7 Easy, Delicious Ways to Eat Leftover Turkey

By , Bryn Mooth
Ahhh, roast turkey: that centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. How frequently do we prepare turkey throughout the rest of the year? Not as often as we might; turkey can be very straightforward to cook and, thanks to its high-quality protein and low levels of fat (particularly lean turkey breast) can be a healthful option, too.
If you find yourself with a pile of turkey leftovers this holiday season, we have a few clever ways to make next-day use of the Thanksgiving bird. And if you’re looking for good year-round turkey recipes, we’ve got you covered there as well.
Chef Meg’s Herb-Roasted Turkey
Let’s start with this: the classic roast turkey recipe, the only one you’ll ever need. Fragrant with orange and herbs, this classic roast turkey earns the spotlight on your holiday table, and it makes darn tasty leftovers, too.
Classic Grilled Turkey Sandwich
With a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese and a topping of zingy cranberry sauce, this will be your new go-to turkey sandwich. Use high-quality low-sodium deli turkey, or take thin slices of breast meat from your holiday roast.
Mini Turkey Pot Pies
Press rounds of prepared piecrust (homemade or store-bought) into muffin tins or ramekins, prick the dough with a fork and bake at 425 for 8 to 10 minutes until the crusts are golden brown. Fill with leftover turkey, dressing, potatoes (or any Thanksgiving side), gravy; warm the pies in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Top crust is optional!
Turkey Enchilada Casserole
Cooked turkey (white and dark meat, chopped) is a great substitute for chicken in your family’s favorite dishes. Here, you can pair cooked turkey with packaged salsa, whole-wheat tortillas and some Jack cheese.
Turkey "Manhattan" Sandwiches
I’m not sure where the name came from, but this was a Thanksgiving leftover staple in my family when I was growing up. For each serving, toast a slice of whole-grain bread, then top with sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for a hearty open-face sandwich.
Leftover Turkey Tostadas
Tear or chop cooked dark-meat turkey into bite-sized chunks. Heat corn tortillas in a dry skillet or hot griddle; top with turkey, shredded lettuce, shredded low-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, prepared salsa and fat-free Greek yogurt.
Turkey Hash
Saute shredded potatoes (from your grocer’s refrigerator case), a medium onion, diced, and a green or red bell pepper, diced, in a little olive oil until the vegetables are soft and golden brown. Add 1 cup of shredded cooked turkey (dark meat works well) and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the hash is crispy brown in spots; top each serving with a fried egg, if desired, or sprinkle on low-fat Cheddar cheese.
Greek Turkey Burgers
Ground turkey makes a terrific lower-fat substitute for ground beef in burgers; this recipe from Chef Meg features the Mediterranean flavors of Feta cheese, mint and oregano.
Turkey Chili with Corn and Black Beans
Not a leftovers recipe, but rather another great use for ground turkey. This low-fat chili packs a ton of heat, so adjust the amount of chili powder if you’d like.
Terrific Turkey Meatloaf
This meatloaf recipe scored big ratings on SparkRecipes, and no wonder. It features lean ground turkey, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese and flavorful spices; a great alternative to higher-fat meatloaf made of pork and/or beef.

What is your favorite way to eat leftover turkey?


Bryn Mooth
is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

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CHERRYZMB60 11/15/2020
I like no bread crumbs Report
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KOALA_BEAR 7/5/2020
Turkey tetrazini is a favorite of mine. I actually prefer the flavor over chicken. Report
DEE107 2/7/2020
sounds good Report
KHALIA2 12/10/2019
Very good ideas! Thanks! Report
Very good ideas, thanks. Report
Wonderful suggestions! Report
thank you Report
Great ideas! Thanks! Report
Great recipes! Thanks! Report
thanks Report
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Oh, It's awesome. Gotta definitely try this out!
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Turkey is great leftover! Yum! Report
Turkey leftovers are better than the turkey dinner! Report
No such thing as too much turkey .We need bigger birds!! Report
Thank you for all the wonderful ideas for turkey leftovers and fresh. There's no such thing as too much left over turkey. :D Report
OR, become a vegetarian, save an animal and NEVER have a problem with leftovers. Report
I make Impossible Turkey Pie - turkey, leftover stuffing, peas, Bisquick and milk, baked in a pie plate, served with warm turkey gravy. Easy, and one of my husband's favorites.
Can't forget turkey gumbo. I have the carcass all ready to cook down. Do you know how much good meat is on the carcass? It's going to be good! Report
I made a turkey stir-fry tonight with carrots; celery; red, yellow, and orange peppers; zucchini and mushrooms. I put in a little bit of Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce and my family seemed to really like it. :) Plus, it got a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers used up. Report
Made a HUGE batch of turkey broth to use in soups and to freeze. So much better than storebought!!

I also tried a leftover quesadilla...Spread half a tortilla with cranberry sauce and the other half with mashed potatoes. Filled it with diced turkey pieces and brussel sprouts, and a tiny bit of shredded cheese to help hold it together. While it was cooking, I heated up some gravy for dipping. Sooo good! Report
The turkey burgers and meat loaf sound like I would try them myself. Report
I like all of these ideas.. I actually made Turkey tacos with fresh salsa, fresh guac and fresh pineapple salsa as well. It was absolutely delicious and a great way to vamp up what will be a long couple of days with turkey. The other item I made was turkey soup, which is one of my Thanksgiving traditions, load up on vegetables and spices to get ready for the colder weather. So good! Report
Last night I made Turkey Divan, and tonight I made a Turkey & Wildrice Crockpot Casserole. Hubby made up a turkey pot pie to freeze for later. That's the end of that turkey! Report
Almost all of these are keepers. But am I just dense? How can you make meatloaf out of cooked turkey? Report
My favorite leftover turkey has to be turkey sandwiches. oh yum! Report
Turkey Salad Burrito that I have been fixing for YEARS is GREAT! Report
My husband made me the BEST ever Turkey leftover Sandwich I'd ever had. I was already kicking over the idea of sauteing some dried out turkey breast with some water to make it soft, and then adding it into pita bread with some tomatos and maybe yogurt. I told him about it saying I wanted to make some for lunch after my bath. While I was bathing, he went to work and his version was probably not as low calorie as I needed, but it was sure tasty = steamed up the turkey in a pan with water, and mixed it in with some sliced up grape tomatos and some mayo and olive oil mixed up, and a spoonful or so of olive tapenade that we had in the frige, and a slice of cheese (forgot what kind he said it was), and a tiny sliver slice of fresh onion, and some salt/pepper and then crisped up the pita in the toaster oven after the whole thing was filled up (we don't have a panini press but it kind of had the same effect!!). Ohhh it was sooo tasty. He's promised to write the recipe down for me. Yum! OH he said he put some walnuts in it too. And I've likely forgotten other details so will wait for his recipe. Sooo yummy!! Report
Turkey tetrazzini is a favorite here. Like some of the options shown! thanks! Report
Soup, soup, and more soup is my route...love the flavor of turkey in soup--with celery, carrots, barley, onions, and spices. Report
Turkey gumbo! I think my sons home from college look more forward to the leftovers and their recipes than they do the actual Thanksgiving dinner. Warm turkey and dressing, cold cranberry sauce and hearty 12 grain bread is the go to on Friday morning. Gumbo is prepared the same night, refrigerated and served for Saturday dinner with cornbread. Drop the turkey carcass, frozen gumbo veggies in chicken stock, pepper. Simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, not too long, we don't like mushy bones. Let it sit overnight in fridge, always better. Next day, reheat slowly while making cornbread. Nummy nums(that's yummy to my boys)! Report
Sandwiches are quick an easy, so that's usually how most leftover turkey meat is used. This year I'll try to get some ground up so I can try the meatloaf! Report
Turkey's popular in the UK (for Christmas, we don't do Thanksgiving). I think people buy it because they think it's traditional though goose is more traditional here. But about 20 years ago there was a whole slew of Christmas ads on the subject of 'what to do with all that leftover turkey?' The best one was Hellmann's mayo. It started off with 'I remember the year dad won the prize turkey in the raffle. We didn't have to feed the cat again till Easter'. I laughed till I cried. There was an animation of a ginger cat that looked as though it had swallowed a cushion. Report
Didn't fix a Turkey, so don't have any leftovers. When I do fix a Turkey, I freeze the leftovers and save them for about two weeks later, when I then use them and everyone is glad to have some turkey again. Report
Thank you so much! I'll definitely try the enchilada casserole! Report
with my mouth!!! Report
You can include me with the turkey sandwich lovers. I love a good turkey sandwich ! And I'll add turkey soup. Turkey soup is great too.
Making my list now!! Thanks for the ideas! Report
Wonderful and yummy ideas! I also like to make turkey soup and freeze it in small containers. Report
The turkey hash sounds good. Will try it tonight. Thanks.
A sandwich, turkey burgers, turkey chili, warm up the leftovers for another meal, or making turkey vegetable soup. Report
All these great recipes make me even sadder that I didn't take my brother-in-law up on his offer to take some of the leftover turkey home with me. Report
Gotta definitely try turkey burgers and turkey meatloaf. These look great. Report