The meal was perfect. Prepped to the nines. Enjoyed with napkins aplenty. And now, as the November night sets in, it’s time to clean up that Thanksgiving meal, grab the reuseables, and tuck those leftovers away for another day.
Or rather, tuck them away for today.
See, we’ve gathered some seriously irresistible ways to use up those leftovers. So good, you’ll want to whip up a second Thanksgiving meal just to make sure you’ve got enough extras for these tasty seconds.
Sure, you can stand over the cold stuffing and spoon it into your mouth with a slice of pie in the other hand. But why not whip those leftover potatoes, stuffing, turkey, veggies, and gravy into something new? Give those classics new life with unexpected flavor combinations and gourmet ingredient add-ins.
It’s easier than it sounds. In fact, each of these 10 easy leftover ideas take only 10 minutes or less to make. From soup to salads, here are some of the simplest ways to enjoy Thanksgiving all over again.
We’ll start with a leftover recipe of our own…
1. Make soup.
This simple twist on pho is a great way to use up leftover gravy and turkey scraps. If you make your gravy at home, you’ll find the broth has lots of flavor. Storebought gravy can work, too, but it may require a bit of supplementation with fresh chopped or puree’d garlic.
Feel free to enjoy this soup as you would any pho or ramen. Serve as the recipe is written, or toss in bean sprouts, additional veggies, jalapeño, basil, or Sriracha. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe—it’s simple and splendid, an unexpected yet comforting meal to enjoy after a big week of holiday planning.
Leftover Turkey 10-Minute Pho
The flavors are mild here. To crank up the Asian influence, drizzle with chili and sesame oils. Toss in a few cloves of fresh garlic to crank up the flavor.
Amount Served: 4 bowls
- 1 ½ cups turkey gravy
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 4 oz box thin rice noodles
- 1 ½ cups sweet potato spirals or zucchini oodles
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ serrano pepper (optional)
- lime wedges
- salt and pepper
In a large pot, bring gravy and broth noodles to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, then toss sweet potato spirals (or zucchini noodles) into pot. Remove from heat, allow to sit for 3 minutes, and stir in green onions.
Scoop soup into large bowls. Top with cilantro, serrano pepper, and lime wedges to serve. Salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Build burrito bowls (or tacos).
Toss all those leftovers into a tortilla, and you’ve got yourself a tasty burrito or taco in 10 minutes or less. If you want to get a little gourmet, give these Cheesy Turkey Stuffing Burrito Bowls a try.
Mound turkey and stuffing inside, add a little cheese, and whip up a spicy cranberry sauce while it all bakes. A delicious, kid-friendly option, it uses leftovers but feels like a whole new meal idea.
3. Waffle ‘Em!
Keep the oven off, and grab the waffle iron instead.
This super quick idea for Leftover Thanksgiving Waffles makes clever use of stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Savory and filling, try topping this recipe with turkey. Or simply enjoy it with a schmear of cranberry sauce, butter, or honey.
4. Make Cakes
Well, Stuffing Cakes, that is! This simple idea takes leftover stuffing and turns it into a savory skillet cake. Top with egg, serve with bacon, and you’ve got a breakfast so good, you’ll wish every day was the day after Thanksgiving.
Leftover mashed sweet potatoes can also be fried in a skillet, cake style. Simply mash with an egg and fry in hot butter, ghee or coconut oil. A great way to make a grain-free sweet potato pancake!
5. Serve ’em atop toast.
Sweet potato toast was all the rage this yearnd for good reason. It’s an easy grain-free way to enjoy toast…without the toast!
This Thanksgiving Leftover Sweet Potato Toast may be the most brilliant idea ever. Simple and gluten-free, it stacks turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries atop slices of sweet potato toast for a two-bite nosh that paleo eaters can enjoy.
Wondering how to make Sweet Potato Toast? It’s easy! Simply slice raw sweet potato lengthwise into ¼” thick slices. Then slide them in the toaster and toast twice, or until the edges of the sweet potato begin to turn golden brown and the center of the sweet potato softens. Top with your favorite toast toppings, and enjoy!
6. Cook up a quesadilla.
Turkey, cranberry sauce, cheese, tortilla. It’s a perfect way to whip up Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch.
We love the quesadilla option because after a whole week of prepping for the big holiday meal, the last thing we want to do is more dishes. This single-skillet Leftover Thanksgiving Quesadilla hits the sweet spot.
7. Add eggs.
Create a quiche, or whip those leftovers into an omelet. A simple, savory option, eggs are a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving turkey and veggies in a whole new way.
Try scrambling eggs with turkey, Brussels sprouts, or stuffing. Or you can fold an omelette over any of your favorite fillings. Even cranberry sauce tastes great with eggs—just melt a little havarti or swiss into the center of your skillet.
Still in the egg mood? Give this Leftover Thanksgiving Quiche a try.
8. Make a casserole
Assemble all of those leftovers in a casserole, and you’ll have ready-to-slice lunch and dinner options for days to come.
Prepping a leftover casserole takes less than 10 minutes, since most of the work has already been done. It’s just a matter of dumping or layering—then covering with cheese and baking until golden.
For big families, this is our go-to leftover option. In minutes, a whole pan can be prepped with enough to serve a crowd for several meals. Just slice, microwave ,and enjoy. While there are lots of ideas for casseroles, this basic twist on Shepherd’s Pie from SixSistersStuff is our family’s favorite.
9. Make Pasta
For this to technically be a 10-minute idea, fresh pasta is best…but this idea is too easy leave out. So it’s on the list, even if you opt for boxed pasta, which takes about 15 minutes to boil.
One of the most perfect ways to use leftovers (and by perfect, we mean “so wonderfully simple”) is to toss all the veggies, nuts, and turkey into cooked pasta. The flavors already pair nicely together, so the addition of pasta only upgrades the yum factor. Drizzle with a simple Italian vinaigrette or dressing and toss in some cheese for extra measure. This recipe for Leftover Thanksgiving Pasta adds feta, which we think is a divine choice.
10. Make Salad
Whether you’re whipping together a chef’s salad or adding mayo to make a creamy turkey salad for sandwiches, just add greens and you’ve got a meal!
A bowl full of Thanksgiving leftovers served over spinach and tossed with a simple vinaigrette is a great way to enjoy those classics in a whole new way. Toss the turkey into a Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad, and you’ve got a delicious lunch or dinner. A little bit of stuffing stirred into that recipe will taste great, too.
And if you’re watching your carbs post-holiday, leftover salads are great because you can enjoy high-protein turkey or veggie-packed side dishes. Just save the more indulgent leftovers for dessert.