In this post: Transform Thanksgiving leftovers into delicious meals with these genius ways to use them up, so you’re not wondering what to do with all that food!

So the big day has come and gone – or it will soon and you’re super prepared! The family got together. Everyone gave thanks. And your Turkey dinner is complete. You survived. But now what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Well, here are a bunch of ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers so you never have to wonder what to do with them again!

15 genius ways to use thanksgiving leftovers text over a grid of 4 photos including turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes

What Leftover Foods Can You Transform?

You can use just about any leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner to make something else. As long as you’ve not left it out for more than a couple of hours at room temperature before packing it up and refrigerating it, of course! 

Here are some of the leftovers you may have:

  • turkey
  • cranberry sauce
  • mashed potatoes
  • roasted vegetables
  • sweet potato
  • peppers
  • rice
  • pies 
  • pumpkin 
  • green bean casserole
  • mushrooms
  • stuffing

Thanksgiving Leftovers Tip: Prepare Ahead!

Make sure you’ve cleared out your fridge and that you have airtight containers or food storage bags handy for easy clean up on Turkey Day!

15 Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

What can you make with Thanksgiving leftovers?

A lot!

Make brand new dishes out of your leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and all of your Thanksgiving leftovers.

1. Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey pot pie is a delicious and simple way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s especially easy if you use the Quick Spooned-On Crust we use in our Chicken Pot Pie recipe! Just switch out the chicken for leftover turkey. You can even use some leftover mashed potatoes in place of regular potatoes and you’ve got yourself one delicious and quick pot pie!

chicken pot pie with quick spooned on crust

2. Turkey and Stuffing Sandwich

This one is easy – and one of my brother-in-law’s favorite uses for leftover turkey and stuffing! Just spread a little butter on two slices of bread, add leftover turkey, and a scoop of stuffing. If you like you can even add some lettuce, mayo, dijon mustard, or a pickle slice or two as well!

3. Leftover Thanksgiving Casserole

Casseroles are the most basic of things to make.

Okay, maybe not THE most basic. But essentially you just add a bunch of ingredients into a casserole dish, season, and bake.

There are so many versions of a leftover Thanksgiving casserole out there. One of the simplest is just to layer stuffing, turkey, and leftover mashed potatoes into a greased casserole dish, top with cheese and then bake until heated through and cheese melts. 

Of course, you could always add bacon, onions or some leftover gravy before the cheese for a more moist casserole too.

4. Leftover Turkey Soup

I’d like to say that leftover turkey soup is my sister’s specialty. Don’t get me wrong, she can cook many things. But no one makes leftover turkey soup quite as she does. Basically, she puts all the leftovers (turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots and turnips, green beans, stuffing) into a large stockpot with some broth or water and adds garlic and other seasonings. Then she lets it simmer for a bit to meld all the flavors. Often she’ll do this right after dinner and then puts the whole stockpot into the fridge overnight and reheats it for lunch the next day. If you happen to be low on veggies, you can add some frozen beans or peas, etc. to the pot before simmering.

5. Shepherd’s Pie with Turkey

Technically Shepherd’s Pie should be made with lamb (shepherd’s, sheep, lamb – get it?). But I’ve made and served it with ground beef, ground turkey, and ground chicken too. If you find yourself with too much leftover Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes, you could also make Shepherd’s Pie with those. Simply replace the ground meat in any Shepherd’s Pie recipe with leftover turkey and season as the recipe suggests. Plus, you could save yourself a step and use leftover mashed potatoes for the top too!

6. Sweet Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie

Everyone loves the classic comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie. But sometimes, potatoes are just no bueno or you have a ton of leftover sweet potatoes.

For those times, here’s an easy Sweet Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie recipe to soothe that comfort food craving!

7. Turkey Chili

This is another one of those easy replacement options. Take our Slow Cooker Chili recipe and replace the ground meat with leftover turkey. Or make a lighter leftover turkey chili with white beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic, and chicken broth if you’d rather not use tomatoes.

slow cooker chili in a bowl

8. Turkey and Stuffing Quiche

Much like casseroles, quiche is another one of those fairly simple recipe styles to master. We have a yummy Spinach, Herb, and Garlic Quiche here. Even if you don’t want to use cheese, you can make a simple turkey and stuffing quiche by placing leftover turkey and stuffing into a greased pie plate and then pour 8-10 beaten eggs on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through (the quiche won’t ‘jiggle’ when it’s moved). Serve with a side of leftover cranberry sauce or salsa for a spicier kick.

spinach and cheese quiche

9. Leftover Thanksgiving Panini

If you have a sandwich press, you can make delicious hot sandwiches and paninis. To use up Thanksgiving leftovers to make a panini, simply place leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce between two slices of bread with some cheese (or a cheese substitute) and press or grill.

10. Turkey Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is simply an Italian meat sauce for pasta. So you can make an easy Turkey Bolognese sauce using our Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe and add leftover turkey. Serve with hot, fresh pasta.

homemade spaghetti sauce

11. Turkey, Cranberry, and Almond Salad

Sometimes I crave something a little lighter after feasting at Thanksgiving. Something like salad. I’m sure you feel the same! But even the lowly salad can be made tastier with Thanksgiving leftovers. Using our Chunky Chicken Salad recipe as a base, trade the chicken for leftover turkey and the grapes for leftover cranberry sauce. Add almonds as the nuts. Voila! Turkey, Cranberry, and Almond Salad. Now you’ve got yourself a lighter version of Thanksgiving leftovers!

12. Quick Pulled Turkey

If you like pulled chicken, you could make a quicker version with leftover turkey. Just replace the chicken breasts in our 3 Ingredient Pulled Chicken recipe with leftover turkey and reduce the cooking time to an hour or until the chicken is heated through and the sauce is bubbling.

pulled chicken sandwich

13. Turkey Caesar Salad

Everyone has heard of chicken Caesar salad, but I think that Turkey Caesar salad is really yummy too. Especially when you use plenty of garlic as we do in our Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe and even our Halfway Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing! If you need a crouton recipe to go with your turkey Caesar salad, we’ve got a great gluten-free one here. Or try leftover stuffing instead of croutons!

caesar salad |

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers! Now you never have to wonder what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers again!

14. Cranberry Sauce Muffins

A delicious way to use up leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Cranberry Sauce Muffins make an excellent breakfast option.

These Cranberry Sauce Muffins make an excellent breakfast or snack option. Tastes divine when served warm with a pat of butter or more cranberry sauce and your favorite warm holiday beverage.

cranberry muffins on wood cutting board

15. Turkey Stir Fry

Simply replace the chicken with leftover turkey in this simple Honey Garlic stir fry. Add sauces and seasonings as you normally would with stir fry and serve with rice.

honey garlic stir fry in a red pan

Be sure to Pin these ideas for later!

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How do you use Thanksgiving leftovers? Any tried and true leftover recipes?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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