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
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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.
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If you've already had your share of leftover turkey sandwiches, it's likely you 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 29
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 29
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 you own spiced cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy. Serve with fennel avocado salad.Continue to 5 of 29 below.
05 of 29
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 cauliflower salad, and dinner is served!
06 of 29
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 29
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 1 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 29
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.Continue to 9 of 29 below.
09 of 29
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.
10 of 29
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. Because they're all different and there's no standard formula, 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 29
Spice up that turkey and create a second meal for the family with this turkey Cajun stew. The gumbo-inspired dish includes shrimp, andouille sausage, okra, and bacon. Of course, all the favorite Cajun seasonings are added too, and you can even toss in any leftover stuffing.
The stew is easy to prepare and it's all cooked in one pot on the stovetop. Serve it with rice and you have a full, delicious meal that doesn't taste a thing like leftovers.
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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.Continue to 13 of 29 below.
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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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Red poblano peppers and pepper jack cheese give this turkey quiche a burst of color and some heat with a nice touch of acid coming from thinly sliced tomatoes that are baked right in the quiche. And don't worry, the eggs and turkey pack each slice with filling nutrients. If you prefer milder flavors use sweet red bell peppers and mild cheddar cheese.
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Although no one is clear about the origin of this classic preparation, most Americans know what chicken a 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.
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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.Continue to 17 of 29 below.
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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 them as appetizers. If you have 35 minutes to spare, these empanadas are a great investment of your time.
Make ahead and freeze before baking for a Thanksgiving flavored treat any time of the year.
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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.
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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 wreath.
20 of 29
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 on top of the hot turkey and broccoli, broil it until it bubbles, and serve!Continue to 21 of 29 below.
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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.
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Our pasta casserole can take on any short pasta, but if you feel creative, and have the time, go for giant shells and stuff them with the filling before adding the cheddar cheese. Use cream of mushroom or celery for a creamy binding sauce, and add more veggies if you want extra volume with fewer calories. If there are nut allergies to address, use panko crumbs.
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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 are preferred but choose thicker bucatini or pappardelle for a more decadent texture. Mushrooms, creamy soup, and a splash of cherry bring this dish together.
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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 pretzel dogs, a hot pepper cheese dip, and fun hot dog octopuses.Continue to 25 of 29 below.
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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 of a 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.
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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.
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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.
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These amazing turkey salad lettuce wraps are a great option, especially for those avoiding carbs or gluten. Stuff butter lettuce leaves with creamy turkey and drizzle mustard-cranberry sauce. Absolutely delicious!
This salad is perfect if you want to use rice paper rolls to make your own version of a cold spring roll.Continue to 29 of 29 below.
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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.