What to do with the piles and piles of turkey meat staring at you from the fridge? Don't despair! Here's a collection of tasty and easy leftover turkey recipes.
Most of them are ready in 30 minutes or less and require just a few ingredients. And while there's nothing wrong with a simple sandwich, these are far more interesting.
No one likes to throw out leftovers. I know I'm not the only one who faces this issue year after year. The day after Thanksgiving, it's great to make a plate with some leftover meat and trimmings. It makes the holiday last a little longer!
But the day after, the meat is dry, and you kinda feel tired of eating the same thing day after day. But you still have lots of turkey in the fridge! That's when a good collection of leftover turkey recipes comes in handy.
Tip for avoiding too many leftovers
Sometimes I buy a very small turkey. This actually works best, but small turkeys (6 to 8 lbs.) are not easy to find.
Occasionally I don't roast a whole turkey. Instead, I roast just a turkey breast or turkey legs. This is a decent solution, although it's not as elegant. Presenting and carving a whole turkey is such a big part of the holiday meal.
More often than not, I buy a standard turkey. I roast it for hours, and then - just like you - we are stuck with piles of leftover meat.
Over the years, I've come up with many ways of using up those leftovers. Before my husband and I adopted a low-carb diet, I made lots of sandwiches, paninis, and wraps. These days I favor interesting recipes such as stir-fries, chilis, and curries.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! You can almost always use a recipe that calls for shredded cooked chicken and use turkey instead. Just make sure you don't use turkey breast in a recipe that calls for white meat.
It might. White meat is drier, so if a recipe specifically calls for using dark meat, I'd stick with that.
Most leftovers, including cooked turkey, can be kept in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days.
12 leftover turkey recipes
So here you go: a collection of recipes that make great use of those leftovers, so that nothing will go to waste, and you'll get to enjoy tasty, varied meals for several days.
Casseroles are perfect for using up leftovers. This cheesy, delicious enchilada casserole calls for pre-cooked chicken, but you can easily replace the chicken with shredded turkey meat, white or dark. Just make sure to leave out the skin.
Chilis are also a great solution for leftovers. This chili is flavorful, comforting, and very filling. It's an easy recipe, and using precooked meat makes it even easier.
Chinese turkey salad
The day after Thanksgiving, I often use shredded turkey meat to make a delicious Chinese turkey salad, inspired by my easy recipe for Chinese chicken salad. I also like to make a classic turkey salad with leftover turkey breast.
Stuffed poblano peppers
This is one of my favorite recipes, Thanksgiving or not. I usually make stuffed poblano peppers with precooked chicken, but obviously, turkey works just as well.
I adore the exotic flavors of this turkey curry. It's also quick and easy to make. No doubt, one of the advantages of having pre-cooked meat on hand is that it considerably shortens the cooking time in these recipes.
Moo shu turkey
Another recipe that calls for cooked chicken but is perfect for turkey. The flavors in this dish are truly phenomenal, and the addition of red pepper flakes adds subtle heat without overpowering the dish.
Buffalo lettuce wraps
Buffalo lettuce wraps are easy to make and fun to eat, and you can make them ahead of time. I normally use shredded cooked chicken, but shredded turkey meat is perfect in these wraps.
In this delicious turkey stir-fry, I season the meat with a tasty Asian-style sauce. Boring turkey is thus transformed into a new, fabulous dish!
No-mayo turkey salad
Another satisfying, well-seasoned dish where the chicken can be replaced with turkey. I really like the flavors of this salad. It makes a nice, fresh variation on the classic mayonnaise-based salad.
Flavorful turkey hash makes a wonderful breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. It's so very flavorful and filling, and there's no need for potatoes!
These crisp and golden patties are very versatile. They’re great on their own or (for those who eat bread) in a sandwich with some mayo or mustard.
Just as much a tradition as the bird itself, having a hot, comforting bowl of turkey soup for a late dinner on Thanksgiving Day is something I look forward to every year.