How To Make Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie

updated Nov 16, 2023

Turn leftover Thanksgiving turkey, veggies, herbs, and pie crust into a delicious turkey pot pie.

Serves4

Prep20 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Regardless of the size of your Thanksgiving gathering, one thing is always true: There will be leftovers. Some people, like my husband’s family, like the leftovers almost as much as the dinner themselves and roast the largest turkey they can find so that there can be days of turkey sandwiches.

Me? I tire quickly of eating the same foods, but what I do enjoy is making something that’s new and equally delicious: turning leftover Thanksgiving turkey, mirepoix, and pie crust into a turkey pot pie.

Turkey pot pie is one of those magical makeovers: If you made turkey, gravy, pie, and anything with herbs and mirepoix, then you actually have all the ingredients you’ll need to make a fresh-tasting dinner that’s just as good as the Thanksgiving meal itself.

Here’s how to make this American classic, plus some tips on saving time with the prep (because you’ll probably be burned out with cooking after turkey day).

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The Ingredients You’ll Need for Turkey Pot Pie

  • Turkey: You’ll need 12 ounces of cooked turkey meat (no bones or skin). It doesn’t matter if it’s white or dark meat, and if you have a craving for pot pie and you don’t have Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, a slab of deli turkey meat that you chop up yourself will work too.
  • Mirepoix and herbs: Mirepoix is the French word for a mix of carrots, onion, and celery. It form the base flavors for many Western dishes, especially soups and stews. You’ll also need some dried or fresh thyme for a burst of herby flavor.
  • Butter and milk: Butter gives flavor to the sauce and cooks with the flour to make a roux, or base that thickens a white sauce. Milk adds creaminess to the sauce.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour thickens the liquids into a creamy white sauce.
  • Turkey or chicken broth: Broth adds a depth of flavor that milk alone can’t, and keeps the filling from getting too rich.
  • Frozen peas: Sweet peas add a pop of color and freshness to the filling.
  • Pie crust: It’s not a pot pie without a crust! Make your own or just pick up a pre-made pie dough at the grocery store.

How to Make Turkey Pot Pie

This version of turkey pot pie is baked in a cast iron skillet (or any straight-sided large skillet) so that you can cook the filling in the pan on the stovetop, then continue baking right in the same pan. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can make the filling in a frying pan and pour it into a baking dish before topping with the crust and baking.

The filling starts with sautéing carrots, onions, and celery with a little thyme, then building a white sauce with some butter, flour, and a combination of broth and milk. Cooked turkey and a big handful of frozen peas get stirred into the filling before it’s topped with a pie crust, and a few slits are cut into the crust to let some of the steam vent out.

Since the filling is already cooked, the pot pie just needs to bake until bubbling and the crust is golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Some Tips for Prepping Turkey Pot Pie

My absolute favorite part of making turkey pot pie is that you don’t really have to buy any ingredients that you wouldn’t already be getting for Thanksgiving. It also means that if you have the time, you can prep a lot of the ingredients at the same time you’re already prepping for Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Veggies and herbs: Dice up extra onion, carrot, and celery when you’re prepping them for your stuffing recipe or stock; pick some fresh thyme leaves or feel free to just use dried thyme instead.
  • Broth: If you’re already making turkey broth for gravy, set aside 1 1/2 cups, or plan to turn that roast turkey carcass into stock the day after Thanksgiving. It’s also okay to just pick up some store-bought chicken broth.
  • Pie crust: Make an extra pie crust if you’re going the homemade route for your dessert pies and refrigerate or freeze it until you’re ready for pot pie. If you hate making pie crust, just add another refrigerated store-bought crust to the shopping list.
  • Turkey: Turkey shreds best when it’s still warm, so shred three cups right after Thanksgiving dinner and pack it away (and label it!) separately from the rest of the turkey. That way, you know you have enough stashed away for pot pie and everyone can eat the remaining turkey however they want.

If you get all these components taken care of, it’s amazing how quickly turkey pot pie can get onto the dinner table. But even if you have to do some chopping and prepping, it’s worth it to turn all these Thanksgiving ingredients and leftovers into a warming dinner that everyone will look forward to. Who knows: They may even request turkey pot pie again when it’s nowhere close to Thanksgiving.

How to Make Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

Turn leftover Thanksgiving turkey, veggies, herbs, and pie crust into a delicious turkey pot pie.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 45 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces

    boneless, skinless cooked turkey (about 3 cups)

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 2

    small or 1 1/2 medium carrots

  • 2

    small or 1 1/2 medium stalks celery

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    fresh thyme leaves, or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups

    low-sodium turkey or chicken broth

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons whole or 2% milk, plus more for brushing

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1

    store-bought or homemade pie crust, thawed if frozen

Equipment

  • 10-inch cast-iron or ovensafe straight-sided skillet

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Wooden spoon

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Rolling pin (optional)

  • Pastry brush

  • Vegetable peeler

Instructions

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  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.

  2. Shred the turkey. Shred or dice 12 ounces cooked turkey (about 3 cups).

  3. Prepare the vegetables. Prepare the following, placing each in the same medium bowl as you complete it: Dice 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 3/4 cup). Peel 2 small or 1 1/2 medium carrots, then thinly slice crosswise (about 3/4 cup). Thinly slice 2 small or 1 1/2 medium celery stalks crosswise (about 3/4 cup). Pick the leaves from fresh thyme sprigs until you have 1 1/2 teaspoons. (If using dried thyme, measure out 3/4 teaspoon.)

  4. Sauté the vegetables. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

  5. Make the sauce. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour over the vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to cook the floury taste out. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole or 2% milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until it comes to a simmer and starts to thicken. Let simmer for 2 minutes more.

  6. Stir in the turkey and peas. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the turkey and 1/2 cup frozen peas and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

  7. Cover with pie crust. If needed, roll out 1 pie dough into a round about 10 inches in diameter. Transfer over the filling. Brush with a thin layer of milk. Use a sharp knife to cut 4 (1-inch) slits in the top of the crust to vent.

  8. Bake until bubbling and golden brown. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Baking in a baking dish: If you don’t have an ovensafe skillet, make the filling in a large frying pan, then transfer to an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish. Proceed with topping with the pie dough and baking.

Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead without the peas and refrigerated. Reheat in the skillet over medium heat until warmed through, stir in the peas, and proceed with topping with the pie crust and baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.