How To: Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

There are those who prefer Thanksgiving leftovers to the actual official meal, much like people who prefer cold pizza over hot. I'm definitely in the latter camp. There's something luxurious about enjoying your perfectly cooked turkey and stuffing while wearing sweatpants and not having to make small talk with your weird uncle who drinks too much.

However, after a certain point, you may get tired of just how many leftovers there are to get through, even if you sent people home with food. Never fear. There are many innovative ways to dress up and redo your Thanksgiving feast so it's delicious all over again.

1. Mashed Potato & Stuffing Patties

Pocket Change Gourmet recommends using Thanksgiving leftovers to form these crispy little hybrid meals, but they look so good we could easily imagine eating them during the main event (save that idea for next year).

These would be good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Image via Pocket Change Gourmet

2. Mashed Potato Croquettes

Fortunately, mashed potatoes work as a main ingredient in many recipes. If you're tired of eating them as-is, try making potato croquettes like Bon Appétit. These fried appetizers are easy to make and a general crowd-pleaser all around.

Sweet potatoes make great croquettes, too. Image by Christopher Testani/Bon Appetit

If you want more inspiration for what to do with too many leftover mashers, check out our guide on instant mashed potatoes. Gnocchi, bread, shepherd's pie, even cake: mashed potatoes can work in almost anything.

3. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffing so much I'd happily eat it for days, but if you have an excess of it, I can see how it would get old pretty quick. If you want another way to dress up leftover stuffing, try stuffing it into some mushrooms, just like on the Food Network.

Serve these at a post-Thanksgiving dinner as an appetizer. Image via Purely Consumed

4. Stuffing-Stuffed Pork Chops

If you want something for the meat-eaters in your life, you can also make stuffing-stuffed pork chops with the help of Taste of Home.

These might inspire you to make more stuffing than is strictly necessary. Image via Snacko Backo

5. The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

If, like me, you have the merest smidge of OCD, you hate ending up with a giant thing of cranberry sauce and gravy after all the other leftovers have been eaten. It's tough to find a way to use up everything at once.

The Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich from Maxim might be the answer, seeing that it uses turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy. It's like the Inception of sandwiches, except not overrated. Be sure to check these tips out to keep your mega-sandwich from getting soggy, though.

Again, this might be better than the official Thanksgiving meal. Image by Charles Masters/Maxim

6. Anything with Leftover Turkey

Turkey is infinitely adaptable and delicious in soups, sandwiches, salads, curries, and casseroles. You can and definitely should turn the leftover bones into stock — I think it's infinitely better and has more flavor than even homemade chicken stock. There are other classic recipes to use up leftover turkey, like the casserole turkey tetrazzini. For a different twist on turkey, you could also make turkey ramen, turkey posole, and turkey samosas.

Not to worry: this recipe uses readymade ramen noodles. Image by Lara Ferroni/Epicurious

7. Leftover Sweet Potato Pie

I am crazy about pie. If you've got a ton of sweet potatoes leftover, this is a blessing in disguise since sweet potato casserole or even plain ol' mashed sweet potatoes make the perfect filling for that Southern classic, sweet potato pie — recipe at My Recipes.

This version is vegan, including the topping, which is actually coconut whipped cream. Image via Popsugar

Just remember that if your leftover sweet potatoes have been flavored with additional sweeteners, you may want to adjust the recipe so it's not overwhelmingly sugary.

8. Cranberry Sauce Makeovers

Ah, cranberry sauce: it's usually the Thanksgiving leftover that hangs around the longest. However, it works great as a condiment or in other sweet recipes even well after the holidays. Check out these recipes for cranberry vinaigrette (great on a salad of mixed greens), cranberry sauce smoothies, and pancakes.

The berries get used in the pancakes themselves, while the liquid is used as the sauce. Image by Clive Streeter/Martha Stewart

What's your favorite way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers? Let us know in the comments below.

More Genius Leftover Hacks:

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1 Comment

I love turkey sandwiches so much! That one photo is amazing!

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