Everybody digs into the feast with gusto — but there always seems to be an excess of turkey meat after the meal, begging the question: What can you do with the cold turkey meat lurking in your fridge long after the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy run dry?
Beyond the holiday, turkey is a meat usually relegated to summertime turkey burgers and wholesome white bread turkey sandwiches lovingly packed into lunch boxes. It’s all pretty run-of-the-mill boring, don’t you think?
But turkey is a mild, lean meat, making it as versatile as it is delicious, and we should be doing more than simply roasting the bird whole, building lunchtime sandwiches, or reheating Thanksgiving leftovers.
Here is an ultimate turkey recipe roundup to show you all the wonderful things you can do with turkey — the white meat, the dark meat, and even the mangled roasted carcass. From Thanksgiving turkey, to ingenious leftover-inspired recipes, to recipes you could make all year round, check out this list of 35 awesome turkey recipes
Forget about teeny tiny chicken wings and make these giant, satisfying turkey wings instead!
Beer-can turkey is smoky, succulent, and tender — all you have to do is heat your grill or smoker to 300 degrees, shove a partially filled beer can up your bird’s, er, cavity, and cook the turkey to a perfect 160 degrees.
This chili freezes, thaws, and reheats beautifully, making it great for storing in your freezer for a rainy day.
Deep-frying turkey may seem daunting, but this recipe will make the process easy and very doable. All you need is your bird, a few quarts of hot sauce, and a lot of oil.
This pan-seared turkey is topped with a gremolata made with parsley, sage, garlic, lemon, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Chef Craig Deihl brines the bird before roasting it, adding, "The brine makes the difference between a good turkey and a great one."
Stuff bell peppers with a mixture of ground or diced turkey breast, brown rice, onions, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. The cheesy breadcrumb topping bakes up crispy and utterly delicious.
Having this easy dinner in your cooking repertoire will guarantee you turn to turkey on many days other than Thanksgiving!
Shred your leftover T-Day turkey and add a touch of chipotle chile powder and Worcestershire sauce to make these spicy pulled turkey sandwiches.
Roasted turkey tenderloins cook in a third of the time of a big Thanksgiving turkey but still have all those comforting turkey flavors.
To smoke a turkey, put the bird on a rack in a large, deep aluminum pan, and place the pan in the smoker. Smoke it for five hours and then serve one of the tastiest turkeys you will ever come across.
Spinach Stuffed Turkey Breast
Spinach, feta, ricotta, scallions, parsley, and dill are mixed together then stuffed inside turkey breasts in this delicious dish.
Pizza is always a good idea — try this version topped with tomato, spinach, and shredded or cubed turkey meat.
My Wellness Solutions
Spiced turkey and creamy avocado are placed into a lettuce leaf for a lean take on turkey tacos.
Sweet and Spicy Monkey
This delicious slow cooker recipe is easy to make. If you have any leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this is a wonderful recipe that will transform it into a whole new dish.
This recipe from Ina Garten will ensure you make turkey any time of year.
This turkey, apple, and cranberry salad uses sour cream to punctuate the sweetness of the fruits. Try this salad served over a bed of lettuce or in between two slices of bread.
Malou Perez Nievera
This take on phở is in no way authentic, but the long-simmering broth has wonderful flavor and depth that will certainly hit the spot almost like an authentic bowl of phở would.
This dish transforms the cold, uneaten turkey residing in your fridge into a cheesy and comforting weeknight meal.
These enchiladas are smothered in a creamy and spicy tomatillo sauce and melty Chihuahua cheese.
Laab is a Thai ground meat dish, and this version is made by mincing leftover turkey meat very finely. The turkey is then paired with vegetables and tossed in a citrusy dressing, topped with mint and cilantro, and placed on toasted bread.
Delicious, indulgent, and economical — these are the perfect appetizers for any post-holiday party!
Serve these turkey meatballs with mozzarella and a side of tomato sauce for dipping.
For a leaner loaf that doesn’t skimp on flavor, replace the ground beef with ground turkey for a delicious meatloaf variation.
Whole Foods Market
Taco seasoning and a splash of beer create a flavorful base for these nachos. Feel free to mix up the ingredients — substitute black beans for pinto or use halved cherry tomatoes and fresh jalapeños in the pico.
Use your rich homemade turkey stock and leftover turkey meat to make this comforting classic.
Your leftover turkey is enrobed in a flavorful sauce studded with vegetables and covered with a super-flaky and golden puff pastry crust.
This dish pairs leftover turkey meat with a rich mushroom sauce and is served over noodles. The cranberries underscore the seasonality of the ingredients and add a burst of tartness and color to an otherwise very brown and heavy dish.
Don’t throw out your roasted turkey bones or carcass! These are key ingredients in making an intensely flavorful turkey stock. Save the stock for turkey matzo soup, or this turkey soup with dumplings. For a hands-free, no-stress version, try making stock in your slow-cooker.
This stock can also be frozen, either in quart containers to make soup later on or in ice cube trays so you can use small amounts of stock to enrich sauces, pastas, and risottos.
Make this soup with turkey stock and leftover turkey. Along with the dumplings and the earthiness of the vegetables, this dish is pure comfort. Be sure to use a hearty and thick noodle, like orzo, to stand up against prolonged heat and exposure to moisture.
For many, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the turkey sandwich that gets made with all of the delicious leftovers! This recipe will enable you to make a delicious turkey sandwich, full of festive flavor without having to roast an entire turkey.
Garlic, bacon, and herbs take a classic, but often bland, post-Thanksgiving dish up to the next level.
This lasagna folds ground turkey into a decadent mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, and Alfredo sauce and then layers it all in between lasagna noodles. Leftover turkey would work well, too.
The yogurt-based turkey glaze makes a luxuriously thick basting liquid and lends a sweet and tangy flavor to the skin and meat. For more turkey inspiration, check out our 101 best Thanksgiving recipes.