Easy and Delicious Recipes to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers are always a plenty and these recipes will provide new and fun ways to use up leftover turkey, potatoes, and more.

Clear Out Your Fridge with These 15 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Simply Recipes

Most years, holiday leftovers turn out to be the bane of a home cook's existence. Even I, a diehard leftovers lover, will get tired of eating the same dishes for days on end. Yet and still, my family and I weep whenever we have to throw away the leftovers we just couldn't polish off. If you're looking for new and exciting ways to transform your leftovers, this list is for you.

Be they savory or sweet, excess holiday foods can be converted into new, delicious recipes that will keep your interests piqued. This year, your leftovers won't go to waste, nor will you get bored repurposing them.

You won't have to worry about using up excess pumpkin purée or cranberry sauce. This roundup of recipes will help inspire you to create new favorites from tried-and-true ingredients.

The Curried Turkey Soup, with its mulligatawny vibes, might even make it to your regular meal rotation. A Vegan Pumpkin Bread recipe not only recycles the pumpkin purée that many people seem to carry over into the new year, but it also does double-meal duty as breakfast or dessert. Top the pumpkin bread with a scoop of Chai Ice Cream, made with all those spices you grabbed for pumpkin pie spice.

This may be the first year you won't dread having leftovers.

  • Bread Pudding

    Scooping easy bread pudding out of a white casserole dish.
    Cambrea Bakes

    Bread pudding is a great way to repurpose leftover dinner rolls. Just allow the bread to sit, uncovered, overnight on the countertop, then cut them into 1-inch cubes to use in this recipe. If you have any leftover cranberry sauce, a few dollops on top of the bread pudding before baking will add a sweet-tart vibe to it.

  • Air Fryer Cranberry Brie Canapes

    cranberry brie canapes

    Canapes make great snacks for the day after Thanksgiving, especially if you're into Black Friday shopping. These quick-fix appetizers put that leftover cranberry sauce to good use and can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours. That makes them great for grazing on a lazy Friday.

  • Curried Turkey Soup

    Curried Turkey Soup with Leftover Turkey
    Elise Bauer

    This one-pot meal repurposes leftover turkey and any apples you didn't throw into your Thanksgiving pie. The fragrant curry broth is a fantastic way to use any stock you might have made from turkey bones.

  • Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

    Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe -- top down shot of shepards pie scoop taken out, golden and crispy edge mashed potatoes on top. Blue check table cloth, and a plate with some sheperd'e pie serve on top of it.
    Sally Vargas

    Shepherd's pie is usually a go-to for leftover mashed potatoes, but this year, make it vegetarian. Meaty mushrooms stand in for ground meat, and the abundance of vegetables bathed in a rich sauce might make this your regular shepherd's pie recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • Greens, Eggs, and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    Greens Eggs Ham Sandwich

    We swap entrees every year. One year it's turkey; the next, it's ham. Using up leftover ham and the eggs I always seem to overbuy is easy, thanks to these cheesy sandwiches. Pro tip: swap the spinach for drained, leftover collard greens.

  • Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

    Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad
    Elise Bauer

    I'm usually swimming in dried cranberries after Thanksgiving, same with pecans, but this colorful side dish allows me to use them in a refreshing way. The brightness of orange peel and lemon juice pairs nicely with roast pork or even leftover turkey.

  • Pecan Pralines

    homemade pralines on plate
    Steve-Anna Stephens

    Pies shouldn't have all the pecan fun. Make these buttery pecan candies with your surplus nuts and gift them (or keep them for yourself). Freeze half the batch for future candy cravings. Pro-tip: using a rolling pin to break up frozen pralines is a genius way to top ice cream.

  • Chicken and Apples in Honey Mustard Sauce

    Chicken Apples Honey Mustard
    Elise Bauer

    This year, apples need a little bit more shine. Add them to savory dishes like this one-pot chicken. The honey mustard sauce is nothing to shake a stick at, so be sure to serve it with a side dish that will capture it all, like steamed white rice or buttered noodles

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • Vegan Pumpkin Bread

    A loaf of Moist Pumpkin Bread cooling on a rack with a second loaf in the pan behind it.
    Sara Bir

    This spiced pumpkin bread is dairy and egg-free, but it isn't free of flavor. An added bonus is that this recipe makes two loaves of warmly spiced tender pumpkin bread. That's perfect for gifting to any buddies who braved Black Friday with you.

  • Cajun Turkey Pot Pie

    Cajun Turkey Pot Pie
    Elise Bauer

    I don't know about you, but I'm pretty straight-laced regarding my turkey pot pie seasoning. Instead of playing it safe, I'll add more excitement to my bird and fold it into some Cajun spices. Use any leftover pie dough to top this pot pie and let the good times roll.

  • S'mores Cookies

    Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow S'mores Cookies
    Emma Christensen

    Have a few marshmallows leftover from making sweet potato casserole? Use them up by adding to these graham crackers and chocolate-laced cookies. Mini marshmallows work best, though, in a pinch, I have been known to cut standard marshmallows down to size.

  • Hot Turkey Sandwich

    Hot Turkey Sandwich
    Elise Bauer

    I don't make hot, open-faced sandwiches enough, but you bet this recipe is hitting the table when I have leftover turkey and gravy. I prefer to use Sourdough for the base of this sandwich, but whole wheat bread works well here, too.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • Chai Ice Cream

    Chai Ice Cream
    Elise Bauer

    You won't get caught with tons of unused spices this year. This tea-flavored ice cream is a chilly, creamy nod to chai, complete with whole spices infused in a milk and cream ice cream base.

  • Ultimate Turkey Club Sandwich with Garlic Aioli

    Side view of turkey club with garlic mayo on a plate. The bread is toasted and the mayo, avocado, bacon, tomato, lettuce and turkey are visible in the sandwich.
    Nick Evans

    A Thanksgiving leftover roundup is incomplete without a traditional turkey sandwich. What makes this one more impressive is the bold garlic aioli it's slathered with. Leftover dinner rolls? Make these into sliders instead of standard 'wiches.