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10 Recipes for Reusing Thanksgiving Leftovers

To make it feel like the holidays, all you need is a full dinner table. But after Thanksgiving dinner is over, we’re left scraping up the scraps, and stuffing the fridge to bursting.
Nov Local Profile Food15798 Final
Photo by Robert Robertson

To make it feel like the holidays, all you need is a full dinner table. But after Thanksgiving dinner is over, we’re left scraping up the scraps, and stuffing the fridge to bursting. With these easy recipes, however, it’s easy to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a full series of turkey-themed meals. 

From Thanksgiving pie, to quesadillas, turkey melts, and the Eggs Benedict dreams are made of, here are a few recipes for kicking your leftover game up a notch.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Don’t throw out that turkey carcass, but cook it low and slow to make turkey broth. This broth can be the base for tortilla soup with a twist. Sauté shredded tortillas and onions in a soup pot, season with garlic and cumin, and add turkey broth and a few chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Simmer gently to finish, add and serve with shredded turkey, avocado, and lime on the side. 

Leftover Power Bowls

Who says turkey has to make you sleepy? Choose your favorite grain—quinoa, brown rice, wild rice—and use it as a base for an energizing harvest bowl. Roast whatever root veggies didn’t get turned into stuffing or casseroles, and combine it all. Add turkey and whip cranberry sauce into a quick, easy dressing. 

Thanksgiving leftovers pot pie

Turkey Pot Pie

Buy yourself an extra pie crust and fill it to the brim with shredded turkey, gravy, and whatever green bean casserole and stuffing might be left. Add a little bit of chicken broth, just to make sure it’s moist enough, and bake. 

Thanksgiving Pie

No, it’s not the same as pot pie. This is Thanksgiving Pie. Start with a thin layer of cranberry sauce in the bottom of a pie crust. Then layer in leftover turkey mixed with homemade gravy,  and sliced potatoes in a crust for Thanksgiving leftover pie. 

Turkey Curry

This recipe’s shortcut is red curry paste. Throw turkey and vegetables into a skillet with red curry paste, and some fresh minced ginger and garlic. Sauté until hot and combined, and serve it over some hot jasmine rice.

Thanksgiving Quesadillas

Pop your favorite sides onto a tortilla with cheese and boom: you’ve got Thanksgiving leftovers quesadilla that dreams are made of. We suggest stuffing, veggies, and—assuming you’re a mac’n’cheese family—mac’n’cheese.   

Turkey and Brie Melts

Grab some leftover rolls or a bag of Hawaiian rolls, and layer the lower halves in a baking pan. Spread with a thin layer of cranberry sauce. Follow up with turkey and brie (maybe from a leftover cheese plate) 

Turkey Eggs Benedict

Whip up easy potato pancakes with leftover mashed or scalloped potatoes by forming patties and frying them in a little oil. Top each one with a little turkey, poached eggs and an easy homemade Hollandaise. If your family didn’t leave any leftover potatoes, a toasted dinner roll will do the job just fine. 

Thanksgiving leftovers pumpkin pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

Don’t throw out that last bit of pumpkin puree left in the can. Add a little to your favorite pancake recipe, along with cinnamon, and a pinch of ground nutmeg and ginger. With maple syrup drizzled on top, and maybe some chopped pecans, breakfast has never felt so autumnal.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Heat milk, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice on the stove until hot and combined. Serve with strong dark roast coffee or fresh-brewed espresso, and top with whipped cream. You’ll never need to rely on Starbuck again.

Seriously, don’t throw out that last bit of pumpkin puree. Or any Thanksgiving leftovers, really.