25 Delicious Ways to Use Up Leftover Turkey

Turkey pot pie
The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

The holiday season leaves in its wake many containers of leftover turkey that are hard to repurpose if not in sandwiches. After so many similar meals made out of leftovers, it's time to change things up.

From classic turkey casseroles and soups to amazing turkey and mashed potato croquettes, there are tons of creative ideas below.


Watch Now: 3 Amazing Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwiches

  • 01 of 25

    Turkey and Sweet Potato Soup

    turkey and sweet potato soup
    The Spruce

    Leftover turkey teams up with sweet potatoes, a variety of mixed vegetables, bacon, and optional mushrooms in this charming soup. Although the recipe calls for half-and-half, feel free to lighten it up with whole milk or use a non-dairy beverage if needed. Lunch will be ready in 45 minutes and it requires minimal effort.

    Pair your soup with green tomato quick bread and a colorful red and green salad. Alternatively, buy fresh bread and try this tasty garlic compound butter.

  • 02 of 25

    Turkey, Ham, and Swiss Casserole

    turkey casserole with swiss cheese and ham
    The Spruce

    If you've already had your share of leftover turkey sandwiches, you likely have at hand the ham and Swiss cheese needed to make this pasta-based turkey casserole. Optional peas and carrots give body and texture to the preparation and make it a complete meal. You don't need more than 40 minutes to have a family dinner on the table.

    A quick green salad completes the offerings, but if you have the time and aren't tired of all of the holiday cooking, try something more elaborate like red cabbage and apple salad, or a refreshing watermelon salad on the side.

  • 03 of 25

    Turkey Pizza

    turkey pizza
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Pizza is one of the few family meals that pleases everyone at the table. You can add or take off your slice the things that you love or dislike and can play with the ingredients until you find the perfect combination. This stunning pizza turns the leftover turkey and mashed potatoes into toppings. Bacon, cheese, and scallions finish it with a kick.

    If you're in a time crunch, buy a pre-cooked crust, but if you have the time to make the dough, make it a family activity. By using a pre-made crust you cut the cooking time by an hour and will be slicing your pie after 50 minutes of prepping and cooking.

    Toss this yogurt mint dressing with your favorite greens and serve as a side salad.

  • 04 of 25

    Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes

    Turkey and mashed potato croquettes

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Make these turkey croquettes for a post-holiday meal using ingredients that might already be in your cupboard. If you need to change up the ingredients for non-gluten eaters, use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs for an equally tasty result.

    You need 40 minutes to prepare and cook our recipe. Make mini croquettes as appetizers, or bigger ones as a main. Serve them with leftover or store-bought gravy and cranberry sauce, or make your own spiced cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy. Serve with fennel avocado salad.

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  • 05 of 25

    Creamy Turkey Noodle Casserole

    Creamy Turkey Noodle Casserole

    The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

    You can use any short pasta that you'd like for this cheesy turkey, pasta, and asparagus casserole. Our recipe gives you room to leave a few ingredients out and bring others in. The meat can be turkey or ham, while the peas can be swapped out for just about any veggie. Use broccoli instead, or add a tangier cheese like Asiago— there's no mistake in making this dish your own. Just don't skip the cream of mushroom soup.

    With total cooking and prep time of just 40 minutes, this pasta casserole is easy and convenient. Warm up some potato rolls, make a broccoli salad, and dinner is served!

  • 06 of 25

    Turkey and Dumplings

    turkey with dumplings
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    This fabulous turkey and dumpling soup can be made with chicken as well, so you don't have to be in the holiday season and have leftovers to enjoy it. The puffy flour dumplings make a hearty, thick soup in just 40 minutes.

    If you don't have the time to make the dumplings, choose a big pasta shape like giant shells (the ones you could stuff) and cook in the broth before adding the chicken or turkey. Grate some Parmesan on top, or use a tablespoon of chimichurri, which is usually added to meats but imparts great flavor and texture to any meal.

  • 07 of 25

    Savory Turkey and Mushroom Crepes

    turkey crepes
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Although the list of ingredients for this recipe might look long, the dish itself cooks in under an hour. If you don't have experience making crepes or don't have the time, use store-bought, checking there's no sugar in the ingredients list. Make a flavorful filling with turkey and mushrooms, roll the filled crepes, and cover with white sauce and shredded cheese. Not a fan of white sauce? Jazz it up with a grilled tomato sauce marinara.

    The crepes are elegant enough for a special dinner and easy enough for an everyday family meal. You only need one hour to make them, less if you're using store-bought crepes. Serve the crepes with Spanish broccoli and olives, or bring some crunch to the table with these string beans with crunchy za'atar breadcrumbs.

  • 08 of 25

    Thanksgiving Dumplings

    Thanksgiving dumplings on a serving plate with dipping sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    There will be no more boring Thanksgiving leftovers with this Asian-inspired Thanksgiving dumplings recipe in your arsenal. Tender pockets of dough are filled with whatever your heart desires—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole—to make tasty potstickers that are first browned and then steamed to perfection.

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  • 09 of 25

    Turkey and Biscuit Bake

    turkey and biscuits
    The Spruce Eats/Julia Hartbeck

    This turkey and biscuit bake is a great way to enjoy that leftover turkey, and it can be made with chicken as well. This recipe is very convenient because you can replace the homemade biscuits with frozen or canned ones, and the turkey base is super simple to make.

    Make a special dinner by adding a Caesar salad, roasted spaghetti squash, or Thai peanut dressing tossed in some greens.

  • 10 of 25

    Leftover Turkey Curry

    Leftover Turkey Curry

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Because the term 'curry' encompasses such a wide variety of recipes, it's safe to say that everything is fair game when it comes to which spices, cooking liquids, and proteins to add. Just use your favorite curry powder. Just pick one that fits your palate the best.

    In ours, leftover cooked turkey is diced and simmered with a nicely seasoned combination of curry powder, ginger, chicken stock, and sweet canned pineapple. Pair it with steamed rice, in the traditional way, or make some coconut rice. Like bread with your curry? Try this recipe for homemade naan.

  • 11 of 25

    Turkey and Broccoli Quiche

    Turkey and Broccoli Quiche Recipe

     The Spruce

    This simple quiche is great for a light lunch, summer picnic, or if you're on the run. Season eggs, broccoli, turkey, and cheese with curry and bake in a pie crust. Quiches are convenient savory pies that need little prep and once in the oven require minimal supervision. Just make and bake in 45 minutes!

    Serve a frozen fruit salad for a creamy addition to your plate, or simply grill some asparagus with lemon. You don't need something too elaborate as a side because your main dish contains such hearty and filling ingredients. If cooked vegetables aren't your favorite, go for a carrot and kohlrabi slaw.

  • 12 of 25

    Turkey and Gravy Leftovers Burrito

    turkey burrito
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Burritos are the most famous Mexican food outside of Mexico and are becoming a staple in American kitchens, too, because they're easy to make and there's no one way to make them. Anything that fits in a flour tortilla can be a burrito.

    For our leftovers version, we're using stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes as the filling. Sour cream on the tortilla gives a kick of acidity, and leftover gravy and/or cranberry sauce brings an American touch to this Tex-Mex classic.

    Add a plate of quick microwave nachos for more Mexican flavor.

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  • 13 of 25

    Turkey à la King

    turkey a la king
    The Spruce

    Although the origins of this classic preparation are unclear, most Americans know what chicken à la king is. Our equally comforting take uses leftover turkey and mimics the original preparation with mushrooms and peppers, but leaves the peas out (you don't have to if you really like peas).

    You can serve lunch in 30 minutes, and while you're making it, cook some short pasta, steam jasmine rice, or just cut some fresh bread and toast it with garlic-chive butter. A crunchy side of vegetables goes excellent with the creaminess of the turkey: try a kale and beet salad with tahini dressing, or a cold cucumber soup to change up things.

  • 14 of 25

    Turkey Pita With Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

    turkey pita
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbystka

    Repurpose your leftovers the classic way with a turkey and stuffing sandwich. Use pita bread and our tasty cranberry pomegranate sauce for an easy and satisfying lunch. Other flat-breads work well, like naan, but if what you have at hand is a baguette or something like ciabatta then use what you've got.

    Make some butternut squash oven chips and some vegan zucchini chips for a fun set of sides that offer something different. This dish only takes 25 minutes of total prep and cooking time.

  • 15 of 25

    Turkey Empanadas

    turkey empanadas
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

    Empanadas are a staple in most Hispanic cuisines, and each country has its own versions, with different fillings, crusts, and sauces to dip them in. This smart take on empanadas uses pie crust to make the dough circles and fills them with mashed potatoes, parsley, and a mixture of turkey and gravy. You can make them in smaller sizes to use as appetizers. If you have 35 minutes to spare, these empanadas are a great investment of your time.

    Serve with a classic spicy Colombian ají and a Korean potato salad for a true tour of international flavors.

    Make ahead and freeze before baking for a Thanksgiving flavored treat any time of the year.

  • 16 of 25

    Turkey Salad With Red Grapes

    turkey salad with red grapes in a sandwich
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    This quick, cold salad (just 15 minutes of total cooking time) goes well with any bread or some puff pastry. Red grapes and lemony mayo add tangy sweetness, with the crunch coming from the toasted nuts. If you don't have grapes, cube a Granny Smith, or finely chop two stalks of celery.

    Serve your salad with kale chips and some cute papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes).

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  • 17 of 25

    Thanksgiving Egg Rolls With Sweet and Sour Cranberry Sauce

    turkey egg rolls
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

    Store-bought eggroll wrappers and a creamy filling of turkey and brie cheese? It works and nothing says comfort food like fried finger foods. These perfect rolls, ready in under an hour, are a great way of using your holiday leftovers. Tangy cranberry sauce is the perfect dip for this appetizer.

    Serve them hot with a scallion garnish and the sauce on the side, and use other finger foods for a low-key meal your family or guests can serve themselves as you sit back and relax. Make a grandiose display on your dinner table with a meat and cheese board, a bowl of labneh with warm pita, deviled eggs with bacon, and a pull-apart pizza bread.

  • 18 of 25

    Turkey Divan

    Turkey divan recipe

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    Our take on the famous chicken divan, this easy casserole is made with homemade white sauce, cheese, broccoli, cooked turkey, and grated Parmesan cheese. Because the turkey and broccoli must be cooked beforehand and hot by the time you start cooking, this dish takes less than 15 minutes to be on your table. Make the cheese sauce, put it on top of the hot turkey and broccoli, broil it until it bubbles, and serve!

    Make cumin rice for an aromatic side, toss some spinach with balsamic-honey dressing, and slice avocados for each guest. The creaminess of the fruit helps tone down all these strong flavors.

  • 19 of 25

    Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

    Turkey pot pie
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

    Everything in this recipe can be homemade, or store-bought if you're in a post-holiday time crunch. Once it's in the oven, it takes just 1 hour until the crust is golden brown.

    This pot pie has all the veggies and protein you need but it goes well with a fresh salad on the side. Think outside the box with a cucumber-wakame salad or a refreshing taffy apple salad.

  • 20 of 25

    Quick and Easy Turkey Tetrazzini

    turkey tetrazzini on a plate
    The Spruce

    Although tetrazzini sounds like a pasta shape, it is, in reality, the last name of an opera star after whom the dish was named. Long pasta like linguini or spaghetti is preferred but choose thicker bucatini or pappardelle for a more decadent texture. Mushrooms, creamy soup, and a splash of sherry bring this dish together.

    Bake for 1 hour and use the time to prepare some simple Italian sides like Caprese salad or sautéed radicchio.

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  • 21 of 25

    Tasty Turkey and Cheese Party Buns

    turkey buns with cranberry sauce
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    Parker house rolls or pull-apart dinner rolls (e.g., Kings Hawaiian) often sit idle in the fridge or freezer after a busy holiday season. But this recipe uses them for a fun family-style dish that's easy to make and will become a favorite for years to come.

    Hot mustard, cranberry sauce, turkey, and Gouda cheese are the stars here, but other cheeses like muenster also go well with the buns. If you're hosting an after-holiday get-together, set your dinner table with other easy and yummy foods like pigs in a blanket, a hot pepper cheese dip, and fun hot dog octopuses.

  • 22 of 25

    Turkey Salad

    Perfect Turkey Salad Sandwich

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

    This salad includes leftover turkey, mayo, veggies, and any bread of your liking. You need just 15 minutes to chop and mix this creamy salad. If egg allergies are an issue, replace the mayo with 2/3 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt, plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

    Make a sandwich bar for your family with this salad, bread or tortillas, and other fixings like pickles, toasted nuts, and some crispy kale. For a lighter version, use full leaves of iceberg lettuce as a "bowl" and stuff them with turkey salad.

  • 23 of 25

    Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

    turkey and stuffing casserole on a plate
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Grab a baking dish and layer stuffing, turkey, and gravy until filled. Pour homemade cranberry sauce on top of cubes of canned sauce and bake. That's all you need to do.

    After 35 minutes you can enjoy this simple dish. Give the recipe to the kids of the family and help them use the oven while they make your lunch! An easy lime and agave dressing goes well with any mixed greens that you want to serve with your casserole. Warm rolls with fresh herb butter complete a wonderful dinner.

  • 24 of 25

    Turkey Enchiladas

    baked turkey enchiladas
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Like tacos or burritos, enchiladas can house many fillings and sauces. Ours use tangy cheese, sour cream, and leftover turkey to create a fantastic filling that's then wrapped in a soft tortilla. Bake your enchiladas covered in a green chile sauce and cheese to have a Mexican-inspired dinner in 1 hour.

    Serve turkey enchiladas with Mexican rice, a fennel avocado salad, and some fun Mexican paletas.

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  • 25 of 25

    Creamed Turkey

    creamed turkey
    The Spruce

    This thick and hearty cream uses mushrooms and peas for a delectable texture. It's as easy as making the mushroom cream, then adding the rest of the ingredients to the same pot.

    Serve with toast points, fresh bread, rice, or egg noodles. Or be innovative and top with crushed corn tortillas chips or Parmesan crisps.