Chef John's Best Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Tamale Pie
Turkey Tamale Pie . Photo: Chef John

Chef John's Thanksgiving recipes are hard to beat. But don't sleep on his holiday dinner leftovers! You do not want to miss Thanksgiving, the Sequel, featuring recipes that are arguably bigger and better than the originals. That's because Chef John knows the secret to a great Thanksgiving leftover recipe: "Lots of flavor, not a lot of ingredients, and the ability to stand on its own rather than remind us of the meal it came from." Enjoy this diverse selection of recipes for using up your Thanksgiving leftovers!

01 of 11

Turkey Manicotti

Turkey Manicotti on a white plate
Allrecipes Magazine

"When you're looking for something completely different to use up those turkey leftovers, this could be it!" says Chef John. This manicotti recipe completely disguises the turkey, hiding it in homemade crepes covered with tomato sauce and cheese. "A tender, eggy pasta-like crepe enfolds the cheesy, amazing filling," says Chef John. The crepes are easy to make. But you can use the pasta tubes if you prefer.

02 of 11

Gravy-Stuffed Stuffing Muffins

Gravy-Stuffed Stuffing Muffins
Chef John

Chef John makes these stuffing muffins from scratch for the Thanksgiving table. But they're also an undeniably brilliant way to use up leftover Thanksgiving stuffing and gravy. "They're a must-try for any stuffing fanatic," says Chef John.

03 of 11

Turkey Tamale Pie

Tamale casserole in white casserole dish
Chef John

"Even if your turkey is perfectly cooked, the reheated leftovers can be a little dry and uninteresting," says Chef John. "This tamale pie will rescue the last remnants of your bird in an exciting and flavorful way. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro if desired."

04 of 11

Chef John's Sweet Potato Biscuits

Chef John's Sweet Potato Biscuits
Chef John

Here's a great way to repurpose your leftover Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. These buttery biscuits are moist, tender, and flaky. "Amazing with just plain butter," says Chef John. "But for a little seasonal twist, I made a pomegranate spread."

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05 of 11

Sweet Potato Buns

Sweet Potato Buns
lutzflcat

Hold off on the turkey sandwiches until these sweet potato buns are out of the oven! They're another great way to extend leftover mashed sweet potatoes. "These are the perfect taste, texture, and appearance for a hamburger bun," says Chef John. "Not only does adding sweet potatoes to a burger bun make it more nutritious, delicious, and significantly more beautiful, but it also presents the perfect opportunity to get past your flour-amount phobia, and finally be able to make dough by feel."

06 of 11

Chef John's Turkey Noodle Casserole

Turkey and noodle casserole in white dish on marble counter top
Tyla Ward

Here's how Chef John handles a classic, old-school American casserole. He jazzes it up, naturally, with diced red and green peppers, garam masala, and spicy cheese. He keeps the crushed potato-chip topping, of course! "This delicious casserole is for leftover leftovers," says Chef John. "I don't know about you, but after a few days of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, no matter how tasty they originally were, I want something that makes me forget there's even turkey in it."

07 of 11

Turkey Tom Kha Gai

bowl of Turkey Tom Kha Gai with lime wedges
Chef John

Spicy, fast, and easy to make, this is the tasty Thai soup starring coconut milk. I's also a great way to use up the last of your turkey meat, bringing it back to life in a unique and delicious way. "This is my take on Tom Kha Gai, and as usual I make no claim as to its authenticity," says Chef John. "I do know it tastes amazing and will make you forget you even roasted a turkey. Garnish with chili oil, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges."

08 of 11

Chef John's Shepherd's Pie

Chef John's Shepherd's Pie
fabeverydayblog

Here's one for the leftover mashed potatoes. You can also conceal leftover holiday green beans benath your creamy canopy of delicious baked mashers. "Shepherd's pie recipes are traditionally done with lamb, but are great with any ground meat--turkey and beef being the most popular modern versions," says Chef John. "Give this great casserole a try, and watch everyone flock to the table."

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09 of 11

Instant Potato Pancakes

Instant Potato Pancakes
Chef John

Although the recipe calls for instant mashed potatoes, leftover holiday mashed potatoes will be just as delicious. The recipe and Chef John's video describes the method for making mashed potato pancakes. "These crispy, crusty, delicious potato pancakes are nothing more than cold instant mashed potatoes shaped into patties and browned in butter," says Chef John. "A sprinkle of chives adds color and flavor."

10 of 11

Turkey Rice

Turkey Rice
Chef John

"What ultimately sets a great holiday leftover dish apart from the rest? The answer: lots of flavor, not a lot of ingredients, and the ability to stand on its own rather than remind us of the meal it came from," says Chef John. "This turkey rice, which is in fact a little more turkey than rice, checks all the boxes, and a fresh, 3-ingredient salsa adds the bright finishing touch.

11 of 11

Turkey Matzo Ball Soup

Turkey Matzo Ball Soup
Chef John

"Soup is always an obvious choice for leftover turkey," says Chef John. And with light and tender matzo balls, turkey soup is an entire meal. Chef John takes a minimalist approach here. It's just homemade matzo balls perched in a wonderfully rich and flavorful turkey broth. And that's enough!

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