Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Thanksgiving is the holiday well-known for its leftovers. People could be stuck with their turkey leftovers for weeks afterwards. After awhile, eating the same things may get boring, so here’s some recipes to spice up these leftovers and to try something new.

Too much turkey? Make a festive roasted turkey sandwich! This meal can be made in 5 minutes and makes for an easy and savory meal.

  • Focaccia bread, about 10-inches square
  • Dijon mustard
  • Roasted turkey slices
  • Thinly sliced roasted red pepper
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Mixed baby greens
  • ¬†Mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


 Spread some of the Dijon mustard on the cut side of the bottom half of each focaccia. Top bread evenly with turkey, peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Add mozzarella and baby greens, and drizzle the balsamic dressing on top. Smear the top half of each focaccia mayonnaise, and place on top of greens to finish sandwich.

Heat in a sandwich press, or use a toaster oven to heat. Cook the sandwich until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Serve.

(inspired by Panini Pete)

Another easy sandwich recipe to make, and includes cranberry sauce has a tart kick to it:

  • roasted turkey meat, pref. breast meat
  • cranberry sauce or jelly
  • brie cheese
  • ciabatta or preferred bread


Layer on these ingredients onto the bread and heat in a sandwich press, or use a toaster oven to heat. Cook sandwich until cheese melts.

If its a chilly day and you’re in the mood for something warmer, you can make this turkey soup:

  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • turkey pieces (shredded)
  • 1 onion, halved, plus 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, halved lengthwise, plus 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 whole stalk celery, plus 1 more stalk, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups dark turkey meat
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 3 cups leftover cooked Thanksgiving side vegetables (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves


Put chicken broth, turkey, onion halves, carrot halves, 1 celery stalk, and 1 bay leaf in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 1 1/2 hours. Finely dice the remaining onion, carrot and celery and reserve.

Dice the turkey meat. Make sure meat pieces are no larger than the size of a soup spoon. (If preparing soup the next day, be sure to store leftover turkey meat in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator, top with 1 or 2 ladles full of broth to keep meat moist.)

Before straining broth, remove large bones and carcass with tongs. Strain the broth through a sieve, covered with wet cheese cloth. Discard the solids. Transfer broth to a bowl set in a bath of ice water, which will cool the broth quickly and help keep it fresher longer. This can be done the night before and stored in the refrigerator until the next day.

In a large soup pot, heat garlic cloves in the olive oil. Allow to brown slightly and add minced carrots, celery, and onion. Sweat over medium-low heat until softened, about 7 or 8 minutes.

Dice the leftover vegetables (here Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and green beans). Add the chopped sage to the soup pot along with the turkey broth and the remaining bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. When simmering, add Brussels sprouts, green beans and diced turkey meat to the soup. Bring it back up to a simmer. Finally, add the sweet potatoes to the center, and gently push them down. Turn the heat off and cover. Allow to sit and steam for 5 to 7 minutes.

Let simmer for 5 more minutes and serve.

(Recipe courtesy Michael Chairello)

All this leftover turkey can become boring to eat day after day. Try one of these recipes to change it up and finish up those leftovers!