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The Best Turkey Salad (From Leftover Turkey)

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Are you wondering what to do with your Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers? Try our best leftover turkey salad recipe! It’s an easy and delicious way to use up that extra turkey.

With just a few pantry staples, you can whip up this flavorful turkey salad in no time. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or a light dinner, making your leftovers something to look forward to.

I love to cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we always have lots of leftover turkey meat to use up. Actually the week after a big meal is always my favorite because there are so many leftovers to use it makes putting together a quick dinner so much easier during a busy time of year.

But sometimes you want more than just reheated holiday dishes, thankfully there are so many delicious ways to use holiday leftovers like this turkey pasta bake.

One of my favorite ways to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey is this turkey salad recipe. It takes just a few minutes to prepare and can be used in so many ways. You can enjoy turkey salad sandwiches, serve it on a bed of lettuce, and make lettuce cups or wraps.

A sandwich bun filled with homemade turkey salad and fresh lettuce.

Ingredient Notes

This easy recipe uses simple ingredients that you likely have in your pantry but it’s so flexible it’s easy to make substitutions to use up what you have on hand.

Turkey salad ingredients in small bowls, diced turkey, onion, celery, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and black pepper.

Leftover turkey – You can use white or dark meat or use a mixture of both types of turkey meat. I usually cook up whole turkeys but you can also roast a turkey breast and save the meat to use in your salad.

Miracle Whip or mayonnaise – I prefer to use Miracle Whip as the base of the dressing because it tastes a bit sweeter and spicier than regular mayo. But you can use whatever mayo you prefer. I use 1 cup in this recipe because I like a nice creamy turkey salad. If you would like a dryer salad reduce the Miracle Whip to 2/3 of a cup or to taste.

Dijon mustard – Mustard gives a little spice to the recipe and pares wonderfully with the other flavors. Dijon is my favorite but you can substitute your favorite mustard. Honey dijon also works well.

Lemon juice – Use bottled or fresh lemon juice. The acid helps to bring out the flavor of the turkey.

Sugar – A little sugar helps to add a touch of sweetness and makes the dressing taste so much better. If you decide to use honey dijon mustard you can leave the sugar out.

Celery – Finally diced celery adds a lovely crunch to the salad and a nice green color.

Red onion – Red onions are my favorite to use in salads, they have a slightly sweet taste and add a pop of color against white salad dressings. But you can substitute green onions, shallots, or any sweet onion that you prefer.

Salt and black pepper – Seasonings to enhance the overall flavor of the dressing.

How To Make Turkey Salad

A white mixing bowl with diced turkey, celery, onions, spices and mustard.

In a large mixing bowl add your cooked diced turkey, sugar, lemon juice, celery, onions, salt, and pepper.

Mixing bowl with cooked turkey, celery, red onion, spices and mayo before mixing.

Then add the dijon mustard and the mayonnaise.

A bowl of homemade turkey salad.

Stir until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and make any seasoning adjustments to suit your tastes.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

How To Store Turkey Salad

Turkey salad should be stored in an airtight container and kept refrigerated. If your turkey is freshly cooked the salad will last for up to 4 days in the fridge. If you are using leftover turkey that’s a few days old use the salad up as soon as possible.

A bun filled with homemade turkey salad on a white plate. Text overlay says The Best Ever Turkey Salad With Simple Ingredients.
Yield: 8 servings

The Best Turkey Salad Recipe

A sandwich bun filled with homemade turkey salad and fresh lettuce.

Make the most of your Christmas and Thanksgiving leftovers with this quick and flavorful leftover turkey salad recipe. It's a simple, tasty way to use up leftover turkey!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 4 cups cooked turkey chopped
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 stocks of celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper


    1. In a large mixing bowl add the cooked turkey, celery, red onions, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
    2. Then add the dijon mustard and Mirical Whip and stir until well mixed.
    3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate, this information is for informational purposes only please consult a nutritionist for more information and guidance.

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