25 Ways to Makeover Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Queen of Leftovers, here, with what will most likely be my favorite post of 2019. I can't help myself. Leftovers are my jam. Weird, I know.

I pride myself on being able to look in anyone's fridge and come up with a meal using what they've got. Just ask my mom. Or my best friends. They've all been subjected to my force-feeding them back their leftovers in a new invention of my own.

So, for me, Thanksgiving is the Big Show. My chance to say, I see you Turkey Day, and I raise you Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and on and on and on for at least a week or two until the last little remnant of cranberry sauce has been used.

So here are 25 ideas to get your wheels turning!


1. Make turkey salad the same way you would make chicken salad. Try it with curry, and dried cranberries to make it seasonal, and switch things up by serving it in a croissant.

2. Fry the turkey in a pan and treat it the same way you would country ham. Have it as part of breakfast for dinner!

3. Cut the dark meat into lardons and use it the same way you would pancetta, in pasta like this recipe for pasta with pancetta and peas.

4. Make turkey tortilla soup.

5. Put it on a flatbread. Try a simple naan base flatbread with turkey, a little brie, some thinly sliced pears, and red pepper flake. Then top it with a lightly dressed arugula salad when it's done baking.

Cranberry Sauce

6. Turn it into a salad dressing by whisking a tablespoon in with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Bonus idea: Top the salad with toasted leftover pre-Thanksgiving dinner snacking nuts!

7. Use it as a spread for a sandwich or on a bagel with cream cheese.

8. Warm it up in a pan with a little apple juice (or cider) and drizzle it over vanilla ice cream. You could also add sherry ;)

9. Make jam bars like these.

10. Make a cheeseboard and serve the cranberry sauce as chutney. This works especially well on water crackers with goat cheese.


11. Serve roasted or baked sweet potatoes topped with eggs for breakfast. (Don't use the sweetened marshmallow potatoes for this) Send it over the top with hot sauce, cilantro and avocado.

12. Save the sweetened marshmallow sweet potato leftovers for topping your oatmeal!

13. Toss them in a jeweled wild rice salad - brussels sprouts, squash and sweet potaotes can get tossed in with a wild and long grain rice mix with a little arugula and some fresh pomegranate seeds, and served room-temp.

14. Make a buddha bowl.

15. Add them to a frittata.


16. Mash leftover stuffing into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, then refrigerate. Remove from the fridge and slice and fry it. Top it with a runny yolk fried egg. Serve it with a little salad on the side that has a sharp vinaigrette or microgreens. The same idea could work by turning it into little patties.

17. If your stuffing is more crumbly than sticky, mix it in with fish for fish cakes (or old school salmon patties). Serve with a tangy horseradish sauce.

18. Bake it into a gratin with broccoli, cauliflower, or greens.

19. Crumble it onto a sheet pan and bake until crispy. Use like croutons.

20. For a snack: pop it in the microwave and add a fork (my husband's suggestion)


21. Make overnight oats and top with a little square of pumpkin pie.

22. Make a parfait by alternating layers of yogurt with layers of broken up apple, cherry, or berry pie, and granola.

23. Cut any cake or brownies into tiny squares and serve an assortment on a board as a "dessert tasting" with some Prosecco. Add a movie and a cozy blanket for a fun date night in.

24. Mix it in with ice cream, Cold Stone style.

If all else fails

25. Make "Bubble and Squeak", an English dish in which small-chopped leftover vegetables get mixed with mashed potatoes and a little leftover turkey and fried into patties which can be served with eggs, cranberry sauce, or a little salad. Here's a similar recipe.