Amazing Leftover Turkey Salad
Got leftover turkey? Then you should make the absolute best leftover turkey salad using a variety of crunchy, fresh, and flavorful ingredients.
My favorite meals of the entire year are eaten the week after Thanksgiving, when the leftovers are plentiful and creativity is piqued.
From turkey chili to Thanksgiving leftover nachos to Thanksgiving croquettes – I haven’t met a Thanksgiving leftover recipe I didn’t like.
This recipe, in particular, is a winner: It’s 100% the best turkey salad recipe I’ve ever eaten! Why?
Because it’s packed with delicious, fresh, crunchy ingredients like walnuts, grapes, celery, and more. And the dressing is perfectly seasoned, pulling everything together.
I think you’ll like it, too.
Thanksgiving Leftovers & Saving Money
Making creative use of your Thanksgiving leftovers can help you save money.
How? You probably have a fridge full of leftovers. You can either eat the same thing again – or repurpose it into creative Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
You’ll just want to avoid buying a lot of extra ingredients, which can make your cheap recipe not as affordable.
What You’ll Need To Make The Best Leftover Turkey Salad
Leftover turkey: First and foremost, you’ll need some of that delicious leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Both dark meat turkey and white meat turkey will work but if you have a meat preference, you can certainly choose one or the other. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
Mayonnaise: Plain mayo – Hellmann’s Mayo, Duke’s or similar – will work best for this recipe. Avoid Miracle Whip salad dressing, as it adds a lot of extra tang that you don’t want in this already-delicious recipe. If you’re looking to cut calories, you could substitute a bit of plain Greek yogurt for some of the mayonnaise. However, full-fat, plain mayo will taste the best!
Seasonings: Plenty of seasonings are added to the mayo/dressing, including fresh cracked black pepper, a pinch of salt, white granulated sugar (don’t skip it – it adds just a touch of sweetness), garlic powder, fresh dill, and a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Fresh ingredients: The best part about this recipe all of the fresh ingredients added in. This recipe could be called “turkey crunch salad” for all of the crunchy mix-ins added in. The recipe is somewhat adaptable depending on what add-ins you like. You can follow the recipe, below, but feel free to add more of a certain ingredient or leave it out altogether if you don’t have that ingredient on hand (to save money).
- Red onion
- Crunchy celery
- Halved red grapes
- Chopped pecans
- Chopped water chestnuts
- Poppy seeds
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Optional ingredients not listed in recipe below: Green onions, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds
Keep in mind the ingredients list is somewhat flexible: If you like a creamier turkey salad, add another tablespoon of mayo. Don’t like water chestnuts? Leave them out. Want it sweeter? Add a pinch more sugar, some more grapes or dried cranberries.
This turkey salad is delicious enough to just eat plain. But you may want to stretch your recipe to feed more or make into several meals. Here are some delicious ways to enjoy this best ever turkey salad:
- Serve turkey salad on a buttery croissant
- Make a turkey salad sandwich
- Serve with crackers and veggies
- Serve in lettuce wraps
- Serve on top of a bed of lettuce or fresh green salad
This turkey salad is just as tasty the next day. It makes the perfect lunch in the busy days post-Thanksgiving.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Remember that leftover Thanksgiving turkey is good for 3 to 4 days after it is roasted. Keep this in mind when making this flavorful turkey salad.
Pro Tip: Make This With Leftover Chicken Instead!
You can make this with leftover rotisserie chicken or chicken breast instead. Simply swap the chicken out for the turkey in the recipe, below.
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
Got leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Lucky you! Try one of these recipes that make delicious use of your bounty:
- Turkey lettuce wraps
- Turkey nachos with cranberry salsa (use 2 of your Thanksgiving leftovers!)
- Turkey empanadas
- Turkey chili
- Turkey mole bowls
- Turkey-cranberry wontons
- Thanksgiving croquettes (made out of leftovers)
- Thanksgiving leftover burritos
- Leftover turkey soup
- Even more Thanksgiving leftover ideas
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
- 1/2 cup halved red grapes
- 8-ounce can water chestnuts, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, sugar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings, if desired.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour in dressing and gently mix to combine.
- Serve immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.