What to do with Leftover Turkey
No matter how well planned, thought out and organised your Christmas is, there’s always one thing that can be guaranteed – there’ll be a mountain of leftovers in your fridge come Boxing Day.
While cold slices of slow cooked beef or honey roasted ham will be the first to be stuffed into late night Christmas sandwiches or snapped up at the Boxing Day buffet, those piles of leftover turkey get neglected year after year.
The good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to turn your leftover turkey into a delicious dinner that the whole family will want to gobble up.
How to store and use leftover turkey
Before we get stuck into some ideas for what to do with leftover turkey, there are a couple of things to remember. Food safety should always be the priority, so please bear the following in mind when planning how to use your leftovers:
- If your turkey was frozen and defrosted before you cooked it, you can freeze it again after cooking (but only once). This is to keep you and your family safe.
- Cooked turkey can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. We wouldn’t recommend eating it after this time. Make sure it is stored in an airtight container and kept refrigerated.
- Always check the recipe notes for any further information about storing and heating leftovers.
You can find additional information about how to store and reheat food safely on the NHS website.
With that covered, let’s get into the recipes!
We’re starting with a classic – a tasty, family friendly Turkey Curry. This recipe uses up far more than just your leftover turkey- you can throw in any extra roasties, sprouts and other green veg too.
Everything simmers away together in the pot, with a delicate yet aromatic blend of spices coming from the mild curry powder. Prefer more of a kick to your curry? Don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe and add in some chilli, or you could use a hot curry powder rather than mild.
The combination of dairy free coconut milk and fat free Greek yoghurt means this is such a rich, creamy curry – you’d never think it was made from yesterday’s dinner scraps!
Turkey and Mango Curry
A Boxing Day turkey curry may be a classic, but have you ever tried a curry with mango in it? Give those turkey leftovers plenty of new flavour by turning them into this Turkey and Mango Curry. It uses fresh, juicy mango and creamy coconut to infuse the turkey with unexpected flavours.
We make this curry by blitzing up a paste from some of the mango and spices, which really helps to create intense flavours. Once it’s all cooked through with the other ingredients, you get a vibrant, sweet and spicy curry that’ll have you craving turkey all year round.
Despite the rich texture and full flavours, this curry is super slimming friendly, making it a nice, light choice after all that festive indulgence!
The whole family will love the flavours in these smokey Turkey Enchiladas! We’ve used passata, veggies and beans (alongside leftover turkey) to make our tasty enchilada filling. By using reduced-fat cheese and low-calorie tortillas, we’ve kept this dish delicious and slimming friendly.
If you’re looking for a way to turn your leftovers into a dinner that tastes totally different, we promise there’s no festive flavour at all with this one. Baked in the oven until the cheese is golden and bubbling, they’re ideal for Boxing Day.
In our opinion, the only way to improve Christmas dinner would be to add some cheese and serve it all inside some crisp, golden pastry. So, obviously we had to make that into a recipe! Our Christmas Pie might just be the ultimate way to use up your December 25th leftovers.
All of your roasted veggies and any leftover turkey get coated in a delicious mixture of honey and mustard, with tangy Stilton crumbled over the top. Sheets of filo pastry are used to parcel up all those flavours, and then the whole thing gets baked in the oven.
You can just imagine it now…the crunch of the pastry and all those sweet, salty and creamy flavours mingling together – a treat for your taste buds!
Spicy Turkey Hotpot
If you’re usually fed up with Christmas food by Boxing Day, no one would blame you for wanting to infuse your leftover turkey with flavours that are far from festive. This Spicy Turkey Hotpot is a cross between a hotpot and fajitas, thanks to a layered potato topping and spicy turkey and veg filling.
You can easily use leftover cooked turkey in this recipe, heating it up alongside peppers and courgette (or any veggies of your choice). Everything gets simmered with chopped tomatoes and fajita seasoning, and then baked in the oven with thinly sliced potatoes and bubbly melted cheese on top.
It’s the total opposite of your Christmas dinner, packed with fiery flavour, and such a good way to use up your turkey.
Cheesy Fajita Orzotto
While we’re on the theme of fajita flavours, we need to talk about this Cheesy Fajita Orzotto recipe. If you’ve never tried it before, this dish is a little like a risotto, but it uses orzo pasta instead of rice. It’s creamy, spicy and cheesy all at once – we’re not kidding when we say it’s a taste sensation!
If you glance at the ingredients list, you’ll notice that we usually make this recipe using turkey mince. We love adapting recipes to work with what we have in the fridge, so there’s no reason you can’t use leftover Christmas turkey to make this comforting dish.
Dice up any leftover breast meat and throw it in the pan with all the other ingredients. One of our favourite things about this recipe is that it’s a one pot wonder – we’re always happy when there’s less washing up to do after dinner!
Low Carb Chicken and Ham Wraps
When you think of leftover turkey, your first instinct might be to stuff it into sandwiches for lunch over the next couple of days. There’s nothing wrong with this plan, although it might not have you counting down the hours until it’s time to tuck in.
How about a slightly different twist on the usual sarnie? Try swapping chicken for turkey in these Low Carb Chicken and Ham Wraps. If you’ve had a particularly carb-heavy Christmas, the lack of bread will make such a welcome change. You could even swap the ham for bacon if you’ve got some left over from making pigs in blankets.
You can’t beat the satisfying crunch of biting through these iceberg lettuce wraps. Fresh and full of goodness, they’re just what you need in those hazy days between Christmas and New Year.
If you do fancy a more traditional sandwich, why not give your leftover meat a makeover and turn it into this Coronation Turkey? It’s a delicious sandwich filler, with far fewer calories than traditional mayo-heavy fillings.
Made with fat free Greek yoghurt, it’s fresh but still creamy, and more versatile than you may expect. As well as sandwiching it between slices of crusty bread, you can also scoop some onto the side of a salad or heap it into oven baked jacket potatoes.
We love the mango added into the mix – it pairs so well with turkey and it adds an irresistible fruity sweetness. You might have just found your new favourite sandwich filling!
Cauliflower and Chicken Fried Rice
You can substitute turkey in pretty much any recipe that calls for chicken, which means your Christmas dinner scraps can easily be turned into this Cauliflower and Chicken Fried Rice.
Inspired by one of our favourite Chinese takeaway dishes, this is a fakeaway classic that’s low on faff and big on flavour – just what you need on a lazy post-Christmas day.
Because it uses cauliflower instead of rice, this recipe is super low on calories too (ideal if you want to save space for a sweet treat or two).
The turkey will take on all those new, Asian-inspired flavours, giving it another chance to be the star of the show instead of being neglected at the back of the fridge.
Looking for more ideas about how to use up your Christmas leftovers?
How do you use up your leftover turkey? Let us know over on our Facebook Group! There are already almost 1 million members, making it the place to be for slimming inspiration, motivation and support.