13 delicious recipes and ideas for leftover turkey: from soups to enchiladas


Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude with family, friends, and most importantly, food.

But after the guests are gone and the table cleared, many households may be faced with copious amounts of turkey and several side dishes to eat.

Fortunately, there are many delicious recipes to use your leftover turkey, from the infamous Friends sandwich with fantastic spring rolls.

1. Turkey Quesadilla

Tierraal Diggins’ recipe is for an incredible Mexican take on any leftover turkey.

Start with tortillas, Thanksgiving turkey, grated cheese, plus seasonings, salt, Cajun spices and black pepper.

Then place a generous amount of these ingredients on a half tortilla, fold it over and place it in a hot, dry pan.

Then cook for a few minutes on each side, making sure that they do not burn, before serving when the cheese is visibly melted.

2. Sandwich Moist Maker

One of Friends’ most iconic scenes shows Ross obsessed with Monica’s Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich, with gravy-soaked bread in the center.

Jamie Milne has now turned to TikTok to recreate one of television’s most famous bread snacks.

After toasting two slices of bread, spread some herb butter on a slice of bread, which will rest on the bottom, followed by mashed potatoes and leftover turkey.

Then, soak a third slice of toast in the sauce and place it on top. Then add the cranberry sauce, stuffing and spinach.

Finally, spread some more herb butter on the top slice of bread and add it to the sandwich, before slicing and serving.

3. Shepherd’s pie with turkey

Crista Santos swears by these leftover Thanksgiving comfort food, especially when eaten on a cold night.

She places a generous amount of leftover diced vegetables and meat in an aluminum pie base and adds enough sauce to generously cover the ingredients.

Then place the leftover stuffing on top, before spreading the cold mashed potatoes and heating in a 350F (180C) oven.

4. Turkey Spring Rolls with Peanut Cranberry Sauce

Chef Brenda describes this innovative twist on the Thanksgiving leftover canon as a “satisfying meal.”

For the sauce, combine the peanut butter, chili-garlic condiment, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and a generous spoonful of cranberries to taste.

Now stack an amount of assorted leftover Thanksgiving turkey, along with scrambled eggs and spinach, on a platter.

The sheets of rice paper should then be briefly soaked in lukewarm water and placed on a plate before starting to assemble the spring rolls, with Chef Brenda lining all the ingredients vertically, near the top.

5. Turkey Enchiladas

Alexa’s method of reusing leftover lunch is as easy to prepare as it would be healthy.

To start, soften an onion, garlic and one or two jalapeños in a frying pan, before adding three cups of grated turkey meat.

Next, combine a can of rinsed and drained black beans, two cups of Monterey Jack cheese and a little lime juice in a bowl.

Once all the ingredients are combined and blended, use it to fill eight tortillas, which when rolled are wrapped in a baking dish, soaked in enchilada sauce, topped with extra cheese, and baked in the oven.

6. Turkey salad

Brittany suggests this method to create a slightly lighter way to use up leftover bird, which she often enjoys for lunch.

She adds turkey, red onion, celery, dried cranberries and a generous dollop of mayonnaise to a bowl.

Then lemon juice, salt and pepper, mustard and chopped almonds are all added to the mixture, which then simply needs to be mixed well.

She suggests it can be served in a sandwich, on a bed of lettuce, or even with crackers.

7. Cheese turkey croquets

Shay Spence recommends chopping up leftover turkey and mixing it with potatoes.

He then sets up a “breading station”, comprising a bowl of beaten egg, another of flour and a third of seasoned breadcrumbs.

Now take a handful of the potato-turkey mixture, with a piece of cheese added in the center, before sprinkling with flour, dipping in the egg and finally the crumbs.

These balls must then be put in the refrigerator before they can be fried in a pan of neutral oil.

8. Turkey pot pie

Liz Capi recommends using leftover turkey from November 25 to create a healthy dinner the next day.

She begins by making a volute sauce with a knob of butter, before adding slices of celery, carrot and onion.

Then add half a cup of flour, three cups of chicken broth, bring to a boil then add half a cup of peas, corn, seasoning and leftover turkey.

Once this mixture has cooled, pour into a pie pan lined with egg-washed dough, add a pastry lid slightly notched to allow air to escape, and bake for 30 minutes.

9. Turkey Pho

Christy Nguyễn thinks this recipe saves all wasted Thanksgiving food.

She begins by shredding all the meat from the bones and adding it to a saucepan filled with about 1 liter of water to make a broth.

Add to that an onion, a piece of ginger, sugar, star anise and chicken soup base powder.

Fresh pho noodles only need to be submerged in hot water for 15 seconds before they become soft and they should be drained, moved to a bowl, before adding the turkey and now ready soup.

Finally, add chopped spring onions, cilantro, bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime before serving.

10. Filipino turkey sopas

This Filipino recipe is a nifty way to use up leftover turkey.

Melt a knob of butter and add the onions and garlic, then the sauce for about three minutes before adding the carrots and celery.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, before adding the turkey broth, which can be made yourself, by boiling the bird’s bones for about an hour.

Skim off any scum that may rise to the surface, then add the meat and a drizzle of chicken stock.

In a separate saucepan, boil some macaroni, which will keep the pasta from absorbing the excess soup.

Then add the macaroni, a can of evaporated milk, cabbage and season with fish sauce.

11. Creamy wild rice and turkey soup

This recipe promises to make a balanced meal in just one pan, to avoid excessive dishes afterwards.

Start with a wide array of fresh, seasonal vegetables, with the chef on this occasion including onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.

Once softened, the wild rice is introduced into the pot, then quality chicken broth.

Leftover turkey is then tossed when the rice is almost done, then add cream and fresh spinach before serving.

12. Yorkshire wrap

This Grace Keen recipe is a unique British take on the dilemma of what to do with amounts of turkey.

Start by adding a good glue of olive oil to a dish and let it heat up in an oven at 200C.

While it is heating, mix 230 g of plain flour, three eggs, a teaspoon of baking powder, a little salt and pepper then, very gradually, add 300 ml of milk.

Once this dough is nice and smooth, add it to the dish of hot oil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cut the resulting Yorkshire pudding in half and add any Thanksgiving leftovers.

13. Leftover Thanksgiving Benedict Eggs

Shay Spence describes his dish as “the best thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers.”

The chef starts with the leftover cold stuffing squeezed together enough that they can be cut into patties.

Then add them to a frying pan covered in sizzling butter, with a few slices of turkey tucked aside shortly after.

Once the parries and meat are caramelized, remove from the pan, add more butter and fry a few eggs.

Once cooked, place a little turkey on the patty, cover with an egg, then add a little of the remaining sauce and serve.

A Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Corn
bhofack2 / Getty Images

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