14 Things to do With Leftover Turkey

You may find an abundance of leftover Thanksgiving turkey on your hands this week. Here’s what you can do with it.

1. Freeze it.

Package it in freezer-safe plastic containers or wrap in foil, label, and store in the freezer. Rather than storing all your leftover turkey in one large container, store it in small batches of one to two cups so you can thaw only what you need for a single recipe. One to two cups (or three if you’re a real carnivore) of chopped turkey are about right for most casseroles or soups.

2. Make turkey sandwiches or wraps.

Layer cold sliced/diced turkey on bread or a wrap of your choice. Add mayo, mustard, sliced cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, pickle chips, or any toppings you like. Kick it up with some bacon and sliced avocado.

3. Make Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwiches.

This sandwich makes use of all the big meal leftovers. Take leftover rolls or bread and layer on sliced turkey, a spoonful of stuffing, maybe some mashed potatoes, and a drizzle of cranberry sauce and/or gravy. It’s the best of Thanksgiving dinner, all in a single sandwich.

4. Make Thanksgiving Dinner Casserole.

Similar to the Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwiches mentioned above, in a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, layer sliced/diced turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes or diced/sliced cooked potatoes, green beans, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until the casserole is heated through. Or, if you don’t like winging it in the kitchen, go with a recipe like this for a fancier casserole.

5. Bake turkey crescent rolls.

Get a can of crescent rolls and unroll the dough into triangles. Fill each triangle with a spoonful of shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and/or stuffing. Bake according to package directions until crescents are golden. Dip in gravy if desired.

6. Make turkey bacon ranch sliders.

Put sliced turkey on Hawaiian rolls and add some bacon and ranch dressing.

7. Make turkey pot pie.

You can find fancier recipes online, or simply buy (or make) some pie crust, and fill your pie with chopped turkey, a bag of frozen mixed veggies (corn, green beans, peas), and add a can or two of cream of chicken soup for the sauce.

8. Make turkey tetrazzini.

You can use one of my favorite recipes at this link. Or, my mom always makes tetrazzini with spaghetti or fettuccine noodles, a jar or two of alfredo sauce, fresh or canned sliced mushrooms, a handful of frozen peas, and Parmesan cheese. Place everything in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until it’s heated through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Make turkey soup.

Here’s a traditional recipe, or you can try a southwestern style.

10. Make turkey shepherd’s pie.

You can find my favorite shepherd’s pie recipe at this link. My mom has been making this recipe since I was a kid, using whatever meat we have on hand: ground turkey, roasted turkey, or chicken. It’s versatile. 

11. Use chopped/shredded turkey in place of chicken in any recipe.

Use turkey instead of chicken in your favorite casseroles, soups, chicken salad recipe, or even enchiladas. My family likes Indian food — especially the jars of Tikka Masala sauce that you prepare with chicken on the stove top, and we can substitute turkey for chicken in dishes like this.

12. Use turkey in place of beef in your favorite stroganoff recipe.

Or try this recipe.

13. Use turkey in place of tuna in your favorite tuna noodle casserole recipe.

Or you can check out this turkey noodle casserole recipe.

14. Make turkey nachos.

Add a little taco seasoning and, instead of making shredded chicken nachos, make shredded turkey nachos. If you really want to live on the edge, add a little barbecue sauce to your shredded turkey instead of using taco seasoning, and you’ll have barbecued turkey nachos.

Don’t forget that you also can turn your leftover turkey carcass and bones into a delicious and healthy turkey stock or broth. What are your favorite ways to eat leftover turkey?


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