After all the hours and hard work you put into Thanksgiving dinner, it’s eaten within half an hour and you’re left with a ton of leftovers. There are some classic ways of using leftovers- hot turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and more. We want to mix things up by showing you how to turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into simple yet delicious casseroles. Casseroles are great because they’re quick to make, they generally only use one pot, and they freeze brilliantly.

If you make a casserole to freeze, here are some tips for cooking it. Firstly, when you go to freeze it, make sure it has completely cooled. If you throw hot food in a dish, and then into the freezer, the dish could shatter. When storing in the freezer, keep a tight lid on the casserole. Some casserole dishes come with plastic lids for this purpose. If yours doesn’t, tightly wrap the dish with plastic wrap. This will help keep out frost and keep your dish tasting wonderful. Thawing the dish properly is important. Take the casserole out of the freezer the day before you want to use it. Keep it in the fridge and let it defrost slowly. Once fully thawed, cook it as originally directed.

We hope you love these 10 unique Thanksgiving leftover recipes!

*Click on the image or the bottom link to view the full recipe. 

10. Mushroom, Turkey, and Wild Rice Casserole

This beautiful and delicious casserole has a rich, earthy taste. Crimini mushrooms are paired with thyme, sage, and wild rice. Wild rice isn’t actually a type of rice, but a grass seed from North America. It takes a while to cook but the result is a chewy, nutty grain. Pair it with other grains for a diverse mixture of different textures.

[Source: Mushrooms]

9. Turkey Chili Casserole

This family favorite dish throws a Mexican twist to your Thanksgiving leftovers. The use of cumin is key in the recipe. Cumin is a smokey and hot spice from the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is used extensively in Latin American cuisine. It comes in the whole seed form and in ground powder. It is one of the main seasonings in chili. If you’re making chili or tacos and feel like the meat is missing seasoning, add a dash of cumin.

[Source: Dinner At 7]

8. Turkey Tortilla Casserole

This beautiful looking dish is actually really easy to make. Layer crushed tortilla chips with turkey, sauce, and cheese. While this dish only uses the leftover turkey, you can surely sneak some extra leftovers in. Toss in leftover peas, corn, and even green beans. The recipe calls for a canned of cream of chicken soup, but you could replace this with a quick cheese sauce.

[Source: Villeroy and Boch]

7. Turkey Macaroni Casserole

This quick and filling casserole is made with pasta and leftover turkey. A great addition to this meal would be leftover green bean casserole. Cut the green beans into bite sized pieces and mix it in with the turkey before you bake. The dish is seasoned with a touch of nutmeg, which gives it a great flavor. Top with toasted almonds for a crunchy texture.

[Source: Blessed Mom]

6. Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole

This casserole uses up a ton of leftovers! It uses layers of stuffing, turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. The whole thing is topped with cheese and baked until it gets bubbly and delicious. Eggs are mixed in with the mashed potatoes to keep them smooth and creamy. Leftover mashed potatoes can dry out and get crumbly, so this solves that problem. You can also use leftover gravy in place of the canned soup.

[Source: Brown Eyed Baker]

5. Cranberry Turkey Casserole 

This is a really unique casserole that won’t remind you at all of Thanksgiving dinner. This would be great when you need some different flavors. Alfredo sauce is mixed with pasta, leftover turkey, and topped with cranberries and pine nuts. The cranberries add a freshness to the casserole, while the pine nuts give a great crunch. If you can’t find pine nuts, or they’re too expensive, walnuts would be brilliant here.

[Source: My Kind of Cooking]

4. Turkey and Bacon Casserole

This beautiful casserole uses a ton of leftovers while giving it a new flavor. Use your leftover turkey, leftover candied yams, and leftover Brussels sprouts in the recipe. The new flavor comes from the applewood smoked bacon. The dish is topped with Gruyere cheese and pecans which are chopped into a crumble. The result is a smokey and rich dish that is impressively beautiful and tastes as good as it looks.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

3. Mashed Potato Casserole

This is a great casserole if you make too much mashed potato for Thanksgiving. You must keep your potatoes quite moist for this dish, so add milk to your leftovers to liven them up. Bacon crumble and green onion is added to the potato and it’s baked with a cheddar cheese topping. The resulting casserole is a great side dish for any meal. We think it would be brilliant beside a great steak!

[Source: 5 Dollar Dinners]

2. Honey Mustard Turkey Casserole

This one pot casserole has a brilliant honey mustard tang. Onion and apple are cooked together and leftover turkey and vegetables are added. The recipe calls for any leftover vegetables, such as candied carrots, roasted potatoes, roast parsnips, and more. You can also add in peas, corn, sweet potato, and Brussels sprouts. If you want to kick this dish up, add chopped bacon to cook with the onion. This dish would also work great with leftover ham.

[Source: BBC Good Food]

1. Cheesy Ham Casserole

This dish is great for using up leftover ham if you didn’t cook a turkey this year. Leftover ham makes amazing leftovers. Fry it up with your eggs for breakfast. Dice it finely for ham salad sandwiches. This ham casserole is fast to put together and your kids will love it. Toss in leftover vegetables like cooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Season with a dash of paprika.

[Source: Food]

More Forkly