Makeovers for Thanksgiving Leftovers
We're not saying you have to give up the beloved leftover turkey sandwich, but why not explore a few new ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers?
The big meal is over, but who says the feasting has to be? After the many hours that are spent preparing for such a huge spread, Thanksgiving leftovers are a given. We’re not saying we’re too good for a turkey sandwich, made with leftover turkey, mayo and garlic salt, but for the sake of your family’s sanity, we have put together a list of recipes that will give your Thanksgiving leftovers a facelift. These Thanksgiving leftover recipes might just give your main feast a run for its money.
Pizzas, soups, salads, and casseroles are just a few of the dishes we compiled from a typical leftover spread. Thanksgiving leftovers don’t just include turkey; we got extremely resourceful and even utilized leftover green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole to make your Thanksgiving leftovers more delicious than before! These leftover turkey recipes will help ensure every bite of your Thanksgiving feast is enjoyed!
It's so easy to whip up a pizza out of leftovers. With these after-Thanksgiving pizza leftovers recipes, you may find that you enjoy leftovers more than a brand-new meal. Whether you have turkey, sausage, shrimp, or veggies, you can use one of these easy recipes for a quick After-Thanksgiving Pizza. It is truly a melting pot of leftovers, and with tasty add-ins and gooey cheese, you’ll never want to order in from a pizza chain again. Throw in what you have, because these recipes are supremely customizable.
Tortilla Turkey Soup
Recipe: Tortilla Turkey Soup
Forget the bland, day-after leftovers pulled begrudgingly from plastic Tupperware containers. Instead, with a few steps, you can create something everyone will love. This recipe will help you put a new spin on those turkey remnants. Try leftover turkey in soup for a tasty, flavorful change. This Mexican-inspired turkey soup has crunchy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro for a zesty day after Thanksgiving dish. And with those dropping temperatures, you’ll love to have a big bowl of steaming soup to warm you up. This Tortilla Turkey Soup is the fuzzy scarf of soups—comforting, lovely, and you’ll reach for it again and again, especially this season.
Recipe: Harvest Pizza
We’d argue that there is no meal quite as crowd pleasing as a pizza. Extra points go to the pizza recipe that makes the most of leftovers and doesn’t require a run to the grocery store. In a creative—and oh so tasty twist—leftover sweet potatoes are the sauce of this delicious turkey pizza. It's far from just a repurposed Thanksgiving dinner, though. The leftovers—while in a different form—really take on a new culinary personality. The recipe calls for such ingredients as shiitake mushrooms, red onion, cheese, and Italian spices, all of which combine to ensure a distinctly delicious flavor.
Dinner Mac and Cheese
Recipe: Dinner Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is always a crowd pleaser. When it makes its way to the dinner table, eyes widen and mouths water from all corners of the room. We like the idea of creating a dinner mac and cheese inspired by Thanksgiving leftovers. It pairs well with turkey and dinner rolls, and it can brighten up even the dreariest day. You can make this delicious, hearty mac and cheese by adding your leftover ham, veggies, and even crackers from the Thanksgiving holiday, just a day before. The cheese and pasta elevate the leftovers to comfort food, ensuring full tummies and plenty of energy to go outside and play.
Loaded Potato Soup
Recipe: Loaded Potato Soup
A perfect fall soup, this recipe for loaded potato soup is sure to warm and comfort on a chilly fall afternoon. Imagine ladling a bowl of this creamy potato soup from the stove, lining the bowls on the table and calling family to the table. Thanks to this recipe, clinking spoons and satisfied sounds abound all around. Give your mashed potatoes new life by whipping up this delectable soup. It's filled with the flavors of thyme, garlic, green onions, and ham, plus it is topped with leftover dinner rolls and cheese. It uses several different leftovers dishes, and your guests will never be the wiser.
Recipe: Thanksgiving Salad
We love repurposing leftovers into a delicious salad recipe, and this is one of our favorites. It could not be easier to freshen up your turkey meal with this simple but unforgettable salad. Cornbread dressing becomes flavorful croutons—a genius transformation. You simply toss them with greens, a dressing made with oil and vinegar, your leftover turkey, and sweet cranberry sauce for a delightful light meal ideal for the day after Thanksgiving. It couldn’t be easier, and it’s a great way to lighten up the meals after the nonstop feasting—on delicious foods, sides, and desserts—of the Thanksgiving holiday.
New Turkey Tetrazzini
Recipe: New Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Recipe: Turkey Salad with Cranberry Dressing
You won’t believe how easy it is to repurpose your holiday leftovers into this delicious salad recipe. Leftover dinner rolls make perfect, crisp croutons, and cranberry sauce can easily be turned into a dressing to top off this filling turkey salad. You’ll want to buy lettuce at the grocery store or farmer’s market ahead of time in anticipation of having a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers. We love the flavors in this salad—peppery, with some sweetness, and a filling, meaty centerpiece thanks to the turkey. It’s also so nice to get to show off your turkey a second time—after all of the prep work, the turkey once again takes center stage, but this time in the form of lighter lunch fare.
Turkey Tostadas with Spicy Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce
Recipe: Turkey Tostadas with Spicy Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce
Brace yourself for this delicious leftovers recipe. It’s perfect for adding a kick to your day-old Thanksgiving turkey. Transform that beloved bird, your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, into a fiesta of a meal with this recipe for turkey tostadas that are out of this world. Truly, they have to be tasted to be believed. A few add-ins kick up the spice of your cranberry sauce to round out the Tex-Mex combination of veggies, turkey, and cheese. The spicy cranberry-chipotle sauce makes the most of leftover cranberry condiments and takes the classic up a few notches. This sauce is zesty, zippy, and a thrilling addition to your day-after dinner table.
Savory Hand Pies
Recipe: Savory Hand Pies
For the day after Thanksgiving when families are traveling and on the go, these savory hand pies are a great meal. They make the most of Thanksgiving leftovers and they travel so well. Kids can eat them in the back seat and parents can nibble them in the front of the car. Thankfully, there's no need to make a post-Thanksgiving grocery run for this meal. And, when the house is full of family and friends packing, visiting, and running in and out, there’s certainly no time for a trip to the store. Use up not just turkey but also mashed potatoes, green beans, pie crust dough, and gravy in these tasty small pies.
Recipe: Turkey Tetrazzini
Tetrazzini is a staple on our dinner tables during the school year because it is delicious and filling, but we also think it’s a great dish for implementing after Thanksgiving leftovers. You can make this rich and creamy casserole with leftover turkey, and you can either eat it that night for Thanksgiving day dinner, or you can freeze it for a busier day (aka: when school is back in session and you’re pressed for time). That makes it so easy to get dinner on the table. Mushroom soup and a jar of Alfredo sauce jump-start the recipe, and crushed seasoned croutons form a flavorful topping.
Turkey, Bacon, and Havarti Sandwich
Recipe: Turkey, Bacon, and Havarti Sandwich
The turkey sandwich is a classic way to use your leftovers the day after Thanksgiving. It’s easy, too. With a houseful of guests, there’s nothing easier than a few slices of good bread, flavorful turkey and the delicious additions of bacon and Havarti cheese. Stack leftover sliced turkey with cheese and other toppings on a fresh sourdough loaf to make four sandwiches in one. You can substitute whatever you have on hand, including Muenster or Swiss cheese for Havarti and cranberry sauce in place of bell peppers and vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless, so mix and match your leftovers for your perfect turkey sandwich.
Fiesta Turkey Soup
Recipe: Fiesta Turkey Soup
It’s no surprise that we are proponents of spicing up your leftover turkey for a delicious post-Thanksgiving meal. One of our favorite ways to add some zest to turkey is by creating this Fiesta Turkey Soup. It adds a bit of zip thanks to the spices included on the ingredients list. This is sure to give your taste buds a wake-up call. It is a nice transition to switch from sweet and savory holiday dishes to this zesty turkey soup. Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe or Green Chile Biscuits, a fantastic biscuit recipe that we are sure will become a staple on your table.
Smoked Turkey-Blue Cheese Open-Faced Sandwiches
Recipe: Smoked Turkey-Blue Cheese Open-Faced Sandwiches
Blue cheese is a great add in. We could sing its praises all day long, and it certainly does its job in this sandwich recipe. Blue cheese contributes creaminess to any dish, plus a bit of delightful zing. It’s an unsung hero of the refrigerator. If you have leftover smoked turkey, this open faced sandwich recipe is going to be a go-to for you. Be sure to hold the mayo, though! This is still your iconic day-after sandwich, but sans mayo. We think that you can elevate this sandwich with a better spread (delicious, surprising fig paste) and a slice of tasty, toasted ciabatta.
Open-Faced Sweet Potato-Mushroom Sandwiches
Recipe: Open-Faced Sweet Potato-Mushroom Sandwiches
Never thought of combining sweet potato and mushroom, did you? We happened upon this delicious combination and knew we had to share it. You’ll love it. You'll be amazed when you bite into this mixture of sweet and savory flavors, a unique texture blend that takes your post-Thanksgiving sandwich recipe up a few tasty notches. Of course, like in all great sandwiches, there's bacon involved, too. You really can’t go wrong with this sandwich combo. It is just surprising enough to satisfy on a holiday weekend, but it is easy enough to throw together in no time at all. Enjoy!
Turkey-and-Spinach Wraps with Cranberry-Walnut-Cream Cheese Spread
Recipe: Turkey-and-Spinach Wraps with Cranberry-Walnut-Cream Cheese Spread
A pound of leftover roasted turkey the main ingredient you need to create this delicious sampler of Thanksgiving favorites. If you are looking to use up all of your leftovers in one fell swoop, this is the recipe for you. The turkey and spinach wraps are delicious. Filling and clean, they are a great way to detox from the heaviness of the previous day’s feasting. But there’s a special touch too. We wouldn’t forget a delicious Thanksgiving-inspired spread. That’s why we recommend pairing your wraps with our recipe for Cranberry Walnut Cream Cheese Spread. A bit of indulgence is perfect for Thanksgiving this year.
Green Bean Casserole Sandwich
Recipe: Green Bean Casserole Sandwich
We have even thought up a way to use your green bean casserole leftovers. Green bean casserole is a forever favorite on Thanksgiving tables, but you are bound to have a few Tupperware containers leftover, waiting in the refridgerator for a clever recipe to repurpose them and give them new life. Traditional green bean casserole can still be salvaged, we promise! All you need is some toasted pumpernickel bread and melted parmesan cheese. It all blends together in an incredibly satisfying, filling green bean casserole sandwich. Yum! Your family won’t believe how masterfully you have given new life to your leftovers. It is easy and practical, plus it is delicious.
Ham Waldorf Salad
Recipe: Ham Waldorf Salad
If you find yourself with leftover baked ham, turn it into this flavorful pita salad. The Waldorf salad is a beloved dish, and it finds its way on to tables across the country for casual meals and fancy soirees alike—at any season or time of day. There are so many reasons that this salad dish is a classic. But we think the taste says it all. (Plus, it is so pretty to look at.) The range of ingredients—from honey mustard to diced apples—will leave your taste buds beyond happy. Based on the track record of this salad, we can guarantee it.
The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich Ever
Recipe: The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich Ever
This is the king of all turkey sandwiches. The monarch. The president. The turkey sandwich to end all turkey sandwiches. Why? It only takes one glimpse to appreciate the majesty of this sandwich. With tasty additions of mayonnaise, bacon and tomato, this hearty sandwich makes the most of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberries. It pleases all crowds because it is a classic, hearty post Thanksgiving meal. There’s nothing quite like it, which is why it is whipped up in kitchens across the country. Don’t try to wing the turkey sandwich prep, though. Follow our recipe for the ultimate leftover turkey sandwich.
Green Bean Quiche
Recipe: Green Bean Quiche
What's better than a clever new guise for extra green bean casserole (onion topping and all)? One that takes just 5 minutes to mix. This green bean quiche recipe takes a beloved Thanksgiving meal side and, with the leftovers from the refrigerator, creates a tasty, light brunch dish in a snap. Few things make us happier than repurposing leftovers into a delectable, versatile dish. You could serve this for brunch, lunch, or afternoon snack—the sky is the limit. Perhaps this creative recipe will inspire you to innovate with the rest of your Thanksgiving leftovers. Don’t let them go to waste—instead, create an unforgettable meal. The celebration continues!
Cheesy Thanksgiving Tamales
Recipe: Cheesy Thanksgiving Tamales
You'll love this recipe, which is one of our favorite genius ways to use leftover stuffing, turkey, or sweet potato casserole. Leftovers are essential for this dish, and no one will be the wiser. We created a brilliant use for leftovers by turning our many Tupperware containers full of ingredients into the starchy outer layer of tamales. Tamales are a beloved dish, and you won’t believe how easy they are to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers. The cheesy quality of this dish ensures that your whole table will fall in love with these delicious tamales. They will be absolutely fantastic. Take our word for it.
Spicy Cranberry Salsa
Recipe: Spicy Cranberry Salsa
Here's our new go-to condiment to use on everything from tamales to turkey sandwiches. It’s bold, it’s flavorful, and it’s destined to be a family favorite. Our recipe for spicy cranberry salsa takes the beloved traditional condiment—your heirloom cranberry sauce, a staple at any Thanksgiving get-together—and injects some excitement into the mix. Adding a spicy component and a Mexican food-inspired salsa texture gives you a brand new alternative to classic cranberry sauce without sacrificing tradition. It’s great on turkey, but we’ve been known to dip some out of the serving dish with a chip, cracker, or toast point. It’s that good.
Learn How To Make It: What to Do with Leftover Cranberries
Sweet Potato Casserole Hotcakes
Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole Hotcakes
The morning after Thanksgiving day is always bright. Family makes their way to the breakfast table, padding around in stocking feet, pouring steaming coffee and looking around to see what’s cooking. This recipe will not disappoint. It’s perfect for big groups, and you can continue stacking, doubling the hotcake recipe if your group grows. You’ll definitely want to make extra, since these sweet potatoes are so satisfying for breakfast. It also takes advantage of leftovers: If your sweet potato casserole is very sweet, omit the brown sugar in the pancakes. Does yours come with a marshmallow topping? Even better. Simply stir it into your sweet potatoes, and make the recipe as directed.
Sausage-and-Sweet Potato Soup
Recipe: Sausage-and-Sweet Potato Soup
We found another use for our leftover sweet potato casseroles. A smart way to repurpose any sweet potato casserole that your family didn’t eat the day before, this hearty soup drew rave reviews in our Test Kitchen, a notoriously tough crowd. They have high standards, and this soup met them all. Use up those leftovers and enjoy. But remember: If your casserole contains marshmallows, remove them before stirring the casserole into this soup. Also, during the kitchen preparation, note that the flavor of the soup will vary depending on your casserole recipe; simply adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Recipe: Lemongrass-Turkey Soup
This great recipe repurposes day-after-Thanksgiving turkey in such a way that you’ll never realize they’re leftovers. The fragrant flavors in this refreshing tonic of a soup are the antidote to a rich Thanksgiving feast. For a heartier spin, you can serve it over rice or noodles. Can't find fresh lemongrass in the produce section of your supermarket? Try our version that uses Thai ginger-infused chicken broth instead. It’s a wonderful recipe, and it is very filling. This recipe is also a lovely broth-based soup that, when served hot, will soothe your throat and brighten your spirits if you’re feeling a little under the weather.
Recipe: Ham-and-Vegetable Cobbler
We are devotees of sweet dessert cobblers, but we also love a hearty entrée cobbler, especially when it makes the most of holiday leftovers. So easy to make, pretty much anything goes in this catch-all cobbler. We made ours with ham, sweet peas, mushrooms, carrots, and a flaky piecrust, which checks all of our flavor and texture boxes. It’s hearty and warm; a substantial scoop will keep you full until dinnertime. When you’re whipping up this one, feel free to add other veggies and customize it with your favorites, or you can try turkey instead. This turkey is infinitely customizable. And delicious!