Looking for some ways to repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers? I get it! You only have a few days to make the most of your Thanksgiving meal! Once you get tired of the same old Thanksgiving dishes try these Thanksgiving leftovers recipes to make some new dishes out of your turkey dinner.
Easy Recipes to Reduce Food Waste this Thanksgiving
I put this list of leftover ideas together to help you find the perfect way to reduce your holiday waste this season. Instead of letting all that extra food sit in your fridge until it goes bad, use minimal effort with these recipes to give new life to your Thanksgiving food.
Did you know that household food waste increases by 25% during the holidays? This is so sad when holiday leftovers can be put to use in new and exciting ways.
When we throw away food, we also throw away the resources that were used to grow that food. Land, energy and water are all used to produce food. It’s a waste not only of money, but a waste of resources.
You can reduce your waste this holiday season by turning your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers into something new!
Check Out These Fun and Easy Ways to Repurpose Your Thanksgiving leftovers
These are some of my favorite fun and easy ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers.
If none of these inspire you, head over to Pinterest and find one that does. It’s better to use up your food than to waste it!
My Absolute Favorite Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes:
- Bacon Wrapped Stuffing Bites from Table Spoon
- The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich from Ring Finger Tan Line
- Crockpot Turkey Chili from Freebie Finding Mom
- Cheesy Turkey and Ranch Quesadillas from Creative Savings
- Croque Madame from Half Baked Harvest
Easy Ways to Repurpose Your Leftover Turkey
Check out these easy and delicious ways to breath new life into your turkey leftovers.
- Turkey sandwiches- bonus points if you throw an egg on open-faced sandwiches and call it breakfast!
- Turkey quesadillas- throw in your favorite quesadilla fillings
- Turkey soups- simply swap turkey for chicken in your favorite soups and stews
- Leftover turkey pot pie
- Get creative and make some turkey tacos
- Keep the bones for a turkey stock
More creative ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers
Not feeling like following a recipe since you may have a random amount of Thanksgiving leftovers? Try one of these methods instead:
- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Salad- sub turkey in your favorite chicken salad recipe
- Wild Rice Soup- use turkey instead of chicken in your favorite wild rice soup recipe
- Turkey Pot Pie- sub turkey in your favorite chicken pot pie recipe
- Potato Pancakes- mix sweet and regular potatoes together for a fun spin on potato pancakes
- Waffled Stuffing- add 2 eggs to 4 cups of stuffing, put in your waffle maker and get waffled stuffing to serve on the side
- Fried Leftovers- form balls of your favorite leftovers (mac and cheese, potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole), dip in batter, and deep fry them
- Host a “leftovers Friendsgiving”– invite your friends and neighbors over for a leftovers potluck. Everyone brings leftovers and something to drink.
What to do with leftover turkey- how to freeze turkey and save it for later
Did you know that “what to do with leftover turkey” is a commonly asked question on Google? Yup! Apparently I’m not alone when it comes to wanting to make the most of my leftover turkey.
If you can’t find a recipe that you love right now do this instead:
- Take all the meat off your turkey and freeze it in medium size freezer bags. If you prefer shredded turkey, go ahead and shred it now.
- Date the bag and use within 2-4 months.
- Pull out a freezer bag of turkey at a later time and make turkey soup, turkey tetrazzini, or anything else that commonly uses chicken. Turkey is a perfect sub for chicken this time of year.
What to do with leftover mashed potatoes
Not sure what to do with your leftover potatoes. Try a couple of these ideas.
- Potato soup
- Potato waffles
- Potato cakes
What to do with leftover cranberry sauce & leftover cranberries
- Add a little oil and vinegar to it and make a dressing
- Put a spoonful on your breakfast biscuit
- Add a spoonful to your favorite cocktail. This is fun in gin or even a margarita!
- Get more ideas from The Pioneer Woman who has 23 different ways to use up your delicious Thanksgiving leftover cranberry sauce
What to do with leftover stuffing
- Use your stuffing in place of potatoes in a breakfast skillet recipe
- Make stuffing patties- use a cookie cutter to make little patties, sauté them, and put them on a bun or english muffin for an amazing little sandwich- put some leftover turkey and cranberry on top for the ultimate leftovers sandwich
- Use stuffing in a leftover Thanksgiving taco
- Turn leftover stuffing into stuffing meatballs. Simply use stuffing instead of breadcrumbs in your favorite meatball recip
What to do with leftover gravy
- Whisk it into mayonnaise for an amazing spread on your leftover turkey sandwiches
- Use as a base for soups and stews- you can freeze it and add to chicken broth later to thicken your favorite soup
How long is leftover turkey safe?
Your leftover turkey is good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freeze it for 2-4 months.
How long can I store my other Thanksgiving leftovers?
The common rule for all leftovers is 3-4 days. After that, it’s your best bet to toss out everything. Here is a more comprehensive guide:
|Turkey, cooked||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Meat (ham, beef), cooked||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Gravy||1-2 days||2-3 months|
|Cranberry sauce||10-14 days||1-2 months|
|Stuffing, cooked||3-4 days||1 month|
|Mashed potatoes, yams||3-5 days||10-12 months|
|Soup||2-3 days||4-6 months|
|Vegetables, cooked||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Pumpkin pie, baked||3-4 days||1-2 months|
Compost before trashing
Before you toss out everything, check to see if you can compost it.
Get more details on composting here.
What will you be doing with your Thanksgiving leftovers?
Do you have any good tips to add? Any great ideas for Thanksgiving casseroles or Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast? If so, drop them in the comments.
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