30+ Creative Uses for Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Turkey Sandwiches With Kimchi Slaw and Miso Sauce
Give your day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich a modern update with global ingredients. The robust flavors of nutty sesame oil, tangy-garlicky- pungent kimchi, and salty-sweet white miso give your palate a wel- come change of pace. The sandwich also feeds your gut healthy probiotics (kimchi, yogurt, and miso) plus pre- biotics (whole-grain bread) to keep the good bacteria well fed.
Muffin Cup Stuffing "Scotch Egg"
Are you stuffed full of stuffing? Simply press leftover stuffing into muffin cups to make a tasty nest for a cracked egg. Yes, a traditional Scotch egg calls for wrapping sausage around a soft boiled egg and then deep frying, so this recipe is definitely a play on the idea (looking at you, social media). Stuffing isn’t quite an alternative to delicious sausage, but a crispy, cornbread-y blanket around a soft baked egg might be the next best thing. You can use any dressing or stuffing that your family used on Turkey Day, just make sure you add enough stock or water to make a loose, wet ‘batter’ for the cups.
Quick Roasted Turkey Posole
After everyone is done with the white meat for the sandwiches, what’s a cook to do with all the leftover bits? Soup is always the answer, and this Southwestern-inspired Turkey Posole is one to keep even after the holidays have passed. Hominy might be new to some, but the chewy texture of this thick corn kernel gives this soup more texture to hold up to the tangy broth. Feel free to mix and match your toppings, the ingredients indicated are only limited to your own posole dreams.
Cranberry Peppercorn & Sage Shrub Soda
Don’t shrub off the best thing that has happened to your cocktail outside your drink of choice: vinegar. A shrub is a fruit-muddled vinegar that adds a sour and bitter punch to your cocktail, perfect for pairing with fresh and floral liquors like gin. Plus, leftover cranberry sauce doesn’t have to get tossed with the last of the turkey; the sweet-tart berries are perfect for a punchy shrub. Top with refreshing club soda for a spritzer or add your favorite liquor to get the party started.
Sweet Potato Casserole "Pancakes" With Maple Glaze
Wherever you are in America, you may or may not have sweet potato casserole on your Thanksgiving table. Our controversial stance: everybody should have sweet potato casserole on their Thanksgiving tables and then again on their breakfast plates! Sweet, vitamin-rich sweet potatoes (or yams—learn the difference) make an ideal treat for the morning after Turkey Day.
Leftover Green Bean Niçoise
Classic salade niçoise gets a big flavor boost from our leftover green bean recipe: Dried cranberries provide unexpected sweet-tart notes, while hazelnuts add lightly sweet, meaty depth.
Roast Turkey Pho
You can substitute unsalted chicken stock for the homemade. If you do, simmer with the water, stock, peppercorns, sugar, star anise, and ginger, and proceed with recipe from there.
Picadillo-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls
Papas rellenas (stuffed potato balls) are a traditional Spanish dish. Baked instead of fried, they're a healthy and delicious way to make a meal out of leftover mashed potatoes.
Cran-Apple Smoked Turkey Sliders
Let's face it: You have to have a killer leftover turkey sandwich the day after the feast. If you start with our robust Applewood-Smoked Turkey, you need only a few embellishments—namely the juicy snap of tart apple and the extra layer of smoke from the cheddar—to reach to-die-for status.
Dressing-Stuffed Mini Peppers
We love these stuffed peppers as an appetizer, but you can also serve them as a side dish. Be sure to use baby bell peppers and not mini sweet peppers (shaped like jalapeños) so they're big enough to accommodate the filling. As an alternative to broiling, you can char the peppers directly over a gas flame, turning frequently with tongs.
Cauliflower Turkey Tetrazzini
Potato Pancakes with Salmon
These little potato pancakes take almost no time to pat together and quickly sauté to golden-brown perfection. Topped with smoked salmon, sour cream, and chives, they're an elegant party nibble.
Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Here's a low-carb twist on a taco: shredded white-meat turkey dressed with sweet-tart cranberry sauce spiced with adobo and chipotle. Tuck it all into tender lettuce leaves.
Cranberry-Hoisin Turkey Buns
Repurpose leftover turkey and cranberry sauce into a tasty snack with these Asian-inspired buns. With its zippy, tangy flavor, cranberry sauce makes a natural partner for sweetly spiced hoisin sauce. Add quick-pickled cukes and pillowy Chinese buns, and the bird takes a delicious detour East.
Make the most of day-old wine by turning it into a lightly spiced, brandy-enhanced punch. Throw in some fresh fruit to soak up the flavors, and you have a happy, crowd-pleasing concoction.
Savory Harvest Vegetable Tart With Toasted Quinoa Crust
This recipe is a brilliant use of leftover roasted vegetables. We use whole-grain quinoa for a press-in-the-pan tart shell hits all the right marks. Toasting the grain adds nutty crunch to the foolproof crust. Peppered goat cheese and a colorful crown of caramelized veggies make this dish simply spectacular.
Ham and Sweet Potato Hash
This colorful breakfast-for-dinner dish uses sweet potatoes and red bell peppers for a double hit of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that most recently was shown to potentially lower bread cancer risk.
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
We've shortened (and lightened) this holiday classic by bringing everything together in one pan and using the stovetop and broiler rather than baking.
Crispy Green Beans With Sriracha Mayo
Day-old veggies become irresistible crunchy munching sticks thanks to a coarse breadcrumb coating. Tangy chile dip takes flavors to the spicy edge.
Breakfast Hot Dish
If you're not from the Upper Midwest, you may not be familiar with hot dish. Traditionally, it's a casserole of starch (often French fries or tots), meat, and vegetables held together by a creamy sauce. "It's an easy way to feed a crowd," says blogger and cookbook author Molly Yeh, "and it's perfect for the dead of winter because it's so hearty and warm and comforting." Her update uses sweet potatoes flavored with Aleppo pepper. To get a head start, you can roast the potatoes and brown the sausage a couple of days ahead.
Buttermilk-Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
This has to be the coolest way to serve pie "à la mode." Churn creamy spiced pumpkin pie into a rich custard for an all-in-one ice-cream treat. What a great way to stretch those last couple of slices into a festive new dessert.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles
Leftover pecan pie? Use it to make this rich confection, a mash-up of cocoa and pecan pie (and a little hooch for good measure). Rolling the truffles in dry-roasted almonds adds just the right amount of salty crunch along with each luscious bite.
Turkey and Swiss Sloppy Joes
This twist on a classic sandwich swaps the sweet, barbecue-style sauce for a white sauce enriched with nutty Swiss cheese.
Turkey, Broccoli, and Phyllo Pie
Skip the potpie and try a fragrant, flaky casserole for your turkey leftovers. We ditch the pastry dough for a flaky, golden phyllo crust—a nice alternative to the pies and potpies you may be wary of by now. Don’t fret about getting the phyllo topper to fit snugly in the baking dish; any overhang will become delightfully crisp in the oven. Thawed phyllo can be finicky: Unroll very carefully, and keep remaining sheets under a slightly damp kitchen towel while you work. If you don't have leftover turkey from yesterday, use shredded rotisserie chicken.
Cottage Pie from Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Leftover mashed potatoes are mixed with white cheddar cheese to form the top crust for this British pub-food staple. Ground beef is traditionally used, but lean ground turkey will work, as well. Brown the crust under the broiler for a minute or two, if you like.
Turkey Arepas from Leftover Turkey
Arepas are corn cakes popular in Latin American countries. Look for arepa flour in the international food section of large supermarkets or in an ethnic market. Don't substitute masa harina or cornmeal for the arepa flour, which is precooked. Store the flour in an airtight container in your freezer to extend its shelf life.
Vegetable Samosas With Mint Chutney
Use your leftover mashed potatoes to make these delicious vegetable samosas. This Indian-inspired snack comes together quickly and is great for parties.
Turkey and Vegetable Stew with Whole-Grain Biscuits
This hearty spin on chicken and dumplings satisfies with just over 300 calories. Double the recipe to freeze, so you have an easy, comforting dinner when you need it.
Steak Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries
A summer classic leans into fall with roasted butternut squash, tart-sweet dried cranberries, and fresh rosemary. Find peeled, diced fresh butternut squash in the produce section. You can sub crumbled goat cheese or feta for the blue cheese and walnuts or pecans for the hazelnuts.
Farro, Green Bean, and Kale Salad
Pouched precooked farro (which you’ll find on the rice and grains aisle of some larger supermarkets) is a great product to keep on hand. It’ll keep for months in the pantry, reheats in just 90 seconds, and is versatile enough to go into salads, soups, pilafs, and more. You can also cook your own farro if you have time; you’ll need 2 cups for this recipe. This salad holds up beautifully for several days, so feel free to double the recipe and have lunch in the bag for nearly the whole week.
Salad from Leftover Green Beans
Serve this Mediterranean-flavored side dish with roasted, simply seasoned chicken, pork, beef, or fish.
Kir Royale from Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Leftover cranberry sauce helps concoct a lightly sweet homemade cranberry liqueur in this twist on a classic French cocktail. Allow four days to steep the liqueur. Garnish with cranberries, if you like.
Flan from Leftover Sweet Potato
This flan—Spanish baked custard—is best when made with leftover sweet potatoes that have been simply prepared and minimally seasoned. Use ground nutmeg in place of grated whole nutmeg, if you prefer.
Mexican Turkey Stew from Leftover Turkey
While usually an ingredient in moles, roasted pumpkinseed kernels add another layer of nutty flavor to this posole-style broth. Look for them in specialty markets and health-food stores. Substitute ancho chile powder if guajillo is unavailable.