Whether you've opted for a full roast turkey, or the more diminutive turkey crown and turkey breast, it's highly likely that there’ll be some meat left after the big Christmas dinner, whatever cut you choose. While the humble turkey sandwich of course has its place, the versatility of this lean, mild meat means it can work much harder. From creamy curries to stir-fries and salads, we've got plenty of ideas for using up cooked turkey and a range of other leftovers.

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How to handle turkey leftovers safely

  1. Let your cooked turkey completely cool, then refrigerate at the first opportunity – within 90 minutes is best.
  2. Don’t leave your turkey hanging around all afternoon as it may become unsafe to eat. Bear this in mind before heading for your post-feasting nap.
  3. Leftover turkey should be eaten within two days, so if you don’t think you’ll get through it in time, stick it in the freezer in portions.
  4. If you do freeze your turkey for a later date, make sure it’s wrapped properly or put in a sealed container to avoid freezer burn. It’s also good to use sticky labels to add dates and descriptions to your frozen goods.
  5. If you’re storing your leftover cooked turkey in the fridge, put it on the middle shelf along with all your other ready-to-eat foods. Save the bottom shelf for raw meat and fish.

Check out our guides on what to keep where at Christmas, how to freeze food at Christmas and what to put where in your kitchen. We also have plenty more leftover Christmas turkey recipes. Our guide on how to reheat turkey and keep it moist is also useful when using up the meat in leftovers. We also have the top 5 health benefits of turkey which details the nutritional value of this low-fat meat.

Our top 20 turkey leftover recipes

1. Leftover turkey fricassee

Turkey fricasse in a bowl with pasta

Winter is the season of comfort, so why not put your Christmas dinner leftovers to good use in this indulgent turkey fricassee? With a creamy mushroom sauce and splash of white wine, it's sure to keep those post-Christmas blues away. Ready in just 20 minutes, it's delicious served with pasta, mash or rice.

2. Turkey tikka masala

Turkey tikka masala with rice in a dish, served with naan

Spice up your leftovers and turn them into a whole new dish that the family will love. Inspired by the nation's favourite curry, this fragrant turkey tikka masala delivers layers of flavour and gentle chilli heat in a rich, creamy sauce. Rather than making a separate curry paste, we've cooked everything in one pan, so you'll have less washing up to do.

3. Next level turkey & ham pie

Turkey and ham pie with pastry decoration on top

Looking for a kitchen project to keep you occupied over the Christmas hols? This next level turkey and ham pie is not only a great use for your leftovers, but also a showstopping celebratory dish in its own right. Boost your pastry skills by making your own sage-infused shortcrust case, then generously fill with cooked meats, herbs and leeks in a creamy mustard sauce. This banquet-worthy dish is sure to please a crowd and equally delicious served warm for dinner or cold as part of a buffet spread.

Check out more leftover turkey and ham recipes.

4. Turkey ramen

Bowl of turkey, noodle and egg ramen

The excesses of Christmas can often leave us craving something a little lighter. This warming and restorative turkey ramen is just the ticket, combining shredded leftover meat with noodles, shiitake mushrooms and eggs. If you've got any leftover gravy, this really enhances the broth with a rich, meaty flavour.

Also try our slow cooker turkey pho for a light supper, or check out more turkey soup recipes.

5. Leftover turkey grain bowls

Bowl of turkey, avocado, grains and veg

Another nourishing meal to keep you feeling good over the festive season. These gluten-free leftover turkey grain bowls are packed full of wholesome ingredients, including avocados, lentils, probiotic yogurt and a crunchy rainbow slaw. Warming spices such as za’atar and harissa balance well with a zesty tahini dressing which brings this whole dish together.

6. Spicy turkey noodles

Turkey noodles in a large wok

With so much happening over the festive period, dinner prep can be a rather rushed affair. So it really helps to have a few quick and easy dishes such as these spicy turkey noodles up your sleeve. Ready in just half an hour, this simple stir-fry combines leftover turkey with noodles, spring onions and beansprouts in a zingy soy and lime sauce. We've used a red chilli to give it some heat but you can easily omit this if catering for youngsters. Throw in extra leftover veg such as shredded sprouts or carrots to make it even more scrumptious.

Whip up more turkey stir-fry recipes.

7. Christmas leftover sandwich

Layered sandwich filled with Christmas leftovers in a white loaf

When it comes to devising the most epic Boxing Day sarnie, we think we've come pretty close to perfection. Simply hollow out a crusty loaf of bread, then layer up all your leftovers inside to make this lip-smacking Italian-style muffuletta sandwich. Cooked turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, spinach and crispy onions are all the perfect elements for your Christmas leftover sandwich. Enjoy with a handful of crispy for added crunch.

8. Leftover turkey casserole

Turkey and root veg casserole in a pot

A hearty one-pot to warm everyone up – this simple turkey casserole is ideal for using up all your Christmas leftovers, including the trimmings. Throw in any robust root vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots and celeriac. Simmered in a flavoursome honey and mustard stock, this stew is delicious served with mash or jacket potatoes.

9. Turkey curry patties

Pasties filled with turkey curry

Raise your lunch game with these marvellously meaty turkey curry patties. With just one bite, your tastebuds will be hit with a wonderful array of herbs and spices, all encased within a soft and crispy homemade turmeric pastry. These gorgeous golden patties are perfect for the days after the big meal, or you can easily freeze them for later.

10. Roast potato, turkey, sausage & stuffing pie

Roast potato, turkey, sausage and stuffing pie in a square baking dish

There's nothing quite like a bubbling golden potato bake to welcome you at the end of a busy day. This easy roast potato, turkey, sausage & stuffing pie combines all the best bits from Christmas dinner in one. Put it together in just 10 mins and let the oven do the hard work. With a creamy mustard sauce filling and crispy cheesy topping, this comforting dish might even trump Christmas dinner itself.

11. Christmas pizza

Christmas pizza cut intro slices

Kids will love this festive pizza, topped with leftover meat and, ingeniously, a scattering of stuffing. It might not be one for Italian food purists, but it's certainly won us round.

12 . Turkey bubble & squeak

Bubble and squeak cakes with turkey and cranberry sauce

One of our favourite post-Christmas fry-ups, these turkey bubble and squeak cakes are the perfect way to reinvent your leftovers. Joe Wicks' speedy recipe combines cooked turkey meat with brussels sprouts, potatoes, parsnips, gravy and herbs. Served with cranberry sauce, these lean and crispy cakes make a welcome change to some of the heavier Christmas food.

13. Leftover Christmas lunch patties with gochujang mayo

leftover patties

Mix up all your leftover veg, stuffing and turkey meat for these delicious Christmas lunch patties. Simply add herbs and spices to elevate the flavour and enjoy. The tangy gochujang mayo adds a nice heat.

14. Turkey cacciatore with a twist

Turkey cacciatore with serving spoon, in a baking dish

This Italian-style bake will be a crowd-pleaser thanks to its cheesy breadcrumb topping and rich tomato sauce. Our easy turkey cacciatore is just the ticket when all the festive-themed food gets a bit much.

15. Korean rice pot

Korean rice bowl with fried egg

Keep things nice and light with our speedy Korean-inspired rice pot. This healthy bibimbap combines diced turkey with spinach and shredded carrots, served on a bed of rice. Top with fried eggs and nutty sesame seeds.

16. Leftover turkey korma

A gently spiced dish, with a nice creaminess to it, this leftover turkey korma is a great alternative meal to a heavy of Christmas dinner. Pair with naan or white rice and mango chutney for a taste explosion.

17. Mini turkey & cranberry pies

Mini turkey and cranberry pies, with one cut open

If you’re in charge of any post-Christmas/pre-New Year entertaining, these mini turkey and cranberry pies will keep your guests happy – just add a block of shortcrust pastry to your big grocery shop.

18. Moroccan turkey salad

Moroccan-style turkey and tomato salad on wide dish

Take a break from belt-busting meals and try this light Moroccan-style turkey salad with fried aubergine, cherry tomatoes, harissa and rocket. Finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds and mint for a refreshing burst, then enjoy with pitta breads.

19. Coronation turkey with homemade chapatis

Chapatis with Coronation turkey, tomatoes and lettuce

This mildly-spiced treat will add a touch of retro charm to a Boxing Day spread. Pick up some roti flour and try your hand at these homemade chapatis with coronation turkey.

20. Leftover turkey slaw

Turn your turkey leftovers and other raw vegetable trimmings into a light and refreshing salad with a punchy lime dressing. Watch our video below and check out this guide for how to make turkey slaw.

21. Turkey cobb salad

turkey cobb salad

We have a healthy bowl of goodness with this turkey cobb salad. Add tomatoes, boiled eggs, pancetta, avocado, chicory leaves and that leftover turkey breast for a light and creamy salad.

22. Jewelled pistachio slaw

jewelled pistacho slaw

A simple salad but one that packs so much flavour. Use up your leftover red cabbage, sprouts and turkey, mix up with pistachios, mint and the silky dressing; this jewelled pistachio slaw makes for a nutritious lunch and a way to prevent food waste post-Christmas.

23. Chicken, sausage and prune pie

chicken sausage prune pie

This impressive chicken, sausage and prune pie is an easy way to feed a crowd using the leftovers from Christmas dinner. Layering in a 'flat-pack' format, you have sausage, bacon, turkey, chicken, stuffing and a layer of puff pastry; it has all the components for a whopping great pie to serve with extra veggies on the side.

24. Turkey and clementine lunch bowl

turkey and clementine lunch bowl

Keep to the classic festive flavours with this turkey and clementine lunch bowl. It's protein packed and a great post-workout meal. It is a way to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your balanced diet and is also rich in vitamin c and folate. Eat up leftover veg and turkey breast after Christmas so that you're free from excess food waste.

25. Turkey minestrone

turkey minestrone

A wintery soup is always a good choice when using up leftover meats and vegetables. This delicious turkey minestrone is simple to rustle up with store cupboard and leftover Christmas ingredients. It's the perfect warm pick-me-up meal.

Christmas leftover recipes
Leftover Christmas turkey recipes
Leftover Christmas ham recipes
Family dinner ideas for Christmas leftovers
10 ways with leftover Christmas dessert

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How do you use up your leftover Christmas turkey? Leave a comment below...

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