8 Best Recipes for Using Up Leftover Turkey

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Have leftover turkey that needs using up? Here are eight of our favorite recipes that use every last bit!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My mother always used to say that she enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner better the next day, once it was just the four of us and the stress of the meal prep was behind us.

I tend to agree. And when we get tired of reheating plates of turkey and gravy, there are plenty of ways to turn the rest of the turkey into something else altogether.

Here are eight of our favorite ways to eat leftover turkey. And if all else fails and you run out of ideas, remember that turkey freezes pretty well.

Sweet Potato Mushroom Leftover Turkey Casserole

1 Sweet Potato, Mushroom, Leftover Turkey Casserole: This casserole is so completely chockablock with Thanksgiving Goodness that you might wonder why it doesn’t get a starring role at the holiday meal proper. Turkey meets with sweet potatoes, mushrooms and bacon. The topping is made of crushed saltines and butter.


Turkey Chili

2 Turkey Chili: One of my favorite things to do with turkey is to throw it into chili—mostly because by about the second or third go-round of leftovers, I’m ready for a totally different mix of flavors. This one incorporates tomatoes, red beans, and bell peppers, plus ample spices.


Hot Turkey Sandwich

3 Hot Turkey Sandwich: I know people who buy specific bread just so they’re ready for sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving. This one’s open-faced and comes together in a flash.


Turkey Soup

4 Mom’s Turkey Soup: Another instant classic—just add celery, carrots and onions and you’re set. Egg noodles add a homey touch, and fresh parsley brightens it up.


Turkey Tetrazzini

5 Turkey Tetrazzini: I ate this casserole growing up—have you had it before? Turkey becomes a warm casserole with egg noodles, mushrooms, peas—along with cheese, of course. It doesn’t matter if your turkey is a little dry. The cheese helps matters considerably.


Turkey Waldorf Salad

6 Turkey Waldorf Salad: And now for something completely different—Turkey Waldorf Salad. Yes! Crunchy fall apples, leftover turkey, and dried cranberries come together with a honey-mayo sour cream dressing. This makes a great addition to a post-Thanksgiving brunch, or a packable lunch the following week.


spicy turkey soup

7 Turkish Turkey Soup: I can’t help but chuckle as I type the name of this soup – Turkish turkey! It’s made with yogurt, cayenne, paprika and mint, and it takes leftovers to a whole new place—so much so that this recipe also has instructions for making it from scratch. You’ve been warned!


Turkey Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

8 Turkey Tacos with Cranberry Salsa: The best of Thanksgiving and Mexican fare come together with these tacos. The salsa gets a little heat from jalapeno, balanced with the tart cranberries and some sweet apples.

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Carrie Havranek

Carrie Havranek is a former Associate Editor of Simply Recipes and the author of the cookbook Tasting Pennsylvania (2019). She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and goes out of her way for farmers' markets, new ingredients, yoga, and walks in nature.

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Turkey Leftover Round-Up8 Best Recipes for Using Up Leftover Turkey