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Fried Turkey and Waffles

The perfect post-Thanksgiving breakfast
45 Ratings
Fried Turkey and Waffles
Photo: Dave Katz

Thanksgiving is around the corner which means it's officially Time to Celebrate. All month long we're bringing you recipes, tips, tricks and stories that are equal parts memorable and delicious.

First things first, congratulations for surviving Thanksgiving dinner. But our work here isn’t done. While we’re all guilty of eating cold leftovers straight out of the Tupperware, this year we’ve got something even better up our sleeve for breakfast: fried turkey and waffles.

Playing off chicken and waffles, we’re deep-frying leftover cooked turkey breast and turning leftover stuffing into waffles. The kicker: We cover the whole plate in maple syrup blended with cranberry sauce for a sweet and tangy finish.

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This dish uses up tons of leftovers in creating the true breakfast of champions. Here’s how to convert Thanksgiving dinner into morning fare.

The Bird Is the Word
You’ve gone through the trouble of perfectly brining and roasting your bird, so now’s not the time to dry out the meat while reheating. By dredging each piece in buttermilk and flour, the resulting crust steams the meat as it fries, and the turkey comes out just as juicy as it was when you carved it off the bone. Feel free to use this technique any time of year, especially with chicken, since it’s now our preferred method of reheating any bird.

We cut up the roast turkey breast to serve in manageable pieces, but don’t feel restricted to white meat. You can follow the same process with a drumstick or thigh; just beware that its larger size is going to warrant a longer cook time in the oil.

Will It Waffle?
We all know that the crispy bits of stuffing are the best, which is why a waffle iron works perfectly here. For this part, you need the stuffing to be moist. Mix in a little hot water to get it back to that right-out-of-the-oven consistency.

Need even more leftovers ideas? Try making our Thanksgiving shepherd’s pie or turkey and mashed potato croquettes.

Fried Turkey and Waffles

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time


Six 3-inch pieces (1 pound) cold cooked turkey

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup flour

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup cranberry sauce

Vegetable oil, for frying

3 cups stuffing

Water, as needed


1. In a medium bowl, combine the turkey and buttermilk. Toss to coat, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper, then set aside.

3. In a blender, combine the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt with the maple syrup and cranberry sauce. Purée until smooth.

4. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350° and line a plate with paper towels. Working 1 at a time, dredge the turkey in flour, then dip back in the buttermilk and dredge in flour again. Repeat this process until all of the turkey has been dredged twice.

5. Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. In a medium bowl, mix the stuffing with enough water to reach the same moisture as when it came out of the oven. Spread the stuffing in an even layer in the iron and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, working in 2 batches, fry the turkey until golden brown and reheated, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain, seasoning immediately with salt.

7. Lay the waffles on a platter and top with the fried turkey. Drizzle with the cranberry maple syrup and serve.

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