After all your hard work making the perfect turkey, use one of these inventive recipes and make the best of your leftovers. Believe it or not, you may like your leftovers more than your Thanksgiving dinner!
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Best Leftover Turkey Recipes
Every year after Thanksgiving, we’re always left with lots of leftover roasted turkey or smoked turkey from our Thanksgiving menu. While we sometimes just heat it up again, it’s also fun to whip up a whole new dish using leftovers.
You’ll find lots of options to choose from on this list – most of which are easy, quick and made with simple ingredients. All are so delicious! So take a look at this amazing list and start cooking your favorites today.
Tips for Using Leftover Turkey
- White vs. dark meat. The turkey breast is considered the white meat, while areas like the wings, legs and thighs are considered to be dark meat. White meat is more lean, however the extra fat on the dark meat makes it a bit more flavorful. Both taste great, so using a mix of each will give you a good balance of flavors.
- Use the carcass too! It’s not all about the leftover meat. Save your turkey bones and use them to make homemade turkey stock for your leftover turkey soup. You can also use the drippings to make turkey gravy to serve over Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes!
- Carving. When carving your turkey, slice a few larger pieces from the breast to save for making turkey sandwiches the next day. That way it fits on the bread perfectly in just one slice!
- Reheating leftover turkey. To reheat turkey in the oven without drying it out add a splash of water or broth and cover your baking dish with aluminum foil. Reheat at a low temp. The foil prevents moisture from escaping and the low temp prevents flavor loss.
Turkey is such a versatile meat, so there are plenty of ways to use it up! We especially love using it to make soups, casseroles, pot pie, salads and sandwiches. It makes a great substitution for shredded chicken in just about any recipe, so the options really are endless!
Any leftover cooked turkey will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days, which gives you plenty of time to use it up!
If the meat has dried out a bit in the fridge, you can moisten it back up in the oven. Simply add the turkey to a baking dish and pour in a little turkey stock or chicken broth. Then reheat on a lower temperature (about 300°F) until warm.
You want to avoid reheating the turkey using high heat methods like the microwave, as it will likely dry it out even more.
Yes! Just remove your turkey from the bones first and if you can freeze it in slices to retain moisture and help thaw evenly. Keep frozen for up to 3 months.
After the biggest meal of the year, it’s only natural that you may be wondering what to make that isn’t too heavy. Soup makes the perfect light meal to try!
- Leftover Turkey Soup: This is my number one go-to recipe. Made in just one pot.
- Pot Pie Soup: Perfectly rich and creamy. Easier than making the homemade version from scratch.
- Noodle Soup: Chicken noodle soup flavors with a turkey twist! Perfect for a chilly winter day.
- White Chili: Make easier by using turkey instead of chicken. A simple dump-and-go crockpot meal.
- One-Pot Wild Rice Soup: Toss in your turkey at the end and have soup ready in just 30 minutes.
- Gnocchi Soup: Such a fantastic flavor profile! Creamy, thick and super hearty.
- Lemon Orzo Soup: Bright and zesty from the lemon flavor. Made in just 35 minutes.
If you have an abundance of meat, try one of these hearty recipes. These are guaranteed to be loved by the entire family, and will stretch your Thanksgiving meal even further.
- Turkey Tetrazzini: Classic comfort dish that’s family friendly! Great for freezing too.
- Turkey Pot Pie: Made with a flaky pie crust and creamy filling. This dish is always a family favorite.
- Pot Pie with Biscuits: An easier take on the homemade version made with canned biscuits instead of pie crust.
- Breakfast Pie: Add in the turkey along with the eggs, veggies and cheese. There are so many ways to make this recipe your own.
- Broccoli Rice Casserole: Replace the chicken with turkey for a delicious twist.
- White Lasagna with Pesto: Creamy, cheesy and so comforting. You might like this version better than the classic red sauce lasagna.
- Savory Crepes: Instead of ham or bacon, add your leftover turkey and make a savory version of my favorite crepe recipe. You could also swap turkey for the meat in these chicken crepes or ham and cheese crepes.
Salads and Sandwiches
If you are in need of a break from cooking, these salads and sandwiches are some of the best leftover turkey recipes. These recipes can be put together quickly, and in most cases require no (or very little) cooking at all.
- Fall Salad: Perfect after a heavy Thanksgiving meal! Made with fall favorites like apples, roasted butternut squash and cranberries.
- Club Lettuce Wraps: A light and fresh option. Great for those we are looking for an easy low carb recipe.
- Avocado Toast: Simple, quick and delicious. Add an egg for even more protein!
- Sliders: Replace the ham with sliced turkey for a fun twist. My family always begs for this recipe.
- Winter Salad: A light and healthy salad filled with winter favorites like pomegranates, pecans and butternut squash.
- Sweet Potato Salad: Impressive and crave worthy! The leftover turkey will taste amazing paired with the roasted sweet potatoes.
- Buffalo Wrap: Toss the cooked turkey in buffalo sauce, then wrap in a tortilla with your favorite toppings. So delicious!
The Full List
Click on the links below to find the recipes for all of the delicious leftover turkey recipes mentioned above.
Which one of these incredible leftover Thanksgiving recipes will you make first?