20 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes for Making the Most of Your Meal
When you have Thanksgiving leftovers to use up, the first thing that comes to mind might be a leftovers sandwich. Sliced turkey, a swipe of cranberry sauce, a dollop of stuffing or dressing, maybe some mashed potatoes—everything all piled into one super-dish. But this collection of leftovers ideas also features candied sweet potato pancakes, chicory salad with cranberry-sauce vinaigrette, and other ingenious ways to repurpose the extras from your holiday feast. Read on for even more Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
Mashed-Potato Spring Rolls
These spring rolls from David Chang can help you use leftover mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy—he recommends serving the spring rolls with the latter, along with some Sriracha.
Turkey Reuben Hash
This 25-minute hash from Kay Chun pairs leftover turkey with potatoes, sauerkraut, and caraway for a fun play on a Reuben sandwich.
Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey
Simmering the broth with a Parmesan rind gives the soup an even richer taste than sprinkling the cheese on top.
Vegetable Turkey Soup with Cornmeal Noodles
This soup is packed with rich turkey stock, shredded roast turkey, leeks, carrots, white button mushrooms, and more.
Turkey and Swiss Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is one of the best vehicles for using up leftovers.
Next-Day Turkey Sandwiches
Winter squash puree, leftover turkey, chunky cranberry sauce, and stuffing are all piled into this serious sandwich.
Turkey Shepherd's Pie with Two-Potato Topping
This recipe from Jimmy Bradley makes a large pie, but you can also prepare the dish in individual 1 1/2-cup ramekins.
Walnut-Cranberry Turkey Salad
The dressing for this light, delicious turkey salad is made with low-fat mayonnaise, yogurt and chopped herbs.
Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza
Have leftover mashed sweet potatoes? Use them on this pizza.
Although this recipe calls for cooking one pound of peeled baking potatoes and passing them through a ricer, you can also use mashed potatoes you already have on hand.
Mashed potatoes in the batter give these waffles a soft, chewy texture. For a delicious brunch, top them with sliced smoked salmon, poached eggs and chives. The waffle batter should be made a day ahead, so plan accordingly.
Farmhouse Turkey Hot Dish
“Nothing beats Tater Tots for this. Period,” says Andrew Zimmern. The meat comes from freshly braised turkey legs, though 4 cups of shredded leftover turkey meat would be excellent, too.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Nachos
Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple makes his next-level nachos with leftovers from his Thanksgiving meal. His leftovers include diced turkey, chopped roasted vegetables, and cranberry sauce, but any leftovers you have can be used because gooey Monterey Jack cheese brings them all together.
Leftover Roast Turkey and Chinese Egg Noodle Soup
“This is a great recipe for whether you’re roasting a traditional whole bird, using a spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey, or the separate parts,” Andrea Nguyen writes. “Once the broth is done, you can hold it in the fridge for days.”
Turkey and Butternut Squash Lasagna with Crispy Sage
Each layer of this next-level lasagna leans on Thanksgiving leftovers in a smart way to bring big flavor to the table. Leftover sautéed mushrooms jazz up the creamy béchamel, while mashed butternut squash provides a smooth contrast to the hearty Parmesan-enriched turkey filling, and pan-fried sage leaves add an elegant twist.
Candied Sweet Potato Pancakes
“My great-grandmother, who is 102, would always make candied sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving,” says Douglass Williams, a 2020 F&W Best New Chef. “I wanted to try to find a way to use those sweet potatoes the day after.” So Williams came up with these light, fluffy pancakes, flecked with orange zest and studded with crunchy walnuts. The addition of mashed sweet potatoes gives them a beautiful color and keeps them extra moist and tender.
Chicory Salad with Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette
Drizzled with a tart dressing spiked with leftover cranberry sauce, this vibrant salad would make for a refreshing next-day lunch after a heavy Thanksgiving feast. Leftover cornbread, crumbled and crisped in bacon drippings, adds the perfect touch of balancing richness.
Creamy Mashed Potato Soup with Dashi
Dashi and soy sauce add umami to buttery leftover mashed potatoes in this cozy soup from chef Shota Nakajima. As a kid, whenever he was hungry, he’d grab anything left over from the previous meal to make soup or fried rice. “I grew up in a Japanese family, and I was taught to never waste anything,” Nakajima says. This soup is his riff on a recipe from his mother.
Mashed Potato and Ham Agnolotti in Turkey Bone Broth
“After eating such heavy food on Thanksgiving, it’s nice to have something lighter the day after,” says 2020 F&W Best New Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph. His delicate agnolotti, filled with leftover mashed potatoes and ham, feature a smart shortcut—store-bought fresh lasagna sheets—served in a broth made from leftover turkey bones.
Stuffing “Falafel” Pitas with Tahini Gravy
Leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes get a new lease on life in these crispy, sesame-studded, falafel-like patties from Chef Zoë Kanan. “I was inspired by the overstuffed, colorful, and briny pitas of Tel Aviv,” Kanan says of this next-level Thanksgiving sandwich. “The key here is introducing crunch to the sandwich. Use my recipe as a guide, and riff by including whatever textural ingredients you have around, like fried onions, sunflower seeds, or even wasabi peas.”