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40 Leftover Turkey & Chicken Recipes – Food Ideas That Are Easy to Make

Chicken and turkey are two of the most popular meats in the United States. In fact, Thanksgiving is all about sharing a meal that typically revolves around turkey, and many families celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays with a fowl-centric feast. And while we tend to reserve turkeys for the holidays, chicken is a popular dinner choice throughout the year, whether you roast a whole chicken yourself or pick up a rotisserie bird at the grocery store.

But whether it’s a holiday or a Wednesday, the birds can be huge. Unless you have a large family, you’ll probably have lots of leftover meat. And eating the same chicken or turkey sandwich, even if it’s a great one, gets tiresome. Thankfully, many recipes let you repurpose leftover turkey or chicken into new and exciting meals.

Leftover Turkey & Chicken Recipes

Leftover chicken and turkey are incredibly versatile ingredients, and you can make any leftover turkey recipes with chicken (and vice versa). Use them to make classic comfort food, quick breakfasts, or light summertime lunches.

1. Homemade Chicken or Turkey Gravy

Gravy is a flavorful addition anytime you’re eating turkey or chicken. This recipe uses leftover chicken or turkey bones (or a whole carcass) and some chicken stock to make a thick, lightly seasoned gravy.

Get the full recipe on Leite’s Culinaria.

2. Chicken or Turkey Potpie

Poultry potpie is a classic cold-weather comfort food the whole family will love. My family-favorite recipe features tender meat and your choice of frozen veggies immersed in hearty gravy. It’s a particularly good recipe for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but you can make it with any meat you’ve got any time of year.

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Inactive Time: 30 – 40 minutes | Cook Time: 50 – 60 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour – 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour, plus more for pie crust
  • 12 ounces chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken or turkey, cubed
  • 8 ounces mixed frozen vegetables (such as peas and carrots)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts, thawed

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the onion, carrot, and celery for 2 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and the flour, stirring until blended. Let the flour cook until it forms a dark blond roux.
  4. Slowly add the broth and milk, stirring until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken or turkey and frozen vegetables, then heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the filling into one of the pie crusts. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Remove the other pie crust from the tin by turning it upside down on the work surface. Gently press it flat. The edges may crack as you do, and that’s OK. Lightly flour the top of the pie crust and use a rolling pin to fully flatten the crust, repairing any cracked edges as you do. Carefully transfer the flattened crust to cover the pot pie, crimping the edges and slitting the top to vent.
  7. Place the pie on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet to prevent leaks from causing a mess in the oven.
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Cooks Note: This dish is very flexible, and the ingredients are guidelines more than rules. You can substitute many kinds of meat (beef is another common one) and almost any vegetable you can think of into the meal, making it a delicious way to clear out your refrigerator or pantry.

3. Chicken or Turkey & Stuffing Casserole

This relatively easy meal gives you a taste of the holidays any night of the year. It also keeps well so you can have leftovers later in the week.

Serves: 6 – 8

Prep Time: 10 – 20  minutes | Inactive Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 40 – 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (8-ounce) tub sour cream
  • 1 pound roast turkey or chicken, cut into chunks
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables (such as peas and carrots), thawed
  • 1 (6-ounce) box stuffing mix, prepared according to package directions

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the soup and sour cream. Then add the chicken and vegetables to the bowl, and mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 13-inch-by-9-inch casserole dish, cover with a layer of stuffing, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the stuffing is golden brown.

Cooks Note: If you’re trying to use up Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers, you can substitute about 6 cups of homemade stuffing for prepackaged and use fresh or leftover vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or green beans, instead of frozen. You can also use different kinds of meat, roasted or otherwise, though chicken and turkey work best.

4. Chicken Stir-Fry

This quick Asian-inspired stir-fry gives leftover chicken a completely new flavor without using many unusual ingredients. Just cook broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers until crisp-tender before seasoning them with fragrant garlic and ginger. Then toss in the poultry and dress with a nutty sweet-and-spicy sauce.

Get the full recipe on Mom on Timeout.

5. Leftover Turkey Breakfast Hash

This hash turns leftover turkey into a hearty breakfast. Fry the leftover turkey with bacon until both are crisp and spoon it over a mix of thyme-seasoned fried potatoes and corn before topping the whole thing with a sunny-side-up egg. If you have leftover baked potatoes, you can adapt this recipe to use by shredding those instead.

Get the full recipe on Marina Makes.

6. Turkey, Cranberry, & Brie Wraps

Wrap leftover turkey, creamy brie, sweet-tart cranberry sauce, and peppery arugula in a tortilla or flavored wrap — spinach or sweet potato would be good. These don’t require any cooking, making them perfect for a simple, summery lunch.

Get the full recipe on Good Housekeeping.

7. Middle Eastern Chicken or Turkey Curry & Rice

This recipe uses a Middle Eastern curry to turn leftover chicken or turkey into an entirely new dish with a combination of savory and warming spices with red pepper for heat. You can use coconut or olive oil, depending on what you have on hand.

Get the full recipe on Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen.

8. Avocado Turkey Salad

Turn leftover turkey into a healthy lunch by mixing it with salad greens, buttery avocados, and grape tomatoes. Toss it with a homemade creamy garlic dressing.

Get the full recipe on Taste of Home.

9. Chicken Breakfast Quesadilla

This quick breakfast takes just six ingredients to make. After sauteeing some fresh green peppers, cook your leftover chicken with black beans, eggs, and cheese. Layer the cheesy chicken filling between two whole-wheat tortillas and grill.

Get the full recipe on The Worktop.

10. Curry Chicken Salad

Put a twist on the classic chicken salad formula by transforming it into an exciting spiced sandwich filling. There’s no need to make a DIY spice mix. Keep it simple by sticking to store-bought curry powder.

Get the full recipe on Budget Bytes.

11. Southwestern Chicken Casserole

This pantry recipe lets you repurpose leftover chicken without heading to the store. Instead, rely on canned goods like diced tomatoes, corn, and black beans and some common Southwestern pantry spices like chile powder and cumin. You can adjust the cheese and spice levels to taste.

Get the full recipe on The Kitchn.

12. Loaded Turkey Panini

After a busy day, you don’t need much energy to make this quick turkey panini packed with the complementary flavors of salty bacon and goat cheese, mild and buttery muenster, and woody sage. Add a sweet-tart kick with a little cranberry sauce or raspberry jam.

Get the full recipe on Pinch of Yum.

13. Loaded Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Turn leftover chicken into a zesty pizza by layering it over barbecue sauce-topped pizza dough with red onion and sweet corn, then topping it with plenty of shredded cheddar and mozzarella. If you don’t have a pizza stone, a baking sheet works in a pinch. For a fun family night, turn them into individual pies, and let everyone customize their own.

Get the full recipe on The Schmidty Wife.

14. Chicken Crepes

Versatile crepes work well with sweet or savory fillings. So make yourself a serving of these simple chicken crepes with cheese, parsley, and onion, and follow them up with some crepes filled with fruit and whipped cream or a sweet spread like Nutella.

Get the full recipe on Sustain My Cooking Habit.

15. Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

The Kentucky hot brown is a traditional Bluegrass State sandwich. The Spruce Eats’ recipe combines chicken or turkey with tomato, crisp bacon, and a cheddar-Parmesan cheese sauce on toast to make an open-face sandwich.

Get the full recipe on The Spruce Eats

16. Leftover Chicken Risotto

This recipe makes leftover chicken into a rich risotto you can serve as a side dish or main course. Short-grain Arborio rice breaks down as it cooks, giving risotto its characteristic creaminess — with a helping hand from freshly grated Grana Padano cheese. Add some frozen peas for sweetness and bite. If you can’t find Grana Padano, you can use any hard, slightly salty Italian cheese, like Parmesan or Asiago.

Get the full recipe on BBC Food.

17. Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

The rich and creamy avgolemono, or lemon-egg sauce, makes this soup a hearty meal for cold winter nights. This traditional Greek chicken-and-rice soup gets added flavor from fragrant aromatics like onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. And because it refrigerates and freezes well, it’s the perfect recipe for batch cooking.

Get the full recipe on The Mediterranean Dish.

18. One-Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

The combination of herby basil pesto and cream cheese gives this pasta its bright and creamy sauce. The recipe calls for uncooked chicken, but you can substitute precooked chicken by adding it near the end, before the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, and letting it heat through.

Get the full recipe on BudgetBytes.

19. Turkey-Cranberry Grilled Cheese

Purists might argue that adding anything but cheese to a grilled cheese turns the sandwich into a melt. But it’s hard to argue how delicious this turkey-cranberry sandwich is. For best results, use canned jellied cranberry sauce for slices that hold together well in the sandwich. It’s a surprising complement to the creamy Havarti and Brie cheeses.

Get the full recipe on Domestic Superhero.

20. Mexican Tortilla Casserole

If you have leftover chicken and tortillas from burrito night, turn them into a cheesy casserole. This recipe calls for uncooked chicken, but you can use cooked by tossing cold chicken in with the Mexican spices to warm it gently before adding the water. Assemble it like lasagna, with layers of the spiced chicken, bright salsa verde, kidney and pinto beans, rice, sweet corn, red enchilada sauce, tortillas, and a full pound of cheddar-Jack cheese. Change things up by chopping the chicken in a food processor to give the casserole a more uniform texture.

Get the full recipe on Food Network

21. Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Repurpose leftover chicken or turkey into a cheesy casserole that includes some roughage in the form of broccoli so you can say it’s healthy. The recipe instructs you to boil uncooked chicken, but you can easily shred leftover chicken instead.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

22. Chicken or Turkey Ramen

This soup combines a hearty, complex broth made with fragrant ginger, soy sauce, and mirin with noodles, chicken or turkey, a soft-boiled egg, and earthy shiitake mushrooms. But the broth is the star of the show, so resist the urge to substitute a canned or boxed broth.

While this recipe calls for uncooked chicken, since you make the components separately, you can substitute leftover chicken as long as you didn’t season it heavily with spices other than salt and pepper.

Get the full recipe on Fork Knife Swoon.

23. Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is a classic Southern dish that bathes chicken and vegetables in a creamy broth and combines it with light and fluffy dumplings. To substitute leftover chicken, just put some butter in a pan and skip to Step 2. Then shred the meat, and add it to the soup after you cook the dumplings, letting the pieces warm through before serving.

Get the full recipe on Taste of Home.

24. Chicken & Waffles

With this recipe, leftover fried chicken won’t make it past the next morning. For the uninitiated, chicken and waffles is a sweet and savory dish popular in many areas of the United States, and you can eat it for breakfast or dinner.

Reheat the leftover fried chicken in a warm oven or air fryer to enjoy the textural combo of crisp, moist chicken and fluffy waffles with sweet cream butter and warm maple syrup.

Get the full recipe on Grandbaby Cakes.

25. Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a quick — if unexciting — summer side dish. Elevate it to main course status by adding leftover chicken to a mix of tricolor pasta, juicy grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions and dressing it all with homemade ranch.

Get the full recipe on Spend With Pennies.

26. Turkey & Stuffing Stuffed Peppers

This recipe transforms leftover Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing into a visually appealing and healthy meal. And the bright flavors of the pepper make this meal feel lighter than a typical leftover sandwich.

Get the full recipe on Delish.

27. Chicken Nachos

Whether you’re sitting down to watch a big game or entertaining last-minute guests, nachos are an easy way to please. This recipe combines classic nacho ingredients like sharp cheddar or mild Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, and black olives with leftover chicken and black beans.

Get the full recipe on The Kitchn.

28. Buffalo Chicken Dip

Turn leftover chicken into a spicy baked dip by mixing it with Frank’s Red Hot, sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, American cheese, and blue cheese, then baking it until it’s melty, bubbling, and brown. Serve it with chips, bread, celery sticks, and baby carrots.

Get the full recipe on Cafe Delites.

29. Gobbler Sandwich

Whether you call it a Gobbler or Thanksgiving sandwich, it’s a classic way to eat leftover turkey and fixings like gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. One trick I like to use, inspired by the ‘90s sitcom “Friends,” is to place an extra slice of gravy-soaked bread in the middle of the sandwich to add some extra moisture and flavor. If you’re making it outside the holiday, you can use boxed stuffing instead of leftovers and red plum jam for the cranberry sauce.

Get the full recipe on Rachel Ray Magazine.

30. Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup

Nothing hits the spot on a cold winter evening like a bowl of homemade chicken or turkey noodle soup. Thanks to leftover poultry, you can have it ready in half an hour on a weeknight after work.

Get the full recipe on Averie Cooks.

31. Chicken & Lime Tortilla Soup

This soup is imbued with Tex-Mex spices, giving it a different flavor profile from most other chicken soups. The toasted tortilla strips add crunch for texture. Though the recipe calls for uncooked chicken, you can substitute precooked chicken warmed in the soup’s broth.

Get the full recipe on Epicurious.

32. Leftover Turkey Casserole

This quick and easy recipe uses leftover turkey and cornbread with frozen vegetables. If you’re trying to use up leftover food from the holidays, substitute homemade gravy for store-bought and stuffing for the cornbread.

Get the full recipe on Dinner Then Dessert.

33. Turkey Tetrazzini

You can combine leftover spaghetti and turkey to make this creamy, cheesy turkey pasta casserole. You can play around with the cheeses to adjust the flavor profile. Be selective about the cheeses you use. Try to get high-quality, whole-block cheeses instead of the grated stuff in a plastic container. Whole-block Parmesan is nuttier than the powdered stuff. And look for an aged or even smoked cheddar.

Get the full recipe on Taste of Home.

34. Turkey Salad

Turn leftover turkey into a light sandwich filling with just enough mayo and Dijon mustard. Add lemon juice and dill for brightness and diced celery and green onions for a fresh crunch. It keeps well in the refrigerator, so you can make a large batch on the weekend and have quick and easy lunches for the week ahead.

Get the full recipe on Just a Taste.

35. Chicken Calzone

Calzones are small, portable hand pies that are crowd-pleasers at a gathering. This recipe uses creamy ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan to make an Italian-spiced filling to spoon into your choice of store-bought or homemade pizza dough. Top that with your leftover chicken and some pizza sauce along with veggies like green peppers and mushrooms before forming the hand pies and baking them until they’re golden brown.

They also freeze well, so you can make them ahead and warm them up when you need to eat on the go.

Get the full recipe on Immaculate Bites.

36. Turkey Frittata

Frittatas are a quick and super-versatile breakfast. This recipe uses turkey, potatoes, and bell peppers to make a cheesy, filling breakfast, but you can add other vegetables if you have them on hand or want to switch things up.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

37. Thanksgiving Ring

Whether you’re using Thanksgiving leftovers or just need to feed a crowd, this appetizer is visually appealing and sure to please. Stuff leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce into buttery, garlic-seasoned crescent rolls formed into a ring and baked. Serve with a bowl of gravy in the center for dipping. If you’re not using holiday leftovers, you can make up a quick batch of boxed stuffing and use strawberry or raspberry jam in place of the cranberry sauce.

Get the full recipe on Delish.

38. Air Fryer Turkey Croquettes

If you have an air fryer, you can turn leftover turkey into crispy croquettes suitable for an appetizer or part of the main course. Filled with nutty Parmesan and Swiss cheeses and herbs like sage and rosemary, these crispy medallions are perfect for dipping in sour cream or leftover gravy.

Get the full recipe on Taste of Home.

39. Leftover Chicken or Turkey Chili

Chili is a hearty, warming stew that goes well with other leftovers, like cornbread. This recipe isn’t too spicy, combining leftover chicken or turkey with zesty tomatoes and fragrant onion and bell pepper, beans, diced green chiles, and traditional chili spices. Chili also keeps and freezes superbly, so make a large batch to reheat during the week or months to come.

Get the full recipe on Best Recipe Box.

40. Gluten-Free Leftover Turkey Hand Pies

This savory gluten-free take on a popular sweet breakfast food is worth the effort, even if you have to make the dough for the buttery, flaky crust yourself. It has all the foods you’d expect at a Thanksgiving dinner, like stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, giving you a taste of the holiday in an easy-to-tote hand pie you can dip or smother in gravy. Make it any time of year with boxed stuffing and strawberry or red plum jam.

Get the full recipe on The Butter Half.


Final Word

With these recipes, you can turn any leftovers into an exciting new meal. You can also use store-bought rotisserie chicken, which grocery stores deeply discount after they’re a few hours old. So keep these recipes handy, and you’ll know exactly what to do when you snag a great last-minute deal.

In fact, these recipes might inspire you to cook a bird every weekend for easy meals all week. There are many ways to prepare a chicken or turkey, so you’ll never get bored.

TJ Porter
TJ is a Boston-based writer who focuses on credit cards, credit, and bank accounts. When he's not writing about all things personal finance, he enjoys cooking, esports, soccer, hockey, and games of the video and board varieties.

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