20+ Fast Recipe Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sick of endless turkey sandwiches? You’ll love these fast, fun, easy Thanksgiving recipes for turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and more.

Compiled by Perri O. Blumberg
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine November 2013
  • Loading
    The Works for Reader's Digest

    For your leftover turkey...

    Southwest Casserole
    Combine turkey, squash, and sweet potatoes with gravy, diced potatoes, and roasted green chilies; cover with cheddar. Bake. —Jeremy McMillan, executive chef at the Bedford Post Inn

    Butter both sides of country bread, add Swiss or Gruyere and turkey, grill sandwich; top with a fried egg.Casimir and Co, New York City restaurant

    The Southern Voyager
    Create pulled BBQ-turkey sandwiches by shredding turkey and adding barbecue sauce and a leftover roll.Aldi Test Kitchen

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    More leftover turkey ideas...

    Grateful Eggs Benedict
    Serve poached eggs over stuffing and sliced turkey; cover with gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. —closetcooking.com

    Puritan Hash
    In a large skillet, sauté diced leftover turkey with frozen hash browns, diced onions and your leftover veggies. — Missy Lapine, The Sneaky Chef

    Sunday Morning Savory-cakes
    Mix turkey, cranberries and your other favorite leftovers into pancake batter to make for the perfect morning-after savory pancake. David Burke, chef and restaurateur

    Seasonal Salad
    Shred turkey. Slice leftover raw veggies, apples, carrots, celery, fennel. Reduce apple cider and vinegar. Serve over bed of lettuce. — Executive Chef John Greeley at '21' Club


    The Works for Reader's Digest

    Even more leftover turkey ideas...

    Autopilot Pizza
    Throw sauce, cheese, turkey, and veggies on refrigerated pizza crust, and pop it in the oven.Southern Living

    Pilgrim’s Rolls
    Wrap turkey and cranberry with avocado, rice and seaweed to make Thanksgiving sushi. —closetcooking.com

    Gratitude Meatballs
    Make turkey meatballs with stuffing as binding and put each on a toothpick. Use gravy or cranberry sauce for dipping. Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of Cooking Channel’s Tripping Out with Alie and Georgia

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    For your leftover cranberry sauce...

    Cocoa-Cranberry Chief
    Blend cranberry sauce with blueberries, unsweetened cocoa powder or cocoa nibs, honey, and cold almond or oat milk. Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat

    Count Your Blessings Brownies

    Add leftover cranberry sauce to your brownie mix for a tart twist on a rich dessert. About.com

    Thursday Thumbprints
    Instead of using jam, use cranberry sauce to fill shortbread thumbprint cookies. MyRecipes.com

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    More leftover cranberry sauce ideas...

    Mayflower Sauce
    Stir pureed cranberries into mayo for an easy and flavorful condiment.Casimir & Co, New York City restaurant

    Cranberry Sauce Milkshake
    Swirl vanilla ice cream with pureed cranberry sauce; add a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate. —Janice Stahl, ALDI food stylist

    Turkey Day Trifle
    Create a Thanksgiving trifle by layering together cranberry sauce with pound cake, custard (or vanilla ice cream) and whipped cream. Epicurious.com

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    For your leftover pumpkin pie...

    Pump-King Ice Cream
    Turn pumpkin pie into pumpkin-flavored ice cream by blending it into vanilla ice cream and adding maple syrup. —Curtis Stone, host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters


    Roll pumpkin pie in tamales and top with a dollop of cheese (like queso fresco) for a sweet side dish. —George Duran, Host of TLC's Ultimate Cake Off

    Livin' on a Pumpkin Prayer
    Make a pumpkin pie brûlée by scooping pumpkin pie filling into individual ramekins and topping with caramelized sugar. SheKnows.com


    The Works for Reader's Digest

    More ideas for leftover pumpkin pie...

    Pumpkin-Honey Corn Bread 
    Add ¼ cup pumpkin puree and 1 tbsp. honey to your corn bread recipe for a twist on the Southern staple. thecomfortofcooking.com

    Pumpkin Pie-tini
    Mix one ounce each of milk, vanilla vodka and crème de cacao 1 oz. milk and add two ounces of leftover pumpkin purée for an adult treat. Blisstree.com

    Two-Ingredient Autumn Cookies
    Mix 1 cup pure pumpkin from leftover cans with 1 cup oats and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.The Burlap Bag

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    For your leftover sweet potatoes...

    Chocolate–Sweet Potato Pancakes
    Mix sweet potatoes and a melted chocolate bar (try a chile pepper–infused bar for a kick) into pancake batter. —Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat

    Plymouth Rock Your Pasta Sauce
    Puree sweet potatoes, carrots and three tablespoons water for a nutritious addition to pasta sauces. Lasts in freezer for months! —Missy Lapine, The Sneaky Chef

    The Works for Reader's Digest

    More ideas for leftover sweet potatoes...

    New World Dip
    Mash sweet potatoes and white beans with olive oil and ParmesanFood Network

    Sweet Potato Shakedown
    Throw sweet potatoes, shortbread cookies and rum in a blender for a great spiked shake. —Chris Shea, Executive Chef at David Burke Kitchen

    For everything else...

    Thanksgiving Terrine En Gelée
    Sounds fancy, but just mix gelatin powder with gravy, turkey, veggies, salt and pepper; serve cold. —Chef Ariane Daguin, co-founder of D’Artagnan meats

    Colonial Chocolate Stuffing

    Grate chocolate over stuffing and bake in muffin tins for chocolate stuffing cups. Add heat with a pinch of cayenne. Taza Chocolate

    Unfinished wine? Freeze leftover in ice cube trays (8 cubes = 1 cup) to add flavor in sauces and stews. StillTasty.com

    Gobble Gobble Green Beans
    Got green beans? Crank open a tuna can; toss with lettuce, olives and hard boiled eggs for a quick Tuna Niçoise. Eating Well

    Anything Goes
    And if all else fails…toss together whatever leftovers look appetizing and throw an egg over it. Can’t go wrong! —Gail Simmons, Top Chef judge


    Become more interesting every week!

    Get our Read Up newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    blog comments powered by Disqus