Turkey is a holiday staple that lends itself to being the centerpiece of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for many families. If you’re like most Americans, you went out and bought a HUGE butterball turkey in fear of not having enough to feed everyone. Only to have it get half-eaten, and now you’re left with 10lbs of cooked turkey meat, and 5lbs of leftover stuffing, taunting you. What do you do with all the leftover turkey meat? Pawn it off on family? Freeze it so it can be even more dry and tough later on? Put it in the fridge and pretend it will get eaten as is before going bad?
So many possibilities! If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having too much leftover turkey, don’t fret! There are plenty of tasty recipes out there for any type of dish or craving.
Dealing with Tough, Dry Turkey Meat
Most people find that their turkey ends up dry and tough after storing it in the fridge. This tends to happen because turkey is such a lean piece of meat, especially the breast. Due to this, it likes to dry out and can happen very easily when reheated. If your turkey was already on the verge of being dry/tough on the first use, you’d want to avoid using it to make sandwiches.
To keep your leftover turkey from turning into turkey jerky, stick to cooking it in broth or stock instead of eating it on its own.
One great way to use up leftover tough turkey is by making some delicious soups. If you’re lucky and ended up with a super moist turkey, go for something fun like deep-fried thanksgiving bites… yes, you read that right! And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to repurpose your tough, dry, and boring pieces of leftover turkey into something new and exciting, then look no further than these 37 flavorful dishes!
How Long is Leftover Turkey Good For
Your leftover turkey will be good for about four to five days in the fridge. After that, it will start to spoil and should not be eaten. It is important to keep the leftover turkey in a sealed container to avoid any bacterial contamination.
What can I do with leftover turkey?
There are plenty of things you can do with leftover turkey! While the idea of eating it as is may not appeal to you, you’d be surprised at the unique and interesting recipes that call for it. Like an Asian-inspired turkey noodle bowl, cranberry BBQ turkey pizza, turnovers, enchiladas.. seriously, you can make so many yummy recipes that go way beyond the norm of soups, stews, casseroles, and pot pies!
Can I freeze leftover turkey?
If you’re not in the mood to make any leftover turkey recipes before it’s shelf-life is up, then you can freeze it. Make sure you wrap your turkey in tinfoil tightly and then place it in a freezer-safe bag or storage container. The last thing you want to set in is freezer burn. You’ll want to avoid freezing it if your turkey is already tough and dried out. You’ll just be taking up freezer space with it as we both know you’re never going to use it again.
What to do with dry inedible, beyond tough turkey?
If you have animals, like dogs or cats, you can make them a healthy homemade dog or cat food. If you do not have any animals, you can ask around to friends or family to see if they do. Another option is making bone broth for the leftover turkey carcass and the meat. Just throw the whole thing in a big pot and enjoy freshly made broth at home!
37 Recipes That Answer Your Question “What To Make With Leftover Turkey?”
From traditional turkey soup to turkey curry, these recipes will take your leftover tough and dry bird meat and transform it into something new.
Leftover Turkey Wild Rice and Fennel Soup
This Turkey Wild Rice and Fennel Soup is an easy and delicious way to make use of those Thanksgiving leftovers!
Thanksgiving in a Blanket is the most genius way to eat leftovers as it combines shredded turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce all wrapped in a crescent roll for a simple and delicious way to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers the next day!
This Leftover Turkey Ramen is the perfect way to use that leftover turkey, and ready in 30 minutes in the Instant Pot! Fresh turkey bone broth, spicy chili sauce and cubes of Velveeta are what makes this cheesy turkey ramen the BEST EVER.
This Turkey Ranch Mac-n-Cheese is a great recipe to make when you have a lot of leftover turkey. With three types of cheese, ranch dressing, and bacon, everyone in your family will love this pasta dish.
Turkey Cranberry Apple Salad (Leftover Turkey Recipe)
Turkey Cranberry Apple Salad is a delicious for an easy lunch or quick dinner. Filled with turkey, dried cranberries, tart apples, crisp celery, and tossed in a creamy poppy seed dressing makes a delicious recipe using leftover turkey!
Wondering what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Make EMPANADAS also know as hand pies! Use Thanksgiving leftover turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, or dressing/stuffing baked into homemade or store-bought pie crust.
Turkey Salad Recipe The Ultimate Way to Rescue Boring, Leftover Turkey
Loaded with great flavors and textures, this turkey salad may just have you making EXTRA turkey next year! Lots of serving sides, too – you don’t just have to stick with two slices of bread on this one!
What Will You be Making With Your LEftover Turkey?
There are a lot of yummy leftover turkey recipes that are anything but traditional. Remember, if you have tough, or dry turkey stick with recipes that use broth or stock to moisten it up and add flavor. Do you have a go-to recipe that isn’t on the list above? Share it in the comments!