So, the feast is finished. The guests are gone. And you’ve got a fridge full of leftovers — turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin aplenty. What do you do with the bounty of food left uneaten? Well, make something delicious!
Honestly, leftovers are almost as good as the celebration itself, with the added benefit that you can enjoy them any way you like — even wildly untraditional if you’re looking to change things up post-Thanksgiving.
Get inspired to make something new with these 10 ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers:
1. The Ultimate Leftover Sandwich
Why not just combine everything into one delicious meal? That’s exactly what the ultimate leftover sandwich does — a mighty stacker made of turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries, mashed potatoes and more. It’s like the kitchen sink of Thanksgiving leftovers. Fair warning though, it might get a little messy. Watch our video tutorial on how to make it.
2. Easy Turkey Bone Broth
Once the meat is stripped, poultry makes a glorious stock. Use turkey bones as a substitute for chicken bones in an easy recipe like Golden Chicken Broth. Enjoy a mug of this soothing elixir on its own (as a great way to try out the trend of sipping bone broth), or make it the base for a healthy, soulful soup like Turkey Noodle Soup.
3. Make the Most of Stuffing
Some think the stuffing is tastier than the bird itself. You can agree or disagree on that, but there’s no doubt that it’s a prized leftover — especially when served as an accompaniment to sunny-side up eggs or used as base for a frittata. Savory Stuffing Cakes is a stellar three-ingredient recipe, or try these indulgent Breakfast Stacks (if your stuffing already has sausage in it you can omit the sausage patty).
4. Turkey and Cranberries Today, Nachos and Salsa Mañana
With a little kitchen magic, you can turn any cranberry sauce into a sweet-and-savory bowl of salsa. And that, paired with leftover turkey, makes for a perfect next-day nacho dish that will wow the crowd. A winning pick for football-watching fiestas the weekend after Thanksgiving! Watch our video tutorial to learn how to pull it off.
5. A Mish-Mash of Mashed Potato Possibilities
Leftover mash can be repurposed deliciously for just about any meal (just add extra milk or butter when reheating mashed potatoes to keep them creamy!) For a comfort-food breakfast, top tubers with poached eggs. Or stir them into broth for a base for simple creamy soups. And mixed with an egg and chopped veggies, they make great pan-fried patties, as in this recipe for Crispy Mashed Potato and Scallion Cakes.
6. Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
If you’ve got a bit of leftover pumpkin purée, these Pumpkin Spice Pancakes make for a fun, cozy breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving. They call for a cup of purée and make up to six servings of hotcakes that sing the flavors of the season: cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup.
7. Turkey Pot Pie
There's always something comforting about eating rich and creamy Turkey Pot Pie and this version — chock-full of leeks, carrots, celery and mushrooms — is no exception. Serves about 6 to 8 people.
8. Bruschetta and Croutons…
Croutons and bruschetta are the best innovations since…sliced bread! Take Thanksgiving Day rolls and bread loaves and transform them into crispy, crunchy toppings and bases for day-after snack foods.
9. …or Bread Crumbs!
Or, make bread crumbs from leftover bread and store in airtight plastic bags — they can be frozen for up to three months!
10. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
This delectable, healthful smoothie is the perfect way to carry over that delicious pumpkin pie flavor into your morning glass. Our two-serving recipe calls for a cup of pumpkin purée, in case you have leftovers from your pie-baking marathon. Top each serving with ground flaxseeds or a pinch of nutmeg if you like.