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30+ Leftover Turkey Recipes

When you cook a whole turkey, chances are you’ll have leftovers. We love turkey all year round, not just at the holidays, and one of the best parts is finding fun and delicious leftover turkey recipes to enjoy all week long.

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Most people end up with lots of leftover turkey after Thanksgiving or Christmas, and a lot of ways to use up those holiday leftovers incorporate other elements of the meal, like stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. We’ve all had a leftover turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, right? But there are only so many of those that any one person can eat, plus turkey is delicious all year – not to mention it is a healthy and lean protein to incorporate into your diet.

Finding a whole turkey in the off-season isn’t always easy though. You may have to ask the butcher if they have any on hand, check the frozen section, or opt for just a turkey breast – those are more common to find in the meat section now.

While ground turkey is also common, in this article we’re focusing on leftover turkey recipes that are meant for regular turkey meat, generally in the shredded or chopped form, rather than the ground form.

How To Store Leftover Turkey

After you’ve enjoyed your meal, you’ll want to finish carving the bird and prepping it for storage. Clean all the meat from the bones and place the meat in air tight containers. When I originally carve the turkey, I often have many slices leftover after serving. I’ll store the slices separately from the meat that is shredded or bite-sized, as I will usually use them for different types of recipes. Slices are easier to quickly make sandwiches, or chop into chunks to stir into casseroles or salads, while the shredded pieces are easy to add to soups and stews.

If you plan to make a broth, keep some of the bones too. Store these separately from the meat in another container or in a Ziploc bag.

If you don’t plan on using the leftover turkey within three to four days, you can store the turkey in the freezer in an air tight container. When I freeze my turkey, I often double pack it, either in two Ziploc bags, or one Ziploc then placed in a Tupperware container. This helps to keep freezer burn away. When storing in the freezer, your leftover turkey is good for about two to three months.

Best Ways To Use Leftover Turkey

Leftover turkey is a versatile protein. It can be used as a substitute for chicken in most recipes that call for chicken so your options are nearly endless. It can also be enjoyed both hot or cold. Leftover turkey is perfect for:

  • Adding to salads or wraps
  • Stirring into soups and stews
  • Baking into a bubbly, homecooked casserole
  • Added to pasta dishes
  • Hot and cold sandwiches
  • Stir fries and sautéed dishes

Before you make your turkey, plan for your leftover turkey recipes! For example, if you are going to spatchcock your turkey, you can save the backbone and use it to make the most amazing bone broth right there on your stove! You can also use the neck and parts of the carcass for this.

While a lot of people toss the giblets, keep them and use them to make gravy, stuffing, or dirty rice.

Making a whole turkey can also be pretty cost effective. The last time I made a whole turkey in the off season, I found a 22 pound bird. We served it the first night with veggies and potatoes, then I went to work removing all the meat. With the leftovers, I was able to make a big batch of old fashioned turkey and noodles, a turkey pot pie big enough to feed 6 to 8 people, and the kids snacked on it right out of the container throughout the week.

Even if you go with a smaller turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, you can still have leftovers for a second (and even third) meal for the week. Whichever you end up with, scroll down to see some of our favorite ways to use up those turkey leftovers!

Leftover Turkey Recipes

If you're looking for new and delicious ways to repurpose your leftover turkey, try one of these recipes!

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Heidi Deal
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