Once Thanksgiving dinner is over, the next task is getting creative with the Thanksgiving leftovers. Assuming ther are any, of course.

You’ve already spent ample time on the holiday meal, so now it’s time to get started on these nine easy recipes that transform roasted turkey and other Thanksgiving foods into warm and wonderful comfort food.

These Thanksgiving leftover recipes are so simple to prepare, you might even be motivated to roast a turkey more than once a year!

Thanksgiving leftover bites

Instead of settling for a boring leftover Thanksgiving sandwich, transform your leftovers into an exciting meal that doesn’t look or taste like the holiday feast.

These leftovers bites are a scrumptious combo stuffing, turkey and shredded Gruyère cheese wrapped in mashed potatoes, that are then shaped into balls and rolled in a simple panko coating.

Fried to hot, crispy perfection, and served with leftover turkey gravy as a dip, these turkey bites will easily become one of your favorite ways to repurpose those Thanksgiving leftovers.

RECIPE: Thanksgiving leftover bites

Leftover turkey pot pie soup

If you’re searching for healthy leftover turkey recipes that don’t taste like diet food, this turkey pot pie soup is the slim-down, belly-warming comfort food for you.

Featuring leftover turkey and a medley of vegetables – onions, celery, corn, peas and mushrooms – this creamy soup is made with a delicious garlicky cauliflower puree that takes the place of the typical flour-based, dairy-heavy white sauce used in conventional turkey pot pie recipes.

When you’re wondering what to make with leftover turkey, this yummy soup is one of the most delicious ways to kick off an interlude of healthier eating before you’re tempted to dig into the indulgences of the holiday season.

RECIPE: Leftover turkey pot pie soup


This soup is both healthy and delicious. Grateful


Leftover turkey chili-smothered sweet potatoes

With just a few staples from your pantry, you can turn your holiday leftovers into a satisfying meat-and-potatoes kind of meal. Loaded with turkey, black beans, onions and tongue-tantalizing spices, this chili simmers up in about 30 minutes, and then sumptuously smothers the tender sweet potatoes along with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.

Not ready for a belly-filling meal so soon after Thanksgiving dinner? Simply make the leftover turkey chili and put it in the freezer until you’re craving comfort food. Roast a few sweet potatoes, pour the reheated chili over the top, and dig in!

RECIPE: Leftover turkey chili-smothered sweet potatoes


These sweet potatoes have an extra bit of flavor with leftover turkey chili. Grateful


Leftover turkey shepherd’s pie

Give your leftover turkey and mashed potatoes a mouthwatering makeover with this recipe. This shepherd’s pie features a spicy filling made with leftover shredded turkey, crushed tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic and hot sauce lavishly blanketed with leftover mashed potatoes and shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Baked in the oven, the filling and cheesy potatoes become irresistibly hot, bubbly – and ready to be gobbled right up.

RECIPE: Leftover turkey shepherd's pie


This recipe adds leftover mashed potatoes and turkey from your Thanksgiving meal to a whole new dish. Grateful


Smoky leftover turkey corn chowder with bacon 

Why settle for a plate of familiar Thanksgiving leftovers when you can transform them into a scrumptious bowl of smoky leftover turkey corn chowder with bacon?


When it comes to easy leftover turkey recipes, this chowder is a top-notch way to incorporate leftover turkey into a flavorful, belly-warming meal that doesn’t boringly smack of the Thanksgiving feast. The leftover turkey in this chowder is shredded and bathing in a creamy, boldly flavored soup featuring bacon, onion, sweet potato, red bell peppers, green chilies and corn. With just the first bite, you’ll want to roast a turkey more than once a year.


Use your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers for this chili Grateful


RECIPE: Smoky leftover turkey corn chowder with bacon

Leftover turkey taquitos with nutty buffalo dipping sauce


If you’re craving something spicy, transform your leftover turkey into a mouthwatering Mexican-inspired meal with this addictive recipe.

Taquitos are rolled meat-stuffed tortillas that are deep-fried and served with sour cream and guacamole. We kick up the fun of this Mexican favorite by mixing cream cheese and blue cheese into the turkey filling, and serving the crispy deep-fried tortilla rolls with a dipping sauce made from chopped pistachios and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce.

If healthy leftover turkey recipes are more your thing, you can bake the taquitos in the oven until they’re crisp and golden brown, and then serve them hot with the homemade tongue-tingling sauce.

RECIPE: Leftover turkey taquitos with nutty buffalo dipping sauce


Make these taquitos to liven up your leftovers. Grateful


Carnitas-style turkey tacos made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey

Love Thanksgiving dinner but love south-of-the-border eats even more? This recipe will satisfy your cravings for both. Making carnitas – the Mexican word for “little meats”– is an inventive way to turn leftover turkey meat into a spicy filling for corn or flour tortillas.

The turkey is simmered with oranges, onions and bay leaves, which infuse it with fresh flavors. The meat is then shredded and browned in a skillet until crisp on the edges. Serve the leftover turkey carnitas in tortillas with red onion, pico de gallo and lime wedges.

RECIPE: Leftover turkey carnitas


These savory and citrusy layers spice up ho-hum turkey leftovers. Grateful


Leftover turkey enchiladas    

When the Thanksgiving table has been cleared and you’re wondering what to do with leftover turkey, put these enchiladas on the weekend’s dinner menu.

Generously stuffed with a chipotle turkey and cheese filling and then lavishly scattered with corn, black beans and more cheese, these enchiladas are then baked until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

This recipe can be cut in half to accommodate a smaller gathering – or, even better, you can freeze these enchiladas to enjoy later when you’re craving turkey and want to enjoy a Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving casserole.

RECIPE: Leftover turkey enchiladas


These enchiladas will give your leftover turkey new life. USA TODAY


Leftover turkey casserole

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most cherished holiday meals of the year, but the creative ways to eat leftovers are what really get people excited.

This casserole is an easy recipe that features a tasty filling of shredded turkey, celery, water chestnuts and pimentos mixed with cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise, and then topped with a crunchy, salty abundance of crushed potato chips. 


Time to get creative with all those Thanksgiving leftovers. Grateful

Luckily, this comfort food casserole is quick, easy and a crowd-pleaser for kids and adults alike.

The USA TODAY Network and, America’s home for the holidays, are here to help you make those special times of year with family and friends even brighter. Whether you're looking for recipes, how-to food videos, seasonal decor ideas, or delicious new desserts, we've got you covered. is produced by USA TODAY Network newsrooms and Grateful Ventures, a part of the Network.


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