Thanksgiving leftover ideas

No matter how ambitious your friends and family are to devour Thanksgiving dinner, you’re likely going to have leftovers.

This is the perfect opportunity to take a relatively expensive meal and turn it into many subsequent meals by using leftovers.

While simply reheating your turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other food items is certainly an option, now is the perfect time to experiment with something new.

Recipes Using Leftover Thanksgiving Foods

Here are a few money-saving Thanksgiving leftover ideas that I think you will enjoy.

Leftover Cranberries

Cranberry/cream cheese dip – Mix leftover cranberry sauce with a package of softened cream cheese. Mix in a tablespoon or two of sugar. Serve with crackers, pretzels, or graham crackers, put a dollop on top of French toast or pancakes, or spread on a bagel or toast.

Cranberry grilled cheese – Make a grilled cheese sandwich using Brie cheese and a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce.

Cranberry salsa – I have two great recipes for cranberry salsa. This one, using fresh cranberries. And another, using prepared cranberry sauce. For the latter, mix 1 cup of prepared cranberry sauce with juice from 1/2 lime, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, and one stalk chopped green onion.


Leftover Turkey

Turkey croquettes – A mixture of leftover turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, mixed together and fried into croquettes.
Thanksgiving croquettes recipe using leftover Thanksgiving food, from Cheap Recipe Blog
Turkey and cranberry panini – Mix leftover cranberry sauce with cream cheese and spread on bread. Layer on chopped leftover turkey and a slice of white cheese (like swiss, provolone or white cheddar). Grill on a panini press or George Foreman grill, or prepare like a traditional grilled cheese sandwich in a frying pan using buttered bread.
Turkey melts – Just like tuna melts, except with turkey. Mix chopped turkey with mayonaise, chopped onion, and chopped celery. Spread on bread and bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 400F.
Turkey chili – Combine turkey with the traditional flavors of chili: tomatoes, beans, garlic, cumin, and chili powder.
Thanksgiving leftover recipes turkey chili
Turkey noodle soup – Make traditional chicken noodle soup, but substitute leftover turkey for chicken.
Turkey BLTs – Make a traditional bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and add sliced leftover turkey.
Turkey empanadas – Make a savory turkey filling and use ready-made empanada dough for a quick meal or appetizer.
Turkey empanadas
Turkey cobb salad – Layer chopped hard-boiled egg, leftover turkey, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, bacon, and bleu cheese on a large serving platter. Serve with your choice of dressing (such as a vineagrette or green goddess).
Turkey quesadillas – Fill two tortilla shells with leftover turkey, cheese, tomatoes, or desired fillings.
Thanksgiving pot pies – Layer stuffing, chopped turkey, gravy, and potatoes into individual muffin tins or in a baking dish. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until heated through.
English muffin breakfast sandwiches – Top a toasted English muffin with a fried egg, chopped turkey and leftover gravy. Heat and serve.
Turkey nachos – Leftover turkey makes a great nacho topper. Similar to chicken, it can be flavored in so many ways.
Leftover turkey and cranberry salsa nachos: Perhaps the best use of leftover Thanksgiving foods. So yummy!

Leftover Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato pancakes – A twist on pumpkin pancakes. Mix 1/2 cup of leftover sweet potato puree into pancake batter.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Loaded mashed potatoes – Add sour cream, chopped green onion, bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, and garlic powder to leftover mashed potatoes.
Mashed potato pizza – Top a pre-baked pizza crust with alfredo sauce, sauteed onions, a thin layer of leftover mashed potatoes, and shredded cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400F.
Mashed potato cakes – Add chopped scallions or onions, garlic, shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, and a bit of flour to leftover mashed potatoes. Form into patties and fry in a bit of oil until crisp and browned. Top with sour cream or applesauce.

What Are Your Ideas?

I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving leftover recipe ideas. Please share them in the comments section, below.