Is your refrigerator a horror show filled with stacks of scary containers stuffed with mashed potatoes, turkey, and stuffing galore? Fear not, wine fans, you’re not alone! Cooking a massive feast on Thanksgiving is equal parts rewarding and exhausting, but the real kicker is when all your guests leave and you’re faced with the task of “disposing” of your extra goodies without overdosing on… well, let’s called it “holiday cheer.”
The solution? Turn your Tupperware filled with cranberry sauce and ham scraps into a breakfast feast worthy of all the friends and family members you’re going to trick into cleaning up your tasty little problem.
Here are some Thanksgiving leftover brunch recipes and a few drinks perfect for washing it all down.
Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes – The Brunch Edition
This recipe calls for chopping up some Yukon Gold potatoes, Italian peppers, and leftover turkey, but tossing some extra stuffing into the pan with a handful of greens (spinach or kale will work perfectly) is a better way to clear out your fridge and impress friends at the same time. Throw a fried egg on top and you even have your own delicious rich, delightfully savory “sauce.”
Epicurious has an onion frittata recipe that’s good as-is but even better when you customize it using whatever you have in the fridge. Add leftover asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, creamed spinach, corn, stuffing, tomatoes, ham, turkey, even green bean casserole. This dish is so forgiving you can do almost anything to it – aside from adding a lot of liquid – and the results will be impressive.
Who doesn’t like a grown-up Pop-Tart? These would also work well with leftover homemade applesauce or apple pie filling, pumpkin (add pumpkin pie spice and sweetener to canned puree), chopped nuts and brown sugar, or even plain Nutella. We’ve done them with puff pastry instead of pie dough, too. Yuuuuum.
This tasty sammie uses up leftovers from your turkey, your cheese plate, and your big bowl of cranberry sauce, all in one fell swoop. It would work well with cheddar or even goat cheese, too, although the latter won’t melt as nicely.
Eggs Benedict is a brunch classic, but lots of people avoid making it at home because they think it has too many components or because the idea of whipping up hollandaise is just way too daunting. This version has the same look and feel of a Benedict but it’s much easier. Feel free to use mashed potato pancakes as the base instead, and if you had ham on your Thanksgiving table, you can swap that out for the turkey as well.
Thanksgiving Brunch Wine and Cocktails
The Cranberry Bellini
Most people are familiar with a traditional peach bellini, which combines peach puree and sparkling wine – usually prosecco – for a sweet and sparkly brunchtime tipple. This version uses cranberry in honor of Thanksgiving. Simply mash up your leftover cranberry sauce (a blender works well) and pass it through a fine sieve or mesh strainer to achieve a smoother consistency (nobody wants to drink cranberry skins… we hope…). Add about one tablespoon of cranberry puree to your glass and top with prosecco.
Pro tip: if your prosecco and cranberry puree are both sweet, balance out your drink with a squeeze of lime. If your drink is overly tart, a couple drops of simple syrup or a sugared rim will serve as an instant fix.
Classic Bloody Mary
Any cocktail enthusiast will likely have their own preferred recipe for this much-beloved drink, but we have a soft spot for this classic Bloody Mary recipe from Eater. It’s yummy and not overly complicated, leaving plenty of space for out-of-this-world garnishes – courtesy, of course, of your overloaded post-Thanksgiving fridge.
Jazz up your Bloody Mary with any of all of these garnishes (if you can put it on a toothpick or skewer, do it!):
- A celery salt or Tajin rim
- Chunks of cheese or sliced meats from your Thanksgiving charcuterie plate
- Pickles of any kind
- Olives (especially if they’re stuffed!)
- Deviled eggs
- Bacon slices
- Celery stalks
- Baby corn
- Cherry tomatoes
- Pearl onions
- Cucumber spears
- Chilled shrimp
- Grilled asparagus
- Stuffed date
Bourbon-Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Chase away the November chill with one of a Bourbon-Spiked Hot Apple Cider crafted by the team at Vindulge. Their recipe uses a simple stovetop preparation, but this would work equally well (especially if you’re expecting a crowd) if you throw everything (minus the bourbon) in your slow cooker on low. Just wait and add the booze to each individual glass as you serve.
We see nothing wrong with popping bottles first thing in the morning, especially if you’re fixing brunch, but other people might not be so open-minded. Enter a nice sparkling rosé. The pale pink bubbly is both sophisticated and food friendly, so everyone leaves the table guilt-free and with a full belly and big smile.
- Sophora Sparkling Rosé – $14.99 (New Zealand)
- Gruet Rosé Sparkling Wine – $15.99 (New Mexico)
- Graham Beck Brut Rosé, 2010 – $19.99 (South Africa)
- Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé – $79.99 (France)