by Deborah Ng
Probably now you’re shopping and chopping in anticipation of Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day feast. 20 minutes after you set the food out to the table all your guest will be sipping wine or falling asleep on the couch while your table is left a shambles of turkey carcasses and large half-filled food bowls. You know you made too much food. In fact you probably did it on purpose because we all know the leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. So what are you going to do with all that leftover turkey? Here are a 30 leftover turkey recipes to help you use it all up.
30 Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Turkey Rice Bake
- Turkey a la King
- Turkey Strata
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Leftover Turkey Sammich
- Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole
- Hot Turkey Salad
- Turkey Wing and Red Lentil Soup
- Turkey Cranberry Wreath
- Turkey & Stuffin’ Soup
- Turkey Cottage Pie
- Hot Turkey Casserole
- 12 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes
- Turkey Pumpkin Panini or Turkey Pumpkin Wrap
- Tex-Mex Turkey Chili
- Turkey Tetrazzini
- Turkey Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- Turkey Stuffing Hash For Breakfast
- Barbecue Turkey Sandwiches
- Biscuit Topped Turkey Pot Pie
- Thanksgiving Chili Rellenos With Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
- Hot Turkey and Cheddar Casserole
- Lespinasse Turkey Croquettes
- Smoked Turkey Jerky
- Turkey Ham Vegetable Hash
- Turkey Salad in Mango Chutney Mayo
- Thanksgiving Leftover Wontons with Cranberry Salsa
- Barbecue Turkey Loaf
- Hearty Turkey Vegetable Soup
- Turkey Tortilla Roll Ups
- Turkey Soup
Deb’s post about the leftover celebration that I like, so I’m linking here.
Updated Post – Originally posted by Deborah Ng in Nov 2008. Updated by Diana Hayes November 2013Diana
Thanksgiving is the big kahuna of family meals so when you invite your family or your in-laws to your Thanksgiving dinner, it had better be good. I remember going to my sister-in-law’s and how they tormented her about whether her turkey would be dry. I felt so bad for her, but she was used to it, growing up with 5 brothers who show no mercy. In our family the women were the forced to be reckoned with, so the dynamic was more of encouragement. Either way, it’s nerve wracking to try and come up with a dinner that everyone will be tasting, so I’m sharing an interesting twist on turkey using one of my favorite ingredients – Tequila. This is a sweet citrusy turkey with a little tequila kick for your Thanksgiving Dinner. I hope your Thanksgiving dinner brings you a great family meal whether or not you have a Citrusy Tequila Turkey. Feel free to pare down the ingredient amounts based on using a smaller turkey, since this recipe is for a huge one.
- 26lb Turkey
- Roasting Bag with tie
- 1 Cup of cranberry juice
- 2 Granny smith apples quartered
- 1 White onion quartered
- 3 Cups Maestro DOBEL tequila
- 1 Lemon quartered
- 1 Orange quartered
- 1 Teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch wedges
- 2 Cups of brown sugar
- 1 Cup of honey
- 2 Teaspoons of garlic salt
- 1 Cup of fine chopped walnuts
- 1 Cup of fine chipped dried cranberries
- Fresh Sage and Thyme bundle
Preheat over to 325 degrees F
Wash turkey well and pat dry then set turkey in roasting bag next set into roasting pan. Stuff cavity of the turkey with 1 lemon quartered, 1 orange quartered, 2 granny smith apples quartered, and 1 white onion quartered. Add Fresh sage and thyme bundle.Pour 1 cup of honey over the top of turkey, add salt and pepper to taste, and 2 teaspoons of garlic salt to the top of turkey. Cut 2 sticks of butter into half inch pieces and place around the bottom of the turkey in the bag. Inject one cup of Maestro DOBEL tequila into the turkey. Pour one cup of Maestro DOBEL tequila over the turkey in the roasting bag.
Place turkey in a roasting pan and bake for 5 hours
Easy Gravy-Strain the juices that have accumulated in the bag, skim off any fat, pour the turkey drippings into pan, add cup of flour and salt and pepper to taste. Stir on med. Heat until all the flour is mixed well.
- Your Maestro DOBEL Tequila Turkey is ready!!!
Turkey is one of the easiest things to cook, the main problem is taking it out on time so that it stays moist and tender. To that end, pay attention to roasting times and pop up thermometers. Get a meat thermometer and make sure you check the temp with that after the pop up – pops to be sure. Follow these suggestions for a wonderful tasting roasted turkey for your Thanksgiving (or even not Thanksgiving) bird.
- Defrost your turkey. You’ll need to keep it in the fridge for a few days in order for it to defrost. It takes longer with the giblet packet inside, so as soon as you can, take it out. If you didn’t leave enough time to defrost it totally, you will need to submerge your sealed Turkey in a big pot or sink full of cold water. Change the water every 1/2 hour. Whatever you do, put your arm all the way through from one end of the turkey to the other and make sure you get every single one of those giblet parts out.
- Turkey Brining – I talked about it here . Martha Stewart has a brining recipe if you want to make it yourself. Rinse turkey well and pat dry.
- Stuff the turkey – I like to cook my stuffing in a baking dish in the oven. If you like it in your turkey, then by all means stuff it. Add some cooking time in for the stuffing.
- Season the turkey – If you don’t have stuffing inside, throw in some garlic and herbs. Rub butter or olive oil over the skin of the turkey and throw some of your favorite herbs on top. Salt, pepper, sage, thyme. I throw onions and a little garlic in the side of the pan too.
- Cooking – My mom roasted the turkey in a Roasting Pan with an aluminum foil tent. My husband’s mom used a roasting bag and then in a pan. I use an electric Roasting Pan. My husband under the familiar protest that you don’t get your wife cooking gear for Christmas bought me one because I asked. I love it because I can keep the oven free for other things. I have tried with success cooking the turkey upside down for some of the time to let the juices travel better to the breast. Put the turkey in and leave it. Every time you open the oven it makes the oven heat up all over again.
- Timetable – From the Good Housekeeping Cookbook that I got as a wedding gift over 21 years ago.
Suggested temp 325 degrees.
8 – 12 lbs 3 1/2 – 4 hours
12 – 16lbs 4 – 4 1/2 hours
16 – 20 lbs 4 1/2 – 5 hours
20 – 24 lbs 5 – 6 hours
Subtract a half hour if it is unstuffed.
- Remove foil or bag for the last half hour of cooking to let the turkey brown.
- Let the turkey rest for a half hour before serving so that the juices settle.
- Make giblet gravy or any other gravy that you prefer.
- Carve and eat.
Another method of cooking a turkey is deep frying. However, any type cooking directions that includes keeping a fire extinguisher nearby makes me shake my head. I’ve heard it’s really good that way though and very moist.
For Big Green Egg lovers, here are directions to cooking a turkey on the BGE.
Of course, if you wait too long and you’re too tired, or you have to work, or you just don’t want to spend all day cooking or working on a turkey.. there’s always the supermarket pre-ordered, pre-cooked ready for pick up.
This is an updated repost from 2008.
This is a really easy recipe for breakfast if you have leftover lovers like we have in our home. The ingredients aren’t important, what’s important here is how you layer it in order to get the crispy bottom.
Saute in oil a little bit of onion.
Drop in turkey pieces that you pulled apart – sprinkle it around the pan. The idea is to build up your hash so there’s a little bit on all sides of the pan. Heat each layer before adding the next. The plan is to get a crispy bottom. If you put too many ingredients in at once you will end up steaming instead of crisping.
Sprinkle stuffing around on top of the turkey. The layers shouldn’t be too thick, or you will end up with a soggy middle.
I use my hands for this part (well for most parts) and pull the cold mashed potatoes out in little tiny balls and sprinkle all around the pan.
Stir a little, and if it needs vegetable spray to keep it from sticking spray a little on.
When it’s just about ready, crack your eggs out on top spread out over the whole pan and cover. I wanted runny yolks, so we didn’t broil, we covered.
Sprinkle cheese lightly around the edges of the eggs and recover until the eggs are perfect and serve.
Tasty good, its fun to identify what’s in the little bites, with the crispy bottom and the runny egg top. I had figs in my stuffing, they were a sweet treat.
Yum! What are you doing with your leftovers? Straight up, or change up?
The time has come to start the Thanksgiving dinner recipes. Dressing or Stuffing what’s the difference. Where I came from, everything was called stuffing, here in Ohio, mostly it’s called dressing so I always thought it was a regional thing. Whatever – you can also call it stuffing if you stuff it, and dressing if you don’t. Usually I don’t stuff the turkey, I bake the stuffing (or dressing) and serve it as a side dish – because I like it that way. I love apples and pecans in my dressing (stuffing) and sometimes I throw in some raisins. Here’s a recipe developed by the Deen Brothers. Oven dried bread means cube it and toast it on low until the bread is dry enough to use for stuffing.
Southern Apple Pecan Dressing
Recipe created by Jamie and Bobby Deen on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Servings – 8
PreHeat – 350°
Prep Time – 20 min
Cooking Time – 1 hr
Total Time – 1 hr 20 min
Difficulty – Easy
- 10 cups oven-dried white bread, torn into pieces
- 1 sleeve crackers, crumbled (recommended: Saltines)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large red apples, skins left on and cut into large dice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and roughly chopped
In an extra large mixing bowl, toss together white bread and crackers. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in celery, onion,apples, sage and poultry seasoning. Cook until onion is translucent. Pour vegetable mixture over bread mixture. Add stock, salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in Nuts. Pour mixture in a prepared 9×13 baking pan.
Bake until golden on the top and cooked through with a slight jiggle (45-60 minutes).
Tell us, are you a stuffing, or dressing person? What kind do you like best?Diana
Turkey leftovers on Friday are always great. You shouldn’t want to do a huge preparation, just a little relaxing cooking for the day after Thanksgiving meal. I have this lovely chard colored red, yellow and green growing in my garden. No dyes involved in case like my kids you were wondering. We planted this in the raised beds earlier this past summer, but since Chard loves cool weather it is thriving and growing enthusiastically. Isn’t this just gorgeous?
I also had some Ruby Red Jasmine Rice to try out, which I thought would look awesome with my chard.
I pulled off the chard stems, chopped them and steamed them in the rice cooker along with the rice. My rice cooker has a steam tray that sits up from the rice.
In a pan on the stove, I put in a couple of tablespoons of oil and sautéed, onions and garlic. When it just starting to soften, I put the chopped up chard leaves on top and covered. It looks like a lot of chard, but it cooks down like spinach. You need a lot of leaves to make a nice amount on your plate.
When the chard was cooked down and was almost ready, I added turkey that I pulled apart, and about a cup of turkey gel from the leftover drippings.
I served the Turkey and Chard with turkey stock over the Red Jasmine Rice and Chard stems.
I’m entering this in the 5 Star Makeover for Thanksgiving leftovers.Diana
Pace Picante sent me some great leftover ideas to go with your Thanksgiving dinner. Salsa is one of the best ways to liven up your leftovers. If you want to give them a little zing, try some of these recipes.
PACE® NATIONAL LEFTOVERS DAY RECIPES
Pace® Cheesy Turkey Bean Skillet
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
- 2 cups cubed, cooked turkey
- 1 cup Pace® Mexican Four Cheese Salsa con Queso
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup coarsely crumbled blue corn tortilla chips
1. Heat the turkey, queso and beans in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over
medium heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low. Cook
for 5 minutes or until the turkey mixture is hot and bubbling.
2. Top the turkey mixture with the tortilla chips just before serving.
Tip: You can omit the crumbled tortilla chips and serve the turkey mixture as a quesadilla filling or a warm dip.
Southwestern Turkey Chili
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Makes: 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups per serving)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 / 2 cup chopped celery
- 1 / 2 cup chopped red pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) great Northern beans
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Pace® Chunky Salsa
- 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
- Shredded pepper Jack cheese
- Cubed avocado
1. Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery
and pepper and cook until they’re tender. Stir in the flour and cumin and
cook for 2 minutes. Stir the stock in the saucepot. Cook and stir until the
2. Stir the beans, salsa and turkey in the saucepot. Heat to a boil. Reduce the
heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
3. Garnish with the cheese and avocado.
Monterey Turkey Tortilla Casserole
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings (about 1 cup each)
- 1 cup coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
- 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) cream-style corn
- 3 / 4 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
- 1 / 2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
- 2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- Chopped green or red pepper
- Tortilla chips
1. Layer the crumbled chips, turkey, corn and picante sauce in a 1-quart
casserole. Top with the olives and cheese.
2. Bake at 350°F. for 40 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Top
with the pepper. Serve with the chips.
Picante Turkey Rolls
Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
- 4 flour tortillas (10-inch), warmed
- 1 / 4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 / 2 pound thinly sliced deli turkey breast or cooked turkey
- 1 / 2 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
- 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped (about 1 cup)
1. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on each tortilla to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top each with about 4 turkey slices, 2 tablespoons picante sauce and 1/4 cup avocado.
2. Roll up the tortillas tightly, leaving the ends open. Cut each roll in half. Serve with additional picante sauce for dipping.
To make appetizer rounds: Cut each rolled tortilla into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with additional picante sauce for dipping.
Pace® Mucho Queso Pizza
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 cup Pace® Mexican Four Cheese Salsa con Queso
- 1 prepared pizza crust (10-inch)
- 1 / 2 cup shredded cooked turkey
- 1 / 2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Spread the salsa con queso onto the pizza crust to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Top with the turkey, tomatoes, cheese and basil.
3. Bake for 15 minutes or until the salsa con queso is hot and bubbling.
Salsa Verde Turkey Wraps
Prep: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 cup Pace® Salsa Verde
- 2 cups diced cooked turkey
- 1 large red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large avocado, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 / 2 cup sour cream
- 4 flour tortillas (10-inch), warmed
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
1. Stir 1/2 cup salsa, turkey, pepper and avocado in a large bowl. Stir the remaining salsa and sour cream in a small bowl.
2. Spread 1 / 4 cup sour cream mixture onto each tortilla to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top each with 1 cup turkey mixture and 1/2 cup lettuce. Fold the sides of the tortillas over the filling and then fold up the ends to enclose the filling. Cut each wrap in half before serving.
I’m making Cinnamon Apples – in a crockpot (College Girl and Teen Boy did most of the work)
Mashed Potatoes – crockpot
2 loaves of bread
Cut up apples and pineapples to munch on
Carrot Cake – College Girl did this – glaze for the top coming
Then we pack it all in the car along with some ice cream (to top the apples) and drive to the in-laws. Nothing fancy, don’t need to be a gourmet, just a little cutting, stirring and cooking and you have something decent on the table. Enjoy your family time, don’t spend too much time cooking, and let someone else clean up.Diana
My husband’s family loves mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. We always ate sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes for our Thanksgiving. Later on, we decided not to bother with all the mashing, so my mom put the sweet potatoes in the oven whole, and we slit open the potatoes right on our plates, added some butter (which would melt on the hot potatoes) and eat them that way skin and all. (I may be leaning towards clean eating more than I thought.). Thursday I’ll be bringing mashed (white) potatoes to Thanksgiving dinner. I do have sweet potatoes in the cupboard though, because we love them so much, we’ll have them another day too.
- 2 lbs potatoes (this year I’m using red potatoes)
- Cold Water to cover
- 1 cup heavy cream or milk
- 6 tbs unsalted butter
- Salt & pepper
Quarter potatoes with skin on. Put into a saucepan with water to cover. Boil until fork tender. Drain water – and important – put back into pot to dry the potatoes out and shake off any water. Using a potato ricer, or a potato masher, mash potatoes. Add cream and butter and stir together(use more milk if you like yours less dry). You may use a mixer in the end, but just for a tiny bit, because they become gluey if mixed too long. Makes about 4 servings.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2tbs maple syrup or 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Toasted pecans
Bake sweet potatoes in oven at 400 degrees until pierces with fork easily. Then take out and using a towel or potholder hold the sweet potato and scoop out innards. Mash with butter, milk, syrup/sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Top with toasted pecans. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until heated throughout.
With syrup, sometimes the sweet potatoes will ferment so, if you make a lot and expect leftovers, use the brown sugar.
If you don’t have time for all the work, the fuss and muss then here’s a suggestion from Ore Ida. It’s the no peeling, no cutting, and no boiling potato solution .
Use Steam n Mash potatoes to make Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel topping.
1 24-oz bag Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbs butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped pecans
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Cook Steam n’ Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes
according to package directions. Pour potatoes
into a bowl, add milk, butter, brown sugar, and
salt, then mash to desired smoothness. Place
mashed sweet potatoes in an 8 x 8 casserole dish
coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine
all topping ingredients, and sprinkle over sweet potato
mixture. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until the topping
is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.
For more Steam n’ Mash recipes, please visit www.ilovemashedpotatoes.com or here.
I’m not a big fan of sausage or meat-turkey stuffing recipes. I added apples and raisins to my turkey stuffing a few years back and it became a big hit with my family. You could go totally vegetarian by using a vegetable stock instead of turkey or chicken.
3/4 cup butter melted
1 onion chopped small
1 celery stalk chopped small
1 apple peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock)
5 cups dried(or lightly toasted) bread cubes
1/8 tsp sage
1/8 tsp thyme
Salt & pepper
Sauté slowly onion and celery in butter. When soft, add raisins, apple and stock, bring to boil. Mix with bread crumbs, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, put in butter baking dish, cover and bake in oven at 350 for a half hour. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. Add more liquid if you like it moister, or keep it covered the whole time.