20 Delectable Uses for Holiday Leftovers


November 22, 2022

Holiday meals are a labor of love. It would be a shame to let your leftovers go to waste. Of course, eating the same meal for days in a row can become quite tiring. Instead, add variety to your table by trying one or more of these 20 unique ideas for holiday leftovers.

#1) Turkey Burritos

With a package of large tortillas, you can give new life to your holiday leftovers. The Spruce Eats recommends piling turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce onto tortillas to make Thanksgiving Leftovers Burritos. Adding cheese and sour cream puts a twist on the typical holiday flavors.

#2) Ham Tetrazzini

Cheesy tetrazzini is a favorite method of using up holiday leftovers, but most people make it with turkey. Spicy Southern Kitchen suggests preparing Ham Tetrazzini instead. This skillet dish combines diced ham with spaghetti noodles and a creamy sauce. The meal includes onions, mushrooms and peas, so you’ll get some veggies in every forkful.

#3) Prime Rib Stroganoff

If prime rib graces your holiday table this season, you won’t want the leftovers to go to waste! Bake It With Love’s Leftover Prime Rib Beef Stroganoff mixes strips of beef with egg noodles and baby portabellas. Because the meat is already cooked, you should be able to get this meal on the table in about 20 minutes — perfect for busy evenings when your family has a hefty to-do list.

#4) Eggnog Bread Pudding

If your family likes a few sips of eggnog over the holidays and then doesn’t touch the carton again, put the extra to good use with this Eggnog Bread Pudding recipe from Little Sweet Baker. Using store-bought cinnamon raisin bread keeps this recipe simple but delivers tons of flavor. Whether you serve this treat for breakfast or dessert, you can expect rave reviews.

#5) Mashed Potato Patties

No one wants to run out of mashed potatoes on the holiday table, but in trying to avoid that scenario, you might err in the opposite direction. Fortunately, leftover mashed potatoes are easily transformed into crispy, golden patties. SmartyPantsKitchen will walk you through the process of making Fried Potato Cakes by adding eggs, flour, green onions and assorted seasonings.

#6) Grilled Sandwiches

After a big weekend of holiday eating, you may be ready for a simple meal. Try Delish’s recipe for Turkey-avocado-bacon Grilled Cheese. You’ll need two slices of leftover turkey per sandwich. Whether you’re cooking for one or prepping lunch for a crowd, this meal will come together quickly.

#7) Duck Pasta

Duck might be a unique seasonal offering. But if it’s a part of your holiday traditions — or you’re trying it for the first time this year — you might be wondering what to do with the leftovers. ET Food Voyage recommends making Lemon Rosemary Leftover Roast Duck Tagliatelle. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to reserve some of the duck fat from the roasting process. Helpfully, the recipe includes directions for collecting the fat.

#8) Cornbread French Toast

For some, the holiday table isn’t complete without a pan of cornbread. Did you know that the leftovers make delectable French toast? Southern Bite’s Cornbread French Toast recipe includes directions for preparing the cornbread, but you’ll be able to skip that step by using leftovers.

#9) Turkey Salad

Follow up your holiday indulgence with a healthy salad. Skinnytaste’s Leftover Turkey Harvest Cobb Salad has roasted butternut squash, feta, pecans and dried cranberries. It’s a delicious autumn twist on the classic Cobb. A fresh-made dressing with maple syrup completes the dish.

#10) Stuffing Muffins

Stuffing might be a classic dinner item, but you can turn the leftovers into a hearty breakfast. Leftover Stuffing Muffins from Budget Bytes are made with spinach and eggs. For extra protein, toss in chopped turkey or ham from your holiday table as well.

#11) Turkey Rolls

Temecula Blogs’ Best Leftover Turkey Recipe wraps pieces of turkey inside warm, flaky crescent rolls. Mayonnaise and shredded cheese give this handheld meal extra flavor. It’s a kid-friendly dish that may please even the pickiest of eaters.

#12) Monkey Bread

For a breakfast that’s fun for the whole family, make a pan of monkey bread. There are all sorts of recipes out there, but this one from HGTV uses leftover holiday rolls. The recipe for Leftover Dinner Roll Monkey Bread also includes currants, a unique addition that sets this recipe apart from the crowd.

#13) Ham Fried Rice

For an all-in-one dish, mix up a batch of Easy One Pot Ham Fried Rice from Yellow Bliss Road. The meal includes a variety of veggies: onions, corn, peas and carrots. For the best results, cook and cool a pot of rice ahead of time for use in this recipe.

#14) Cranberry Yogurt Parfaits

You can whip together a quick layered yogurt dish with the cranberry sauce in your refrigerator. Well Plated recommends making Leftover Cranberry Sauce Parfaits with yogurt, granola, cranberry sauce and honey. Prepare this treat in clear glasses to show off all the lovely layers.

#15) Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

If you bake too many pumpkin pies for your crew, repurpose them into a breakfast dish. Oh She Glows makes Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Casserole with oats, ground flax, non-dairy milk and a variety of seasonings. Chopped pieces of pumpkin pie go into the mixture and get sprinkled on top for a truly seasonal streusel.

#16) Turkey Soup

Turning leftover turkey into a big batch of soup is a tried and true idea. But if you’re bored with ho-hum turkey noodle soups, try this Leftover Turkey Soup recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It uses orzo instead of wide noodles and mixes in a few handfuls of fresh spinach.

#17) Lamb Curry

If you have leftovers from your holiday leg of lamb, save the bones for making stock. You can combine the stock and the meat into a flavorful batch of Bake It With Love’s Leftover Lamb Curry. With garlic, ginger, curry powder and cinnamon sticks, the flavor of this dish really packs a punch.

#18) Sweet Potato Waffles

Whether your holiday meal includes baked sweet potatoes or a sweet potato casserole, you can prepare a batch of waffles with the leftovers. Cooking Light’s Spiced Sweet Potato Waffles recipe will teach you how. Just keep in mind that you may be able to cut back on add-ins if you’re starting with a casserole that included a lot of sugar and spices.

#19) Tropical Ham Pizza

Who needs carryout when you can make pizza at home? Toss your leftover bits of ham onto a Quick Hawaiian Pizza based on the recipe from Taste of Home. Rather than standard pizza sauce, you’ll spread a combination of marinara and barbecue sauce over the crust. A sprinkle of fresh pineapple completes the tropical flavor.

#20) Cranberry Smoothie

Don’t let your leftover cranberry sauce languish in the fridge! Instead, turn it into a refreshing Cranberry Sauce Smoothie, courtesy of Ahead of Thyme. Greek yogurt makes this a high-protein breakfast that will carry you through the morning. While optional, adding spinach or kale means that you’ll get a serving of vegetables first thing in the morning, too.