Creative Uses for Thanksgiving Leftovers: Transform Your Turkey Day Treats!

So, Thanksgiving’s over, and now you’re staring at a mountain of leftovers, huh? If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t wanna eat the same ol’ turkey sandwich for a week straight. Well, don’t worry! I’m here to help you turn those leftovers into something totally new and exciting. Let’s dive in!

Kickin’ Things Off: A Little Anecdote

Let me tell ya, last Thanksgiving, I found myself in the same pickle. My family and I made enough food to feed an army (classic mistake, right?). We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, you name it. After a couple of days, I was sick of eating reheated turkey. So, I started experimenting, and boy, did I come up with some gems. I can’t wait to share these with you!

1. Turkey Soup: Comfort in a Bowl

First up, turkey soup. This ones a classic but oh-so-versatile. Grab that leftover turkey carcass and make a rich, flavorful broth. Heres a quick and easy recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    • Turkey carcass
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Any leftover veggies you have (optional)


  1. Throw the turkey carcass into a large pot and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Add in the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 1-2 hours.
  4. Strain the broth, discard the bones, and return the broth to the pot.
  5. Add any leftover turkey meat and veggies you have. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you like!

Simple, right? And so warm and comforting on a cold day. Whats better than that?

2. Turkey Pot Pie: A Hearty Classic

Next up, how about a turkey pot pie? Its like wrapping your Thanksgiving meal in a cozy pastry blanket. Yum! Heres how you do it:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
    • 1 cup leftover veggies (peas, carrots, green beans, etc.)
    • 1 cup turkey gravy
    • 1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Mix the turkey, veggies, and gravy in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roll out your pie crust and fit it into a pie dish.
  4. Pour the turkey mixture into the crust.
  5. Cover with the top crust, seal the edges, and cut a few slits in the top to let steam escape.
  6. Brush the top with the beaten egg for a nice golden finish.
  7. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

There ya go! A warm, hearty meal that uses up those leftovers in a delicious way.

3. Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas: A Fusion Feast

Alright, let’s get a little adventurous! How about some cranberry turkey quesadillas? Trust me, this sweet and savory combo is a game-changer.

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack works great)
    • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
    • 4 large flour tortillas
    • Butter or oil for frying


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a bit of butter or oil.
  2. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle half of it with cheese, then add turkey and a spoonful of cranberry sauce. Top with more cheese.
  3. Fold the tortilla over and cook until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side.
  4. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and ingredients.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Boom! You’ve got yourself a fusion feast that’s perfect for a quick lunch or a fun appetizer.

4. Stuffing Waffles: Brunch’s New Best Friend

Now, this ones a bit quirky, but hear me outstuffing waffles. If youve got a waffle iron, youve gotta try this:

  • Ingredients:
    • 3 cups leftover stuffing
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/4 cup chicken or turkey broth


  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. Mix the stuffing, eggs, and broth in a large bowl.
  3. Scoop the mixture into the waffle iron and cook until crispy and golden brown.
  4. Serve with leftover gravy or a fried egg on top.

Who would’ve thought, right? These stuffing waffles are seriously so gooood. Perfect for a lazy brunch!

5. Turkey and Cranberry Salad: Light and Refreshing

If youre feeling like something a bit lighter, a turkey and cranberry salad is just the ticket. It’s fresh, tangy, and a great way to use up those leftovers:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
    • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • Mixed greens
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, celery, and walnuts.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or in a sandwich.

There ya go! A light and refreshing meal that doesnt feel like youre eating Thanksgiving all over again.

6. Sweet Potato Pancakes: A Sweet Treat

Lets not forget about those sweet potatoes. Sweet potato pancakes are a delightful way to start your morning. Heres a simple recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • Butter or oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, eggs, flour, baking powder, milk, and cinnamon until smooth.
  2. Heat a bit of butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Scoop the batter into the skillet and cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of whipped cream.

Mmmm, these pancakes are sweet, fluffy, and oh-so-satisfying. A perfect way to use up those leftover sweet potatoes.

7. Mashed Potato Croquettes: Crispy and Delicious

Lastly, let’s turn those mashed potatoes into crispy croquettes. These are great as a snack or a side dish:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups mashed potatoes
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar is my go-to)
    • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • Bread crumbs
    • Oil for frying


  1. In a bowl, mix the mashed potatoes, cheese, green onions, and beaten egg until well combined.
  2. Shape the mixture into small patties or balls and coat them in bread crumbs.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Fry the croquettes until golden brown and crispy on all sides.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

These croquettes are crispy on the outside and creamy on the insidean absolute hit!

Wrap-Up: What’s Your Leftover Go-To?

So, there ya have it, folks! Seven creative ways to turn those Thanksgiving leftovers into something new and exciting. What about you? Do you have a go-to leftover recipe or a fun twist on a classic? Share it with us in the comments! Lets keep the Thanksgiving spirit going just a little bit longer.

And hey, dont forget to check out some of these awesome YouTube videos for more leftover inspiration:

Thanks for sticking around, y’all! Hope these recipes bring a little more joy to your post-Thanksgiving week. Happy cooking!