Don't let those Thanksgiving leftovers go to waste! Here are some of the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes that will not only put that turkey and dressing to good use, but also taste so good that no one will think of these as "just leftovers." From comforting soups and mains to creative appetizers and breakfasts, these recipes are sure to become your new favorites and will make you look forward to leftovers!
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Are you looking for the perfect way to turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into a new and delicious meal or side dish and not let anything go to waste?
Me, too! In fact, leftovers are my favorite part of a traditional turkey meal - I make a whole meal just for our family to have enough leftovers.
With the countless recipe options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Which is why I've gathered the best recipes that will have everyone in your household craving more.
In the twenty-nine recipes below, you’ll find all the inspiration you need to turn your leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing into tasty dishes the whole family can enjoy. There are also recipes where you'll learn to use a few of your leftovers to make completely new dishes.
So don’t worry about what you're going to do with all the leftovers after Thanksgiving – you’ll have more than enough delicious recipes to choose from - and the leftovers may become your favorite part of the holiday, too!
This list is organized by typical main ingredient leftovers, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. Some overlap, but this gives you a general idea.
Scroll through them all or use the table of contents below to go to the section you need.
- 1. Turkey Noodle Soup (Leftover Meat & Bones)
- 2. Curried Turkey and Rice Soup
- 3. Thai Inspired Turkey Curry
- 4. Thanksgiving Sliders
- 5. Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pizza
- 6. Thanksgiving Leftovers Eggs Benedict
- 7. Chicken-Turkey Spinach Frittata
- 8. Cheesy Chicken/Turkey Artichoke Dip
- 9. Easy Chicken/Turkey Calzones - Ready in 1 Hour
- 10. Cranberry Feta Chicken/Turkey Salad
- 11. Slow Cooker Chicken/Turkey Chili
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- The leftover everyone thinks of first?
- Even More Holiday Recipes
BIG TIP: You can substitute turkey in ANY of your favorite recipes that call for chicken!
1. Turkey Noodle Soup (Leftover Meat & Bones)
A classic, comforting soup that you can literally make from the bones and meat still attached - in other words, what some people throw away. Once you taste this - and smell it cooking all day - you will never throw the bones away again.
This is probably my favorite leftover turkey soup now - the curry powder and coconut milk take the ingredients to a whole other level. It's so good - and really good for lunches after, as the flavors just get better and better in this.
While this has coconut milk like the curried soup, the flavor profile is completely different because curry paste is used instead of Indian style curry powder. This is such a great way to use up leftover turkey (or chicken) and any roasted veggies you may have. Fill in with frozen beans and a few fresh vegetables. You really can't go wrong with this! Serve over brown rice for a one dish meal.
You can add what you'd like to make these sliders - turkey, cranberry sauce - even stuffing! The sliders are brushed with a seasoned butter sauce that makes these into a new dish everyone will love.
You start with a homemade pizza crust (use the one in the recipe or to save raising time, you can use my super easy homemade crust) and then spread your leftovers on top- mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey - all topped with mozzarella.
This is such a unique idea - transform your turkey, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and gravy into an eggs Benedict! It's simply a matter of toasting your roll, layering it with leftovers and topping it all with gravy.
The following five recipes all originally call for chicken - sub in your leftover turkey (and even other leftovers) for even more choices:
Add some Mediterranean flavors to your leftovers with this frittata that calls for garlic and feta cheese. Use any leftover meat and vegetables that you have, filling in with spinach for a hearty breakfast or dinner.
Turn your remaining cooked turkey into a yummy dip to take to holiday get togethers with this recipe featuring artichokes, onions, and cheese.
Use this recipe as a guideline to use up what you have - start with my easy pizza dough and then fill it with cooked turkey and any veggies you have. Top with cheese, bake, and then spoon pizza sauce or roasted tomato sauce over the top.
Sub turkey for the chicken in this recipe and if your cranberry sauce is chunky, you can even use some of that instead of the dried cranberries. The feta adds a fun flavor the the seasonal foods and you can serve this in tortilla wraps, lettuce wraps, or as a dip for crackers or toasted breads.
Change up the flavor profile of your leftover turkey to the southwest with chili seasoning, beans, corn, and tomatoes. Serve with cheese quesadillas.
Make these delicious cranberry crumb loaves and/or muffins with dried cranberries and your choice of fresh berries or leftover cranberry sauce. I always choose to add leftover sauce because of the wonderful pockets of flavor it adds.
MORE: Get this and 11 more recipes for different breads that all use cranberry sauce here!
I love the idea of a leftover Thanksgiving salad with turkey and roasted veggies, and using cranberry sauce to make a delicious vinaigrette is the best idea! So refreshing after all the holiday foods, right?
The recipe uses apple butter as the filling, but oat bars are adaptable to any filling - simply use your leftover cranberry sauce in place of the apple butter and bake away. You'll love the flavor variation - and you can use ANY fruit jam, butter, or sauce as the filling for oat bars.
Use leftover cranberry sauce to make a sweet-and-spicy sauce for meatballs, either homemade or store bought. This sauce uses pantry items like brown sugar, hot sauce and soy sauce instead of a lot of other canned foods, so it's really a good way to use up leftover sauce.
This recipe uses leftover mashed potatoes for the topping and cooked turkey (or chicken) for the filling with added veggies, changing up the traditional shepherd's pie filling with a tomato base. This would be a perfect way to use up any leftover vegetables, too. Just add any roasted or cooked veggies you have left - you can even add green bean casserole if you have it!
Add cheese, eggs, and scallions to mashed potatoes, form into balls and then coat and fry until crisp. Such a fun appetizer - you can even dip in leftover gravy or cranberry sauce.
Transform your mashed potatoes into little chewy pillows of gnocchi! Make a sheet pan dinner with the gnocchi and roasted veggies for a clever and different way to use up leftovers.
Make a filling of ground meat and veggies and stuff leftover mashed potato cakes with it for a different twist on mashed potato balls. These are pan fried, so you can skip the frying.
Here's a fun way to use up any mashed potatoes you have - make little pan fried cakes with added cheese and bacon. Serve for breakfast with fried eggs or with dinner as a side dish.
Adding cheese, egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings to mashed sweet potatoes creates perfect little cakes that can be pan fried and used as a snack or side dish for any meal.
With the help of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce your sweet potatoes can become a delicious dinner when mixed with a creamy cheese sauce.
Adding mashed sweet potatoes to biscuits gives them extra depth of flavor and nutrition. You only need a half cup, so save some leftovers to make this recipe.
This is literally my favorite thing to do with leftover stuffing! You simply mix the stuffing with eggs and cook it in a waffle pan with a little oil and they get all nice and crispy. You can serve them with eggs for breakfast, but my favorite thing is to use them for a leftover dinner - pile them with turkey, vegetables, and gravy. Yum.
With the addition of eggs, turkey, and spinach your leftover dressing makes a perfect breakfast on the go. You can change out the vegetable, add cheese or even make this as a breakfast casserole.
This easy appetizer is a matter of mixing ground sausage with stuffing and cheese (and bacon if you want to go over the top), shaping into balls and baking for 25 minutes. You can make them now with leftover stuffing, freeze them, and pull them out for Christmas get-togethers when you need them.
So easy! You literally use your stuffing mixed with a little broth to stuff mushrooms then add a bit of grated cheese on top.
You've seen gravy used in many of the preceding recipes, usually as a topping, but if you need another idea, you can always add leftover gravy to any turkey or chicken vegetable soup recipe! Used instead of a portion of broth, it adds a depth and acts as a bit of thickener. Here's a recipe to try it in:
Got twenty minutes of time to make a nourishing, real food soup? That's all the hands-on time this soup takes, then it cooks away into a delicious one-dish dinner in another hour while you get to do something else. Decrease the broth by however much gravy you have.
The leftover everyone thinks of first?
Probably a sandwich!
How about adding some turkey bacon along with the cooked turkey, cranberry sauce, mayo and lettuce? Yes, please.
Even More Holiday Recipes
- 17 Fabulous Cranberry Bread Recipes (including yeast, gluten free & paleo options)
- 20+ Favorite Christmas Cookies and Candies
- Perfect Make-Ahead Christmas Brunch (with Menu Printable!)