16 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

Published November 26, 2021 6:00AM (EST)

 (James Ransom / Food52)
(James Ransom / Food52)

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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:

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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. Deconstructed Turkey and Brie Sandwich

The most festive charcuterie board that autumn has ever seen! Cheese board extraordinaire Marissa Mullen makes hers with deli turkey, but feel free to swap leftover Thanksgiving turkey in its place. Garlic confit, sliced apples, grapes, fresh brie, an assortment of nuts, and fig jam bring it all together.

2. Stock

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

3. Maple-Glazed Leftover Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Relish

I know I said this wasn't a roundup of leftover turkey sandwich recipes, but I'm not above including one or two. And this one is really good. Instead of warming the leftover turkey up in the microwave or oven, recipe developer Catherine Yoo reheats the turkey in a skillet in a combination of melted butter and maple syrup.

4. Curried Smoked Turkey Salad

Did you smoke a turkey this year? Repurpose it in the form of this garlicky, balsamic-laced turkey salad that's inspired by Amanda Hesser's favorite meal from the now-closed Iris Cafe in Brooklyn Heights.

5. Turkey Pot Pie

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

6. The Silver Palate's Turkey Hash Salad

"This salad is exactly what you'll want to eat (and cook) the day after Thanksgiving — and includes a smart hack for quicker roasted garlic, too," according to our editors. It's the perfect recipe to use up Thanksgiving leftovers like roasted potatoesshredded cooked turkey, and salad greens.

7. Leftover Turkey Soup

The best part of Thanksgiving is getting to gather with loved ones to share a delicious meal. But a close second is leftovers! They can get a little boring on their own, so recipe developer Rachel Gurjar turned cooked turkey meat and homemade turkey stock into a cozy soup that will keep you warmfor chilly days to come.

8. Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast "Burritos"

For a delicious twist on a day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast, fill a large flour tortilla with all the fixins' — a spoonful of leftover mashed potatoes, a scoop of leftover cranberry sauce, diced roast turkey, and stuffing.

9. 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.

10. Turkey Empanadas

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

11. Turkey Tetrazzini

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

12. 'Thankful for Leftover Turkey' Jambalaya

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

13. Turkey Quiche

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

14. Pull-Apart Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffed Bread

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

15. Canal House Turkey and Potato Soup

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

16. 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.

By Katie Macdonald

MORE FROM Katie Macdonald

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Food Food52 Leftovers Recipes Thanksgiving Turkey