Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftover tips

As anticipated as the first helping of turkey and stuffing are, the second day of leftovers and sandwiches are decidedly less exciting. There is always turkey left over, which is great because it is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make many recipes. The most common recipes featuring leftovers are soups, casseroles, and salads, but there are many more ways you use all your remaining feast. Here are some great ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers that require just a few additional items to become a completely new dish:


  • Turkey Chili- turkey, tomatoes, onion, beans, and spices are all you need for a simple chili. If you have leftover roasted carrots or sweet potatoes, you can add them as well. Cook in the slow cooker or simmer on the stovetop.
  • Turkey Pot Pie- Use store bought or homemade crust, add whatever veggies you have on hand to the turkey, and toss those in your leftover gravy. Bake according to the crust packaging or recipe.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Shepherd’s Pie- Top a mixture of veggies and meat with your leftover mashed potatoes and bake until the top is golden brown.
  • Croquettes- Add cheese, beaten eggs, bacon, and whatever spices you prefer to leftover mashed potatoes. Mix together and roll into balls. Roll the balls through breadcrumbs and bake at 375° until brown.


  • Stuffing Cakes- Mix leftover stuffing with egg and cheese. Shape into patties and pan fry in olive oil. These are great topped with a poached or fried egg.
  • Stuffed Peppers or Boats- Hollow out the center of bell peppers or zucchini. Add stuffing to the center and bake at 400° until the veggies are soft.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Cranberry Turnovers- Combine cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar to leftover cranberry sauce. Add the mixture to squares of puff pastry, fold into triangles, and seal the edges. Bake according to the directions for the puff pastry.
  • Cranberry Salad- Add chopped pecans and crushed pineapple to leftover cranberry sauce to make this tasty, tart salad.


  • Croutons- Cut your leftover bread or rolls into cubes. Toss in butter and spices and bake until crispy.
  • Bread Pudding- Tear your leftover bread or rolls into small pieces. Cover the bread pieces in a baking dish with a mixture of egg, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bake at 350° about 45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the top springs back when touched.

There are plenty of options when deciding what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. The ideas above are just a few ideas of how to avoid eating the same exact meal for days. Another great ways to get rid of leftovers is to send everyone home with food. This is especially appreciated by college students, families with young children, and those who are less confident in the kitchen. If you have whole pies leftover, consider freezing them until the next holiday, or bringing those to a fire station, nursing home, or emergency shelter to be enjoyed by those who might not have been able to spend the holiday with their loved ones.

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