45 Leftover Turkey Recipes for After Thanksgiving - Dr. Axe

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45 Terrific Leftover Turkey Recipes for After Thanksgiving


Leftover turkey recipes - Dr. Axe

Turkey is a nutritional powerhouse, so you want to make sure to maximize your turkey leftovers. Banish the boring sandwiches with these healthy and note-worthy leftover turkey recipes from around the world.

These flavorful and creative leftover turkey recipes break up the traditional sandwich idea and make you thankful for turkey all over again:

  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Paleo
  • Fast and Easy
  • Entrees

Note: Many of the leftover turkey recipes below call for turkey stock. You may substitute with your favorite organic chicken stock or bone broth, or simply take the bones (after the majority of the meat has been picked off); place in large stockpot with carrots, onions and celery; and cover with water. Bring to a hearty simmer, and then turn down and do a slow simmer for three to four hours.

Here is a tip: Your stock will become cloudy if you cook it at a boil. Simmer gently for the best results. Strain and use the turkey stock, as desired.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We recommend using natural sweeteners like raw honey, real maple syrup or organic coconut palm sugar to get the most nutrients out of these leftover turkey recipes. Also eliminate conventional cow’s milk products, and instead use coconut milk, almond milk or organic grass-fed goat milk or cheese; replace table salt with sea salt; and replace canola and vegetable oil with coconut oil, olive oil or ghee for these leftover turkey recipes. 


Here are 47 amazing leftover turkey recipes to try.


1. Turkey Congee

Slow simmering brings out the nutrients from bones in this twist on turkey soup. Congee is comfort food throughout Asia, and while the stock may differ, the process is the same.

Turkey broth, rice and vegetables are sure to warm you, head to toe.

Photo: Turkey Congee/JeanettesHealthyLiving.com

2. Healing Turkey Vegetable Soup

If you had sandwiches, salads and casseroles to finish off your turkey, hopefully you saved just a bit of turkey left on the bones for this gut-healing recipe. The long cooking time is necessary to extract the nutrients from the bones.

Do it in your slow cooker, and add water as needed.

3. Turkey Soba Noodle Soup

Cozying up with a bowl of soba noodle soup during the winter months is heaven. This healthy recipe uses the leftover bones and skin from your Thanksgiving turkey to make the stock, fresh vegetables, more turkey and buckwheat soba noodles into a hearty bowl of soup.

TurkeySobaNoodle Soup
Photo: Turkey Soba Noodle Bowl/JeanettesHealthyLiving.com

4. Coconut-Lime Turkey and Rice Soup

Try this twist on turkey soup! Lime juice, ginger and coconut milk take leftover roasted turkey to the next level.

Don’t skip the addition of fresh herbs on top as they really add to the health benefits and really brighten the flavors.

Turkey SoupPhoto: Coconut-Lime Turkey and Rice Soup/Kalyn’s Kitchen

5. Fiesta Turkey Tortilla Soup

Heading south of the border, traditional tortilla soup gets a makeover with the turkey. This versatile recipe is great for leftover turkey or leftover chicken.

Black beans, corn and salsa turn your leftovers into an inspired Mexican feast.

6. Turkey Soup with Lemon and Barley

We eat with our eyes first, our noses second and finally our taste buds. This soup is beautiful, and the aroma from the combination of herbs and spices will get your mouth watering before the first bite.

Photo: Turkey Soup with Lemon and Barley/Elise, www.SimplyRecipes.com

7. Leftover Roast Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables

This recipe does call for leftover chicken, but it is also a great way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Roasting the vegetables prior to adding them to the soup creates intense flavor, bringing out the best in each of the vegetables.

Supercharge your health with spinach by tossing in a couple of handles just before serving.

Leftover Roast Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables
Photo: Leftover Roast Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables/Against All Grain

8. Sweet Potatoes, Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Soup

One recipe, three Thanksgiving leftovers! Clean out your fridge with this warming soup that transforms the turkey and sweet potatoes into a warming soup.

Replace the heavy cream with coconut or almond milk for a healthy alternative.


9. Crockpot Turkey Soup

Try this set-it-and-forget-it meal with my easy crockpot turkey soup. To use your turkey leftovers, just cook everything together first and add the cooked leftover turkey (about two cups) for the last half an hour.

Leftover turkey recipes - Dr. Axe

10. Turkey and White Bean Chili

Hop across the pond with this British version of chili in this turkey leftovers recipe. Adjust the spice level with the amount of chilis and cayenne pepper to your taste.

“Tins” is British for cans, and 500 grams is just over two cups. I always recommend avoiding canned food, so you can substitute by using frozen or cooked beans, too. Stir up a batch as directed, and enjoy.

11. Gluten-Free Tuscan Turkey and White Bean Soup

Stroll over to Italy for this fresh gluten-free soup to use up your leftover turkey. The beans and turkey boost the protein levels while the herbs and fresh vegetables add great nutrients, along with flavor and texture.

This soup will not disappoint. It just might be the next best thing to having a bowl in Tuscany.

Photo: Gluten-Free Tuscan Turkey and White Bean Soup / Lee Hersh, Fit Foodie Finds


12. Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad

This recipe is bright, beautiful and perfect as a salad, sandwich or even on rice crackers for a crunchy and healthful snack. Walnuts, roasted leftover turkey, celery, cranberry sauce and a splash of lemon come together with a vegan mayo.

13. Autumn Turkey & Apple Salads

Fresh and bright with the flavors of fall, this salad incorporates mixed greens, leftover turkey, apples, nuts, cranberries and cheese. Replace traditional cheddar with your favorite raw milk cheddar.

Turkey Apple Autumn Salad
Photo: Autumn Turkey & Apple Salads/Photo courtesy of Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips

14. Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint

This beautiful salad, spiced with traditional North African spices, carrots and cheese, is the perfect way to spice up your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Just toss in a cup or two of pulled turkey, and enjoy the happy crunch and flavorful taste of harissa.

Harissa is a mix of dried chilies, spices, garlic and lemon.

15. Southwest Turkey or Chicken Lettuce Cups

Crunch comes from the fresh lettuce, and flavors of the Southwest permeate the inside. Substitute leftover roasted turkey in this recipe, and be sure to use organic corn kernels to avoid GMOs.

Turkey lettuce cups
Photo: Liz Della Croce, The Lemon Bowl

16. Jamie Oliver’s Asian-Inspired Turkey Salad

Off to Asia we go with cashews, mint and coriander in this healthy turkey leftover recipe. The dressing is really where this recipe comes all together: sweetness, tartness, and just a tough of natural heat from the fresh ginger that is packed with vitamins from the clementine, lime and pomegranate.

Substitute the soy sauce with coconut aminos, and this recipe will delight even the pickiest of eaters.

17. Curried Turkey Salad

We all love Thanksgiving dinner, but sometimes we need to mix up the flavor combinations to breathe life into leftovers. This quick and easy recipe uses curry powder, apples, green onions, celery, pecans and leftover turkey.

Turmeric is what gives curry powder its distinctive color and extra boost of turmeric’s health benefits.


18. Open Faced Turkey Cranberry Enchilada Melt

Cranberries, black beans, salsa, cheese, cranberry sauce and turkey will take you south of the border in this Mexican-inspired leftover turkey recipe. Yum.

Swap out traditional rolls for your favorite sprouted wheat or gluten-free rolls, and be sure to use raw cheese and Greek yogurt, which provide a nice tang in this inventive sandwich.

Photo: Open Faced Turkey Cranberry Enchilada Melt/Running to the Kitchen

19. Rosemary Hummus Cranberry Turkey Wraps

Blend the flavors of two continents together in this wrap. Cranberries, native to North America, turkey and hummus come together in a tangy, creamy, chewy delightful sandwich.

Use our hummus recipe. It is quick, easy and healthy.

Cranberry sauce echoes the flavor of pomegranate that some parts of the Middle East top hummus with. Substitute the tortillas with your favorite gluten-free or sprouted grain tortillas or wraps.

20. Turkey Cranberry Green Chile Sandwich

Think about your favorite childhood grilled cheese, and then try this recipe. Crunchy on the outside and creamy deliciousness on the inside, with a touch of heat from the chilies and sweetness from the cranberry sauce — it results in simply bites of heaven.

Use your favorite sprouted grain bread and raw or goat cheese as healthy substitutions.

Photo: Turkey Cranberry Green Chile Sandwich/Jennifer Yu of Use Real Butter

21. Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pesto Panini

This quick sandwich is perfect when you want to break away from the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving but still use up the turkey. The brightness of the pesto (homemade, of course), tomatoes and avocados add a lovely twist, while boosting nutrients.

If you don’t have a panini maker, grill it up like a grilled cheese.

Turkey Pesto Panini
Photo: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pesto Panini/Chung-Ah Rhee, Damn Delicious

22. Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich

This turkey leftover recipe calls for roasting the turkey, but leftover turkey will work fine. Watercress gives a bit of a spicy flavor, and the pumpkin seeds add protein.

23. Cuban Turkey Tea Sandwich

Simple and delicious, this leftover turkey recipe calls for just five ingredients. Use your favorite sprouted grain roll or bun and leftover cranberry sauce as healthy substitutions, and toast as directed.

If you have a Panini machine, it will work well too.

Cuban Tea Sandwich
Photo: Cuban Turkey Tea Sandwich (Elena Ruz)/Todd Coleman, Saveur

24. Barbecue Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

Journey down south to where barbecue sandwiches are at the heart of meals. If your fingers aren’t sticky with sauce at the end of the meal, you are not doing it right!

Replace traditional mayo with vegan mayo, the bacon in the barbecue sauce for turkey bacon and sweeten naturally with maple syrup. Enjoy on your favorite sprouted grain rolls.


25. Paleo Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

Sweet potato cakes as buns? Yes!

Eat the colors of the rainbow with this Paleo roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts sandwich. Swap the pork bacon for turkey bacon, and enjoy.

26. Loaded Turkey Stuffed-Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

This recipe calls for ground turkey and sweet potatoes, but this time of year, this Paleo-friendly recipe just screams leftovers! Substitute leftover turkey and sweet potatoes, and prepare as directed.

27. Paleo Turkey Hash

Flavors reminiscent of Thanksgiving, this hash is great anytime of the day. Use up leftover turkey and winter squash or pumpkin, and enjoy.

Throw in some leafy greens, and reap the benefits of this healthy Paleo turkey leftover recipe.

Paleo Turkey Hash
Photo: Paleo Turkey Hash/courtesy of http://elanaspantry.com

Fast and Easy

28. Turkey and Hummus Bistro Box

This is perfect for lunches at your desk. or for your kids at school. Use up your leftover turkey this time of year or roasted chicken anytime of the year.

Combine with some fresh vegetables, hummus and gluten-free pita, and it is a balanced, beautiful meal.

Photo: Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box / Momables.com

29. Turkey, Kale and Cheese Quesadillas

This is a perfect turkey leftover recipe when you have nearly picked the bones clean. Pull off the remaining turkey, and enjoy all the health benefits of kale in this quick and easy quesadilla.

Use gluten-free tortillas, and swap out traditional cheddar cheese for your favorite raw cheddar.

Turkey, Kale and Cheese Quesadillas
Photo: Turkey, Kale and Cheese Quesadillas/The Perfect Pantry

30. Halal Cart Style Turkey and Rice

A journey to the Middle East would eventually take you to a restaurant that served succulent chicken or turkey and rice. This recipe won’t disappoint.

Substitute the mayo for vegan mayo, the white sugar for your favorite natural sweetener and apple cider vinegar for the white vinegar called for in the recipe. Enjoy the complexity of the flavors and textures in this inspired recipe to use up your leftover turkey.

Photo: Halal Cart Style Turkey and Rice/Steamy Kitchen


31. Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Leftover Turkey Pizza

You’ll rethink pizza, leftover turkey and sweet potato once you try this delectable recipe. Use gluten-free pizza dough, and enjoy.

The nuts give a healthy crunch, and the figs echo the natural sweetness in the sweet potatoes.

32. Scalloped Turkey

Empty out your refrigerator with this warm and inviting turkey leftover recipe.

33. Gluten-Free Turkey Tettrazini Casserole

This is a beautiful, quick meal that uses super-grain pasta, quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, leftover turkey and fresh vegetables. Swap out the conventional milk with almond milk, and opt for a sprinkling of grated raw cheese.

34. Turkey Stuffed Carnival Squash

Winter squash and leftover turkey never quite looked or tasted so good. To make this gluten-free, swap out the wheat berries for brown rice or quinoa and the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free substitute.

Think of this as a more interesting and definitely healthier version of a twice-baked potato. It’s packed with nutrients, fiber and a great way to use up that leftover turkey.

Photo: Turkey Stuffed Carnival Squash/Photo Courtesy of The Healthy Foodie

35. Korean Rice Pot

This quick and easy recipe combines sesame seeds, baby spinach, carrots, rice and leftover turkey, transforming it into a protein-rich meal. Substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil called for in the recipe.

Add your favorite chili sauce to the top of the eggs, and enjoy!

36. Turkey Avocado Enchiladas

This recipe brings life to turkey leftovers and comes together quickly. For the avocado cream sauce, substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream and the flour for a gluten-free or sprouted flour alternative.

Photo: Turkey Avocado Enchiladas/Photo courtesy of Erin from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

37. Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie, another gift from England, is a great way to use up leftover turkey, vegetables, stuffing and potatoes in one dish. While mashed white potatoes are traditional, feel free to swap out with leftover mashed sweet potatoes.

38. Turkey and Squash “Thanksgiving” Risotto

Risotto is typically considered an Italian dish, but the addition of warming spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, paprika and cumin, transform traditional Thanksgiving flavors into something dynamic.

39. Cold Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce

This beautiful bowl of goodness calls for poaching chicken, but leftover turkey works too. Swap out the peanut butter for another nut or seed butter, as recommended in the recipe.

When you don’t have turkey lying around, follow the directions for poached chicken — it is great too.

Photo: Cold Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce/JeanettesHealthyLiving.com

40. Stuffed Peppers with Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey

Swap out the cheddar cheese for a raw cheese or sheep’s milk cheese, and use whatever bell peppers you have on hand. Green, yellow, red and orange peppers are all be equally tasty and beautiful in this quick and easy recipe.

41. Thanksgiving Leftovers Eggs Benedict

Leftover turkey for breakfast? Yes, and leftover stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.

This is not your traditional eggs Benedict. Swap out the English muffins for sprouted grain English muffins, and enjoy!

42. Gluten-Free Chicken or Turkey Biscuit Pot Pie

Potpies invoke a kind of childhood joy and warmth on cold days. Of course, those weren’t the healthiest meals growing up, but this recipe is loaded with vegetables, topped with a gluten-free biscuit and thickened with gluten-free flour instead of heavy cream.

Photo: Gluten Free Turkey Biscuit Pot Pie / Sugar-Free Mom

43. Turkey Egg Breakfast Casserole

Leftover turkey, kale, eggs and cheese seasoned with just the right amount of herbs make up this recipe. Substitute the gouda cheese for raw cheese, and enjoy.

It’s perfect for breakfast or a light lunch with an accompanying salad.

44. Turkey Potato Curry

Journey over to India for a bowl of turkey curry, or simply whip this up at home with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Use 1.5 cups of roasted turkey and 1.5 cups of potatoes, along with two cups of chopped tomatoes.

If you like a more moist curry, feel free to add a splash or two of coconut milk.

45. BBQ Turkey Pizza

Spice up your holiday leftovers with this pizza recipe. Use our sweet and tangy barbecue sauce recipe that is free of refined sugars and sweetened with honey.

The pizza comes together nicely. Use your favorite gluten-free pizza crust recipe.

BBQ Turkey Pizza
Photo: BBQ Turkey Pizza/White On Rice Couple

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