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Too Much Turkey: 10 Recipes to Use Up the Leftovers

leftover turkey casserole
Lauren Sakiyama

Holiday feasting inherently demands excess. And that means the days following Thanksgiving are devoted to leftover gobbler glory. Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner; we’ve gathered ten great ways to use up the extra turkey.

Turkey leftovers are abundant this time of year, especially if you bought a way bigger turkey than your family could gobble down on Thanksgiving Day. While it’s always fun to heat up a hot plate of leftovers and just recreate the meal itself, it’s even more fun to remix your turkey into new meals altogether.

Turkey for Breakfast

Thanksgiving Leftover Breakfast Casserole: You’ll need some extra stuffing on hand to make this one, but the results are worth it. And, because it’s a casserole, it’s an excellent option for serving a crowd. That might come in handy if you find yourself with leftover guests too!

Get the Recipe: Tastes Of Lizzy – Breakfast Casserole

Turkey Breakfast Burrito: We’re suckers for a tasty breakfast burrito. This one’s filled with all the unused Thanksgiving fare: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and of course, turkey!

Get the Recipe: Food 52 – Breakfast Burritos

turkey breakfast skillet
Marina at MarinaMakesBlog.com

Leftover Turkey Breakfast Skillet: For the fried egg aficionados, this is the post-thanksgiving breakfast dreams are made of. We love that recipe calls for crisping the leftover turkey too. Tt’s a great way to add a little texture to the plate.

Get the Recipe: Marina Makes Blog- Turkey Breakfast Skillet

Turkey for Lunch

The classic leftover turkey sandwich is always an option. But if you’re seeking something special, try a salad or soup. Soups and chili lend themselves exceptionally well to freezing. And that’s a win in our book because, really, how much longer do you want to live off turkey leftovers?

Turkey Noodle Soup:  For the best flavor possible, use your turkey carcass to make stock for the soup first. Just dump the bones in a slow-cooker overnight with four quarts of water and any vegetable remnants you have on hand. The next morning, spoon off the fat, strain out the veggies and season to taste. It’s ready for soup!

Get the Recipe: Dinner At The Zoo’s Turkey Noodle Soup

Leftover Turkey Salad: Dare we say this beats the classic chicken salad? Well, turkey tends to be more flavorful, moister, and more tender. So. yeah, we’re saying it.

Get the Recipe: Just A Taste’s Leftover Turkey Salad

Leftover Turkey Chili: If turkey noodle soup is too bland, try out this spicy chili for lunch instead! Chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, making this an easy choice.

Get the Recipe: LIttle Broke’s Leftover Turkey Chili

Turkey for Dinner

By the time you get to dinner the day after Thanksgiving, turkey may have become a dreaded noun. With enough creativity, though, you can rework the bird into a variety of new flavors and functions.

J Kenji Lopez - turkey carnitas tacos from serious eats
J Kenji Lopez Alt.

Leftover Turkey “Carnitas” Tacos: Because plain leftover turkey tacos would be boring. This recipe crisps up your leftovers and seasons them with orange and onion, creating the ultimate in turkey tacos.

Get the Recipe: Serious Eats Turkey Carnitas

Leftover Turkey Jambalaya: Zesty, spicy and full of flavor, this dish is in sharp contrast to the traditional Thanksgiving flavors.  And that’s good, because how many more turkey-cranberry-sage stuffing combos do you really want to eat?

Get the Recipe: Spicy Southern Kitchen’s Turkey Jambalaya

Shepherd’s Pie with Turkey: If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this is the perfect day after Thanksgiving dinner.

Get the Recipe: Mantitlement.com Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

One-Pot Leftover Turkey and Rice Casserole: The last thing any of us want to do after a food-heavy holiday is more dishes. Which means it’s a perfect time to pull out the one-pot recipes!

Get the Recipe: BasicGinger.com Leftover Turkey Casserole

The days after holiday feasts are made for lazy lounging and easy leftover-made meals. You bought an extra-large bird for a good reason, now put it to use! Soup, chili, casseroles, and tacos are all great ways to makeover your turkey. So pick a recipe and pull out the leftovers. Who knows? Your turkey might be even better the second time around!

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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