5 Ways To Use Up That Leftover Turkey (Without Getting Sick of It)

Creative and easy recipes that use up your Thanksgiving leftovers

By Macaroni KID November 26, 2023

After the Thanksgiving feast comes the inevitable – a fridge full of leftovers! While turkey sandwiches are a classic, why not shake things up a bit this year? Consider the recipes below as idea starters to help you get going. Experiment or change things up by using whatever leftovers you have on hand! 

Tailgate Turkey Twirls

Perfect for football Sunday the weekend after Thanksgiving!


  • Whipped cream cheese
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Sliced celery
  • Leftover turkey
  • Favorite buffalo or hot sauce
  • Flour tortillas


  • Spread whipped cream cheese on tortilla.
  • Sprinkle with blue cheese, then layer celery and leftover turkey.
  • Drizzle with your favorite buffalo or hot sauce.
  • Roll tightly and slice into one-inch pieces.

Maria Uspenskaya | Canva

Turkey Tortellini Soup

An easy weeknight meal that's the perfect warm-up. Serve with crusty bread and a salad.


  • 6 cups of chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • Package of fresh or frozen tortellini
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Fresh spinach (optional)
  • Herbs and spices such as garlic, herbs, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.


  • Bring broth to a boil.
  • Add turkey, herbs/spices, and tortellini and cook according to the tortellini package directions.
  • Add fresh spinach in the bottom of an empty bowl and ladle in broth and pasta.
  • Top with parmesan cheese.

 Sonda Stefan's Images | Canva

Crustless Turkey Pot Pie

Serve right away or freeze and save for a night when you're craving a comfort meal! Add a leftover roll to sop up all the goodness.


  • Leftover corn
  • Leftover cranberry sauce
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Leftover gravy
  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Leftover turkey, sliced into bite-sized pieces

Directions if eating immediately:

  1. Layer the ingredients in a disposable pie container.  
  2. Heat at 350 degrees until warmed through (15-25 minutes).

Directions if freezing: 

  1. Layer the ingredients in a disposable pie container.  
  2. Carefully place the pie in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. When ready to use, thaw and then heat in oven until warmed through (15-25 minutes) at 350 degrees.  

Oleksandr Prokopenko | Canva

Cran-Turkey Fiesta Quesadillas

Give your leftovers a twist by making turkey and cranberry quesadillas, a perfect lunch during the long holiday weekend.


  • Large flour tortillas, one per person
  • Leftover turkey, shredded, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per tortilla
  • Leftover cranberry sauce
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Shredded cheese (such as Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend)
  • Optional: Leftover gravy or sour cream


  1. Lay a flour tortilla flat on a clean surface. Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce over the entire surface of the tortilla.
  2. Layer shredded turkey and a spoonful of stuffing on one half of the tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese over the turkey and stuffing.
  4. Fold the tortilla in half, enclosing the filling.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, place the quesadilla in the skillet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla is crispy and golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  6. Remove the quesadilla from the skillet and let it cool for about a minute. Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of sour cream or gravy on the side for an extra flavor kick.

 Joshua Resnick | Canva

Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Transform your leftover turkey into a quick and flavorful stir-fry – your family may not even realize you've snuck in turkey leftovers! This stir-fry serves 4.


  • 2 cups leftover turkey
  • 4 cups assorted vegetables (such as bell peppers, carrots, green beans, broccoli – mix and match based on what you have)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or 1 Tbsp chili sauce for heat
  • Cooked rice (about 4 cups cooked) for serving


  1. Chop leftover turkey and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger if using fresh.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, sautéing briefly until fragrant. Add the vegetables and stir-fry until they are tender-crisp.
  3. Toss in the leftover turkey pieces, stirring to combine with the vegetables.
  4. Drizzle soy sauce over the stir-fry, and add red pepper flakes or chili sauce, if desired. Stir everything together and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Serve your turkey and vegetable stir-fry over the prepared rice.

Have a happy Thanksgiving ... and an even better leftover feast!