We love the tradition of a big, beautiful bird on our dinner table, but how do you make sure the leftovers are just as exciting as the fancy spread? Luckily, there are plenty of creative and kid-friendly leftover turkey recipes to inspire your dinners for days.
But planning is key. How long is leftover turkey good for? The safest bet is three to four days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer. Luckily, any of the best leftover turkey dinner ideas like turkey soup, turkey casserole and turkey pot pie freeze like a dream, so you can save them for a day when you need a ready-made dinner in a hurry.
We’ve also got some fresh options, like a next-level turkey Caesar sandwich and turkey pasta with penne and brussels sprouts to change things up. Bonus: Your kids can hardly complain about being bored with dinner if they helped make it, so put them to work!
Ready in: 55 minutes
Why we love it: Turkey pot pie is a classic and kid-friendly way to use up leftover cooked turkey. Who wouldn’t want to warm up with a golden and bubbling pot pie fresh out of the oven?
How kids can help: Once you’re done sautéing the aromatics, your kid can help stir in the vegetables and pieces of turkey. (And if you still need to shred the leftover turkey, that’s an excellent kid job, too!) They’ll also enjoy draping the pieces of puff pastry over the dish, pressing it ever so gently to help it stick.
Ready in: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Why we love it: If we’re being totally honest, we don’t always make the most of our leftover turkey carcass, but no more excuses. This leftover turkey broth recipe is the perfect way to use those flavourful bones and it’s versatile in any dish that calls for chicken broth. (You can even freeze it!)
How kids can help: Get those little hands busy picking the rest of the meat from your leftover roast turkey carcass, saving it for another recipe, of course. Because the veggies in this recipe only need to be roughly chopped, it’s also a good time to get your child to practice their knife skills with a kid-friendly blade.
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Ready in: 55 minutes
Why we love it: This cheesy turkey casserole recipe gives us a delicious new way to not only use our leftover turkey, but leftover cranberry sauce and stuffing too.
How kids can help: Your kid can mix up the mayo-cranberry dressing, add cheese, then combine with the potatoes before spreading it over the turkey in the casserole dish. Lastly, they can spoon the stuffing over the whole thing before you pop it in the oven.
Ready in: 30 minutes
Why we love it: The best leftover turkey recipes make use of scraps from other dishes (in this case, roasted Brussels sprouts) and transforms them into something totally different. This fresh take on turkey pasta with penne is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
How kids can help: They can whisk together the chicken (or turkey) broth, reserved cooking liquid from the pasta and cornstarch till well combined. Then have them stir in the Brussels sprouts, turkey, sage, salt and pepper.
Ready in: 20 minutes
Why we love it: This leftover turkey soup makes a quick and comforting dinner or school lunch. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and the recipe is super versatile. You can swap chicken broth with your homemade leftover turkey stock and use up any leftover veggies from your holiday spread.
Ready in: 15 minutes
Why we love it: This gourmet cross between a Caesar salad and club sandwich works just as well with leftover turkey instead of chicken breasts, especially when it’s covered with creamy anchovy-infused dressing, crispy slices of pancetta and freshly squeezed lemon. Skip the fish if you’ve got picky eaters at your table.
How kids can help: Kids love assembling sandwiches so let them go to town on these sandwiches (and worry about the mess later). Don’t forget to toast the ciabatta bread, and smear lots of Caesar dressing on both sides.
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Ready in: 25 minutes
Why we love it: This comforting soup has all the fresh flavours and textures we crave—tomato, tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, lime and chili for a little heat. We also love to add corn for extra crunch. The recipe calls for shredded rotisserie chicken, but leftover turkey makes a smart substitute.
How kids can help: Kids will love adding all the toppings and garnishes to the individual bowls of tortilla turkey soup. They can even practice their pattern skills by trying to make each bowl look the same.
Shop Leftover Turkey Recipe Ingredients
- Health Canada. Safe Food Storage.
- The Kitchn. Soup Left Out Overnight: Is It Still Safe to Eat?
- Eating Well. The #1 Food to Boost Your Mood, According to a Dietitian.
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