21 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes That Taste Nothing Like Leftovers


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Thanksgiving's over. The guests have gone, and the serving dishes are left half-full. You worked so hard on everything at the table--and it all was so delicious--but right now, just the sight of a drumstick will send you over the edge. We understand. And we're here to help.

After Thanksgiving, we all need ways to use up our leftovers without eating the same cranberry turkey club for weeks. That's where these 20 creative solutions come in.

1. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms

Turn that heavy, bready side into a pop-able veggie appetizer. Topped with parmesan, these bite-sized snacks are perfect for Friends-giving leftover parties or when you're hungry but aren't up to cooking a full meal yet.

Find the recipe on Cookin' Canuck here.

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2. Turkey Pot Pie

Nothing's easier than tossing everything in a pot and hoping for the best. Thankfully this recipe will give you the guidance to ensure it turns out for the best. Let go of the last turkey legs and give into the buttery flaky goodness.

Get the recipe here.

3. Cranberry Shortbread Bars

If your family is anything like ours, there will be tons of leftover cranberry sauce. Take advantage of that and turn it into irresistibly snack-able bars! They transport well and can make excellent gifts for those cranberry lovers in your life.

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Get the recipe here.

4. Sweet Potato Brownies

Talk about an utter transformation. Sneak these sweet potatoes into your brownie mix and no one will have any idea how much nutrition just hit them.

Get the recipe here.

5. Green Bean Casserole Frittata

Elicit an egg apotheosis in your oven by turning leftover green bean casserole into a flavor-packed frittata. Frittatas are great for any meal and keep in the fridge for days.

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Get the recipe here.

6. Jambalaya

All good "poor people food" is founded on the best way to stretch and use up leftovers, Cajun food is definitely included! Grab some andouille and shred the turkey for a flavor-packed dish you'll be thankful to have.

Get the recipe here.

7. Tamales

Anyone in the Southwest can attest the delicious versatility of the humble tamale. Turn your leftover stuffing and anything else into a tasty treat. Served with a spicy cranberry salsa, what could be better?

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Get the recipe here.

8. Spicy Cranberry Salsa

Punch up that leftover cranberry sauce into a spicy salsa, then complete the evening with a bag of chips and a Corona.

Get the recipe here.

9. Gumbo

This traditional turkey gumbo recipe uses the entire leftover turkey (bones and all) to make a rich stock. Dip your toe in the melting pot of Louisiana cuisine with this easy-to-follow, delicious recipe.

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Get the recipe here.

10. Boozy Leftover Cocktails

From cranberry sauce to turkey drippings, you'd be surprised what a crafty bartender can turn into booze.

Get the recipe here.

11. Breakfast Bowls with Baked Eggs and Stuffing 

Eggs are wonderful little presents that refresh any and all leftovers. Bake one in with your leftover stuffing and feel the magic. 

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Get the recipe here.

12. Cranberry Skillet Scones

Make these crumbly, delicious cranberry scones all on your stove top! They're perfect paired with coffee for breakfast or top with a little cream for a delightful snack.

Get the recipe here.

13. Waffle Iron Mashed Potato Hash Browns

Combine all that is good in the world (mashed potatoes and breakfast) in one crunchy and satisfying dish. Try these with normal mashed potatoes, or use up leftover sweet potatoes.

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Get the recipe here.

14. Baked Egg and Mashed Potato

Lay eggs in mashed potato pillows and bake for a fluffy, creamy, bacon-y breakfast wonder.

Get the recipe here.

15. Mashed Sweet Potato Pancakes

Who doesn't love pancakes? Everyone loves pancakes. Use up leftover sweet potatoes in a twist on traditional buttermilk pancakes and win breakfast.

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Get the recipe here.

16. Veggie Samosas

Make these incredibly tasty hand pies to try a new twist on the usual Thanksgiving leftovers fare. These pies are so tasty, they risk becoming a year-round treat.

Get the recipe here.

17. Shepherd's Pie / English Cottage Pie

With turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes, you're primed to use up all your leftovers in one tasty dish. Top with a little cheese and toss this in the oven, and you'll clean house in no time.

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Get the recipe here.

18. Chili

Toss everything in a slow cooker and let it go for four hours, and you've got a savory, hearty, tantalizing chili that uses Thanksgiving leftovers without tasting like them. Don't forget the cornbread!

Get the recipe here.

19. Turkey Lasagna

With gravy, turkey, and stuffing, this lasagna manages to incorporate nearly every Thanksgiving side dish, ensuring you won't be stuck with leftovers for long.

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Get the recipe here.

20. Ramen

Try something new and exciting with the turkey leftovers this year. The carcass makes for a rich broth while the boiled eggs and shiitake mushrooms complete the feel of a traditional ramen.

Get the recipe here.

21. Savory Cranberry Donut Sandwich

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These cranberry donut sandwiches are so good, you'll be glad you didn't use all of those fresh cranberries you bought. Just bake, stack, and bite!

Recipe: Savory Baked Cranberry Donuts