Food & Drink

17 leftover turkey recipes

Boxing Day and the week before New Year doesn’t have to be filled with dinners involving turkey mixed with the first jar of curry sauce you can lay your hands on. Here are 17 great recipes for getting the most out of your leftover turkey.

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17 leftover turkey recipes
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Turkey is a must-have on Christmas Day, but it’s an enormous bird! There will inevitably be leftovers from your festive feast, and it would be a shame to see all your hard work in the kitchen go to waste. Luckily, turkey meat is a beautiful ingredient for several wholesome and relatively easy recipes. These dishes will give you the chance to take it easy after a hectic Christmas. They’re simple, and you can take shortcuts without compromising on flavour. These leftovers recipes are perfect for Boxing Day snacks or family meals that will use up anything left from Christmas Day.

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1. Ultimate leftover turkey sandwiches

A sandwich is the first on the list, but not just any turkey sandwich. This recipe is the ultimate way to serenade your leftover Christmas turkey and make your tastebuds sing. The secret is to use high-quality bread, leftover gravy, and cheese. This sandwich may be messy, but it will ultimately be satisfying on Boxing Day. Serve with a side salad or garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

If that sounds delicious but a little too messy, make a simple shredded turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce instead.

2. Turkey pot pie

This is a comforting, easy-to-throw-together dish ideal for using every last bit of turkey meat. You can easily cook this turkey pie with pre-made pastry and frozen mixed veggies (or leftover veg from Christmas Day) for a hearty meal. Serve with lashings of hot gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans for a meal that’s almost as good as Christmas dinner.

3. Roast turkey risotto

Risotto is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s also easily adaptable for many types of meat, but especially leftover roast turkey. You can use any leftover white wine to add more depth to this dish. You can easily make a luxurious, earthy-tasting risotto by using decadent ingredients like truffle oil if you’re so inclined. The secret to a good risotto is quality stock and a little patience!

4. Roast turkey casserole

A classic way to use up your leftover turkey! This easy casserole recipe requires only a little preparation. Enjoy a relaxing day knowing you can throw this together in less than 30 minutes. This casserole recipe features honey and mustard, which offers a warming twist on a traditional recipe. Serve piping hot with some crusty bread or jacket potatoes. 

5. Turkey soup

This soup recipe uses every last part of the bird, so nothing is wasted. You get maximum flavour by simmering the carcass. An easily adaptable meal, you can add some extra spices for a twist on the classic. Store it in the freezer (omitting the potatoes) for a quick and easy lunch in the New Year. This soup is gluten-free if the Worcester sauce and barley are left out.

6. BLT turkey salad 

After the indulgences of Christmas, this fresh take on a turkey salad is most welcome! It’s essentially a take on an American-style Cobb salad, swapping out the chicken for the turkey. The dressing base features yoghurt, which gives this salad a creamy, delicate taste. Paired with crispy bites of bacon and crunchy, fresh lettuce, this salad will freshen up your taste buds! 

7. Turkey and spring onion wraps

Wraps are perfect for a boxing day get-together. They’re yummy and easy to eat, and your Christmas leftovers are the perfect ingredients for these daytime snacks. This recipe will serve four people but cut down or beef up the recipe as needed. 

8. Turkey curry with parsnips

This is an excellent recipe for the middle of the week after Christmas. With all the extra flavours of a curry, it won’t feel like you’re eating turkey for the millionth time. This dish is homely and the perfect way to get the best out of your leftovers. If you’re feeling too tired after the rushing around of Christmas, using a pre-made curry sauce is perfectly fine. (We won’t tell anyone!

9. Turkey-ham-avocado toasted cheese

If you’ve got leftover cheese from the post-dinner cheese board (brie works brilliantly), leftover gammon or ham, and any excess turkey, then this indulgent and American-inspired snack is perfect for you. These moreish toasties are great for light family lunches and will use up most of the leftovers from Christmas dinner. This deluxe take on a grilled cheese is also great with crispy bacon! Cooking the sandwich in the same pan adds flavour to the dish too.

10. Slow cooker turkey tetrazzini

This turkey tetrazzini is a delightful, hearty dish that features creamy sauce with pasta and chunks of tender turkey. What makes this recipe even more tempting is how simple it is. Just assemble everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Serve with garlic bread or hot, crusty rolls fresh from the oven. 

11. Creamy turkey and mushroom penne

Leftover turkey is an excellent substitute for chicken, so if you’re at a loss for how to use the meat, replace the roast chicken ingredient with roasted turkey. This creamy turkey pasta dish is perfect for an excellent mid-week dinner. Use any remaining white wine in this dish to give it an extra bit of flavour. This Italian-style dish will warm you up from the inside out, and it only takes about 30 minutes in total to prepare. Quick, easy, and satisfying, this dish will do your turkey justice!

12. Leftover turkey tortilla soup

Tortilla soup seems like a strange concept, but with wonderful Mexican-inspired flavours, this dish is ideal for warming up after a long winter walk. This recipe only needs a few cupboard essentials to transform your leftover Christmas day turkey. Sprinkle on various toppings such as crushed tortilla chips to add some crunch. 

13. Spicy leftover turkey noodle soup

Another low-fuss, easy-to-assemble recipe for a cosy day between Christmas and New Year! Hot soups are good for the soul and a perfect option for more relaxed catering. Serve with a cheese toastie for extra indulgence. Garnish with some fresh sliced red chillis to really up the spice.

Check out this Vietnamese turkey noodle soup recipe for inspiration.

14. Leftover turkey and sweet potato frittata 

This is the perfect brunch option for Boxing Day or as a late afternoon pick-me-up with a side salad. The sweet potatoes are cooked to crispy perfection before adding the eggs. You get a divine combination of crispy sweet potatoes and fluffy, airy eggs. This recipe is also ideal for using up any leftover veggies. You could get creative with brussels sprouts and cabbage, too!

15. Turkey enchiladas

Whilst this recipe calls for turkey mince, you can easily replace it with shredded cooked turkey from your Christmas dinner. Turkey enchiladas are a great family meal that can be adjusted to suit all tastes. You can make the enchilada filling ahead of time. Assemble everything together and heat in the oven for 15 minutes.

Another option is to create the same filling and serve tacos instead.

16. Shepherd’s pie

Yes, we know, turkey isn’t lamb, and what you have leftover from Christmas Day isn’t mince. However, if the turkey pot pie idea from earlier tickled your taste buds but you don’t have (or don’t want to make) pastry, you can mix up your turkey with gravy and vegetables, top it with mashed potato, and stick it in the oven to create a fantastic one-pot Boxing Day dinner.

17. Turkey chilli

A chunky chilli always goes down well, and with plenty of leftover turkey to spare, you have the perfect excuse to make one.

You could even get two dinners in one here if you have the family coming round and different tastes. For example, if you’re planning to make enchiladas or tacos, simply split your mixture and add chilli powder and other spices in another pan to create your chilli. Serve with rice or a jacket potato.

We spoke to Corina Blum from Searching for Spice, who told Age Times: "I love to use leftover turkey in easy recipes at lunchtimes such as toasted sandwiches and quesadillas. If I'm using it up for a main meal it is of course great in curries and you can also add all the leftover vegetables too."

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