turkey hacks

This might be sacrilegious, but we don’t really love turkey meat. Sure, sure…we eat it every thanksgiving. But it’s not exactly the tastiest protein. It’s just kinda…there.

We actually like what you can do with turkey leftovers more than the roasted bird itself. Check out our top 10 favorite ideas for leftover turkey meat below… (We’ve also got ideas for leftover cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.)

TURKEY SAMOSAS: Cut rolled out (or store bought) pie dough into about 8 triangles. Top with shredded turkey (lightly salted) and a spoonful of peach or raspberry jam. Fold up corners, pinch, and bake until golden brown.
TURKEY MAC & CHEESE: Mix in while making your favorite baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Add little steamed broccoli too!
TURKEY SALAD WITH GREEN GRAPES: You probably have some leftover celery from the stuffing, right? Make a version of Beekman 1802 Chicken Salad with grapes instead of gooseberries, and turkey instead of chicken.
ASIAN CHOPPED SALAD: Use your food processor to grate carrots, green cabbage, red pepper, cucumber. Toss with chopped turkey, chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro and chopped chile pepper. Dress with a little sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lime juice.
PIZZA TOPPING: Easy enough, right? Try it with pesto instead of red sauce.
TURKEY CURRY: Let’s face it…Thanksgiving tastes good…but it’s a kind of bland menu as a whole. Kick it up with the leftovers. Add turkey to your favorite curry recipe.
CHEESY GRITS & TURKEY: Tired of leftover turkey for lunches and dinner? Try it as a savory breakfast grits bowl. Good with a little chopped apple too.
TOO-TIRED-TO-MAKE-SOUP TURKEY SOUP: Ramen Noodles are becoming quite trendy. You can even find gourmet versions of the cheap packets that got us all through college. Make a nice bowl, and freshen it up with chopped turkey and plenty of freshly chopped cilantro, basil or parsley.
TURKEY CROQUETTES: Finely chop the leftover turkey, mix with a little leftover mashed potatoes and parmesan cheese, and roll into a ball. Dip in beaten egg mixture, roll in panic bread crumbs and fry in vegetable oil. Great with a mustard dipping sauce.
SUPER HEALTHY DETOX SALAD: Finely chop turkey, raw kale & parsley. Mix with chunks of roasted winter squash, chopped dried apricots, and cooked cous-cous. Toss with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Reader Comments

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I think they should be formally renamed panic bread crumbs. I’m never going to call them panko again. This is hilarious. You guys always make me smile and laugh! Awesome!


Great list! Here’s two more:
1) Turkey pumpkin chili! It’s delicious. Use your favorite chili recipe but replace the beans with roasted pureed pumpkin/squash (or the canned stuff). Stir in chunks of turkey toward the end so as just to heat but not cook it. For the spices, I do a pumpkin chili blend — so chili powder and the other usual suspects, plus pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. It’s delicious, and the pumpkin really just creates a gravy that absorbs the flavors — you don’t really taste the pumpkin.
2) You then turn any leftover chili into enchiladas using the chili sauce to spread in the baking dish and dredge the tortillas in before you fill and roll them. Then I top them with the usuals: avocado, crema and cotija or monterey jack and bake covered, then uncovered at the very end. SO good!

Gail Auletta

I’d rather roll the turkey croquettes in panko than in the suggested “panic bread crumbs”! Happy to see that auto correct is not only my enemy!

Catherine Kurczynski

Maybe it was meant to be panko bread crumbs? Autocorrect change panko to pinko on my first attempt. Just saying!


The recipes all sound delicious! Could you provide instructions for making my own panic bread crumbs for the croquette recipe? Really, you guys make farming fun. Hope you had a nice holiday.

Mary Lebrecht

Yes, I was wondering about the breadcrumbs too. Maybe we should sneak up on some stale bread and yell BOO ! before crumbling them ? Lol. ( Kidding, of course… I love everything Josh and Brent do 🙂 ) I’m also wondering how you made that comment at 2:41 PM today when it’s only 11 AM now ? 😉