Top 10 Tasty Leftover Turkey Recipes

by Suzanne Hiscock

Leftover turkey?  You say that like it's a bad thing.  The only thing worse than not having enough turkey is not having enough leftovers!

On its own -- without all the crazy holiday trimmings  -- turkey is an excellent source of lean protein.  At approximately 131 calories, you get 20g of protein and only 5g of fat in one half cup serving of chopped roasted turkey.  Not counting the skin, of course.  Toss that sucker away.

So, what do you do what all that extra turkey the day after?  If you're not making these recipes right away, chop up the leftover meat and separate it into one or two cup freezer bags.  Make sure you remove all air from the bag.  And don't forget to label it with the amount of turkey and the date.

This way, all you need to do is defrost the meat before you try one of the tasty recipes down below. 

While the Food Safety and Inspection Services says you can freeze cooked turkey pieces for up to 4 months and keep the taste, I try to use leftovers within a month or so.

With these delicious leftover turkey recipes, you may want to cook turkey more often!

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  1. Tasty's Leftover Turkey Soup

    Buzzfeed's Tasty section has a drop-dead simple soup to make with your turkey leftovers. They keep it simple with only onions, carrots and celery as your vegetables.  But feel free to add your favorite veggies to the pot.

    Check out their video to see how easy it is to make.  I posted the ingredients and instructions down below.


    Leftover Turkey Soup Perfect For After Turkey Day

    Posted by Tasty on Friday, November 20, 2015



    • 4 tbsp. butter
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 4 carrots, sliced
    • 4 celery sticks, chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 lbs cooked turkey, chopped
    • 64 fl. oz. chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 cups parsley
    • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 8 oz. egg noodles (optional)



    Melt the butter and add in the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes.

    Add in the turkey, chicken broth, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    After 30 minutes, add in the egg noodles and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata

    While most people think "breakfast" when they hear the word "frittata", there's nothing wrong with eating this delish dish any time of the day. I have to agree with Gina Homolka, the recipe's creator when she says, "In fact, I would make turkey again, just to make this frittata."

    While it's a touch more labor-intensive than the other recipes on this page, one serving contains only 170 calories. Well worth it!

    Check out Gina's cookbook, The Skinnytaste Cookbook , with recipes that are "light on calories, big on taste.

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  3. Turkey, Dill and Orzo Soup

    Another easy-to-make recipe is this Turkey, Dill and Orzo Soup from  Ten minutes of prep time, plus another 25 to cook means you'll be lapping up this low calorie soup in no time.

    I recommend using fresh dill to add not only a unique flavor to this soup, but a bit of calcium and Vitamin C.

    While this recipe calls for orzo, a type of pasta, you can replace the orzo with rice.

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  4. Tex Mex Turkey Soup

    This Mexican-style soup from cook, SStrawder, has been made over 300 times and rates a 4.5 stars out of five. It takes a bit more time to make, but judging by the reviews, it's worth it.

    Go easy on the toppings or use low-fat versions of ingredients to make this a lower calorie soup.

    Add more jalapeno if you like spicy soups. And use chicken broth instead of water for more flavor.

    Personally, I'd skip the tomato soup.

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  5. Turkey, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Soup

    Mmm-mmm, what can I say but, "Yum!" Quinoa and sweet potatoes, two of my favorite ingredients.

    You get a protein and fiber boost from the quinoa, while the sweet potatoes provide Vitamin A and Vitamin C. says, "This soup has a nicely flavored, slightly spicy, stock scented with herbs and a little ginger."

    They make their own turkey stock, but you can use canned turkey or chicken stock instead.

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  6. Turkey Waldorf Salad

    With ingredients like celery, apples and grapes this salad is crisp AND fresh.  At a total time of 20 minutes to make, it's a recipe even a beginner can make.

    I like that it uses non-fat yogurt and only a couple of tablespoons of mayo.

    You can even use your leftover Thanksgiving nuts instead of the pecans. But pecans do add a buttery crunch.

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  7. Curry Turkey Salad

    "Quick, easy and delicious," is how one reviewer describes this recipe. It has honey-lime dressing and uses low-fat sour cream and yogurt to keep the calories low.

    The recipe calls for 20 mini-pita breads, but feel free to skip them. You can eat the salad on its own without the added empty calories of bread.

    This recipe serves 4, with about 1 cup of salad per person. At 1/2 cup of chopped turkey per person, you'll get at least 20g of protein per serving.

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  8. Turkey and Corn Enchiladas

    Mix 5 ingredients together, spoon it onto tortillas, add some toppings and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes. That's how easy this recipe is!

    The recipe calls for store-bought enchilada sauce, but feel free to make your own.

    If you check out the comments, several people mention that corn tortillas should be used to make the dish authentic. Adding a bit of refried beans can bump up the fiber content.

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  9. Turkey and Poblano Chili


    If you're looking for a milder chili, this recipe is the way to go. Poblano peppers are up to 8 times milder than a jalapeno, according to

    While you can simply chop up the poblano, Pati's Mexican Table shows you how to prep poblanos. Roasting them first will boost the flavor up a few notches without adding heat.

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  10. Leftover Turkey Chili

    Unlike the poblano chili up above, this recipe from the Food Network uses jalapeno for that extra kick. This recipe serves eight and is graded at an "easy" level.

    It recommends serving the chili over leftover mashed potatoes. But if you're anything like me when making mashed potatoes for the holidays, it's probably full of cream and butter. I'd recommend a 1/2 cup of rice or just serving the chili on its own instead.

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About the Author

Suzanne is the owner of FitWatch. She's had strong interest in nutrition and exercise for over 20 years, and is an ACE-certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. Back in 2002, she started because she wanted to help people lose weight by creating helpful tools and calculators. A huge fan of calorie counting, Suzanne created the FitWatch Fitness Tracker to make it easy for people to count their calories.