28 Leftover Turkey Recipes For The Days After Thanksgiving

Southern Living Creamy Turkey Pasta Bake in the baking dish to serve
PHOTO: GREG DUPREE, FOOD STYLIST: MICAH MORTON, PROP STYLIST: KATHLEEN VARNER

The big meal is over, and now you have loads of leftover turkey. So who says the feasting has to be over, too? We’re not saying you have to give up the beloved leftover turkey sandwich, but why not explore a few new ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers?

For the sake of your family’s sanity, we’ve put together a list of leftover turkey recipes that will give your Thanksgiving leftovers a facelift. From breakfast casseroles to lunch to dinner, you can enjoy these dishes at any time of day. Turkey soups, salads, and casseroles are just a few of the dishes that are bringing new life to your dry leftover turkey.

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Turkey Pita Pockets

Southern Living Turkey Pita Pockets on a plate to serve with potato chips
JENNIFER CAUSEY, FOOD STYLIST: JENNIFER WENDORF, PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN

Instead of a turkey sandwich, turn toward Greek flavors like olives and tzatziki sauce in a handheld pita.

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Turkey Frittata

Southern Living Turkey Frittata in the pan sliced and ready to serve
JENNIFER CAUSEY, FOOD STYLIST: JENNIFER WENDORF, PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN

Who says you have to wait for lunch or dinner to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers? Use the turkey in this frittata at breakfast or brunch. Bonus: You can also use leftover vegetables to fill out the frittata.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Southern Living the pie dish ready to serveTurkey Pot Pie in
MORGAN HUNT GLAZE, FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS 

A great dish for leftover turkey, this pot pie is creamy and comforting. In fact, it’s so good, you may look forward to it more than the holiday main dish itself.

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Turkey Noodle Soup

Southern Living Turkey Noodle Soup in a bowl to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Use the leftover turkey bones and skin to make the broth for this soup extra savory and flavorful. Then, leftover turkey, vegetables, and egg noodles make up the rest of this comforting bowl.

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Barbecue Turkey Sandwich

Southern Living Barbeque Turkey Sandwich on plates to serve
JENNIFER CAUSEY, FOOD STYLIST: JENNIFER WENDORF, PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN

With a few shortcut ingredients like bottled barbecue sauce and coleslaw, you can make these saucy sandwiches.

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Creamy Turkey Pasta Bake

Southern Living Creamy Turkey Pasta Bake in the baking dish to serve
GREG DUPREE, FOOD STYLIST: MICAH MORTON, PROP STYLIST: KATHLEEN VARNER

If you’re still craving a bit of comfort food satisfaction, this baked pasta dish is the best option for leftover turkey. It mixes with savory cheese, tender collard greens, and juicy mushrooms for a one-of-a-kind dinner you might like more than the original meal.

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Fried Turkey Nuggets

Crispy Turkey Nuggets
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

The kids will especially love this leftover turkey remake. Fry pieces of them until crisp but still tender and juicy inside. Offer up an array of dipping sauces, and serve this during the weekend’s football games.

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Quick Turkey Chili

Quick Turkey Chili
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS; PROP STYLIST: CALEB CLARKE; FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL

In place of ground turkey, use shredded leftover turkey. Skip the browning step and stir the meat in during simmering.

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Turkey BLT Pinwheels

Southern Living Turkey BLT Pinwheels in a lunchbox to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

In place of deli turkey meat, use thinly-sliced turkey from your leftover meat.

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Turkey Pot Pie With Cranberry-Pecan Crusts

Turkey Pot Pie With Cranberry-Pecan Crusts
TINA CORNETT

With a warm filling of roasted turkey and hearty spinach, this classic casserole goes above and beyond with a cranberry-pecan crust. This casserole may just be as stunning as yesterday’s turkey centerpiece. Cut your cranberry-pecan pastry into festive leaf shapes for an extra-seasonal dish.

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Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches
SOUTHERN LIVING

Drab, cold turkey sandwiches are a thing of the past. Blanketed in warm melty cheese, these signature open-faced sandwiches bring new life to your leftover turkey. Made with a smooth and creamy Mornay sauce, it’s an indulgent mess of a sandwich that requires a knife and fork to eat.

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Leftover Turkey Hash

Leftover Turkey Hash
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS; PROP STYLING: KATHLEEN VARNER; FOOD STYLING: EMILY NABORS HALL

When the family’s starting to tire of those endless turkey sandwiches, change things up and sneak that leftover turkey into a crispy breakfast hash. Add a bit of bacon grease for double the flavor, as well as onions, bell peppers, and sunny-side-up eggs. This all-encompassing breakfast recipe delivers an entire meal in one skillet.

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Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole

Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
VICTOR PROTASIO; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE

When it comes to leftovers, our strategy usually involves tossing lots of ingredients into a casserole dish and letting it bake together. And more often than not, it’s oh-so-good. Case in point: this Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole.

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Turkey-Noodle-Poppy Seed Casserole

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole Recipe
HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ

Every Southern grandmother has a poppyseed casserole in her Rolodex, but this Turkey-Noodle version may just be our favorite. The recipe uses 3 cups of leftover diced turkey blended with a creamy roux and spiced up with pimentos and red pepper. You can assemble the casserole a day in advance or even freeze it for a future dinner.

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Gumbo-Style Turkey Soup

Gumbo-Style Turkey Soup
GREG DUPREE

Bring big gumbo flavor to that leftover turkey with this simple soup. It’ll be ready in just one hour. Serve with crusty French bread to sop up the broth.

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Smoked Turkey-and-Andouille Gumbo

Smoked Turkey-and-Andouille Gumbo
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: CINDY BARR; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

If your family serves smoked turkey on Thanksgiving, this one’s for you. Make a big pot of this warm, award-winning gumbo and you’ll have leftovers of your leftovers. But trust us—nobody will be complaining.

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Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich

Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: LINDSEY LOWER; FOOD STYLING: CHELSEA ZIMMER

This quick and easy sandwich is baked in about three minutes. Sweet apples meet creamy brie to perfectly complement that leftover turkey, along with spicy and sweet hot pepper jelly. Pack it up to take on-the-go for holiday adventures or road trips.

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Turkey Salad

Turkey Salad - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Trade out the chicken for leftover shredded turkey in this new cult-favorite Turkey Salad. The pleasant tang is provided by sour cream and apple-cider vinegar. If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of our creative variations, like Golden Curry Turkey Salad or Pickle-and-Dill Turkey Salad.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini
TINA CORNETT

Tetrazzini is a staple on our dinner tables during the school year because it is delicious and filling, but we also think it’s a great dish for implementing after Thanksgiving leftovers. You can make this rich and creamy casserole with leftover turkey, and you can either eat it that night for Thanksgiving day dinner, or you can freeze it for a busier day (aka: when school is back in session and you’re pressed for time).

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Mini Hot Browns

Mini Hot Browns
SOUTHERN LIVING

Hosting a holiday cocktail hour or dinner party? These miniature Hot Browns will be gone in a flash. The Southern dish originally gained popularity in the 1920s at Louisville’s Brown Hotel, and since then, countless variations of the iconic meal have been made, including this version you can just pop in your mouth.

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Turkey Grilled Cheese with Gruyere and Caramelized Onion

Turkey, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyère Grilled Cheese
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: LINDSEY LOWER; FOOD STYLING: CHELSEA ZIMMER

Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but this recipe puts a sophisticated spin on the classic sandwich with the addition of turkey, gruyère, and caramelized onions. To caramelize onions, saute in a skillet until they turn a deep golden brown.

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Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Break out the slow cooker: It’s chili time. And this isn’t just any chili. In this white chili recipe, the dry leftover turkey stews low and slow in chicken or turkey broth to bring moisture and succulence back to the meat.

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New Turkey Tetrazzini

New Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
ALISON MIKSCH

Spinach and mushrooms update the classic turkey tetrazzini to make it a bit more modern and a bit healthier. This recipe also makes good use of that extra box of stuffing mix in the cupboard.

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Leftover Turkey Casserole

Leftover Turkey Casserole
JENNIFER CAUSEY; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX; PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN

This comforting casserole is like a warm hug. The list of ingredients is as familiar as your favorite tuna casserole, but enhanced with herbs and spices. Top with a delicious, crunchy mixture of panko breadcrumbs, butter, and cheese.

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Leftover Turkey Rice Soup

leftover turkey rice soup
PHOTOGRAPHER: ANTONIS ACHILLEOS, PROP STYLIST: CLAIRE SPOLLEN FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER

You’ll want to roast turkey all the time just to make this flavorful rice soup. Wild rice and mushrooms add a heartiness you can really sink your teeth into—add more broth if you prefer a thinner consistency. This one is full of vegetables and herbs that you probably already have in your refrigerator after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Slow-Cooker Turkey and Dumplings Soup

Slow-Cooker Turkey and Dumplings Soup
VICTOR PROTASIO; FOOD STYLING: MELISSA GRAY; PROP STYLING: AUDREY DAVIS

Imagine old-fashioned chicken and dumplings, but better. Leftover turkey and vegetables simmer in a slow cooker until tender and succulent in a simple, well-seasoned broth, but the real star of the show here is the dumplings. The buttermilk dumplings are dropped into the simmering broth at the end, along with a spoonful of leftover gravy.

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Turkey Tamales

Turkey Tamales
ALISON MIKSCH

Follow an old Tex-Mex custom of turning leftover turkey into tamales. Wrapped in cornhusks and steamed to soft, flavorful perfection, these tamales offer a savory blend of cultural traditions. Top them with leftover cranberry sauce, and you’ll never think of Thanksgiving leftovers the same way again.

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Turkey-and-Persimmon Salad

Turkey and Persimmon Salad
JAMES RANSOM; FOOD STYLING: RUTH BLACKBURN; PROP STYLING: CHRISTINE KEELY

After a day of casseroles and pies, you may be looking for a lighter, more refreshing leftover turkey recipe. This is the ones you need, with its juicy fruit and sweet-tart dressing.