If you're like me, when you think about Thanksgiving dinner you probably anticipate the leftovers nearly as much as the meal itself. Take advantage of the seasonal sales and buy a turkey even if you have Thanksgiving dinner elsewhere, or buy an extra if you have the freezer space. Turkey can replace chicken in many recipes, and it makes a great addition to soups and casseroles.
If you plan to use your leftovers within a few days, store in the refrigerator in portion-sized small shallow containers.
Use for sandwiches or salads.
Freeze cooked, boned turkey in portions by wrapping in meal-size portions in aluminum foil and sealing in a freezer bag. Thaw and chop what you need for a recipe. Frozen cooked turkey can be added to casseroles, soups, and other cooked dishes.
Browning the turkey bones is one of the secrets to an extra-tasty stock, and it's well worth a few extra steps. Make turkey broth with the carcass right away, and then freeze it in 1-cup portions for up to 6 months. Use it for cooking rice, in casseroles, in sauces, and as a base for soups.
For safe cooking and handling of whole turkey, see:
Try one of the featured turkey recipes and Thanksgiving recipes below.
Recipes Using Leftover Cooked Turkey
- Leftover Turkey Pie - This great tasting turkey pie is made with leftover turkey and gravy filling and a buttery top crust. It's really easy and tasty, and if you don't have time for homemade pie crust, use a purchased pie pastry.
- Turkey Quiche With Peppers and Green Onions - This quiche is a great way to use that leftover turkey, and it makes a wonderful brunch, lunch, or dinner dish. Choose hot or mild peppers to flavor this quiche.
- Turkey Empanadas - These tasty little filled pies are made with Thanksgiving leftovers and a few basic seasonings. These empanadas are delicious with cranberry sauce!
- Turkey Curry - This simple combination of leftover turkey with curry powder and pineapple makes a great tasting meal with rice and a salad.
- Creamy Turkey With Artichokes - Canned artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and seasonings liven up this creamy turkey dish. Serve over rice, biscuits, or baked puff pastry shells.
- Classic Turkey Tetrazzini - A rich homemade cream sauce is flavored with a small amount of sherry and Parmesan cheese in this classic spaghetti and turkey tetrazzini. I add a smidgen of freshly grated nutmeg to the sauce.
- Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Casserole - This popular 4-ingredient casserole is a combination of turkey, leftover stuffing, some gravy, and cranberry sauce.
- Turkey Divan Recipe - This turkey divan bake is a snap to prepare, and it makes a delicious meal with rice or noodles. The turkey is baked with a layer of broccoli spears and a thick cheese sauce topping.
- Hot Turkey Sandwich - This is my personal favorite, an open-faced hot turkey sandwich with gravy and leftover stuffing. Delicious!
- Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes - These croquettes have amazing flavor, and they manage to use leftover mashed potatoes along with the turkey. Serve them with leftover cranberry relish and dressing, if you have it. They're delicious with gravy. If you don't have leftover gravy, use a jar or package mix.
- Turkey, Ham, and Swiss Casserole - This fabulous pasta casserole gets extra flavor from the diced ham and Swiss cheese. Make the casserole with macaroni, mini fusilli pasta, mini penne, or other small shapes.
Turkey Enchilada Bake - In this recipe, flour tortillas are filled with a savory mixture of chopped turkey, chile peppers, cilantro, and shredded cheese. Tomatillo salsa and enchilada sauce are combined with diced tomatoes to make the sauce.
- Turkey Salad With Red Grapes - This is a flavorful salad to serve on mixed greens or lettuce, or use it as a sandwich filling. The grapes add another flavor dimension to the sandwich. I like to add chopped pecans for the crunch.
- Turkey Pasta Casserole With Asparagus and Cheddar Cheese - This is another excellent pasta casserole using turkey. The asparagus and cheddar cheese are complementary to the flavor of the turkey, and the seasoned sauce brings it all together.
- Kentucky-Style Hot Brown Sandwiches - These sandwiches were first created by the Fred Schmidt for The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. The sandwiches are typically open-faced and layered with turkey, tomato, bacon, and cheese sauce.
- Turkey Supreme With Cream Sauce - This is a classic creamy sauce served over slices of cooked turkey. Serve this tasty dish over noodles, rice, toast points, or biscuits.
- Turkey, Cheese, and Pasta Wheels - This cheesy pasta casserole is another excellent way to use that cooked turkey. The cheddar and Parmesan cheese sauce with the turkey and mushrooms is similar in flavor to a turkey tetrazzini.
- Turkey Casserole With Havarti Cheese - This strata-style dish is a fluffy egg and turkey casserole made with the addition of buttery havarti cheese.
- Turkey Macaroni Casserole - This macaroni and cheese combination includes leftover turkey and chopped vegetables. The sauce is a convenient mixture of condensed cream of chicken soup and milk.
- Turkey Rice Casserole With Curry Powder - This easy turkey and rice bake is flavored with curry powder and cheddar cheese. Top the casserole with buttered bread crumbs or other crumbs just before baking.
- Turkey a la King - This classic creamed turkey is fabulous over rice, noodles, biscuits, or toast.
- Scalloped Turkey - Toasted bread cubes, leftover turkey, and complementary seasonings team up in this easy baked casserole recipe.
- Turkey and Rice Bake - Cooked turkey, rice, and a seasoned thickened sauce are combined and baked with layers of cheese.
- Easy Turkey and Rice Casserole - This turkey and rice combination is made with cooked rice, peas, and the convenience of condensed cheddar cheese soup.
- Turkey Pot Pie - This savory double crust pie is filled with a creamy mixture of turkey and vegetables. Use peas and carrots or mixed vegetables in the filling.
- Turkey Tetrazzini - This creamy turkey and spaghetti casserole is always a hit. This version is made with an easy mushroom soup sauce, along with sliced mushrooms and a combination of cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.
- Turkey Noodle Casserole - Peas, cooked diced turkey, and an easy seasoned sauce are combined with noodles and cheese in this basic turkey casserole.
- Turkey Croquettes - These classic croquettes are made with a flavorful homemade sauce and bread crumb coating.
- Roasted Turkey Broth - For this broth, the leftover turkey carcass is roasted, giving it more intense flavor.
- Louisville Creamed Turkey - This creamed turkey is filled with flavor, with diced pimiento, mushrooms, and optional peas or mixed vegetables. This turkey dish makes an excellent meal with rice.
- Creamy Turkey Divan Soup with Broccoli - Ham, broccoli, and leftover diced turkey get together in this creamy, cheesy soup.
- Family Style Turkey Pie - This easy turkey pie is topped with a puff pastry crust. The filling is a mixture of turkey, vegetables, and a savory Parmesan white sauce.
- Easy Turkey and Rice Bake With Mushrooms - Condensed soup makes up the sauce for this simple turkey and rice bake. Add leftover gravy to the casserole if you have it, and bake it with a buttered bread crumb topping.
- Baked Turkey Enchiladas - Turkey is mixed with sour cream and cheese and then wrapped in soft tortillas. The sauce is made with tomatoes and chile peppers.
- Turkey Hash With Vegetables and Gravy - This hash is a simple combination of chopped turkey, celery, onion, and bell pepper with gravy. Serve it with roasted potatoes or top it with a fried egg.
- Turkey and Biscuit Bake - This turkey and biscuit bake is made with homemade parsley biscuits and a creamy seasoned turkey filling. Use frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables in this casserole.
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