leftover turkey salad with cranberries and pecans in a large cream bowl

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Why I love this turkey salad recipe

There always seems to be too much turkey at Thanksgiving – even if it’s the best brined turkey you’ve ever made and you planned for the perfect amount per person – the homemade stuffing always wins. So every year, I’m looking for new ways to use the leftovers.

My go to is usually soup. Last year, I made this amazing pho recipe, and I love using turkey in my chicken and dumplings recipe, but this year, I wanted to do something different.

This turkey salad recipe is a different take on my cranberry chicken salad, but instead of pine nuts, I used pecans I had leftover from my mini pecan pies. I think they’re perfect for fall, and, as an added bonus, they’re a bit cheaper than pine nuts.

two halves of a turkey salad sandwich on wheat bread stacked on top of each other on a plate

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

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turkey salad ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl with dressing ingredients to the side in measuring cups and small bowls

How to make leftover turkey salad

Chop your ingredients. Start by chopping your celery, green onion and turkey. If you need to chop your pecans, you can do that too, but I prefer to buy pecan pieces to make my life easier.

Mix the salad. In a large bowl, combine your turkey salad ingredients. Stir until everything is evenly coated with mayo and the seasoning has blended into the sauce.

I like to use a fork to stir mine, because it helps to “shred” the pieces of turkey and gives the salad a nice texture. You can use a spoon or a spatula though.

Make a sandwich (just be sure to look for hidden dairy in your bread) or serve it on a bed of lettuce for a healthier option.

turkey salad recipe with cranberries and pecans being mixed with a rubber spatula

FAQs and tips for making the best turkey salad

Do I need to toast the pecans?

Nope. You definitely don’t need to, but toasting them really amps up their flavor and changes they way they taste (for the better), but if you’re feeling lazy or don’t have the time, this recipe will still be great without toasting.

How long will this last in the fridge?

Turkey salad should last for 3 – 4 days in the fridge, depending on the freshness of the ingredients you use.

Can you freeze turkey salad?

Yes. You can technically freeze this recipe, but I don’t recommend freezing turkey salad (or any mayo based salads) because of the egg structure in the mayonnaise.

More turkey recipes:

More leftover recipes:


Leftover Turkey Salad Recipe

Put those Thanksgiving leftovers to good use! This easy turkey salad recipe is made with cranberries and pecans. Serve it as a sandwich or over lettuce for a simple, healthy meal.


  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American


  • 34 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (or 12 teaspoons Dijon mustard)
  • 12 tablespoons water
  • Salt & pepper, to toaste


  1. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir with a fork until the ingredients are evenly coated with mayonnaise. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 288
  • Sugar: 13.6 g
  • Sodium: 287.1 mg
  • Fat: 21.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.4 mg

Keywords: dairy free, leftovers, gluten free, easy, Thanksgiving, fall, cranberry, pecan

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. We periodically cook a turkey breast in a crock pot and were looking for something different to do with the leftovers. This recipe was fantastic! We added some glazed pecans that kicked it up a little more. Thanks for the recipe!!