7 Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Turkey 

Put down the sandwich and make one of these meals instead

November 21, 2022 6:30 am
bbq chicken pizza with red onions on parchment paper
This pizza is begging for your poultry leftovers
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It happens every year: you just cooked a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and are now stocked with 10 pounds of leftover turkey. Sure, turkey soup is a classic, and everyone loves a Moist-Maker Sandwich, but we always end up with leftover turkey fatigue following the fall holiday. So to reduce wasting both food and money this year, we got creative and thought outside the box to develop some truly delicious meals to craft from turkey leftovers.

Roasted turkey is a wonderful blank canvas for flavor, so it plays well when paired with both sweet and savory flavors. With that in mind, these simple recipes will highlight turkey’s strengths and help utilize leftovers perfectly.

a bowl of leftover turkey fried rice sitting on top of a plaid napkin
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Fried rice is the king of leftovers, making it the perfect dish to leadoff this list. Pairing turkey with sweet pineapple highlights the wonderfully meaty and roasted flavors of the bird. This is an excellent place to use other roasted veggies from Thanksgiving as well.

Turkey Fried Rice

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups vegetables (frozen or leftovers)
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Non-stick spray
    1. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic and ginger in a bowl. Set aside.

    2. Place a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the pineapple for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add the rice and vegetables to the pineapple. Stir and toss for 3 minutes, or until a bit of color forms on the rice.

    3. Stir in the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Fold in the eggs and turkey, and cook for another minute to warm through and scramble the eggs. Serve.

Buffalo leftover turkey dip in a white crock with chips
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Buffalo turkey dip is the perfect way to feed and please a house full of guests. Turkey lends flavor and depth to the game day classic, holding up to tangy Buffalo sauce and blue cheese. Make double if you’re serving a crowd because it’s guaranteed to disappear.

Buffalo Turkey Dip

Cook Time: 1-2 hours

Servings: 8

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, like Frank’s
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
    1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker set on high. Cook for 1-2 hours or until ingredients are melted and combined.

Homemade Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos
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The best part about these nachos is serving them right from the pan. The trick is to inject the turkey with a bit of flavor by warming it in the salsa, ensuring tender and juicy turkey in every bite.

Sheet Pan Nachos

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 1 bag corn chips
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 2 cups nacho toppings, like tomatoes, rice, beans or olives
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. As it heats, add the turkey and salsa into a small saucepan over low heat. Cook on low for 3-4 minutes to warm and infuse turkey.

    2. Arrange chips on a cast iron or sheet pan. Sprinkle the chips with cheese, onion and turkey, in that order. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

    3. Top with the jalapeños and other nacho toppings. Serve right out of the pan.

Overhead view of cottage Pie with leftover turkey in a cast iron pan
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Cottage pie is reason alone to make extra turkey. Pairing the meat with other bold ingredients like Worcestershire and rosemary creates a culinary power ballad of flavors.  As a bonus, use leftover potatoes for the topping to save a step.

Cottage Pie

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables
  • 4 cups cooked mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1. Place a 12” cast iron skillet, or other large ovenproof pan, over medium heat. Sweat onion in the butter with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

    2. Add turkey, mixed vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

    3. Turn broiler on high. Carefully top pan with the mashed potatoes, sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned. Serve immediately.

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turkey stroganoff with mushrooms and leftover turkey served over egg noodles
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Turkey, good. Noodles, good. Sour cream, great. Combine them into a hearty dish that you’ll never know originated from leftovers. Don’t be afraid to sneak a little leftover gravy into the dish, too, which will only deepen the flavor.

Turkey Stroganoff

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. cooked egg noodles, for serving
    1. Set a large cast iron skillet over high heat and preheat for 3 minutes. Add butter, onions and mushrooms. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until mushrooms start to brown.

    2. Deglaze pan with the chicken stock, then add the turkey and bring to a simmer. As it heats, combine the sour cream, mustard and cornstarch in a separate bowl.

    3. Once the sauce has come to a simmer, stir in the sour cream and mustard mixture. Let it thicken for 2 minutes, then serve over the cooked egg noodles.

baked macaroni and cheese with bacon and leftover turkey served on hot pan
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Turkey loves bacon, and pairing the two meaty flavors results in a delightfully savory dish that shines against a cheesy backdrop. Mustard and cream cheese provide a subtle tanginess, which further highlights the turkey’s wonderful essence.

Mac and Cheese With Turkey and Bacon

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1 lb. ziti, cooked two minutes shy of the package directions
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
  • 24 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled bacon
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the evaporated milk and mustard in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and melt in the cream cheese and 2 ½ cups of cheddar, stirring continuously.

    2. Once cheese sauce is fully melted, remove from the heat and fold in the turkey and pasta. Pour everything into a greased 9×13 baking dish.

    3. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the oven and top with remaining cheese and bacon. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese just browns. Serve as soon as you won’t burn your mouth.

a slice of bbq chicken pizza with red onions
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BBQ turkey pizza is brilliant. The piquant sauce and melty cheese perfectly complement the meaty leftover.

BBQ Turkey Pizza

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped, pulled or shredded cooked turkey
    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a pizza stone on the middle rack. Place the pizza dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 12-14” circle, forming a lip around the edge. Top with the BBQ sauce, cheeses, onion and turkey. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly.


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