Leftover Turkey Curry

Leftover Turkey Curry
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Leftover turkey from the holidays can be used for something other than cold sandwiches. Our simple recipe for turkey curry makes a warming and filling meal, and the spices and fruit make it flavorful and different. Diced turkey, curry, ginger, and pineapple will be a welcomed surprise to your family, especially on a cold winter evening.

Curries are a great way of repurposing leftover meats like chicken or turkey, and because the spice mixes vary depending on the brand, cook, culture, and preference, all dishes might be different even if the basic ingredients are the same. Cumin, turmeric, and coriander are usually included, but fenugreek, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, fennel, and black pepper can also be present. You can make your own mix by experimenting with flavors and amounts.

Our recipe suggestions serve the curry over white rice but you can use baked potatoes or fresh naan if you prefer.


  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (8- or 9-ounce) can pineapple (crushed, undrained)
  • 3 cups turkey (cooked, diced)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups rice (hot, cooked)
  • Optional: Chopped cilantro, mint or parsley.

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the curry powder, stirring for 2 minutes.

    heat butter and curry powder
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  3. Add onions and stir frequently, cooking the onions until soft and translucid.

    saute onions
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  4. Add in flour and ginger. Stir vigorously to avoid large clumps.

    add flour and ginger
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  5. Add chicken broth and pineapple. Mix well until there are no visible clumps of flour. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

    add chicken broth and pineapple
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  6. Stir in turkey and coat all the pieces well.

    add turkey
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  7. Cover the mixture and simmer for 10 more minutes, or until heated through.

    combine ingredients
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  8. Add in lemon juice and stir.

    add lemon juice
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  9. Garnish with fresh herbs if using. Serve over hot cooked rice and enjoy!

Other Flavors for Your Curry

Our simple curry recipe leaves a lot of room for substitutions. Here are a few suggestions for other wonderful curries:

  • Coconut milk: Replace the chicken broth for the same amount of full-fat coconut milk. If the mixture is too thick, add 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth. Taste for salt as the coconut milk brings sweetness to the overall flavor.
  • Greens: Add 3 cups of chopped spinach, kale, collard greens, or a combination of the three. Add them for the last 10 minutes of simmering.
  • Apples: Peel and cube 2 Granny Smith apples, or other tangy and firm variety, and add them to the last 10 minutes of simmering.
  • Potatoes: Use 2 cups of cubed sweet potatoes and boil them for 8 minutes. Add them to the last 10 minutes of simmering.
  • Carrots and Parsnips: Slice 2 medium-sized carrots and 2 medium-sized parsnips and add them right after the onions are soft and translucid.
  • Eggs: Skip the pineapple or apple, but do use 2 cups of cubed cooked yellow potatoes and the coconut milk. Make hardboiled eggs, 1 per person. Serve the turkey-potato curry over rice, and place 1 hardboiled egg on top. Garnish with fresh coriander.

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