11 Thanksgiving dinner leftover recipes

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Got leftovers? Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are fantastic for transforming into creative, delicious dishes to eat for days to come. Here are a few excellent recipes to try this November.

Leftover stuffed egg rolls

Take a little turkey, a little stuffing, a little mashed potato and a whole lot of crispy, crispy egg roll wrapper goodness, and what do you get? These leftover stuffed egg rolls from Cake N Knife. They are Thanksgiving in one wonderfully crunchy package. The recipe includes a cranberry dipping sauce (made with leftover cranberries, naturally) but I bet these would also be lovely dipped in gravy.

To make these, you start by mixing up the dipping sauce. It’s a combination of cranberry sauce, water, orange juice and orange zest heated together and then strained to remove the chunks. It chills while you prepare the egg rolls.

For the egg rolls, the fillings — those delightful Thanksgiving leftovers — are dolloped inside an egg roll wrapper and then sealed. The recipe author suggests using a mixture of cornstarch and water to moisten the edges for sealing. However, you may not need the cornstarch. Usually, water is sufficient when using egg roll or wonton wrappers.

The egg rolls are then fried in batches in oil. A splatter guard will help prevent your stove area from getting gunked up with greasy grime. Drain them on paper towels and let cool a little before enjoying with the dipping sauce.

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Thanksgiving in a blanket

Forget pigs in a blanket — those little cocktail weenies have nothing on this tempting Thanksgiving leftovers version. In this bread-wrapped, handheld dish, Thanksgiving leftovers are baked into the center of soft, flaky Crescent rolls and served with gravy for dipping. It’s a delightful mix of favorite Thanksgiving flavors, all sandwiched together.

To make this delightful Thanksgiving in a Blanket dish, from Delish, start with a tube of Crescent rolls. You’ll use one roll for each Thanksgiving in a Blanket. Once that satisfying pop frees the dough, roll it out, separating the triangles of dough. According to the recipe, each one is topped with a little mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing and cranberries and then rolled up.

Of course, if you have other Thanksgiving leftovers, they would be delightful too. Play with the combinations, if you like. What about a roll filled with sweet potatoes, turkey, Brussels sprouts and cranberries? Or how about one with mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and turkey? The possibilities are only limited by your leftovers (and imagination).

Whatever you do though, be sure not to overdo it with the filling. Too much filling will make the baked rolls unmanageable. Instead, just add a little of each filling ingredient so they roll back up just right.

The rolls are then baked until fluffy and golden. Of course, if you want to make them even richer, brush them with butter before sliding into the oven.

Heat your leftover gravy and use it as a dipping sauce. Or, if you haven’t added them inside, spread the outside with a little cranberry sauce as you eat.


Turkey and cranberry quesadillas

Quesadillas are a delightful, easy, cheesy dish to enjoy when you want a fast, comfort-food meal. These turkey and cranberry quesadillas from Little Dairy on the Prarie, take traditional Thanksgiving flavors and bind them inside layers of gooey Swiss cheese goodness.

To make this, the recipe author says to sprinkle grated cheese all over one tortilla, top with shredded leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, more cheese and the second tortilla. Then she melts butter in a skillet and cooks the tortilla, flipping it once, until it reaches hot, gooey perfection. This is makes cooking quick and easy — something that’s definitely a good thing.

However, like grilled cheese, I am a huge proponent of a thorough buttering on one side of each tortilla before filling it. This ensures that both sides cook to brown and get the benefit of that wonderful, buttery flavor. Then fill as directed with layers of cheese, filling and more cheese. The buttery side of the tortilla is the outside.

Cook the quesadilla in a hot skillet. The author suggests covering with a lid to ensure even cooking, which is a good idea — as long as condensation doesn’t build up in the skillet (which would make these mushy). Flip once, once the side facing the pan is browned.

This Thanksgiving leftovers recipe is a true transformation. Gooey swiss cheese binds together shredded turkey and cranberry relish (or sauce) instead two buttered tortillas to make Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas. If you aren’t a fan of swiss cheese, provolone would be good in this combination as well.

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Cranberry and turkey grilled cheese sandwich

Speaking of cheesy dishes, how about a grilled cheese that makes good use of those leftovers? This recipe for a cranberry and turkey grilled cheese sandwich from Lolly Jane sits at the intersection of the comfort food of Thanksgiving and the ultimate childhood favorites.

The recipe starts with sliced bread, naturally. Slices of turkey — either leftovers or deli meat will work — are layered on top with sliced cheese, cranberry sauce and mayo. Then it’s grilled to perfection in a buttered pan. Easy peasy.

Of course, this is good as it’s written but there’s room for creativity here too. The recipe suggests provolone as the cheese, but this could be made with any melty cheese (or combination of cheeses) you like. Perhaps some mozzarella? Or what about cheddar with a hint of blue cheese? Brie is also great with turkey. And, for that matter, we won’t say anything if you want to double the cheese. After all, with a grilled cheese, the cheesier it is, the better!

And if you’re not that into mayo, we don’t blame you. Let the melty cheese do the binding. It can handle it. Heck, we bet this dish could also handle the addition of stuffing too. But do make sure to up the cheese if you’re using stuffing in it — you wouldn’t want to lose the cheesiness in the mix.

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Leftover turkey noodle casserole

You’ve eaten the sandwiches, stirred up the soups and reheated platefuls. But what do you make with the leftovers when it feels like you’ll never be done with them? This leftover turkey noodle casserole from Who Needs A Cape.

Egg noodles are combined with leftover turkey and carrots along with gravy and seasonings. And, in true casserole fashion, this one is super easy to assemble — just stir together and bake.

But, of course, there is room for making it your own too. Although the recipe calls for a jar of gravy, you could substitute your own gravy (you’ll need a cup and a half of it) for the premade, if you like — and if you have enough leftovers. Also, other veggies could work in this as well. Steamed green beans (cut them into 1-inch pieces), corn, peas … they’ll all work in addition to or instead of the carrots.

Also, one more note. This is a recipe you can assemble ahead of time and heat up when it’s time to eat. Think how easy that will make dinner after a long day of holiday shopping!

Want more? Check out these other Thanksgiving leftover recipes!

6. Leftover stuffing waffles
7. Cheesy leftover turkey mashed potato bites
8. Thanksgiving leftover turkey pizza
9. Bacon-wrapped stuffing bites
10. Leftover stuffin’ muffins
11. Leftover turkey potato cakes