Find the easiest ways to use leftover turkey when you end up with some left from Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another meal. These are quick, yummy, and kid-friendly.
Whenever I make a turkey for a holiday, or just make a smaller cut like turkey tenderloin or breast, I find that we usually have a lot left over. To help me make good use of it and not let it go to waste, I often repurpose it into a new recipe.
This keeps things interesting and often is more appealing to my kids. I put all my favorite ways to use leftover turkey here so you have them all in one place.
(You might like my kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes too.)
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Turkey Noodle Soup
Enjoy turkey the warmest and most comforting way with this simple soup recipe. It’s soothing when illness strikes and makes for a fast and yummy meal when you need it.
White Turkey Chili
Mix fully cooked turkey into a base of flavorful white chili for a satisfying meal to share with the family.
Creamy Turkey Pasta
You can make the sauce ahead of time to get a jump start on the process if you want, or you can make it all in the moment. This recipe works with fresh or frozen cauliflower (the flavor of both is mild and not very noticeable) and whichever type of pasta your family prefers, too. And of course, you can substitute turkey for chicken!
Sweet Potato Turkey Bowls
Make quick work of feeding the family with this sheet pan Sweet Potato Chicken (or substitute turkey) Bowls recipe that works as a meal-prep idea or as a family meal. In under 30 minutes, you can cook up a delicious dinner that’s endlessly adaptable for the unique eaters at your table.
Sheet Pan Black Bean Quesadillas
Learn how to make a big batch of quesadillas for the family all at the same time with these easy oven-baked Sheet Pan Black Bean Quesadillas. They’re flavorful, straight-forward, and so delish! Add turkey right inside for a delicious addition!
Quick Pizza Quesadillas
When I want a quick and easy kids meal using pantry staples, I often turn to Pizza Quesadillas. These are ready in about 6 minutes, have classic pizza flavor with a soft and easy-to-chew texture, and are almost endlessly versatile! Tuck turkey right inside for extra protein!
Easy Chili Mac
Cheesy, comforting, and packed with plant-based protein and veggies, this family-friendly Chili Mac is a super yummy dinner for everyone at the table. Add shredded cooked turkey alongside the cheese for a yummy meal.
Big Batch Turkey Chili
Loaded with kid-friendly vegetables including sweet potato and corn, this chili makes enough for two dinners—so you can stash one in the freezer for a future meal that’s all ready to go! And if you have a meat-lover in the family, add shredded turkey at the end of the cooking process to have a dinner that pleases everyone.
Quick Orzo Soup
With a quick cooking time, veggie-loaded base, and most comforting flavor, this easy Orzo Soup is an all-time favorite family meal. It’s soothing when illness strikes and makes for a fast and yummy meal when you need it. Stir in finely diced turkey at the end to warm through.
Easy Turkey Burrito Bowls
With pantry staples including rice and beans, roasted veggies, and assorted toppings, these burrito bowls are one of my go-to family meals since they’re easy to pull together AND customize for everyone at the table. Just add chopped cooked turkey to the bowl for a great protein option.
Easy Turkey Wrap Recipe
Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It’s a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. Use thinly sliced turkey breast meat or shredded turkey.
How to Store Leftover Turkey
Slice, shred, or dice the turkey—according to how you plan to use it later—and store in a container in the refrigerator.
Or, you can place into a freezer bag in the portion size you plan to use, so I usually do 2 cups, and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Then you can freeze the meat for up to 6 months and add (still frozen) right into any recipe that will heat it through such as soup, chili, or stew.
Best Tips for Success
- Let the turkey cool completely before storing.
- Store it cut the way you plan to use it later to simplify things for future you.
- If freezing, freeze in the portions that you plan to use it later. I usually do 2 cups.
- Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag to reduce the potential for ice crystals.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share.