After the plates are cleared today, we bet you’ll have at least one thing left over: turkey. It’s pretty tough to estimate accurately how much turkey guests will consume at Thanksgiving dinner and find a bird that’s just the right size. Since variety is the spice of life, here are 11 answers to the question, what can I do with leftover turkey?
1. Freeze it. You might not be ready to eat all the turkey now, but how about in a month? You can freeze turkey for up to three months — just separate the meat from the bones first.
2. Make it a Mexican food night. After an all-American meal, get some spicey inspiration from south of the border with Turkey Enchiladas.
3. Indulge in cheesy goodness. Put the flavors of your Thanksgiving dinner into sandwich form with a Turkey Grilled Cheese with Cranberry and Brie. The savory turkey, sweet cranberries, and creamy brie make an irresistible combination.
4. Fall for a fall salad. Start with turkey, add autumn favorites like apples and pecans, and presto — you have a Leftover Turkey Salad that makes a lovely lunch.
5. Create a comforting soup. We’re all for innovation and creativity, but sometimes you can’t top a classic. This Old Man’s Turkey Noodle Soup is a longtime post-Thanksgiving staple that will please any lover of comfort foods.
6. Whip up an easy breakfast. No, turkey isn’t just for lunch and dinner. When it’s placed onto a croissant with bacon, ham, and cheese, it becomes a breakfast sandwich that will get your day started right.
7. Chill with some chili. After you’ve poured your time and energy into the big meal, a simple meal is a thing of joy. Enter Creamy White Turkey Chili, a meal that practically makes itself in your slow cooker.
8. Try pad thai. You might come to a point where you tire of turkey. The key is to trick your palate into thinking it’s a new ingredient — which is easy to do if you make something that’s nothing like Thanksgiving dinner. Try Turkey Pad Thai for a stir-fried dish that adds a whole new twist to turkey.
9. Brighten up brunch. A Waffled Cranberry Cream Cheese Turkey Sandwich looks pretty fancy, but it’s not hard to make — and the combination of sweet and savory is crowd-pleasing.
10. Bake a different kind of pie. Move over, pumpkin and pecan. There’s a new pie in town, and it’s savory and delicious. The Turkey Pot Pie might help you get rid of other leftovers, too, like potatoes and peas.
11. Find a new home for your food. If you’ve celebrated an abundance of food this Thanksgiving, you might want to donate the leftovers to someone else.
We are so grateful for our readers this year and every year. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Earth911!
Originally published on November 23, 2017, this article was updated in November 2021.