How to use up your Christmas leftovers

how to use up christmas dinner leftovers leftover turkey stuffing mince pies cranberry

If you start out with a fridge and cupboards packed full of festive fare, you’ll probably have plenty of Christmas leftovers after the big day too. Here are a few ideas to use up those leftovers in thrifty and delicious ways, preventing food waste and saving a few quid into the bargain.

Leftover turkey

  • General: freezes well for several weeks, which buys you some time if you’re feeling uninspired or generally fed up with the stuff…
  • Classic dish: turkey sandwiches, along with sliced stuffing, cranberry sauce and salad leaves.
  • The other ‘classic’ is leftover turkey curry and there are recipes for it all over the internet, although it’s not as popular as the humble turkey sandwich.
  • Alternatively, add coronation chicken style curry mayonnaise, then use in sandwiches, on flatbreads, or on top of a baked potato.
  • Add chunks to the top of pizza or pitta bread, along with spinach and thinly sliced red onion.
  • Mix into white sauce with sliced mushrooms and peppercorns, serve with brown rice and vegetables.
  • Use thin slices to top bowls of noodle soup.
  • Add to a pie filling with cooked onions and ham or bacon.
  • Mix chunks into pasta salad with a light dressing.
  • Make wraps with flour tortillas, chopped tomatoes, herbs, black beans, avocado slices and a squeeze of lime.
  • Add to soups, stews or casseroles.

Roast potatoes

  • Classic dish: chop up, mix with optional chopped leftover veggies or a little bacon, and make a panful of hash, or shape into rosti-style potato cakes. Fry or bake. Serve with a fried egg.
  • Can be reheated once (but aren’t quite as nice as freshly made).
  • Slice, brush with a tiny amount of oil, and cook on top of any hotpot or savoury bake.
  • Chop into soups or sauces to thicken them. Soup is usually best if blended or liquidised to get a good texture.
  • Cut into bize size pieces and dip into fondue, or top them with cheese and a pinch of chilli then bake.
  • Chop into small cubes, shallow fry or bake until crispy, then use as croutons in salads or on top of soup.
  • Slice thinly and cook into an omelette like a Spanish tortilla

Mashed potatoes

  • Classic dish: bubble and squeak. Mix with leftover Brussels sprouts or other veggies, and fry over a medium heat. Make a whole panful or shape into individual portions.
  • Mix with cooked lentils or crumbled/grated cheese to make burgers, croquettes or meatless ‘meatballs’.
  • Topping for fish pie, cottage pie or chilli bean bake.
  • An easy way to thicken soups, sauces, casseroles etc.


  • Add thin slices to your turkey sandwiches for extra flavour
  • Chop into pieces and add to an omelette with leftover vegetables or cheese
  • Add yorkshire pudding batter to make toad in the hole, along with sliced up ‘pigs in blankets’ (sausages in bacon)

Brussels sprouts

  • Cooked, classic dish: Bubble and squeak, as above. Serve with cold sliced turkey on the side if you like.
  • Cooked: add to soup along with leftover turkey, potatoes and other veggies, plus a sauteed onion.
  • Raw: shred / quarter and add to stir fries.
  • Raw: slice thinly and add to coleslaw instead of cabbage.


  • Reheat and add to reheated roast potatoes.
  • Add to any soup or stew, but remember not to add extra salt without tasting the dish first.

Bread sauce

  • In my house we put this in turkey sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
  • Also nice added to homemade soups, especially parsnip soup, or cream of mushroom soup.

Cranberry sauce

  • This keeps for a while in the fridge after opening, so you don’t always have to rush to use it up.
  • Good with deep fried camembert, or in a brie sandwich.
  • You can add a little to gravy and serve with game or pork, instead of using redcurrant jelly.
  • Mix into a fruit salad with orange slices and chopped pistachios
  • Add a couple of spoons to white chocolate and cinnamon muffins or brownies.

Christmas pudding

  • Classic dish: Sliced and gently fried in butter. Serve with fruit on the side to make it less stodgy, or custard if you want something more filling.
  • Chop small or crumble, and mix into slightly softened icecream. Re-freeze a little before serving.

Mince pies

  • Scrape out the filling, add a dash of brandy and mix with sliced cooking apples, then bake until the apples soften. Top with the finely chopped up pastry cases and bake for up to five more minutes, watching carefully so the ‘crumble’ doesn’t burn.
  • Chop roughly and mix with mandarin pieces and whipped cream or vanilla yogurt to make an easy trifle.

There you go, a few ideas to get you on your way with those leftovers. Do you have any favourites of your own to share?


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