23 Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Once plowing through all the delights of the Thanksgiving Day table — from juicy roast turkey to moist herbed stuffing to tart, jewel-toned cranberry sauce — you might feel like you won't need (or be able) to eat again for days. But as we all know, that unbuttoned-pants feeling doesn't last long; You might even start to feel the faint growls of hunger, yet again, when you're packing away all those delicious leftovers. 

That's because Thanksgiving leftovers have such wide appeal for repurposed, day-after meals, from the classic loaded turkey sandwich to potato croquettes that turn extra mashers into a poppable fried snack. This Thanksgiving, if your fridge is still loaded with odds 'n' ends after the last guest has said goodnight, take a peek at these 23 recipes that are perfect for using up extra green beans, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and other standbys of the holiday meal.

Hoisin BBQ Turkey Sandwich

Anyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has likely indulged in a classic day-after leftovers sandwich, which typically features slices of leftover turkey, a starchy layer of stuffing or mashed potatoes, and a swipe of cold cranberry sauce. A timeless and delicious option, you might nonetheless have a hankering for something a little different this year — and that's where this bahn mi-style sando comes in. 

Featuring roast turkey that's shredded instead of sliced and tossed in a quick homemade hoisin BBQ sauce, the bird is piled onto a baguette spread with spicy mayo and capped with quick-pickled carrots, sliced cucumbers and — yes — some cranberry sauce for good measure.

Recipe: Hoisin BBQ Turkey Sandwich

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

This autumnal salad featuring bright and colorful roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, baby kale or baby spinach, candied pumpkin seeds, and crumbled goat cheese is worth making from scratch, but is even easier when you've got baked butternut (or any other sweet winter squash) leftover from the Thanksgiving meal. You can even save any squash seeds from your holiday prep in order to make the honey-glazed pumpkin seeds. 

Tossed with a simple homemade honey Dijon vinaigrette, the light-yet-filling salad is the perfect antidote to the excesses of Thanksgiving dinner.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Air Fryer Samosa

If you enjoy chowing down on fluffy naan, juicy tandoori chicken, and sweet mango chutney at your favorite Indian spot, then you might also be keen on samosas, those little pockets of crispy pastry that are usually stuffed with spiced vegetables and deep-fried. 

Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's version features a classic mix of potatoes, peas, and onions folded into prepared puff pastry, but she notes that the triangles can be stuffed with whatever filling floats your boat. We think these samosas are the perfect blueprint for a variety of Thanksgiving leftovers, from chopped roast turkey or baked ham to extra mashed potatoes, baked yams, or green bean casserole — or any combination of the above. Since you'll likely be experiencing kitchen fatigue post-holiday, it will come as a relief that the samosas don't demand any hot oil, but instead a quick air-fry for just about 8 minutes total.

Recipe: Air Fryer Samosa

Turkey Jook

If you've ever tucked a spoon into the hot, savory Chinese rice porridge known variously as jook and congee, then you know how satisfying this homey, simple dish can be. A basic rice and stock (or water) porridge that's cooked until loose and soupy, jook is typically topped with a range of ingredients, from sliced scallions to dried shrimp to salted duck eggs (via Unfamiliar China). 

But in this case, the leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass is used to create a rich stock in which to simmer the rice, which is then topped off with reserved, shredded turkey meat and roasted fall veggies such as Brussels sprouts, sunchokes, and carrots. If you've got vegetables left over from the holiday, you can go ahead and use those instead of roasting fresh ones.

Recipe: Turkey Jook (Rice Porridge)

Irish Potato Cakes

Fritters of all kinds are an excellent way to use up leftovers: You can bind basically any ingredient (think pasta, rice, chopped vegetables and meat, etc.) with some eggs and flour, fry them in some hot oil or butter, and enjoy a totally repurposed dish. Leftover potatoes in their sliced, diced, shredded, or mashed form are a classic fritter base, fried into crispy little pancakes that are can be perfectly paired with both sweet and savory toppings. 

These basic Irish potato cakes, flavored simply with salt and chopped chives, are an amazing way to use up leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. They'd be great mounded with some leftover cranberry sauce for breakfast or underneath some shredded or sliced turkey or ham for lunch or dinner.

Recipe: Irish Potato Cakes

Club Sandwich With Herb Mayo

Got some leftover turkey, ham, or both? A classic club sandwich is the perfect way to use up both. Just slice the meats thinly, pile them onto some Italian bread spread with herbed mayo, and add some crisped bacon, shredded lettuce, and sliced, salted tomatoes. 

A club sandwich is a tasty crowd-pleaser that's delicious at almost any time of day — so you might want to tuck this formula away for post-Christmas leftovers, too.

Recipe: Club Sandwich With Herb Mayo

Chicken Fried Rice

Like other classic use-up-the-leftovers dishes such as soup, hash, and casseroles, fried rice is a great way to clean out your fridge: not only of leftover cold rice, but also of little odds-and-ends of cooked meat, seafood, and veggies. 

Tasting Table recipe developer Catherine Brooks' rendition might call for cooked chicken, bell peppers, and peas, but the basic framework is an excellent one for subbing in Thanksgiving extras such as turkey, green beans, or Brussels sprouts. Additions of garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce will add layers of flavor to the dish, relieving your palate of holiday fatigue.

Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

Green Bean Potato Salad

This easy, hearty green bean and potato salad coated in honey mustard vinaigrette is simple enough to make from scratch, but even easier utilizing leftovers. 

Post-Thanksgiving, you can gather your leftover boiled (or even roasted) potatoes, plus any leftover green bean casserole (or steamed green beans), fold them in the homemade dressing, and call it a day. The original recipe even calls for a shake of dried onions as a garnish, so the French fried onions hanging out in your green bean casserole will go perfectly with the dish.

Recipe: Green Bean Potato Salad

Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Basically just rounds of bread topped with sweet or savory ingredients, bruschetta ranges far beyond the traditional tomato-and-garlic type to encompass varieties such as strawberry and goat cheese and eggplant caponata

This version, which calls for sweet, soft roasted butternut squash, is the perfect way to use up any extra winter squash you've got lying around after Thanksgiving, even if it's in purée form, and adds creamy ricotta and sweet honey to the mix for the perfect sweet-and-savory appetizer or snack. Plus, after making your homemade Thanksgiving stuffing, you've probably already got the fresh sage called for as a final topping on hand.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Classic Masala Dosa

One of the many flatbreads popular in India, dosas are a thin, crepe-like pancake made from a rice-based batter and then griddled until golden brown, lacy, and slightly crisp at the edges. Stuffed with a variety of fillings ranging from paneer to chopped green chiles, according to the India Times, one of the most classic dosa varieties is the masala dosa, stuffed with spiced potatoes. 

Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's rendition calls for cooking raw potatoes, but it's the perfect vehicle for leftover Thanksgiving potatoes, whether they're baked or mashed. Once jazzed up with cumin, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings, your formerly American spuds will take on a distinctly South Asian flair.

Recipe: Classic Masala Dosa

Cranberry Sauce Frozen Cosmo

When there's cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving, it can be tricky to find ways to use all of it up, but this boozy slushy will get the job done fast. 

Calling upon the same base ingredients as the famous pale pink cocktail, this frozen cosmo utilizes vodka, orange-flavored Cointreau, and lime juice, which get blended with cranberry sauce into a refreshing, garnet-colored drink.

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce Frozen Cosmo

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Turkey soup is a classic post-Thanksgiving dish when you're stuck with a mostly picked-at carcass and, most likely, have plenty of root vegetables and herbs still hanging around your fridge and pantry. 

Tasting Table recipe developer Hayley Maclean's turkey vegetable soup calls for chicken broth and diced or shredded turkey meat, but you could go a step further by making a simple turkey broth, or simply reserve extra meat and add it to the soup. Other tasty ingredients include carrots, celery, tomatoes, red bell peppers, peas, baby spinach, and orzo, but feel free to adapt the recipe to the veggies you need to use up.

Recipe: Turkey Vegetable Soup

Corn Fritters

A common Thanksgiving side dish, creamed corn consists of corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh) cooked with rich dairy including milk, butter, and cream cheese. Deliciously creamy, it makes a wonderful accompaniment to the rest of the holiday's offerings but can lose its appeal by the next day when the chilled leftovers solidify. 

If you're looking for a way to use up any extra creamed corn, then these corn fritters, which can also be made with canned creamed corn, are the answer. All you have to do is add separated eggs (the beaten whites help keep the fritters light and airy), some flour, and some seasonings, and the fritters are all ready to fry up in hot oil and be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or snack.

Recipe: Corn Fritters

Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

A comfort food classic traditionally prepared for Mormon families in mourning, according to Atlas Obscura, funeral potatoes certainly don't need to be saved for solemn occasions. A great use for leftover baked or even mashed potatoes, the dish combines the spuds with canned cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and melted butter, and flavors the mix with onion and garlic powders. 

Once piled in a baking dish, the creamy mixture is topped with crushed cornflakes, drizzled with melted butter, and baked until hot, bubbly, and crunchy on top.

Recipe: Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

Cranberry Brie Bites

It's hard not to love baked Brie. Featuring the oozy French cheese typically wrapped in pastry and baked until runny on the inside and crisp and golden on the outside, the dish pairs wonderfully with sweet flavors such as honey and fruit and is a party appetizer that's always a hit. 

Baked in mini muffin tins and perfect for heaping on a party platter, these mini versions contain molten centers of dairy goodness and a tangy hit of cranberry sauce that perfectly cuts through the richness of the cheese. Post-Thanksgiving, you might not be planning on throwing or attending any parties, but the tasty bites are the perfect way to use up any remaining cranberry sauce. We suspect they'd be just as delicious for couch lounging as they would be at any buttoned-up cocktail party.

Recipe: Cranberry Brie Bites

Easy Carrot Souffle

If you love zucchini bread and carrot cake, then you'll definitely enjoy Tasting Table recipe developer Kristin Carli's rendition of a carrot soufflé, which is based on the same principles of incorporating typically savory produce into a sweet treat. 

A puffy baked dessert that works soft cooked carrots into a batter along with eggs, milk, melted butter, brown sugar, and a little bit of flour, it's a wonderful, unexpected way to use up any boiled carrots you might have kicking around post-Thanksgiving. Served warm and dusted with powdered sugar, it feels totally unrelated to Thanksgiving leftovers — which might be just the ticket when you start to grow weary of them.

Recipe: Easy Carrot Soufflé

Turkey Sandwich With Pepper Jack, Barbecue Chips And Spicy Mayonnaise

Sandwiches are, no doubt, the usual destination for all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but they can get sort of boring after a couple of days, right? Not so with this loaded sando, which features whole grain bread, spicy mayo, pepper jack cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and dill pickles — all topped off with crushed BBQ potato chips. 

As delicious as this spicy, crunchy sandwich is, we're willing to bet you'll want to make it all year long, and not just when you have leftovers to use up.

Recipe: Turkey Sandwich With Pepper Jack, Barbecue Chips, And Spicy Mayonnaise

Vegetable Korma

If you can't tell that we think reworking Thanksgiving Day leftovers into Indian food is a great idea, then here's yet another example: this creamy vegetable korma, which gets its rich silkiness from a cashew-coconut milk purée. That sauce gets poured over vegetables including potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and onion, creating a hearty vegetable stew that gets a subtle kick from ginger, coriander, turmeric, and other spices. 

We think you could easily use chopped leftover Thanksgiving veggies in the stew. Just be sure to adjust the cook time as needed, only briefly simmering the ingredients in the smooth sauce until everything is heated through and the spices taste warm and coherent.

Recipe: Vegetable Korma

Turkey And Mashed Potato Croquettes

As we mentioned above, all manner of fritters, cakes, and croquettes are a great way to use up leftovers — especially when those leftovers happen to be mashed potatoes. A great starchy binder that fries up golden and crisp, mashed potatoes are frequently featured in croquettes — and here, shredded cooked turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce get thrown into the mix, too, helping you to use up four Thanksgiving leftovers in one delicious dish. 

Once the turkey-potato-stuffing balls are bound with eggs and bread crumbs, you make a little indent in the center and stuff it with cranberry sauce, which turns sweet and molten in the heat of the oil in which the croquettes are fried. When warm and crispy, the croquettes are served with gravy — which, we suppose, means this dish uses up a whopping five T-Day leftovers.

Recipe: Turkey And Mashed Potato Croquettes

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

Folks who really and truly love the flavors of Thanksgiving might not be ready for the holiday to end when it does — and this fall shepherd's pie is for them. The rich, flavorful dish boasts all the comforting tastes of the holiday, in this instance combining shredded cooked turkey with leftover stuffing and gravy, mixing in milk to create a sauce, and adding some bright green peas to the mix. 

Once the turkey filling is spread into a baking dish, it's topped with a piped layer of leftover mashed potatoes mixed with grated Parmesan and egg yolks, which goes all burnished and fancy when the dish is baked in the oven. Alternatively, if you're burnt out on fancy cooking, you can simply spread the potatoes over the filling — the dish will be just as delicious.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

Thanksgiving Turkey Panino

A take on the classic day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich, this hulking 'wich is a perfect example of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Featuring sliced turkey layered with cranberry sauce, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and cooked bacon for good measure, the sandwich also contains a handful of fresh arugula ... you know, for health and stuff.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Panino

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Besides the turkey, extra baked or roasted sweet potatoes are, no doubt, one of the Thanksgiving dishes that tend to be left over after the big meal. And while eating them hot with butter or fried into a hash are both tasty ways to address the issue, we think a big ol' pot of warming soup is a great idea, too. 

For this recipe, you can start by heating the oil in a Dutch oven, sautéing the onions and garlic, then adding your leftover sweet potatoes and seasoning them with curry powder, chili, and cumin. Then, you can proceed with the recipe as it's written, incorporating carrots and apples, and finishing the soup by puréeing it with coconut creamer or heavy cream.

Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato Soup