Classic turkey à la king is a popular comfort food that combines soft, creamy textures with salty, savory flavors. When you have a lot of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, turkey à la king is one recipe you'll want to have because it's fast and easy to make.
Want other Thanksgiving leftover ideas? Try these turkey pasties and this turkey stroganoff.
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This recipe an easy dinner idea that uses up leftover turkey. The base is a creamy sauce thickened by a roux, and includes veggies like onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and peas. It is traditionally served over rice or toast points.
Here are some of the key ingredients:
- Vegetables: mushrooms, peas, roasted red peppers or pimentos
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, paprika, curry, and cayenne pepper
- Liquids: stock and wine or sherry
- Meat: turkey or chicken
How to Make
- Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in melted butter over medium high heat until soft, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add the dry spices and cook 1 minute while stirring.
3. Sprinkle in the flour.
4. Whisk it into the vegetable mixture and cook it for a 3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
5. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and whisk it in so there are no lumps.
6. Pour in the whole milk and whisk it in, so the sauce is smooth.
7. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
8. Add in the meat, roasted red peppers, and frozen peas.
9. Stir until well combined, then cook until it's heated through.
Enjoy warm over rice or toast points.
The exact origins of the name aren't known, but it's thought that the hotel chef who created this dish (most likely Chef George Greenwald) named it after the owner of the hotel, E. Clark King II.
This dish was originally invented in the 1890s by a hotel chef who most likely was Chef George Greenwald of Brighton Beach Hotel in Brighton Beach, New York.
A ½ cup serving size has 151 calories and 9.3 grams of carbohydrates. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C. For more nutritional information, scroll to the bottom of the recipe card.
No, it's definitely an American dish. It was invented in the 1890s in Brighton, New York.
- Don't have leftover turkey? Use deli turkey cut ⅝-inch thick, then shred it.
- Low carb ideas: Serve it over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodle, or spaghetti squash.
- Want to add pastry? Use the filling for a savory family pie, or serve over puff pastry squares.
- Unique serving ideas: Serve it over corn bread wedges, waffles, crepes, or flat bread.
- Garnishes: Use flat leaf parsley or toasted slivered almonds.
Can I make this ahead of time?
You sure can. Make it on the stovetop or in the slow cooker the day before. Allow it to cool completely, then put it in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It's best to reheat it in a saucepan over medium low heat, then serve it over a freshly made pot of rice or your carb of choice.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes, you can. Make sure the dish has cooled completely before freezing in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. It keeps in the freezer for up to one month.
When ready to use, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw and reheat it in a saucepan over medium low heat until heated through. Serve it warm over your favorite carb.
Enjoy all of that leftover turkey with these delicious recipes.
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Easy Turkey à la King
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, diced
- ¾ cup carrot, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ⅛ teaspoon ground sage
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cups cooked turkey, shredded
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ¼ canned red roasted peppers, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- sprinkle of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon flatleaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. When it begins to foam, add the onion, celery, and carrots. Stir and cook until soft, roughly 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Sprinkle the thyme, rosemary, and sage onto the veggies. Let the spices bloom by stirring constantly for a minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium, then sprinkle on the flour. Whisk until the flour seems cooked, about 3 minutes. (You can cook the roux longer, 7 to 10 minutes, if you want a light brown roux.)
- Whisk in the chicken stock first, and then the whole milk. Increase the temperature a tiny bit and let the milk heat up. Whisk constantly for a couple of minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- Lower the heat to medium low, add the diced roasted red peppers, shredded meat, frozen peas, salt, and white pepper to taste. Stir and cook until heated through, roughly 5 minutes.
- Serve warm over cooked brown rice or the carb of your choice with chopped parsley as a garnish.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook the flour, whisking constantly, for at least 3 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and whisk it in, then do the same for the milk. Whisk for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat.
- Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, spices, meat, and white sauce to a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
- During the last 30 minutes, turn the heat up to high, then add the frozen peas and the chopped roasted red peppers. Stir, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Use deli turkey cut ⅝-inch thick, then shred it if you don't have leftover turkey.
- Serve it over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodle, or spaghetti squash if you want low carb options.
- Use the filling for a savory family pie, or serve over puff pastry squares if you want pastry.
- Serve it over corn bread wedges, waffles, crepes, or flat bread for some unique serving ideas.
- Use flat leaf parsley or toasted slivered almonds for your garnishes.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This recipe was originally published on March 14, 2018 and updated on October 10, 2019, but was updated on November 12, 2021 with new FAQs and reformatted content.
The leftover turkey tastes really good with the carrots, the peas, and the roasted red peppers. 🥕🦃 I like the turkey a la king; it is very flavorful! It is very delicious!🍲😍😋😀 Yum, yum!
Thank you, Alex! Turkey a la king is such a delicious recipe for turkey leftovers!
The tender turkey, carrots, red peppers, and peas are great together. This tastes good on rice. It reminds me of other delicious turkey recipes like turkey stroganoff.
Thank you, Beth! I love all the tasty meals one can make with leftover turkey!