The Best (Not-Boring) Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you don't have leftovers after cooking your Thanksgiving dinner, you did it wrong. Come on, give thanks for the excess. The best way to express your gratitude is to do more than simply microwave the leftovers for the next several meals. You can take those dishes and transform them into something entirely new. Consider it upcycling your food. Or magic.

1. Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes

Chowhound

We start with one of the least useful leftover ideas because it may be the most indulgent. And that's what matters this holiday season, no? While no one complains about leftover pumpkin pie, let's mess with it anyway and dunk pie slices into the blender (instead of just pumpkin purée, as this recipe calls for), and go all out. Get our Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes recipe.

2. Thanksgiving Turkey Nachos

Who doesn't love nachos? Transform your turkey leftovers into a Mexican-inspired mixture of zesty lime turkey topped with cranberry salsa. This dish is easy to customize, and kids absolutely love it. Get our Thanksgiving Nachos recipe.

3. Baked Eggs in Stuffing Cups

Eggs baked in cheesy stuffing are the dream team of breakfasts. These individual muffin-sized delights are a knockout way to repurpose leftover stuffing. They’re perfect for brunch the morning after Thanksgiving, especially if you have a crowd staying over. Get our Baked Eggs in Stuffing Cups recipe.

4. Turkey Pot Pie

Chowhound

Pot pie is a common way to use up turkey, but subpar versions are often chalky, gummy, and bland. Ours starts things off right with Creamed Turkey that's good enough to eat on its own; then you pack it with vegetables, and top it with store-bought crust to avoid dough-making headaches. Get our Turkey Pot Pie recipe.

5. Curried Turkey Salad

Chowhound

Another throwback recipe that we improved upon, this salad has tartness from yogurt, sweetness from raisins, and crunch from shards of toasted coconut. It takes a minimum of effort and will renew your interest in bird leftovers. get our Curried Turkey Salad recipe.

6. Crispy Turkey Enchiladas

Chowhound

These real-deal enchiladas are spicy and flavorful. Though they are more commonly made with pork or chicken, we swapped in turkey and doused it all in a Red Chile Sauce that’s great to snack on with chips. Get our Crispy Turkey Enchiladas recipe.

7. Turkey Posole a la Guerita

Chowhound

Posole is one of those slow-cooked dishes that result in a beautiful meld of flavors. Figuring that you won’t want to be slaving away with your leftovers after having just orchestrated the big meal, we came up with a shortcut version we coined a la Guerita, a.k.a. white-girl style. Get our Turkey Posole a la Guerita recipe.

8. Turkey Mulligatawny Soup

Chowhound

Mulligatawny is an old Anglo-Indian dish, from the days of British rule. It's a soup with coconut milk and spices that charmed British cooks back home in Europe. Ours is a rich, heady soup, laced with spices and coconut milk, yes, but based on the leftover holiday carcass. Get our Turkey Mulligatawny Soup recipe.

9. Turkey Pad See Ew

Chowhound

The Thai noodle dish pad see ew is usually made with anything from beef to pork to chicken. We filled ours with turkey and won thumbs-up from our pad see ew–obsessed former Multimedia Producer Meredith Arthur. Get our Turkey Pad See Ew recipe.

10. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms

Chowhound

Entertaining doesn't end when the clock strikes midnight on Thanksgiving. These give stuffing a second life and make for quick hors d’oeuvres when unexpected company comes knocking. Get our Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms recipe.

11. Pecan and Sweet Potato Bread

Chowhound

Throw together this quick bread that does duty as a snack, a breakfast treat, or even dessert when toasted and served à la mode. Or freeze it for later. Get our Pecan and Sweet Potato Bread recipe.

12. Peninsular War Cocktail

Chowhound

All self-respecting cranberry sauces are sweet, tart, and fruity, and that also works as a fabulous foundation for cocktails. Try the flavor combo shaken with Cognac and Licor 43. Get our Peninsular War Cocktail recipe.

13. Cranberry Culprit Cocktail

Chowhound

Turn the cranberry sauce into something that help you de-stress this weekend. Add the leftover sauce to a drink, mixed with bourbon and amaretto. Get our Cranberry Culprit Cocktail recipe.

14. Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza

Chowhound

A store-bought crust, smeared with fridge gravy, spread with leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and sausage stuffing. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, then pop in a hot oven for 15 minutes. What emerges is the most unusual, and also surprisingly tasty, leftovers creation. Get our Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza recipe.

15. Turkey Hash Patties

Chowhound

Leftover turkey and mashed potatoes become the best-ever fried breakfast patties, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle. The turkey is shredded, and diced carrot, onion, and celery give the patties a little extra crunch and flavor. Serve these topped with a fried egg and hot sauce. Get our Turkey Hash Patties recipe.

16. Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Too much cranberry sauce? Try this recipe for cranberry oatmeal bars, which will freeze well and make a great post-Thanksgiving snack. Get the recipe.

17. Turkey Samosas!

epicurious

These are filling and make a great dinner paired with some rice—you’ll like them even more than the Indian takeout you were planning to order on Black Friday. Get the recipe.

18. Turkey Frittata

A simple frittata recipe that uses up leftover turkey and dinner rolls, plus it includes sour cream for extra richness. Get the recipe.

19. Mashed Potato Cakes

Chowhound

We didn’t think there was such a thing as too many mashed potatoes, but if you’ve gone overboard for Thanksgiving dinner, check out Chowhound’s baked mashed potato cakes recipe. These are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and work fabulously with a poached egg. Get our Mashed Potato Cakes recipe.

20. Maple Nut Bars

If you bought too many mixed nuts to serve alongside cocktails during your Thanksgiving celebration, these maple nut bars are a terrific choice for using up the surplus. You can use store-bought shortbread or make your own, and experiment with the filling! Get the recipe.

21. Baked Eggs in Creamed Spinach

PBS

You’d be surprised what you can bake an egg in—you’ve seen it done with leftovers idea number 2 above for stuffing, but what about creamed spinach? Get the recipe.

22. Brussels Sprouts Hash

Food Republic

Or leftover Brussels sprouts? There really aren’t any rules here: If you can throw it in a skillet and crack an egg on it, you’re ready to eat. Get the recipe.

23. Basic Turkey Stock

Chowhound

Last but not least, let's not underestimate the ease and deliciousness of having homemade stock. If the big day left you in a food coma, then you're probably not enticed to do much beyond clicking the remote. This stock recipe requires minimal effort and makes eight quarts, perfect for freezing and using later. Get our Basic Turkey Stock recipe.

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