often end up in casseroles and soups, but they are also delicious in a light but hearty salad whether you made deep-fried turkey or it was roasted to a golden brown. This recipe also takes advantage of leftover stuffing (which is transformed into crisp croutons), cranberry sauce (which enhances the dressing) and whatever leftover roasted vegetables you have on hand.
Turkey Wild Rice Salad
This 25-minutes, main dish, grain salad features a wild rice mix and cooked turkey breast. Sweet apples and dried cherries are a pleasing contrast to the crunchy celery and toasted pecans, and the thyme-flavored dressing enhances all the different flavors nicely. It can be chilled for up to 24 hours, so consider making it a day ahead.
Turkey and Rice Soup
Use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and plenty of veggies to make a delicious, classic soup in only 30 minutes.
Cranberry Crumble Bars
Not only do these cranberry-orange bars make use of leftover cranberry sauce, but they also freeze well. Make a batch on a free afternoon and pop them in the freezer so you'll always have a healthy dessert on hand when company calls.
Leftover Turkey Gumbo
This dish puts other healthy leftover turkey recipes to shame. Chef Hugh Acheson puts his unique spin on gumbo by mixing untraditional spices like allspice and coriander with must-have thyme and filé powder. Also called gumbo filé, filé powder is the finely ground leaves of the sassafras tree; look for it in well-stocked supermarkets or online. Serve the gumbo over rice and don't forget to pass the hot sauce.
Prepared the original way, this dish has the potential to be astoundingly high in calories and fat. This diabetic-friendly version is healthier but tastes just as terrific. Serve it with a side salad tossed with reduced-calorie Italian dressing.
Kale, Cranberry & Bulgur Salad with Turkey
Use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of the turkey breast the recipe calls for. Feel free to top it with blue cheese for a little umami.
Turkey Dinner in a Skillet
Here's a new way to enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner taste! Turkey tenderloin slices, broccoli and bread "stuffing" cook up quickly in this layered one-skillet dinner.
Loaded Mashed Potato Pancakes
Turn your leftover mashed potatoes into delicious, savory, crispy pancakes, studded with Cheddar cheese, bacon and chives. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some additional chives to make it extra-special.
You might look forward to the days after Thanksgiving even more than the holiday itself with this easy turkey potpie recipe that's the perfect use for leftover turkey and extra vegetables like carrots and onions you might have on hand from the holiday. The pie is loaded with veggies and a creamy sauce, then topped with a prepared whole-wheat crust so there's no need to make dough. No leftover cooked turkey? This healthy potpie is just as delicious with chicken. Serve it up any time you need a dose of comfort food for dinner.
3-Ingredient Cranberry-Brie Bites
Baked Brie is a perennially popular appetizer. Here, we complement the Brie with tart cranberry sauce and bake it in pretty individual tartlets using premade pie crust for an ultra-easy crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Turkey Salad with Oranges
This simple 30-minute salad recipe is perfect for a quick lunch. Leftover turkey is tossed with arugula and bell pepper in a honey-Dijon vinaigrette, then topped with fresh orange sections—each bite is a burst of fresh flavors!
Sweet Potato Hash
Put your turkey leftovers to good use in this simple hash recipe. You'll love how the sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, and cinnamon combine with the turkey to create a complete meal.
Mexican-Style Turkey Soup
Red sweet pepper, winter squash and cilantro brighten up this spicy soup, making this Mexican-inspired one-dish meal the perfect family dinner. Accompany with a fresh fruit salad and warm crusty bread.
Quick Shepherd's Pie
In this simple shepherd's pie recipe, you can use your leftover mashed potatoes to top the meat and vegetables. We call for flavorful lean ground lamb, which isn't always easy to find. You can use lean ground beef or turkey instead. Pulse briefly in a food processor just until uniformly ground.
Turkey & Bean Soup
Be creative with your holiday leftovers—there's more to after-Thanksgiving eating than cold turkey sandwiches. This simple turkey soup is loaded with cannellini beans, which add protein and fiber without adding calories. Enjoy this soup any time of the year by making our Herb-Roasted Turkey & Vegetables (see associated recipe), which makes enough for a meal as well as this soup.
Waldorf Turkey Salad
Try this crunchy, healthy salad recipe anytime you have leftover turkey or chicken. It makes a great lunch served on a bed of delicate butterhead lettuce leaves.
Turkey & Wild Rice Soup with Vegetables
Thanksgiving turkey leftovers have never been so delicious. Wild rice adds a nutty flavor—plus extra protein and fiber—to this creamy, hearty soup. Try this easy, healthy turkey recipe to help you use your holiday extras.
Turkey & Cheddar Lettuce Wraps
Use Thanksgiving turkey in place of the deli slices for this recipe. Crispy green lettuce leaves hold the filling inside this low-carb turkey wrap. It's perfect for lunch or a quick, easy dinner on the go.
Quick Chili Bowl
This quick-and-easy chili recipe is not only delicious, but it also packs in 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving.
Need to use up leftover turkey from the holidays? Make this low fat casserole. It's made with brown rice and lots of vegetables.
This wrap is quick-and-easy to prepare and is the perfect lunch solution for all of those Thanksgiving leftovers.
Crispy Turkey Tostadas
Shredded leftover turkey tops homemade tostadas in this Tex-Mex favorite. Making your own tostada shells from fresh corn tortillas is easier than you might think—crisp them up in the oven while you prepare the toppings. Choose either regular petite diced tomatoes or those with added jalapeños, depending on your inclination for spicy food. Serve with black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce on the side.
Turkey-Green Bean Shepherd's Pie
In this simple dish, shredded turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes are layered and topped with reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. It's a great way to use leftovers from your holiday meal!