A savvy Thanksgiving dinner guest appreciates how each component of a proper turkey dinner, from the stuffing to the Brussels sprouts, is not only delicious on its own, but designed to intermingle on the plate in a mishmash of savory abundance. 

Bourbon-spiked sweet potatoes practically beg to cozy up to a rosemary-cranberry compote, while orange-scented green beans clamor for a little kiss of giblet gravy. Autumn’s peak holiday offers a cornucopia of combinations and each and every one can handle a little morsel of turkey or two! It’s no wonder most folks cannot wait to get hungry again after the main event is over. 

Given all the changes to Thanksgiving celebrations this year, leftovers are bound to be more plentiful, but that does not mean they’ll be any less delicious. A haze of mile-high sandwiches, open-face turkey and gravy, and even the occasional hokey 1950s casserole make the hours and days following this food focused holiday nothing short of a tryptophan-laden dreamland. 

Right after the turkey tetrazzini and just before the carcass gives up its last burst of flavor in a lovely homemade soup, I look forward to transforming the waning remnants of my Thanksgiving menu into a batch of crispy egg rolls. 

This creative spin on holiday leftovers celebrates the hodgepodge Turkey Day flavors and offers maximum flexibility for everyone to create their own perfect snack. 

Thanksgiving Egg Rolls (make as many or few as you want!)

I filled my rolls with whipped sweet potatoes, stuffing, turkey, cranberry, parsley and sage, but feel free to use this recipe as a gentle guide for creating an array of personalized rolls. Extra wrappers can be frozen for later use.

1 package egg roll wrappers

1 egg, lightly beaten

Leftover mashed potatoes, sweet or white

Leftover turkey meat, shredded

Leftover stuffing

Leftover cranberry sauce

Leftover Thanksgiving vegetables 

Chopped leftover fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage and/or thyme

Canola oil for frying

Leftover gravy for dipping

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a large high-sided skillet. Heat the oil until a piece of bread sizzles on contact, but the oil is not smoking (about 325 degrees).

Meanwhile, place an eggroll wrapper on a work surface like a diamond with a point facing you. Spread a generous tablespoon of mashed potato in the lower third of the diamond. Top with a few shreds of cooked turkey, a tablespoon of stuffing, a hint of veggies and a sprinkling of cranberry and herbs. The wrapper should hold about ¼ cup of combined ingredients.

Fold the bottom corner up toward the top corner to enclose the filling. Pull back slightly on the wrapper to ensure everything is firmly held inside. Putting the potatoes down first helps with this process as they act like glue to hold everything else in place.

Using a finger, spread some beaten egg on the top triangle of the diamond. Fold the side corners in toward the center of the filling; the eggroll will look like an envelope at this point. Roll the egg roll up to the end making sure the egg seals the edges.

Dust the wrapped rolls with cornstarch and cover them with a towel until you’ve filled all the wrappers you are planning to make. Fry the eggrolls in batches as soon as you are finished wrapping them, two minutes per side until golden brown and crunchy. Serve the egg rolls with leftover Thanksgiving gravy for dipping.

Keeping Thanksgiving leftovers safe to serve

Food safety begins when you are prepping the foods. Be sure to wash your hands frequently while you prepare your holiday feast and keep raw foods away from cooked foods.

Lingering at the Thanksgiving table is lovely, but not at the expense of keeping uneaten food safe. Once everyone has had their fill and communal dishes are just slightly cool to the touch (about 95 degrees) get things transferred to shallow storage containers and placed in the refrigerator. 

Foods should be cooled quickly and refrigerated within two hours of coming out of the oven. Any longer than that and leftovers should be tossed.

Use or freeze all Thanksgiving leftovers within four days. Period. 

Cooked turkey can be frozen for up to 6 months. I like to chop mine up and freeze it in Ziploc bags for easy additions to soups and stir fries.

Heat all leftover dishes to 165 degrees and be sure to bring your soups and gravies to a boil before serving them up for Thanksgiving round two.