Our Absolute Favorite Recipes for Repurposing Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftover Pie

The feast may be complete but the refrigerator is still packed with Thanksgiving leftovers like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and so much more. While it's easy to recreate a full plate of holiday favorites the following day, it's even more exciting to create an entirely new dish out of bits and pieces from the mains and sides. One delicious example? Our Thanksgiving Leftovers Pie, which is pictured here.

Start Black Friday with Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast: Layer leftover turkey (or shredded, pre-cooked chicken should your family have finished the bird) on a tortilla along with mashed sweet potatoes, sautéed onions, and a fried egg for the ultimate Turkey Breakfast Taco. It's easy to prepare a big batch of these if you have family and friends staying over, too. If you're still feeling full from Thanksgiving dinner and can't imagine consuming anything beyond coffee or tea for breakfast, prepare a dessert made with leftovers to enjoy it later in the day. Swirl cranberry sauce into a classic vanilla cheesecake or create individual Cranberry Curd Tartlets that use a double whammy of leftover pie crust and leftover cranberry sauce. Their miniature size makes them perfect for having just a small sweet bite at the end of the day.

If you want to balance out all of the heavy carbs, go with a light salad that uses shredded turkey, chopped celery (leftover from your crudité board, perhaps?), and cranberry sauce as a component of a very bright, tart dressing. It's a great lunch to enjoy over the weekend.

All of our ideas for using up Thanksgiving leftovers are sure to inspire (and will help you clear out your refrigerator in the process, too!).

01 of 22

Day-After-Thanksgiving Skillet Breakfast

Second-Day Skillet Breakfast
Nico Schinco

This hearty dish will feed the whole family, and it delivers maximum flavor with minimal effort. Use frozen hash browns as the base layer for this single-skillet extravaganza (we think you've washed enough dishes and pans at this point). They're topped with shredded turkey, sliced sweet potatoes, and, yes, even green beans. Top the whole shebang with cheese and a few eggs, and continue baking until the whites set. And if you really want to rival last night's meal, heat up the gravy as an optional drizzle.

02 of 22

Mini Pastry

dessert with pear and raspberries
Nico Schinco

We're not going to sugarcoat it: Thanksgiving baking can be labor-intensive. To sweeten the deal, here's a reward for the pastry chef after that long day in the kitchen that's so easy you don't need a recipe: Turn the scraps of excess dough from your piecrust into a mini dessert. First, preheat oven to 375°F. Then on a parchment-lined baking sheet, pat pie-dough scraps together into an approximately five-inch circle. Brush it lightly with heavy cream; sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with fresh fruit, such as sliced pears and raspberries, and a dollop of whipped cream. Whether you share this confection with your sous-chefs is entirely up to you.

03 of 22

Creamy Leftover-Turkey-and-Rice Soup

Creamy Leftover-Turkey- and-Rice Soup
Johnny Miller

Put a light, fresh spin on Thursday's leftovers with a speedy riff on avgolemono, the classic Greek chicken soup. Egg yolks (they're the "avgo") add creaminess to simmering stock while lemon juice (the "lemono") brightens the flavor, and cooked rice and shredded meat fill out every spoonful. If you have other prepared vegetables on hand, like sautéed greens or broccoli rabe, throw them in, too. The result is satisfyingly hearty, but not so much so that you'll conk out on the couch again.

04 of 22

Turkey Breakfast Tacos

breakfast turkey tacos
Julia Gartland

An inspired way to use up leftover turkey and sweet potatoes the morning after! Amp up the filling with your favorite spicy salsa, layer on tortillas, and add a fried egg.

05 of 22

Cranberry Tartlets


These bite-size pies use leftover pastry dough and cranberry sauce. Serve them with turkey sandwiches for a perfect post-Thanksgiving dessert.

06 of 22

Potato Croquettes

Potato Croquettes in bowl
Johnny Miller

Leftover mashed potatoes are brightened with fresh parsley, smothered in breadcrumbs, and then fried until crunchy and golden in this crowd-pleasing appetizer.

07 of 22

Turkey Tortellini Soup

Aaron Dyer

In this twist on the Italian favorite tortellini en brodo, the stuffed pasta joins baby spinach and leftover turkey in a cleansing homemade broth.

08 of 22

Turkey Cobb-Salad Sandwich

Marcus Nilsson

Martha's hearty take on the classic salad stacks leftover turkey and cranberry sauce with bacon, egg, avocado, lettuce, and basil.

09 of 22

Turkey-and-Watercress Salad

turkey-and-watercress salad
Julia Gartland

A pleasing jumble of tastes and textures, this salad teams leftover turkey with peppery watercress, crunchy celery, and nutty farro. A bright dressing made with another leftover—cranberry sauce—pulls it all together.

10 of 22

Leftover Turkey Curry

leftover turkey curry
Julia Gartland

Turn up the volume on leftover turkey by turning it into a fiery curry with fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, and Thai chile.

11 of 22

Turkey Monte Cristo

Bryan Gardner

Switch out the usual ham for leftover turkey in this French toast-grilled cheese hybrid. Cranberry sauce adds just the right amount of sweetness.

12 of 22

Turkey-Salad Sandwich

Bryan Gardner

Sweet, savory, fresh, crunchy—this day-after sandwich has a lot going for it. Leftover turkey teams up with celery, green apple, golden raisins, cucumber, and watercress. A lemony mayonnaise ties all the flavors together.

13 of 22

Curried Turkey Casserole


Reinvent leftover turkey by baking it with broccoli and a rich sauce seasoned with curry powder. Day-old bread makes a golden, crunchy topping.

14 of 22

Penne with Goat Cheese, Kale, Olives, and Turkey


In this light yet satisfying change of pace from tetrazzini and turkey a la king, goat cheese melts into a creamy sauce that coats penne pasta and hearty greens.

15 of 22

Chunky Turkey-Vegetable Soup


Leftover Thanksgiving turkey takes on new character in this hearty tomato and escarole soup seasoned with garlic and rosemary. If you're tired of turkey right now, dice and freeze the meat and make this soup next month.

16 of 22

Pumpkin and Ice Cream Sandwich


Breathe new life into leftover pumpkin pie filling by sandwiching it with vanilla ice cream between graham crackers.

17 of 22

Quick Turkey Tetrazzini

turkey tetrazzini
Mike Krautter

Trust us, no one will be able to resist this creamy noodle casserole studded with turkey, mushrooms, and peas.

18 of 22

Turkey and Sweet-Potato Hash


You'll find that the complementary flavors of turkey, sweet potatoes, and apples come together in this rich, satisfying dish.

19 of 22

Day-After Turkey Soup

Krause, Johansen

This healthy take on leftovers combines turkey with lots of fresh vegetables like kale and corn with white beans.

20 of 22

Spicy Turkey Medianoches

spicy turkey medianoches
Lennart Weibull

This deli sandwich, made with sliced roasted turkey, has layers of flavor from dill pickles, salty prosciutto, Swiss cheese, sliced jalapeño peppers, and yellow mustard, too.

21 of 22

Chicken a la Cranberry

cranberry chicken with greens on plate with cutlery
Justin Walker

If you've had enough turkey, use leftover cranberry sauce as a glaze on chicken legs to coat and flavor them. They'll be deliciously crispy and just right with leftover mashed potatoes—and a green vegetable, too.

22 of 22

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

round cranberry cheesecake with slice cut
Justin Walker

Turn a classic savory side dish into a fabulous dessert; homemade vanilla cheesecake topped with swirls of cranberry sauce is a dreamy dessert for the weekend after the big feast (once all the pie has been eaten!).

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