Whether you’ve opted for a full roast turkey, or the more diminutive turkey crown and turkey breast, it’s highly likely that there’ll be some meat left after the big Christmas dinner, whatever cut you choose. While the humble turkey sandwich of course has its place, the versatility of this lean, mild meat means it can work much harder. From creamy curries to stir-fries and salads, we’ve got plenty of ideas for using up cooked turkey and a range of other leftovers.
How to handle turkey leftovers safely
- Let your cooked turkey completely cool, then refrigerate at the first opportunity – within 90 minutes is best.
- Don’t leave your turkey hanging around all afternoon as it may become unsafe to eat. Bear this in mind before heading for your post-feasting nap.
- Leftover turkey should be eaten within two days, so if you don’t think you’ll get through it in time, stick it in the freezer in portions.
- If you do freeze your turkey for a later date, make sure it’s wrapped properly or put in a sealed container to avoid freezer burn. It’s also good to use sticky labels to add dates and descriptions to your frozen goods.
- If you’re storing your leftover cooked turkey in the fridge, put it on the middle shelf along with all your other ready-to-eat foods. Save the bottom shelf for raw meat and fish.
Our top 20 turkey leftover recipes
1. Leftover turkey fricassee
Winter is the season of comfort, so why not put your Christmas dinner leftovers to good use in this indulgent turkey fricassee? With a creamy mushroom sauce and splash of white wine, it’s sure to keep those post-Christmas blues away. Ready in just 20 minutes, it’s delicious served with pasta, mash or rice.
2. Turkey tikka masala
Spice up your leftovers and turn them into a whole new dish that the family will love. Inspired by the nation’s favourite curry, this fragrant turkey tikka masala delivers layers of flavour and gentle chilli heat in a rich, creamy sauce. Rather than making a separate curry paste, we’ve cooked everything in one pan, so you’ll have less washing up to do.
3. Next level turkey & ham pie
Looking for a kitchen project to keep you occupied over the Christmas hols? This next level turkey and ham pie is not only a great use for your leftovers, but also a showstopping celebratory dish in its own right. Boost your pastry skills by making your own sage-infused shortcrust case, then generously fill with cooked meats, herbs and leeks in a creamy mustard sauce. This banquet-worthy dish is sure to please a crowd and equally delicious served warm for dinner or cold as part of a buffet spread.
Check out more leftover turkey and ham recipes.
4. Turkey ramen
The excesses of Christmas can often leave us craving something a little lighter. This warming and restorative turkey ramen is just the ticket, combining shredded leftover meat with noodles, shiitake mushrooms and eggs. If you’ve got any leftover gravy, this really enhances the broth with a rich, meaty flavour.
5. Leftover turkey grain bowls
Another nourishing meal to keep you feeling good over the festive season. These gluten-free leftover turkey grain bowls are packed full of wholesome ingredients, including avocados, lentils, probiotic yogurt and a crunchy rainbow slaw. Warming spices such as za’atar and harissa balance well with a zesty tahini dressing which brings this whole dish together.
6. Spicy turkey noodles
With so much happening over the festive period, dinner prep can be a rather rushed affair. So it really helps to have a few quick and easy dishes such as these spicy turkey noodles up your sleeve. Ready in just half an hour, this simple stir-fry combines leftover turkey with noodles, spring onions and beansprouts in a zingy soy and lime sauce. We’ve used a red chilli to give it some heat but you can easily omit this if catering for youngsters. Throw in extra leftover veg such as shredded sprouts or carrots to make it even more scrumptious.
Whip up more turkey stir-fry recipes.
7. Christmas leftover sandwich
When it comes to devising the most epic Boxing Day sarnie, we think we’ve come pretty close to perfection. Simply hollow out a crusty loaf of bread, then layer up all your leftovers inside to make this lip-smacking Italian-style muffuletta sandwich. Cooked turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, spinach and crispy onions are all the perfect elements for your Christmas leftover sandwich. Enjoy with a handful of crispy for added crunch.
8. Leftover turkey casserole
A hearty one-pot to warm everyone up – this simple turkey casserole is ideal for using up all your Christmas leftovers, including the trimmings. Throw in any robust root vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots and celeriac. Simmered in a flavoursome honey and mustard stock, this stew is delicious served with mash or jacket potatoes.
9. Turkey curry patties
Raise your lunch game with these marvellously meaty turkey curry patties. With just one bite, your tastebuds will be hit with a wonderful array of herbs and spices, all encased within a soft and crispy homemade turmeric pastry. These gorgeous golden patties are perfect for the days after the big meal, or you can easily freeze them for later.
There’s nothing quite like a bubbling golden potato bake to welcome you at the end of a busy day. This easy roast potato, turkey, sausage & stuffing pie combines all the best bits from Christmas dinner in one. Put it together in just 10 mins and let the oven do the hard work. With a creamy mustard sauce filling and crispy cheesy topping, this comforting dish might even trump Christmas dinner itself.
11. Christmas pizza
Kids will love this festive pizza, topped with leftover meat and, ingeniously, a scattering of stuffing. It might not be one for Italian food purists, but it’s certainly won us round.
12 . Turkey bubble & squeak
One of our favourite post-Christmas fry-ups, these turkey bubble and squeak cakes are the perfect way to reinvent your leftovers. Joe Wicks’ speedy recipe combines cooked turkey meat with brussels sprouts, potatoes, parsnips, gravy and herbs. Served with cranberry sauce, these lean and crispy cakes make a welcome change to some of the heavier Christmas food.
13. Turkey Singapore noodles
Dust off your wok and get sizzling. This vibrant turkey Singapore noodle dish is good if you have brown meat from legs and wings leftover, as it requires shredded meat rather than diced chunks.
14. Turkey cacciatore with a twist
This Italian-style bake will be a crowd-pleaser thanks to its cheesy breadcrumb topping and rich tomato sauce. Our easy turkey cacciatore is just the ticket when all the festive-themed food gets a bit much.
15. Korean rice pot
Keep things nice and light with our speedy Korean-inspired rice pot. This healthy bibimbap combines diced turkey with spinach and shredded carrots, served on a bed of rice. Top with fried eggs and nutty sesame seeds.
16. Turkey & potato curry
Looking for a quick and healthy dish to use up your leftovers? This 20-minute turkey curry also packs in potatoes and peppers in a light tomato sauce. Use your favourite curry paste and serve with naan bread, rice and chutney.
17. Mini turkey & cranberry pies
If you’re in charge of any post-Christmas/pre-New Year entertaining, these mini turkey and cranberry pies will keep your guests happy – just add a block of shortcrust pastry to your big grocery shop.
18. Moroccan turkey salad
Take a break from belt-busting meals and try this light Moroccan-style turkey salad with fried aubergine, cherry tomatoes, harissa and rocket. Finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and mint for a refreshing burst, then enjoy with pitta breads.
19. Coronation turkey with homemade chapatis
This mildly-spiced treat will add a touch of retro charm to a Boxing Day spread. Pick up some roti flour and try your hand at these homemade chapatis with coronation turkey.
20. Leftover turkey slaw
Turn your turkey leftovers and other raw vegetable trimmings into a light and refreshing salad with a punchy lime dressing. Watch our video below and check out this guide for how to make turkey slaw.
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