What to Do With Leftover Turkey: 5 Recipe Ideas for Holiday Leftovers

After Thanksgiving, or any holiday feast that features a roast turkey, has wrapped up, you'll likely be left with quite a bit of leftovers. If you've ever faced down a half-eaten bird and wondered what to do with leftover turkey, discover these five creative ways to repurpose holiday leftovers (including turkey, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and stuffing) into delicious meals, ranging from easy salads to a complicated dish that every culinary student should attempt to master.

Create Potpie

Using leftover turkey to make a turkey potpie is a tasty and popular way to use up some of the extra meat and gravy from your holiday feast. This clever recipe from Taste of Home goes one step further by using leftover stuffing as a crust. On top are two ingredients you'll likely have on hand: mashed potatoes and French-fried onions. An even more elevated option is this Epicurious recipe for Turkey Potpie With Cheddar Biscuit Crust, which makes use of the skin and carcass for stock. Depending on how much leftover meat you have, you could conceivably make both recipes.

Simmer Soup

Making soup is a great way to use leftovers. This year, try something new, like this Yucatán-style soup with lime and chile from The New York Times. This bright and light dish is traditionally made with chicken, but it's also delicious with turkey.

Toss Salad

Another great solution for what to do with leftovers is to put together a salad for a light lunch or dinner. Try this recipe from My Recipes, which uses leftover cranberry sauce for the dressing and leftover dinner rolls for croutons. Italian seasoning is recommended for the croutons, but poultry seasoning, like this homemade one from Food.com, or even store-bought, is a tasty way to go.

Bake Samosas

If your leftovers include refrigerated pie crusts, this recipe from Real Simple is a great candidate for using them up after your Thanksgiving feast. Inside the baked pastry triangles, add shredded roast turkey, mango chutney and leftover mashed potatoes. If you can't find fresh mangoes, a cranberry chutney like this one from Epicurious would also be delightful.

Sizzle Enchiladas

Spicy dishes are a great choice for the night after Thanksgiving. For something unique, try this Turkey Enchiladas recipe from Serious Eats. It's great because it uses up leftover turkey and gives you an opportunity to make a batch of Mole Poblano sauce from scratch, like this one also from Serious Eats (an accomplishment in its own right!).

With a little creativity, figuring out what to do with leftover turkey and many of the other ingredients on your holiday table can be a fun cooking exercise where you transform scraps into mouthwatering dishes worthy of inviting friends over for dinner a second time. Here's to making the most of the holiday bounty!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons