Holiday meals are known for many things: favorite family recipes, the kids’ table, and, of course, leftovers. It’s almost a guarantee that your massive feast will lead to refrigerators filled to capacity with the bird of honor, a bevy of sides, and an assortment of desserts. All that food is bound to cover multiple meals over the ensuing days, but rather than simply revisit the exact same spread again and again, creative recipes can help you use up those leftovers in unexpected ways.
While your remaining portions of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie will certainly offer a delicious second lap, no leftover is quite as versatile as mashed potatoes. Below, you’ll find various ways to bring new life to your smashed spuds, not to mention plenty of opportunities that can help you avoid tragic food waste. With items that cover everything from breakfast to dessert, these suggestions will help you make the most of your leftover mashed potato stash.
Fry up some Irish pancakes
Potato pancakes make a fabulous side dish, pairing easily with nearly any meal. Our recipe for Irish potato cakes will make those leftover, cold mashed potatoes shine. The best part is that you don’t even need to reheat your potatoes to use them here. In fact, cold potatoes will make your mixture even easier to work with and fry up. To create these delicious pancakes, add flour, salt, pepper, egg, chives, and butter to your leftover mashed. Form the patties and then crisp them up to perfection.
Once your pancakes come together, it’s time to get creative — top those cakes with any number of delicious toppings that would pair well with mashed potatoes. If want to indulge your sweet tooth, consider topping your potato pancakes with apple sauce and pairing the dish with an Irish cider. Looking for something a little hearty? A pint of Guinness will taste extra smooth with potato cakes.
Whip up a shepherd’s pie
If you’re looking for a way to use up those potatoes and a massive amount of roasted turkey, gather your leftovers and whip up a Thanksgiving leftovers shepherd’s pie recipe which could stretch your holiday dinner for days to come. For this stellar shepherd’s pie, you’ll combine some of those leftovers — stuffing, turkey, even gravy — in a bowl to make one delicious mixture. Then, spread it into a casserole dish before heaping your leftover mashed on top. If you’re going for style points, consider piping on those potatoes. But if you’re just trying to get this meal going, spreading them out with an offset spatula will create a similar effect. You’re hoping to get those crispy potato bits on top during baking.
Of course, you can always stick with a simple shepherd’s pie recipe. Simply skip the leftovers and swap in the traditional ground beef for your filling.
Potato croquettes are the perfect appetizer
If you’re new to the world of croquettes, welcome! The delightful appetizer is usually ball-shaped, but they can sometimes look more oblong or disk-shaped and are often bound with mashed potatoes or bechamel sauce (via Devour Madrid). Croquettes come in various flavors, but ham is an especially popular filling. Though croquettes are a common dish in Spain, they originated in France before becoming a popular appetizer around the world. So if you can roll and breadcrumb it, you can croquette it!
Our turkey and mashed potato croquettes will have you looking forward to leftovers for every holiday to come. To make this delicious appetizer, combine your mashed potatoes, turkey, and stuffing into little balls. Then, fill these guys with a bit of sweetness with your leftover cranberry sauce. If you have some extra gravy, it will make a great dipping sauce for this perfect leftover clean-out hors d’oeuvres. Honestly, if you’re someone who loves a good sauce, it may be worth it to whip up more gravy for this one.
Get out the waffle iron
How do you make a favorite breakfast food even better? Add mashed potatoes for fluffy waffles with a perfect crunch on the outside! You have a wealth of options here. Anthony Myint’s Pastrami Waffles offers an inventive spin on this favorite breakfast food. The recipe calls for hashbrowns and instant potato mix, but you can use your leftover mashed potatoes instead. With some pastrami from the deli, an onion, and a few kitchen staples, these waffles are a creative and delicious way to give those potatoes some new life.
If you have leftover stuffing, combine mashed potatoes and stuffing to create a super savory waffle. Or, if all you have left is a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, use that as your batter. Then, top off your finished waffle with a dollop of potatoes, turkey, and cranberry sauce. Now, that’s one seriously perfect holiday bite. Is there a better way to prepare for shopping the day after Thanksgiving?
Bake a pan of cheesy muffins
Our cheesy mashed potatoes muffins are sure to delight, especially if you prefer your leftovers to have a handheld feel. Start by combining your taters with cheese, bacon, chives, and eggs. Stir up the batter until the ingredients are blended together well and then proceed to scoop portions into a muffin pan. Of course, these will not rise quite the same way as traditional muffins do so feel free to fill them more to the top. Bake them in the oven, and in no time, you’ll have a moist, savory muffin perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime in between.
Consider adding a little stuffing to your mashed potatoes mixture to switch this up. You could even make sweet potato muffins using a similar method. Instead of cheese and chives, take a cue from a traditional sweet potato casserole recipe and add elements such as candies pecans and marshmallows.
Pull together a holiday leftover sandwich
A holiday leftovers sandwich is easy enough. Simply gather a small scoop of mashed potatoes and other small portions of sides and mains from the previous day’s feast, and place it all between two slices of bread. But we suggest bringing the heat with our Thanksgiving turkey panino recipe. As another refrigerator clearer, it should save some of that precious space for your leftover pumpkin pie.
Now, this isn’t your typical turkey sandwich. For this panino, you’ll be getting a little creative. Gather slices of sourdough, butter, turkey breast, Swiss cheese (or feta for something with a little kick), bacon, onions, cranberry sauce, greenery (like arugula), and mustard. Typically, a sandwich like this would call for mayo. However, consider substituting a spread of delicious leftover mashed potatoes to provide your sandwich an extra layer of savoriness. Toast until the cheese is melty, then, use that leftover gravy as a fabulous dip for your panino. You’ll probably find that this sandwich is so packed that you may want to share it.
Save some time making rolls
Two popular sides join forces for the ultimate dinner roll. This is a recipe that you’ll definitely want to plan in advance since it involves this important hack: While draining your mashed potatoes, reserve at least 2 cups of the potato water in a separate container and stash that precious liquid in the fridge. The starchy water will help loosen your leftover mashed potatoes a little to help form a great batter for these rolls. When you are ready to make your mashed potato rolls in the coming days, use the potato water you have saved and your mashed potatoes to take your dinner roll game to the next level.
These rolls can be very flexible to suit whatever role for which you need them. Whether for lunch or dinner, these are sure to impress. If you’re looking to use buns for lunch, potato rolls would be delicious a delicious option for turkey sandwich sliders.
Bake up some fresh french fries
French fries make a great addition to any burger night, but they are also a great snack. Of course, there are hundreds of recipes to choose from, but crispy giant french fries are extra special because you can make them with leftover mashed potatoes.
If you think these fries look a little familiar, that’s because they spent some time in the TikTok spotlight. The best part is that you can go ahead and skip to the seasoning and corn starch with your reserved potatoes in hand. You’ll then set about molding the batter into giant french fries which will spend some time in the oven to crisp up.
Enjoy them as a side for your next lunch or dinner. They’d undoubtedly pair well with that holiday sandwich full of turkey and all kinds of leftover goodness. But, if you’re just looking for a snack, enjoy these with a bit of ketchup or even marinara sauce.
Create the perfect slow cooker breakfast casserole
What’s better than waking up to breakfast casserole? Cooking that casserole in a slow cooker to make prep, cooking, and serving simple. While our slow cooker breakfast casserole recipe calls for hash browns, feel free to substitute leftover mashed potatoes. Not only will this give the hearty dish an incredible home-cooked feel and taste, but it will also be extra creamy.
In the bottom of your slow cooker, add your reserved mashed potatoes as your base. Layer onion, cheese, sauces, and cheese on top. Then, season your eggs with dill, onion powder, and garlic powder. Pour these eggs on top, followed by more of your potatoes and cheese. To ensure this casserole is ready when you wake up, set it up to cook through the night. That way, as you and your guests roll out of bed, the smell of casserole will be wafting through the house.
When serving, offer hot sauce to make those flavors extra special and zesty.
Use Martha Stewart’s cinnamon roll hack
If you want to transform your leftover mashed potatoes into an extra sweet treat, we suggest that you follow the lead of Martha Stewart. According to Snoop Dogg’s BFF, mashed potatoes happen to be the perfect addition to cinnamon rolls. And if the queen of home-cooked cuisine loves this trick, chances are good that it’s a quality tip.
So what’s the big deal with potato-y cinnamon rolls? Well, it turns out that mashed potatoes make for an extra pillowy interior. This hack works because the yeast in cinnamon rolls pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes. The end result is a fluffier, airier, and more delicious favorite breakfast pastry. Of course, don’t forget the all-important icing drizzle.
If you happen to make your mashed potatoes with Yukon Golds, those cinnamon rolls will be even more tender. That’s because Yukon Golds are not as starchy as some other popular mashed potato candidates such as russets.
Impress with homemade gnocchi
While making pasta from scratch may feel intimidating, there’s no need to fear when leftover mashed potatoes are near. Gnocchi are little dumplings that taste incredible, and while the pasta can be made with a variety of ingredients, the potato version is hard to top.
First, gather your ingredients: mashed potatoes, flour, egg, and seasoning if you went a little light on it while making your mashed potatoes. You’ll use one egg and one cup of flour for every two cups of mashed potatoes. Next, combine your ingredients, roll them cut, and cut them into gnocchi pieces. They should only be half-inch pieces. While premade and dried pasta needs several minutes to cook, this fresh gnocchi will be ready to go much quicker — only two minutes or until they float to the top of your water.
From there, toss them in brown butter and cheese, marinara sauce, or prepare a creamy chicken gnocchi dish. For this recipe, you’ll need a batch of leftover mashed potatoes gnocchi and a few more basic ingredients before adding cream and chicken. You can even substitute leftover turkey for a post-holiday meal.
Roll out some mashed potato candy
This old-fashioned candy may seem strange — it was a "Chopped" mystery box ingredient, after all — but happy to be a fun and tasty vehicle for using up your mashed potatoes. The sweet treat comes together quite simply, and you only need three ingredients: mashed potatoes, confectioner’s sugar, and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar to your mashed potatoes in a bowl until you create a thick cookie dough-like texture. Then, you’ll roll that dough out on wax paper, add a layer of peanut butter, and roll it up as tightly as possible. You could also use a different type of nut spread, or even jelly if you prefer. Use your wax paper to roll it up, and let your confection chill in the refrigerator.
This is the perfect late-night confection because it uses up some of your leftovers, satisfies that sweet tooth, and you don’t even need to turn on the oven.