What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

By Lyle Weischwill | Nov. 24, 2023 1:30 pm PST

Image of turkey pot pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Almost everyone prepares more than enough food for Thanksgiving so we often have plenty of leftovers after the grazing is finally done. These leftovers can be transformed into delicious meals, preventing food waste and providing tasty options for the days following the holiday.

Here are some top ideas from our creative experts on what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Turkey Pot Pie

Although not the most healthy of leftover dishes, this if one of the most popular in many households. You’ll need two pie crusts, mixed vegetables and a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup to make this dish. Mix some leftover gravy with the can of mushroom soup to add flavor to the pot pie. Follow these steps to assemble the dish:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the bottom of a lightly-greased 9-inch pie plate with one pie crust.
  3. In deep pan, warm the turkey, undiluted cream of mushroom soup, gravy and mixed vegetables.
  4. Pour the mixture into the crust-lined pie plate.
  5. Top the pie with the second crust. Seal and pinch the edges. Slice the top crust in several places to vent the pie.

Bake the pie for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and filling bubbles up out of the vent slits. After 20 minutes of baking, cover the pie crust edge with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield to prevent excessive browning.

Let the pie cool for 30 minutes before cutting. Enjoy this favorite dish with leftover cranberry sauce.

Turkey Soup

Make a hearty turkey soup by using the leftover turkey carcass to create a flavorful broth. Add seasonings and vegetables such as carrots, corn, celery, and onions, along with plenty of leftover turkey meat. Add cooked egg noodles and simmer the soup to perfection.

Cut leftover dinner rolls in half and coat them lightly with butter. Lightly toast the rolls and serve them with the turkey soup.

Image of turkey wraps made with leftover turkey

Turkey Sandwiches and Wraps

Use slices of leftover turkey to make sandwiches and wraps. Get creative by adding greens, peppers, vegetables and your favorite condiments to create a variety of savory meals. Bacon, avocado, cilantro and cucumbers all combine well with turkey as well.

Replace Chicken with Turkey in These Mexican Dishes

Variety is the key to using up Thanksgiving leftovers without getting tired of eating turkey for several days after the holiday. Try some of these ideas to spice things up.

Image of turkey quesadillas made with leftover turkey

  • Turkey quesadillas. Heat shredded turkey, corn, bell peppers, cilantro and onions in a pan and stir in some chili powder for flavor. Coat the mixture generously with cheese and continue heating until the cheese is just melted. Smear a thick layer of the filling in between 2 flour tortillas and cook in a separate pan, flipping the quesadilla until both sides are crispy. Let the quesadilla cool for a couple of minutes then cut it in quarters and serve with leftover cranberry sauce.
  • Turkey flautas. Roll shredded turkey in uncooked flour tortillas. Lightly fry the flautas in a pan coated lightly with oil to seal the tortillas shut then air fry until golden brown. Press air pockets out of the flour tortillas using a fork or spatula as the flautas cook in the air fryer. Serve the flautas with leftover cranberry sauce or a variety dipping sauces.
  • Tex-Mex turkey casserole. In a greased glass pan, lay down a thick layer of quartered corn tortillas (about 4 layers thick). Cover the tortillas with a layer of shredded turkey and sprinkle chili powder over the turkey. Add a layer of onions and bell peppers then cover with shredded cheddar cheese. Mix a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup and a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. Spread that mixture over the cheese. Add a layer of sour cream and spread diced tomatoes with green chili peppers over the cream cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Allow the dish to cool uncovered for a half hour and then serve with Spanish rice.

Remember to use your creativity and experiment with different combinations to suit your taste. These ideas can help you enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers in new and exciting ways!

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