Once the Thanksgiving festivities are over, and the first round of gobbling up leftovers are done, there’s a pressing question that arises in many households: What are we going to do with all this leftover food? We have rounded up some of the best most delicious and clever recipes to help easily use up the Thanksgiving leftovers this year, including salads, appetizers and entrees.
17 best recipes to easily repurpose your leftover Thanksgiving items
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday in many ways – time with friends and family, time to eat incredible food and enjoy each other’s company. But there is, of course, one problem – what do you do with all those leftovers?
Now that the big day is over, you may be looking at the Tupperware containers in your fridge and wondering how you, a person who cares about sustainability, can best create a plan of attack to finish them off before they go bad. We know – some years it seems impossible.
If you’re feeling in over your head, we are here to help you manage those leftovers. Here are seventeen recipes to help you reduce, reuse, and recycle your unfinished Thanksgiving dinner. We hope you enjoy.
17 best recipes to easily use up the Thanksgiving leftovers this year
1. Best Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich from The New York Times
Everyone knows about the Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Everyone has eaten the Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. These day-after sandwiches are so legendary, the TV show Friends even had an episode about them. Restaurants throw them onto their menus as a Thanksgiving-week special.
And now you can make your own. As promised, this recipe will guide you towards the best Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich, with advice from expert Sohla El-Waylly to help get you there. If you want a simple, foolproof way to enjoy those leftovers, this sandwich – which substitutes the third piece of bread (or “moist maker” – thanks Friends) for a fried slab of leftover stuffing – is your go-to.
2. Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie from Joy the Baker
If some of your post-Thanksgiving plans include a Friendsgiving, or any other second-Thanksgiving, consider making this Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie from much-loved chef Joy the Baker.
Though you will need a pie shell and a box of stuffing, this is a genius way for you to use up any leftover turkey, and serve it as an all-new meal! This pot pie, with its rich, turkey base, and flavorful stuffing crust, will be your new favorite Thanksgiving dish. We guarantee you.
3. Leftover Cranberry Sauce Coffee Cake from Savoring Italy
We assume that many of your post-Thanksgiving plans involve brunch. Whether you have people staying with you, or you’re simply enjoying a day off from work, we hope that you’re indulging in an extra-long morning of delicious treats.
And with this recipe, those treats can also help you use up the rest of your cranberry sauce – if you somehow didn’t finish it at Thanksgiving dinner. The sauce adds a ribbon of perfection through the center of this sweet cake, making it the perfect item for your day-after brunch.
4. Leftover Stuffing Hash from Garlic & Zest
And if you also want a savory option at brunch, this easy, quick (15 minutes!) recipe will be your new best friend. It’s basically fried stuffing, paired with an egg of your choice – so simple and delicious, we can’t believe we didn’t think of it first.
And once you start to imagine it, you realize that stuffing was always the perfect brunch item. The real question is, why don’t we eat it all year long?
5. Mashed Potato and Stuffing Patties from Taste of Home
Even though Hanukkah doesn’t start for another month, you may already be craving potato pancakes. And though it’s true that these mashed potato and stuffing patties are not traditional latkes, well, we’re not telling anyone. They also include a little bit of turkey in them – making them a kind of salty, savory, turkey burger, if you think about it.
So you could also throw these yummy patties on a bun, perhaps with a little cranberry sauce (or some homemade cranberry aioli).
6. Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole from Favorite Family Recipes
As with the Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich, this casserole feels like a no-brainer. It’s a way to eat up all those leftovers in one-go, while maximizing the flavor-meld for optimal taste.
A warm, hearty dinner to eat Friday or Saturday night, after all your Thanksgiving guests have gone home.
7. The Best Leftover Turkey Soup from Mel’s Kitchen Café
It’s cold outside, and if you’re anything like us, that means you’re craving a bowl of soup right about now. Well, lucky for you – and for all of us – you have all the most important components of that soup already at your fingertips.
Those Thanksgiving turkey leftovers will find a happy second life as a base for this turkey, veggie and rice soup – and you will be happy to have this staple around, once the thermostat drops below 30 degrees.
8. Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce from The Kitchn
If you haven’t baked already all of your cranberry sauce into coffee cake, hang onto it. It would make the perfect appetizer – along with some baked brie – for any holiday parties you have on your calendar.
Sustainability isn’t just about avoiding waste – it also saves you time and energy.
9. Leftover Thanksgiving Salad from Delish
If you’re still feeling a little full today, we understand. We’re sure many people are in the same boat. Perhaps that is why Delish has a recipe for a Thanksgiving leftovers salad – like the sandwich, but a little greener and a little lighter.
Here’s a way to use up the rest of yesterday’s dinner, even if you are still-stuffed.
10. Sweet Potato Spoon Bread from Country Living
Sweet potatoes are the unsung heroes of Thanksgiving dinner, so it’s possible you don’t have any left – but if you do, Country Living has a great suggestion of how to make the most out of them: spoon bread.
Made with a sugary caramel-pecan topping, this scrumptious dessert would make the perfect post-Thanksgiving weekend treat.
11. Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes from The Food Network
It’s Friday, you’re tired, and you just want a way to get all of that turkey out of your fridge and into the mouths of those around you.
Throw together these crunchy, crispy croquettes, and now you have a snack for your weekend afternoon of lounging around.
12. Stir Fried Turkey and Brussels Sprouts from The New York Times
All you need to add is some soy sauce, garlic, and oil, and you’ll have a totally transformed Thanksgiving dinner – perfect for anyone whose palate is in need of a little change.
13. Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup from All Recipes
Picture this. It’s Friday, November 25th. You’re feeling a little worn out from the big day, but also energized from the time with your loved ones. You’re craving a day in cozy clothing, curled up with the remote. And what about a bowl of delicious soup? With only fifteen minutes of prep time, Beverly Burton’s recipe is the easy-and-perfect way to make use of your turkey carcass, and your leftover stuffing.All you need to add is broth, fresh veggies, and some seasoning. In ninety minutes, you’ll have something warm and hearty to keep you company through that Christmas movie marathon. (P.S. We know we have two soup recipes on here, but it’s soup season after all!)
14. Leftover Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Smoothie from Shape
If you’re too exhausted to even consider turning on the stove, what about something that is light and sweet? With a little yogurt and almond milk, you can transform any leftover pumpkin pie into a decadent smoothie (crust included!) – that is, if you haven’t finished the whole thing already.
15. Leftover Thanksgiving Breakfast Strata from The Seasoned Vegetable
A lot of these recipes are focused on breakfast, with the idea that you may still have some guests hanging around your house. Why not add a strata to the mix? As The Seasoned Vegetable tells us, strata is essentially a savory bread pudding – yum! Simply combine any leftover stuffing with cheese, veggies, eggs, and milk, and pop it into the oven.This is another quick recipe that requires minimal effort, and produces maximum deliciousness. Your overnight guests will thank you!
16. Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish with Stuffing from Molly Yeh
Molly Yeh is one of the best presences on the internet, and it’s no surprise that she has a fantastic recipe for the day after Thanksgiving. This one calls for leftover turkey and stuffing, with some added rice, vegetables, and milk. You can even serve with leftover cranberry sauce. Consider it Thanksgiving, remixed – and you won’t be able to get enough.
17. Turkey Breakfast Tacos from Martha Stewart
We’ll be honest – these tacos sound like something we want to eat all year long! With leftover turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, and some spicy salsa, these offer a delightful spin on the Thanksgiving flavors, and we’re already craving them. Make them a day-after-Thanksgiving tradition.
17 best recipes to easily repurpose your leftover Thanksgiving items
Those are the recipes we vote for as best for using up all Thanksgiving leftovers that you and your gang amassed but can’t possibly consume. What do you think, dear reader? Turkey soup, anyone?