Leftover Turkey Skillet Recipe

Recipe From Jennafer Ashley of Paleohacks

Turkey has always been a traditional part of Thanksgiving dinner, often served with vegetables and a side of cranberry sauce.1 It is usually roasted to golden perfection, making it an appetizing centerpiece of holiday feasts.

But with the abundance of food during these celebrations, it’s unavoidable to have leftovers. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 204 million pounds of turkey go straight to waste after Thanksgiving Day.2 Help minimize this and save money at the same time by reusing your leftover turkey scraps. Here’s a savory recipe by Jennafer Ashley of PaleoHacks to make the most out of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey:

Leftover turkey skillet

Leftover Turkey Skillet

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes Serving Size: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 sweet white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup gravy (you can also use keto gravy)
  • 1 pound leftover shredded turkey


1Melt the ghee over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and cook for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions soften and begin to brown.

Leftover Turkey Skillet Step 1

2Add the mushrooms, rosemary and garlic, and cook for seven minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Leftover Turkey Skillet Step 2

3Stir in the gravy and bring it to a simmer. Add the turkey then cook for five minutes to heat through. Serve immediately.

Leftover Turkey Skillet Step 3

What Are the Health Benefits of Turkey?

As a staple Thanksgiving food, turkeys are widely produced in the United States, with around 250 million birds consumed every year.3 With so many of us eating this kind of meat, what benefits do you get? According to USDA, 85 grams of roasted turkey breast contain 24.7 grams of protein, 3.26 grams of fat, 135 calories and zero carbohydrates. Turkey’s fat content is mostly in the skin, so better remove this part for a leaner meal.4 Other nutrients found in turkey meat are:5,6

B vitamins (B3, B6 and B12) Copper
Folate Iron
Magnesium Phosphorus
Potassium Zinc

Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey meat, may aid in the production of serotonin in the body.7 Serotonin is a chemical responsible for improving your mood and sleep and suppressing your appetite. To be able to maximize these benefits, regular consumption of foods rich in tryptophan such as nuts, turkey, pumpkin seeds and free-range organic eggs is recommended.

The recommended portion for adults is 3 1/2 ounces of dark turkey meat without the skin to suffice your protein needs. For people who work out and for pregnant women in their second or third trimester, consuming more than the recommended portion may be acceptable. Remember to buy pasture-raised turkeys sourced from a local or organic farm to ensure their freshness and cleanliness.

Why Use Cremini Mushrooms

Also known as cremini or baby portobello, cremini mushrooms best suit this recipe because they give balance to the meaty taste of turkey. They are even more flavorful than white mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are firmer and have a darker brown color compared to the common white button mushroom. These are harvested and consumed a little earlier than portobello mushrooms, hence the common name.8

This type of mushroom is packed with vitamins and nutrients such as fiber, protein, zinc, selenium, potassium and B vitamins.9 In addition, a 2006 study found that mushroom extract and its major fatty acid components may help decrease tumor cells in the body.10

Mushroom Buying, Preparation and Storage Tips

When buying cremini mushrooms, check the sheaths of skin under the cap that cover the gills. You would know they’re fresh if the covers are still intact.11

If you’re wondering whether or not you should rinse mushrooms before using them, Cook’s Illustrated suggests rinsing whole mushrooms if you’re going to cook them. Sliced mushrooms, on the other hand, may not be washed as their exposed flesh tend to absorb more water.12 Newly-bought or unused mushrooms must be stored in a bag with a small opening for air to circulate. They can last for three to five days.13

Ghee Is Just as Good as Raw Butter

If you aren’t familiar with ghee, it is a clarified form of butter, but without as many dairy proteins. It is used the same way as raw butter — on eggs, meat, vegetables and for slow-cooked dishes, sauces and curries. It has a higher smoking point that makes it suitable for sautéing, but it has a darker and nuttier flavor.

Ghee contains saturated fats, conjugated linoleic acid and butyrate acid. These are essential in maintaining optimal health, provided that it is consumed in moderation.14 If possible, purchase ghee that’s made from organic, grass fed butter to ensure that it is free from antibiotics.

Don’t Throw Out the Turkey Bones — Make Homemade Broth Instead

Aside from turning the uneaten turkey meat into a savory skillet dish, leftover bones may also be used to make a broth. Following this Bone Broth recipe, create a healthier alternative to gravy that offers various benefits including improved digestion, reduced joint pain, better bone health and healthier nails and hair. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you can use this broth to make keto gravy, which is just as appetizing as regular gravy.

+ Sources and References