Gobble Gobble: 6 Ways to Use up Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 18, 2022  |  By Peg Kern
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Thanksgiving dinner buffet.Chances are, the day after Thanksgiving the last thing you want to think about is more food. But you also probably have plenty of leftovers to last you some time. According to statista.com, 81% of Americans include turkey on their Thanksgiving menu. And I guarantee you they aren’t eating the whole bird in one day!

Roasted turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.Growing up, leftover turkey meant slapping together a turkey sandwich (you could try changing this up by making a turkey version of a croque monsieur). Eventually that turned into other dishes, most of them still using the leftover turkey, such as turkey tortas or turkey enchiladas. But we’ve got 6 other ideas that will make the most of every last bit of your turkey day feast.

Cooking Tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil and throw them out.
– Nicole Hollander

6 Ways to Use up Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Hearty turkey soup made with Thanksgiving leftovers.1) Soup or Gumbo

For starters, what shall you do with all that turkey? One of the easiest things to do is throw them all in a pot or slow cooker and make a tasty soup (especially if you saved the bones of those turkey, you could make a wonderful bone broth). (Helpful hint: try adapting the best damn chicken noodle soup recipe by substituting turkey). Or if you want your tastebuds to zing, try a gumbo-style soup instead.

Risotto with chicken and asparagus. 2) Risotto

Alternatively, pretty much any recipe that calls for chicken can be substituted with turkey with some minor alternations, such as this risotto recipe from Chef Fernando of our Seaside Cooking in Portugal cooking vacation. Risotto in general can also be a great meal to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers — just incorporate some of your other veggie dishes too.

3) Lasagna

One option you may not have thought of? Lasagna, like this butternut squash and yam lasagna recipe. This lasagna uses a white base instead of tomato base, which makes it pair perfectly with squash and root vegetables like yams.

Pot pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers.4) Turkey Pot Pie

This might seem an obvious choice, but a turkey pot pie is a great way to use up leftovers: you’ll essentially be combining all those leftovers into one hearty dish!

Yams, a traditional part of Thanksgiving dinner.

Leftovers make you feel good twice.
– George Carlin

5) Fritters and Dumplings

When it comes to the stuffing, turn the dish into a snack by forming your stuffing leftovers into balls, covering them in bread crumbs, and deep-frying them. Alternatively, make them into dumplings and serve them with your turkey soup!

Potato pancake on the skillet.6) Breakfast

And then what about potatoes? Over the long weekend, make potato pancakes. This repurposed dish only requires a bit of oil and a frying pan. But if you have sweet potatoes filling up your fridge, you can use these leftovers to make pancakes as well.

As for cranberry sauce or jelly, pair it with some homemade English crumpets to enjoy over breakfast.

Still have lots of Thanksgiving leftovers? Turn them into breakfast by making an egg frittata with all the leftover veggies!

Learn about native dishes from America.

Homemade pies ready for the Thanksgiving table.One thing we never seem to have leftover is pie – what about you? These recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers are just the tip of the iceberg. How else do you repurpose your leftovers?

Read about pairing wines for Thanksgiving dinner.

By Peg Kern

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A previous version of this blog appeared on November 28, 2014.

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