The Bearded Hiker is not having Thanksgiving this year. Well, I’ll have the turkey and a bit of sides, but that’s about it. No family. No friends.  Maybe a couple of friends. No fried turkey, but a smoked one instead.  Maybe? Hopefully good weather will join us as our very special guest.

The best thing about this quiet Thanksgiving is, well, the quiet but also leftover turkey!  I know a lot of people don’t want any leftover turkey.  They’re sick of turkey, especially if they’re the ones that cooked the silly thing.

I can get that way, but then I just think of that lovely cold turkey sandwich on soft white bread loaded with mayo and a couple shakes of Worcestershire.  Love it!

But the last few years I’ve dry brined the turkey and then fried it.  It’s sooo good that there is no turkey left.  Have you ever even seen that at your house for Thanksgiving?  When all is said and done, you’re left with a hot mess of a kitchen and a carcass sitting there?

Growing up, I never did.  We had the leftovers and alot of them!  Admittedly, my mother did not cook a good turkey.  Sorry Mom!  It’s the truth and I must speak it.  And as much as I love the turkey sandwiches, I don’t want to eat that for a solid week.  But, that’s what we did.

I’m much more sophisticated now.  Ok, no I’m not, I just cook for myself now.  Now, I have expanded my use of leftover turkey and these are some of my favorites!  I think once you check these out, you’ll look forward to your leftover turkey too!


1. Baked Turkey Croquettes from SkinnyTaste – Not just delicious but cute too.  Uses your turkey and mashed potato leftovers!  I’ve made these and loved them. I also had left over sautéed cabbage so I tossed it in there too.  Good stuff.

2. Thanksgiving in a puff pastry! Turkey & Stuffing Turnovers from A Family Feast.
What to do with left over turkey? A Family Feast has you covered with these delicious turnovers!

3. Opelousas – A Rice Cooker One Pot Meal – My rice cooker opelousas begs for leftover turkey or ham or whatever leftover meats you have from your Thanksgiving meal. Just toss it in and go!

4. Carrie’s Home Cooking has Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Spaghetti. Yummy comfort food and a perfect way to use up some of that leftover turkey!

5. Olivia’s Cuisine sees your turkey sandwich and raises you a Turkey and Mashed Potatoes Casserole!
Leftover turkey got you stumped? Delicious turkey and mashed potatoes casserole to the rescue!

6. Roasted turkey, creamy camembert cheese, tart apple slices and hot pepper jelly combine for a wonderful panini at Saving Room for Desert.

7. This Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Tetrazzini begins with your turkey leftovers, mushrooms, and pasta which is tossed together with a creamy, garlicky sauce, topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan and Mozzarella @ Carrie’s Home Cooking.  This looks oohh so cheesy yummy!

8. Looking for a low-carb turkey situation?  I Breathe I’m Hungry has got you covered with Smoky Bacon & Turkey Chowder.

9. Serious Eats knows just how to win my tastebuds – Leftover Turkey “Carnitas”! Goodness goodnes I love tacos!

10. You could just shred or chop, throw it in a tortilla with some black olives, refried beans, a little enchilada sauce in it or whatever floats your boat, top with the enchilada sauce and cheese and bake.  Oh yea!  Finish off with lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.

11. Of course, use the carcass to make turkey stock!  I know people do it in their pressure cooker, but I’m not sure how.  I mean, a turkey is big!  I just use a big stock pot.
Leftover turkey? Never fear, make turkey stock! It's easy, passive cooking, and the yield is pure liquid gold!

12. Jalapeño Beans with Shredded Turkey – Easy, tastes like you simmered it all day and healthy. Great to eat with some cornbread or over nachos!

12 Delicious recipes to deal with your leftover turkey!Click To Tweet
So you have leftover turkey? No worries here are 12 recipes to use up your leftover turkey.  From "carnitas" to tetrazzini!
Up to your ears in leftover turkey?  No worries, here are 12 delicious ways to use it up, from "carnitas" to tetrazzini!
What to do with all that leftover turkey?  No worries, from "carnitas" to tetrazzini, The Bearded Hiker has got you covered.  #turkeyhangover #leftoverturkey

26 thoughts on “12 Things To Do with Left Over Turkey”

  1. We were visiting family, so no turkey leftovers here, but I might just have to make another just to try some of these out! Thanks for joining the To Grandma’s House We Go link party! Your post has been pinned!

  2. Hi Jaxx, I’m co-hosting with Fiesta Friday this week, so I wanted to say I love these ideas. Oddly enough, I just made Opelousas, based partially on your recipe and posted about it (and linked back to you!) And now I’m visiting our Fiesta Friday posters and here you are! What a coincidence!!

    Have a lovely week and Happy FF!!


    1. Chili with the turkey sounds delicious! Crazy question…do you happen to put cranberry sauce in it? I bet that would be yummy and interesting.

  3. Great collection of recipes for the leftovers! Thanks so much for sharing with us at our Thanksgiving Edition of Full Plate Thursday! Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. Love you recipe, it looks awesome! Thanks so much for sharing with us at our Thanksgiving Edition of Full Plate Thursday! Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. I must admit to not liking turkey too much but can appreciate your efforts in using leftovers after Thanksgiving (something we don’t celebrate here in Australia). I also can see that you’ve matured in your tastes over the years ad I’m sure your mother will forgive you the comment about the way she cooked it in the past! I’ve shared this on Pinterest on the Blogger’s Pit Stop group board. Debbie from Deb’s World.

  6. I’ve never been successful at cooking turkey, but this year it was good, and I like to think it’s because I dry brined it a day ahead. I’ve never done fried turkey before, but have heard it’s wonderful. We’re still eating leftovers & enjoying them, but love the sound of these 12 options you’re giving!

    1. I have a few recipe that I love making with the leftover turkey. One is a casserole and the other is chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. Thanks for sharing these recipes with SYC.

    2. The dry brine makes all the difference. I used to wet brine but I found there was a texture difference. Ever since the dry brine never had a bad bird.

  7. I’m not a big fan of turkey, but that probably because I have not cooking clue how to make it taste like something that doesn’t resemble cardboard. I love your ideas for using the left overs though Jaxx. Now if only I could find someone who makes a yummilicious turkey 😉 Leftover chicken would work to right?!!

    1. I’ve had more bad turkey than good in my life. Until I started dry brining and frying I never knew what a good turkey was. But hey, use a rotisserie chicken in those recipes! I am.

  8. I too prefer quiet family dinners with lots of leftovers. There’s so much you can do with them! I just have to try the turkey carnitas or shredded with jalapeno. I’ll be tweeting and pinning this. Greetings from the Blogger’s Pit Stop!

  9. I always cook extra of everything just so we can have leftovers! I make a leftover turkey pot that layers turkey, gravy, butternut squash, stuffing, and mashed potatoes and we eat that the very next night. It’s so good I’m starting to look more forward to that the actual Thanksgiving dinner. This year we had a huge bird though and I have TONS of turkey left so I’m looking for more yummy recipes to make with turkey. These all sound yummy! Pinned.

    1. That pot pie sounds yumdyum! Someone on Facebook mentioned they put the turkey, cranberry and leftovers in an eggroll. All the possibilities!

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