25 Genius Recipe Ideas to Use Up Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

leftover turkey stew

Move over, boring day-after turkey meals. Try our Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup or the Ultimate Turkey Avocado Sandwich. We have delicious ideas to use up all your leftovers: turkey, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, green beans and even the cranberry sauce!

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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.

02 of 26

Foh Gai Jook (Turkey Jook)

a recipe photo of the Turkey Jook served in a bowl with some nuts, green onions, and sauce beside it

Jook is what the Cantonese call rice porridge. Frequently eaten either at breakfast or as a late-night snack, jook is a comfort food beloved in many Asian cultures—Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, Filipino and more. This homey rice porridge is a delicious way to repurpose your turkey carcass.

03 of 26

Leftover-Turkey Hand Pies

Leftover-Turkey Hand Pies
Photography / Caitlin Bensel, Styling / Ruth Blackburn

These leftover-turkey hand pies are Thanksgiving all wrapped up in flaky pastry. Now you can enjoy all of your Thanksgiving favorites in one bite, using whatever leftovers you have in the fridge.

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Turkey Nachos

Chicken Nachos
Jennifer Causey

These quick nachos work well with shredded turkey breast if you have leftovers around. Crunchy chips are topped with hot spiced shredded chicken or turkey, beans and melted cheese with cooling chunks of avocado, red onion and cilantro. If you like the heat, add jalapeño slices at the end.

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Turkey-Apple-Brie Sandwiches


Hollowed-out baguettes hold a satisfying combo of tart apples, creamy Brie and protein-rich, shredded turkey.

06 of 26

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.

07 of 26

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.

08 of 26

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.

09 of 26

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries & Turkey

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries & Turkey

Give leftover turkey new life with these delicious stuffed potatoes. A drizzle of homemade honey-mustard dressing soaks into the hot potatoes, adding tons of flavor.

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Hot Turkey Pesto Sandwich

Turkey Pesto Sandwich
Victor Protasio

This turkey pesto sandwich features fresh mozzarella cheese, which melts beautifully, creating a gooey, cheesy bite. Serve for lunch or dinner alongside a bowl of soup for a filling meal.

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One-Pot Turkey Vegetable Soup

One-Pot Turkey Vegetable Soup
Photography / Antonis Achilleos, Styling / Christine Keely, Ali Ramee

Got leftover turkey? Use it in this turkey vegetable soup for a satisfying main dish that's full of bright flavors thanks to the use of lemon juice and lemon zest.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Turkey Potpie


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Turkey & Cheddar Lettuce Wraps

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.

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Turkey-Vegetable Bake


Need to use up leftover turkey from the holidays? Make this low fat casserole. It's made with brown rice and lots of vegetables.

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Turkey-Cranberry Wrap


This wrap is quick-and-easy to prepare and is the perfect lunch solution for all of those Thanksgiving leftovers.

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Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Hash


This one-pan hash makes an easy fall dinner or a simple dish for a healthy brunch. You can even poach the eggs ahead of time--slip them into steaming-hot water to rewarm them just before serving.

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Turkey & Leek Shepherd's Pie


The mashed potato-covered shepherd's pie was originally created to use up the leftovers from a festive roast. This version blends peas, leeks and carrots with diced turkey, all in a creamy herb sauce. The dish is a perfect way to create a second meal with the holiday turkey but if you like, use leftover roast chicken, duck or goose.

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Chicken, Arugula & Butternut Squash Salad with Brussels Sprouts


Hot roasted vegetables lightly wilt the arugula in this healthy dinner salad recipe. Keep prep time minimal with leftover chicken, precut butternut squash and trimmed Brussels sprouts.

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Crispy Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

Crispy Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

Jazz up your mashed potatoes by rolling them into balls with bacon and cheese and giving them a crispy coating in the oven. You can enjoy these as a fun side dish or an appetizer for your next holiday dinner.

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