Post-Thanksgiving: What to do with turkey leftover?

November 24, 2022

After Thanksgiving, what do you do with all the turkey leftover????

I used to struggle with this.  After a while, you get completely bored with turkey sandwich and salad. No more.

Would you like some recipes you can use for turkey leftovers, and never get bored?   How about a super multi-duty recipe you can use for many dishes after you make the base?  Specifically, 2 everyday soups, 1 elegant stew, pot pies, crepe fillings, gratins etc. and oh, don’t forget, broth to make everything delicious later, out of pretty much one recipe?

The following rotisserie chicken leftover recipes can work with turkey beautifully. I normally give this only to the students who come to my hands-on classes.  Since ’tis a time to give thanks, please accept this as my thank-you gift to you, for your feedback, comments, and support.  Thank you — they keep me inspired, so please keep them coming!

Now you are all set for all the turkey leftovers!  (Where the recipe says “Rotisserie Chicken”, substitute with turkey leftover.)

1. Super Multi-purpose Vegetable Soups & Waterzooi (Creamy Belgian Poultry Stew) recipe

  • Use about 3-4 lbs of turkey leftovers including bones for the same amount of chicken on the recipe.
  • For turkey broth, you’d want to cook it for couple of hours minimum for the best flavor, so cut the veggie bigger in bite size pieces, add them after 1 hour or so, if you don’t like your veggies too soft.
  • You can make a larger batch of vegetable soup.  Take the turkey meat and bones out and freeze in easy to use portions (1-2 qt batches).  When freezing, do not add potatoes — freezing will make them spongy.
  • Or you can strain all the vegetables and meat, and make turkey broth and freeze the broth. I normally prefer freezing it thin and flat like other things (up to 1 1/2 cups for a quate size bag), or you can also use ice cube tray for smaller quantities, but when you make a huge quantity like this, just freeze in 1-2 qt batches in a container.  When using, thaw, reheat the whole thing, and store in the refrigerator and use it in 3-4 days.
  • After you take the meat and bones out, you can puree the veggies and serve as a side dish or under turkey, chicken, fish etc.
  • Or dilute a bit with broth or cream, and use it as a sauce.
  • The leftover waterzooi can be transformed into many dishes such as turkey pot pie, sauce for pasta, gratin or doria (mix with cooked and buttered pasta or rice, cover with more waterzooi, and top with grated cheeses and bake until bubbly and golden brown.)
  • A super elegant (could be served to guests!) alternative is Waterzooi Crepe Gratin.  Basically, I used extra crepes from breakfast to wrap the waterzooi leftover inside, cover with white sauce (this one was frozen thin and flat in my freezer when I made extra — heat in the microwave first to avoid separation), top with torn sliced cheese, and bake until bubbly and golden brown.  Perfect comfort food on a cold day!  No one will notice that you made this in less than 5 minutes hands-on time, all with leftovers.  For a small family, I highly recommend baking it in the toaster oven.  No pre-heating required, so it’s much faster!


If you still have more turkey left, I’d recommend you shred them smaller. Very handy when you are busy and hungry.  You can throw them into pasta, soups, make sandwiches, mix with mayo or vinaigrette and some other veggies to make salads… the sky is the limit!  Here are couple of examples.

2.  Chicken (turkey) and Shiitake with Grated Daikon and Ponzu
3.  Quesadilla

When one of my readers Becky was reading my blog a few days ago, she came across  Tom Kha Gai, Thai coconut milk soup with chicken, and she commented possibly making it with turkey leftover.  What a great idea!

Use the strained broth to make these soups and curries.

4. Tom Kha Turkey (Thai Coconut Milk Soup)

and from that, you can make

5. Thai Coconut Noodle Soup with Turkey, and

6.  Thai Curry with Turkey

If you have any questions, feel free to post it in the comment section. : )

Happy Turkey Day!

Related posts:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ken B December 5, 2022 at 9:00 am

Thanks Mari, for getting the copies that I bought to me, and also to Andrew N. Noriko S and Andrew S’s beautiful photos are the icing on the cake (so to speak)!

2 Mari @ Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard December 5, 2022 at 8:26 pm

Ken, my pleasure. Hope you like the book. Pls be sure to write an Amazon review (ask your friend who gets the 2nd copy too) — they are worth the weight of gold.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: