Love having turkey on Thanksgiving Day but over the leftovers? These fresh and tasty Leftover Turkey Recipes are for you!
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Preparing and serving a beautiful, delicious turkey on Thanksgiving Day is a tradition in my family—and so are the leftovers!
Once you’ve exhausted the obvious (turkey sandwiches), figuring out what to do with leftover turkey can be a challenge.
Over the years, I’ve found simple and scrumptious ways to repurpose my leftover turkey that don’t feel like I’m simply reheating my Thanksgiving Day meal.
From comforting casseroles to veggie-packed pastas to creamy soups, these recipes will breathe new life into your leftover turkey troubles.
Plus, most of them will serve multiple people, meaning they’re ideal for those of you who still have guests at your house.
In addition to the healthy leftover turkey recipes, I’ve also shared my best tips below on how to store and reheat turkey after it’s been cooked. And yes, these tips will help you reheat it without drying it out (<– this is critical for truly enjoying your leftovers).
If you’re ready for the recipes, use the links below to jump to specific categories, or simply scroll down to view them all and my storage tips.
Table of Contents
Storing Leftover Turkey
I recommend not letting your Thanksgiving leftovers sit out too long after cooking.
If possible, slice and refrigerate the turkey as soon as possible after the meal has ended. This helps keep the meat from drying out.
- To Store. Turkey leftovers will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Place them in an airtight storage container or ziptop bag. For extra moisture, you can drizzle some of the turkey drippings or broth over the top of the meat before refrigerating it.
- To Freeze. The best way to freeze leftover turkey is in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To avoid another influx of turkey, freeze your leftovers in smaller portions. This allows you to thaw and enjoy your extra turkey a little at a time.
Reheating Leftover Turkey
For those of you who’ve tried to reheat turkey in the past, you know how easily it can go from moist and tender to dry and tough.
Here are my best tips for keeping your leftover turkey as tasty as the day it was prepared:
- To Reheat. Low and slow is the name of the game here to ensure your leftover turkey is tender.
- Wrap leftover turkey in aluminum foil, creating a sealed pouch around the meat. Place the pouch in a baking dish.
- Before sealing the pouch, add moisture to your turkey by pouring a little broth (or turkey drippings) over it.
- Place the turkey in a 300 degrees F oven until warmed through.
While you can reheat the turkey in the microwave, it’s not my first choice. If you need to use the microwave, make sure you add plenty of moisture to the turkey before reheating it so it doesn’t dry out.
How to Know When Leftover Turkey Is Bad
Determining whether leftover turkey has gone bad or not comes down to four of your five senses (if you can somehow hear when leftover turkey is bad, please teach me your ways).
When deciding if your turkey has gone bad or not, start with sight, smell, and touch. If the turkey fails one of these senses, then you definitely don’t want to taste it.
- Sight. If your leftover turkey looks discolored or has signs of mold, it is no longer safe to eat and should be discarded.
- Smell. When turkey has gone bad, it will likely smell bad. If your turkey smells sour, off, or otherwise unusual, throw it out.
- Touch. Turkey that has gone bad will typically feel slimy to the touch.
- Taste. If your turkey has passed the three other senses but tastes off in any way, assume it is bad and toss it.
Now, let’s get to those 5-star leftover turkey recipes!
Leftover Turkey Casserole Recipes
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (add some leftover turkey for extra protein)
- Turkey Alfredo Bake (swap turkey for the chicken)
- Sweet Potato Pasta with Brussels Sprouts (this would be delicious with leftover turkey mixed in)
- Turkey Salad (serve on bread or as a leftover turkey salad without bread)
- Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey
- Avocado Grilled Cheese (add leftover turkey for a protein boost)
- Turkey Wild Rice Soup (omit the chicken, then stir in the cooked turkey at the end)
- Creamy Turkey Noodle Soup (swap turkey for the chicken)
- Leftover Stuffing Cakes (serve these alongside leftover turkey for a delicious breakfast)
- Sweet Potato Hash (keep or omit the sausage and add leftover turkey)
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! This works especially well with casseroles and soups. If you’re planning to freeze the recipe you make, make sure you use your leftover turkey meat while it is still fresh, not meat that has already been frozen.
As this list proves, your leftover Thanksgiving turkey can become an ideal swap for chicken (or pork). Most recipes that call for cooked chicken will work well with leftover turkey instead.