When guests leave after Thanksgiving dinner, all you can think about is never eating turkey, stuffing or pie again. When you open the fridge, though, you spot a huge pile of Thanksgiving leftovers. From excess turkey to mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie, there's no getting away from making these dishes once more.
Are you tired of rewarming Thanksgiving leftovers for another turkey dinner or making turkey soup for days on end? Let us inspire you with 35 Thanksgiving leftover recipes you'll love. Many might be familiar, while others are ones you may be making for the first time. Whether there's too much turkey in the fridge or more sweet potato than you know what to do with, we can help.
These simple-to-make recipes vary from turkey sweet potato casserole to pumpkin risotto and cranberry orange cheesecake. They include comfort foods, sandwiches and breakfast bites. There's even a cookie recipe perfect for when you've got leftover pie crust in the freezer. You'll find plenty of recipes covering breakfast and dinner, Italian and Mexican, comfort food and light bites, and some unique desserts.
Leftovers don't stand a chance when you've got 35 of the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes on your side.
Turkey and Dumplings
One of the most comfort-inducing Thanksgiving leftover recipes has to be turkey and dumplings. Resurrect diced turkey and any extra turkey gravy or stock you have on hand. Pillowy dumplings nestled in juicy turkey will make everyone forget they're eating leftovers at all.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce Parfaits
It's rare to find a Thanksgiving dinner that doesn't leave you with too much cranberry sauce on hand. Did you ever consider reusing it for a light, delicious parfait? A handful of ingredients such as Greek yogurt and granola make this parfait one you can enjoy for breakfast without feeling guilty.
Turkey Sweet Potato Casserole
Put leftover sweet potatoes and turkey to good use by whipping up a tasty casserole that creatively reworks Thanksgiving dinner. A can of cream of chicken soup adds to the welcome spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. The warm sweet potato ties together familiar flavors that probably won't last to make leftovers of their own.
Leftover Turkey Salad
Not all Thanksgiving leftover recipes have to be heavy or filling. This one for leftover turkey salad is a new way to remember that turkey is one of the lowest-fat meats around. There's even a cranberry vinaigrette when you find yourself with excess cranberries on hand to work with.
Find the recipe here from A Sweet Pea Chef.
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
We often forget that turkey is just as flavorful (and sometimes more so) than chicken when making a pot pie. It's the perfect opportunity to use leftover turkey, broth and other Thanksgiving ingredients such as carrots, onions and celery. You can also use a store-bought crust if you're sick of making pie crust by this point.
Have you ever opened a kitchen cabinet after Thanksgiving only to find a ridiculous amount of leftover pumpkin puree? Use some of your extra cans to make this sophisticated pumpkin risotto. After turkey and stuffing, a risotto dinner will feel like a breath of fresh air.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Nachos
Thanksgiving weekend is full of get-togethers with plenty of football games to watch. Surprise family and friends with this ingenious recipe for Thanksgiving leftover nachos. Shredded turkey is served over tortilla chips with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, sour cream and your extra cranberry sauce.
Baked Brie With Cranberry Sauce
Not all Thanksgiving leftover recipes need to be made for dinner or any meal. Put together a luxurious baked brie with cranberry sauce you have in excess after Thanksgiving dinner. With cranberry, orange zest and nutmeg, you won't need to do much to impress anyone who tries it.
Turkey tetrazzini is one of those after-Thanksgiving recipes so easy that it became a sensation. Leftover turkey is brought back to life with a double shot of sliced mushrooms and canned mushroom soup. With spaghetti and cheese cheese to boot, it's no wonder this is on everyone's list of Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
Leftover Turkey Shepherd's Pie
Turkey shepherd's pie is another example of turkey stepping in for chicken and doing an even more amazing job. You can also include any other vegetables you have on hand in the pie. Use your extra turkey broth and make a comforting weeknight dinner everyone will eat up in no time.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Croque Madame
If someone said you could make a Thanksgiving-inspired croque madame in 20 minutes, how could you resist? This recipe uses many leftovers, from turkey and mashed potatoes to gravy and cranberry sauce. Additions such as croissants, crispy prosciutto and crispy sage elevate this leftover breakfast to something truly worth enjoying.
Loaded Turkey Panini
This recipe pulls together a few ingredients to fashion one of the most delicious paninis there is. Use whatever turkey, sage and cranberry sauce you've got, along with Muenster cheese, goat cheese and bacon for amazing results. It's one of the most elegant grilled cheese and turkey paninis you can hope for after Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Orange Cheesecake
Who says you need to swear off desserts after Thanksgiving? Maybe you just need something other than pie to finish off dinner. This cranberry orange cheesecake allows you to use leftover cranberry sauce, along with store-bought ginger snaps for the crust. Orange and cranberry are a well-known pairing because they're unforgettably good together.
Turkey Noodle Soup
Sometimes you have to make an after-Thanksgiving classic, like turkey noodle soup. When you do, take advantage of this recipe using plenty of leftover turkey, plus cans of soup for instant flavor. The creamy texture and taste will make this your go-to for turkey soup from here on out.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza
Few of us have thought of making a Thanksgiving leftover pizza with our remaining ingredients. The best part is that you can use a store-bought crust and just have fun constructing the pizza itself. With turkey (plus gravy), mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce, all you'll add is mozzarella cheese and parsley to finish.
Turkey Tortilla Soup
For those who love their soup spicy, this turkey tortilla soup will liven up all your Thanksgiving leftovers. Start with turkey meat and build flavors with ingredients including crushed tomatoes, chipotle chiles in adobo, and corn tortillas. The result is a Mexican classic all on its own that you'll be sure to make again soon.
Turkey and Stuffing Stuffed Peppers
Give stuffed peppers an extra bit of stuffing with this easy-to-pull-together recipe. Fill yellow bell peppers with extra turkey and stuffing topped with creamy mozzarella. Prep time is only 10 minutes, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to dig in with everyone else.
Turkey and Stuffing Quiche
Breakfast on Black Friday is the best time to enjoy this savory turkey and stuffing quiche. Combine a custard mixture with leftover turkey and stuffing to create a morning meal worth waking up for. You'll have plenty of energy to find the greatest shopping deals after enjoying this quiche.
Sweet Potato Turkey Enchilada Skillet
We don't typically associate Thanksgiving leftover recipes with healthy meals, but you can with a sweet potato and turkey enchilada skillet. It doesn't take long to make and includes mashed sweet potato and turkey as its focus. You can also throw in any veggies you have on hand to make this meal even more nutritious.
Turkey Monte Cristo
Sweet meeting savory should be the tagline for Thanksgiving dinner. It's also ideal when describing a Monte Cristo, a combination of grilled cheese with French toast. This recipe uses roast turkey, cranberry sauce and any leftover bread you've got to make a memorable breakfast sandwich.
Thanksgiving Leftover Hand Pies
One of the most distinctive post-Thanksgiving cooking projects can be found by making hand pies. They may seem complicated but can be prepared using leftover or frozen pie dough or one from the grocery store. Fill the pies with all the leftovers you can and bake until they're golden brown (or freeze and bake later)!
Sage and Sausage Stuffins
This recipe for sage and sausage stuffins proves that savory muffins can be just as mouth-watering as the sweet kind. If you've got tons of extra sage and sausage stuffing (or any variety), simply bake it in muffin tins. You'll have something that rivals the best side dishes and dinner rolls you can find.
Leftover Mashed Potato Gnocchi
When you can't fathom another Thanksgiving leftover meal, use your extra ingredients to make something totally different. A cup of leftover mashed potatoes becomes light and airy potato gnocchi you can serve with any sauce. With choices from pesto to tomato sauce, you can forget all about Thanksgiving with this dish.
Turkey, Pesto and Broccoli Pasta
Turkey's reputation for being healthy comes alive with this pasta recipe that's made as you boil the pasta. Broccoli keeps things light and delicious, along with additions such as pesto, tomatoes and parmesan. A one-pot meal like this makes you truly thankful for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Leftover Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
If you've got a food processor and a love for Buffalo sauce, this meatball recipe is for you. The meatballs are baked so you don't have to make a fuss frying them in oil. They can be prepared quickly to become a game-day favorite once topped with Buffalo sauce.
Savory Stuffing Waffles
The one rule about Thanksgiving leftover recipes is that there are no rules. Hungry for waffles? Make them savory with leftover stuffing. Amp up the stuffing with some cheddar cheese and toss it into your nearest waffle iron. Serve with maple cranberry sauce and use two leftovers at once.
Pie Crust Cookies
Even when you tell yourself you don't want anything sweet after Thanksgiving, cookies are always welcome. This recipe keeps it simple by using leftover pie crust dough you probably have in the fridge or freezer. A few other ingredients help bake up cinnamon sugar cookies to warm your heart and anyone who tries them.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast Hash
One of the most popular Thanksgiving leftover recipes has to be this breakfast hash. It uses turkey, stuffing, veggies and gravy. The leftover gravy makes the whole hash moist and delicious (and ready for a fried egg on top). Lazy mornings over Thanksgiving hash are like nothing else.
Cranberry-Sweet Potato Bread
Think outside the box when using Thanksgiving leftovers to create this cranberry-sweet potato bread. It's a great reason to combine leftover mashed sweet potatoes with dried cranberries, pecans and cinnamon spice. The sweet bread is more of a dessert or the perfect companion to an afternoon cup of tea.
Leftover Turkey Chili
Most turkey chili recipes use ground turkey, but you haven't tasted turkey chili until you try using shredded turkey. The resulting texture is so delicious when you toss in green chiles, fire-roasted tomatoes and kidney beans. This chili can satisfy those you know who've managed to survive Black Friday intact.
Mashed Potato Pancakes
One of the great underappreciated dishes has to be potato pancakes using leftover mashed potatoes. The mixture won't take long to turn golden brown on the skillet. With some herbs, cheese and bacon, these potato pancakes also won't last long in your house.
Mashed Potato Zeppole
Some of the best doughnuts use potato in the recipe, so why shouldn't mashed potato zeppole taste anything but amazing? They fry easily and become a unique dessert that family and friends will love. Transforming your cranberry sauce with lemon zest and nutmeg makes the best dip for these golden beauties.
Cranberry Sauce Oat Bars
Fall flavors like cranberry and oat are celebrated with this recipe for tart and sweet cranberry sauce oat bars. The crumble crust and pecan topping surround a layer of leftover cranberry sauce that moves from dinner to dessert instantly.
Turkey Cobb Salad
Leftover turkey from Thanksgiving is given new life when added to this wonderfully satisfying turkey Cobb salad. The iceberg lettuce, bacon and blue cheese are even tastier with cubes of leftover turkey breast. When making bacon is the hardest part of the recipe, you know it's a keeper.
Few Thanksgiving leftover recipes are as satisfying as making a Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich. It uses turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce to build a three-slice bread sandwich that's anything but average. If you're back at work too soon, just take a bite of this sandwich to relive your favorite Thanksgiving memories.
READ MORE: 50 Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas (That Aren't Pumpkin Pie) To Steal the Spotlight During Your Holiday Feast
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