What To Do With Leftover Dressing

If like so many of us, you turn to a Thanksgiving sandwich as your method of choice for getting rid of post-holiday leftovers, you probably already know that there is a limit to how many turkey sandwiches one person can consume in a week without losing their sanity.

There are plenty of suggestions out there for clever ways to use up the extra turkey without resorting to throwing it in between two slices of bread, but the same isn’t true of dressing. Although it reheats well, on its own, especially after a few days in the fridge, it’s just not the same.

Classic Cornbread Dressing
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: GINNY BRANCH STELLING; FOOD STYLING: EMILY NABORS HALL

With a little zhuzhing however, you can turn leftover stuffing, pardon me, *dressing* (my Northern roots are showing) into breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you actually want to eat.

Six Ways To Enjoy Leftover Dressing

If you’ve already tried slapping it on sandwiches, turning dressing into ‘muffins’, or tried folding it into a Thanksgiving leftover casserole, these new techniques will be a welcomed break from the usual tactics.

1. Waffle it

Yes, you read that right. Pull out the waffle maker. Crisp up the leftover dressing using the classic breakfast appliance. Top the crispy dressing with a fried egg, shredded cheese, and a few dashes of hot sauce and you have a hearty no-waste breakfast the whole family can enjoy in the days following Thanksgiving.

2. Form it into patties

Associate Editor, Kaitlyn Yarborough, swears by her grandmother’s trick for using up leftover dressing: Form it into patties.

The technique couldn’t be easier either. Simply rehydrate the baked dressing with a little turkey stock, mixing until moist, and then form it into thin patties. Bake the patties on a sheet pan at 450°F until golden brown and crispy. Top with extra gravy, serve topped with an egg, or use the patties as the base of an eggs Benedict, instead of English muffins.

3. Stuff mushrooms, squash, or peppers

For an extra easy supper following Thanksgiving, use leftover dressing as the filling for stuffed peppers, portobello mushrooms, zucchinis, squash, or another easy to carve out vegetable. Top with cheese and bake until the vegetable vessel is soft and the dressing is heated through.

4. Make Dressing Hush Puppies

Combine leftover dressing (this is especially good with cornbread dressing) with enough egg to form a cohesive mixture that sticks well to itself. Portion the mixture into small balls and deep fry until golden brown. (You can dredge the batter in breadcrumbs before frying, if desired.) Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or simply serve with leftover gravy and cranberry sauce.

5. Turn it into meatballs

You’re used to adding bread or breadcrumbs to meatball mixtures. Well, you can use leftover dressing much the same way. Simply blend it into your meatball mixture as you would breadcrumbs, form the mixture into balls, and cook as normal. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce over a bed of fresh cooked noodles, and enjoy a much-earned reprieve from turkey.

5. Repurpose it into croutons

Divide leftover dressing into bite-size chunks and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss lightly with oil. Bake at 350°F until golden and crisp. If desired, you can add additional seasonings, like garlic, rosemary, paprika, or cayenne.

Lacey Chabert's Cornbread Dressing
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS; FOOD STYLING: RUTH BLACKBURN; PROP STYLING: LYDIA PURSELL

How To Store Leftover Dressing

According to the USDA, leftovers should be placed in the fridge within two hours of serving (i.e. you shouldn’t leave the dressing out for more than two hours at room temperature). Best practice is to divide the dressing into smaller portions, as larger quantities can take a long time to cool to a safe temperature (which can increase the growth of harmful bacteria), and place the portions in airtight containers. Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to four days, or freeze for longer storage.

 Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Holiday Leftovers

How To Reheat Leftover Dressing

There are a couple ways you can reheat leftover dressing. Quickest is certainly the microwave. Make sure to stir the dressing occasionally while reheating this way to ensure even cooking. You also heat the dressing on the stove top or in the oven, and additional stock can be added while reheating to ensure the dressing doesn’t dry out. No matter how you choose to warm up the leftovers, the USDA recommends it be reheated to 165°F for safety.