Are you looking for a delicious way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas? These turkey cranberry pies are what you need to make! The leftovers are creatively layered in the pies, making a delightful dish everyone will love.
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The main ingredients are leftover turkey mixed with homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, sliced potatoes, and pastry. See the suggestions farther down in the post if you want to make this recipe vegan or try out a substitution or variation.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients.
- Melt half of the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions over medium-high heat until golden. Pour in ¼ cup of water and scrape up the browned residue on the bottom of the pan. Put the cooked onions in a bowl.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the saucepan, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly.
3. Gradually whisk in the milk and add the spices, then bring the gravy to a boil and cook until thickened.
4. Stir in the onions and chopped turkey, then set aside to cool.
5. Roll out the pastry and cut out 6 circles of the pastry to fit inside the muffin pan. (I only did 5 for the photos.) Put a couple small spoonfuls of gravy in the bottom of each pie.
6. Layer a few sliced potatoes on top. (Make sure to pre-boil the sliced potatoes for 3-5 minutes before assembling the pies, as they won't cook completely from raw.)
7. Spread a little cranberry sauce on top of the potatoes, then put a few more potato slices on top of the cranberry sauce. Mound up a few spoonfuls of the gravy on top of the potatoes.
8. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut circles for the pie lids. Brush the edges of the pies with beaten egg, then press on the lids and use a fork to crimp the edges. Brush the tops with beaten egg and cut two small vent holes in the lids.
9. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge to harden up the pastry. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, until the pastry is a rich golden brown.
10. Let the pies cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve hot or cold.
These miniature pies are a creative way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas. They are made with a sturdy homemade pastry filled with layers of leftover cranberry sauce, sliced potatoes, and a meat and gravy mixture.
I invented this recipe back in 2017; however, they are similar to British chicken, bacon, and apricot pies. Individual meat pies are a popular main course in England, so these ultimately have their origins in British cuisine.
One pie is 637 calories. They are high in vitamin C and iron. If you're on a diet, make healthier substitutions or have a smaller portion; we find that half of a pie, at 312 calories, is quite filling as along as it is served with other side dishes.
- Salad. Choose something light, like arugula tossed with garlic and lemon juice.
- Soup. A lower-calorie soup with a smooth texture would be a good choice.
- Bread. A crusty French baguette or English bloomer bread are tasty options.
Can I make turkey cranberry pies ahead of time?
Yes, you can make them ahead of time. They actually cut better after they have been refrigerated; this allows the layers to set for a better presentation. Just make sure to store them tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Reheat
- Bake at 300 F for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
- Microwave them individually for 1 minute on high, or until heated through.
Do they need to be refrigerated?
Yes, they need to be refrigerated because they contain meat, milk, and other perishable ingredients.
Can you freeze them?
Yes, you can. Let the baked pies cool completely, then seal them inside of a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
- Vegan: Use vegan butter and non-dairy milk, and substitute sauteed portobello mushrooms or chickpeas for the meat. Use a vegan egg wash on the pastry.
- Gluten Free: Use a gluten free pastry recipe, and thicken the gravy with cornstarch instead of wheat flour. Check that all of your ingredients are certified GF and have not been cross-contaminated.
- Pastry Types: puff pastry, empanada dough, hot water crust pastry
- Different Fillings: leftover stuffing, green bean casserole, steamed veggies, mashed potatoes
- Want 1 big pie? Layer all the ingredients in a round 9-inch pie plate instead.
- Use a sturdy homemade pastry to help the pies hold their shape, like empanada dough or hot water crust.
- Pressed for time? Make a large round pie instead of individual ones.
- Be careful not to overfill, or the pies will leak as they bake.
- Let the pies sit in the tin for a few minutes before removing them from the tin.
- Chill in the fridge before slicing; this keeps the layers intact for a better presentation.
Have lots of leftover turkey? Use it up in these delicious family favorite recipes.
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Leftover Turkey Cranberry Mini Pies
For the Turkey & Onion Gravy
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup leftover turkey, chopped (dark meat only)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
For the Filling
- 1 ¼ cups homemade cranberry sauce, chilled
- 2 medium russet potatoes
Preparing the Filling (45 minutes)
- Chop the onion and turkey and measure out the flour, milk, and butter.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until golden, then spoon the onions into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt the other 3 tablespoons of butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes to create a roux. Gradually whisk in the milk, add the spices, and boil until the gravy is smooth and has thickened.
- Stir in the onions and chopped turkey. Adjust seasonings as desired. Set aside the gravy to cool.
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Boil them for 3-5 minutes, until just fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Assembling the Pies (25 minutes + 30 minutes baking)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and put a large rimmed cookie sheet in to preheat.
- Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a little less than ⅛ inch thick. Cut out rounds of pastry and line 6 cavities of a jumbo muffin pan. Re-roll the remaining pastry and cut out 6 lids, one for each pie. Fill any empty muffin tin holes halfway with water for an even bake.
- Put a couple small spoonfuls of turkey gravy in the bottom of each pie. (If you have leftover stuffing to use, put a layer in here.) Layer three or four slices of potato on top, then put a few small spoonfuls of cranberry sauce on the potatoes. Top with a few more potato slices. Put more turkey gravy on top.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and lay the lids on each pie. Press the edges to seal and crimp with a fork. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg and cut two small vent holes in the top. If the pastry is getting warm and greasy, chill the pies in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
- Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then let them cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.
- Use a sturdy homemade pastry for the best flavor and texture. Empanada dough or hot water crust are good choices.
- In a rush? Make a big pie in a round pie plate instead of individual ones.
- Don't overfill the pies, or the filling will bubble up and leak out in the oven.
- Let the pies cool in the tin for a few minutes before putting them on a wire rack.
- Chill the pies in the fridge before slicing; this keeps the layers intact for a better presentation.
This recipe was originally published on February 16, 2018.