This Thanksgiving leftovers casserole with turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings is everything we love about the holiday baked up in a casserole dish ~ just add that last slice of pumpkin pie!
what makes this Thanksgiving leftovers casserole different?
This versatile Thanksgiving leftovers casserole is literally the most comforting meal imaginable. We’re not mixing leftover turkey with noodles and canned soup here, this casserole is literally your Thanksgiving dinner, presented in a slightly different way. And actually, if you’re the type of eater who loves to get a little bit of everything on your fork, you’re going to love this.
There are two ways to make it ~ most years we layer up our leftovers, but we’ve had a couple of Thanksgivings over the years where it was just a few of us ~ this casserole became out holiday dinner! In that case I use the heat and serve sliced turkey and trimmings from our grocery store.
ingredients for a Thanksgiving leftovers casserole
As you can imagine, the ingredients will change from year to year, depending on what you’ve got. Turkey, stuffing, and gravy are my must-haves. Mashed potatoes come in handy for the topping.
- this can be white or dark meat, sliced or shredded, all will work.
- gravy adds flavor throughout and keeps everything moist.
- this time I used green bean casserole, but other times it might be sweet potato souffle, or maybe Brussels sprouts with bacon. Plain green beans or cubes of rutabaga work too!
- cranberry sauce
- mashed potatoes
- if you’ve got mashed sweet potatoes, or mashed winter squash, that’ll be great too. You can also make a quick batch of instant mashed potatoes, too, I do that a lot.
- grated white cheddar cheese
- French’s® canned fried onions
how to layer your leftovers casserole
After many variations I’ve landed on this layering order as the most sensible and delicious. I like to use a glass casserole dish because it shows off all the yummy layers. You can also easily check to see when everything is bubbling and ready to come out of the oven.
Stuffing makes a sturdy first layer. It forms a nice bottom ‘crust’ and absorbs and moisture that sinks down during baking. A great stuffing (like my pumpkin cornbread stuffing with sausage or my wild mushroom stuffing) makes a delicious base for this casserole.
The turkey goes next. I used fairly thick slices, but shreds work great too, and they’ll actually make it a little bit easier to scoop out servings. Depending on how much meat you have or want to use you can overlap your slices.
Gravy is essential to our Thanksgiving leftovers casserole. It’s important to add it right over the turkey to keep it moist. If I don’t have any leftover gravy (I rarely do) then I’ll use readymade gravy from a jar, or make some from a packet mix. If I’ve got time I might make my Perfect Gravy Without the Bird or my Make Ahead Cider and Sage Gravy. Grocery stores often sell extra gravy this time of year, too.
I used green bean casserole. I know, sounds weird to add a casserole to a casserole, but trust me on this. You can also use plain veggies like beans, sliced sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts. I never have any leftovers of my butter pecan pumpkin souffle, but if I did, I’d definitely use it!
5. cranberry sauce
This might be controversial, but I love the pop of color and acidity that a few little dollops adds to the casserole. I like to get a little in every bite.
6. mashed potatoes
A nice thick layer of mashed potatoes seals everything in and forms a fluffy topping for your Thanksgiving leftovers casserole. I like to leave the edges free so everyone can get a peek at the other ingredients. Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter or Whipped Kabocha Squash with Vanilla Bean and Nutmeg would be beautiful.
7. cheese and fried onions
Optional but they provide a little extra flavor and crunch. I add the fried onions after the casserole comes out of the oven so they don’t burn.
8. bake & serve!
Serve the casserole hot from the oven, just like you would a lasagna. If possible, serve with some extra gravy on the side.
refrigerate (or freeze) for later
The beauty of a Thanksgiving leftovers casserole is that you can assemble it and enjoy it whenever you’re ready. Sometimes I’ll even layer it up on Thanksgiving night as I’m doing the dishes! You can make one to eat the next day, and another to freeze. To freeze this, make sure all components are cooled. Then cover tightly with plastic wrap, and again in foil. It will keep for up to 6 months.
more ideas for turkey leftovers
This Thanksgiving leftovers casserole is only one of the ways we keep the holiday vibe (and turkey) going!
- Creamy White (leftover) Turkey Chili
- (Leftover) Turkey Ranch Nachos
- substitute turkey for chicken in a classic chicken soup.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole
- 9×13 casserole dish with high sides
- 2-3 cups stuffing
- 7-10 slices roasted turkey, or enough shredded turkey to generously cover the stuffing.
- 2/3 cup gravy
- 2 cups green bean casserole (or other veggie)
- 1 cup cranberry sauce
- 3-4 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup French's® Fried Onions
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Add a layer of stuffing to the bottom of your casserole. This is the base of your casserole, so make sure it covers the entire bottom. If you love stuffing, add as much as you like.
- Arrange sliced or shredded turkey over the stuffing. I suggest overlapping slices or, if using shredded turkey, using plenty. The turkey should be the star of your casserole.
- Ladle a liberal amount of gravy over the turkey.
- Next add your green bean casserole, or whatever veggie you're using. Spread it out evenly.
- For the cranberry sauce you can add small dollops over the beans. You can spread it out evenly or leave it as dollops.
- Add a thick layer of mashed potatoes over top. I don't spread the potatoes all the way to the edges, I think it looks more appetizing that way.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with the cheddar cheese. Tent with foil (you don't want it sticking to the cheese, so use toothpicks if necessary to keep the foil off the casserole surface.)
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until hot and bubbling throughout. Untent the casserole for the last 10-15 minutes. Note: if your casserole looks pale you can run it under the broiler very briefly to get some browning. Be careful, it can burn in an instant.
- Serve hot, topped with the fried onions.
Questions and Reviews
Thanks for a great recipe! It used up all our leftovers the day after and was so yummy. Even our friend who doesn’t like leftovers was pleasantly surprised she enjoyed it. My only complaint is there wasn’t enough of your green beans almondine leftover! The browned butter and almonds added nice flavor and crunch to the casserole. Thanks for being such a wonderful resource of recipes I trust to turn out perfectly the first time!
There’s NEVER enough leftover from that dish 🙂 Thanks for the review Mel.
What a clever and delicious way to use Thanksgiving leftovers! We are going to make this recipe a new tradition in our home from now on!
Made this tonight with our Thanksgiving leftovers. Easy and delicious!
Outstanding! Made the day after the feast and pretty well cleaned up most of the leftovers, save lots more turkey. Very amenable to using what you have. I was out of green beans and used some leftover frozen peas I had in the freezer. Anything works. I didn’t quite have enough dressing to cover the bottom but I had leftover stale Italian bread. I added to the dressing layer with some leftover turkey stock and some dried sage. it integraded very well.
I’m thrilled to have a quick review, thanks Jean!
I had a small group this year and made your green bean and mushroom casserole side. Four adults nearly demolished it. This wonderful recipe is a keeper. Thank you, Sue!
That makes me so happy, thanks Deb.
This Thanksgiving leftover concoction sounds amazing! I’m a little tired of the same old leftovers. Going to try it this year! Thank you!