Leftover Turkey Salad



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This lightened-up turkey salad with celery, onion, dried cranberries and almonds is the perfect recipe to make with leftover turkey.

I have plenty of protein-packed salads (like this curried avocado egg salad and my almond butter chicken salad) but for some reason I’ve never shared a turkey salad. Now seems like the perfect time because this tasty salad can be made with your turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas. There’s only so many turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwiches one can eat, amirte?!

Bowl full of turkey salad topped with fresh dill and chopped almonds.

Funny story about when I was testing this recipe… we’ve been doing curbside pickup lately at Kroger so I put in an order for a turkey breast. I thought I was ordering a small turkey breast (similar to what you’d get if you ordered a chicken breast)… well little did I know what I actually ordered was a frozen 8 lb turkey breast.

I needed to cook the breast right away because I was recipe testing this recipe the next day. The package said it would need to thaw for 1-3 days in the fridge! I had no time for that so I Googled how to cook a frozen turkey breast, found an Instant Pot recipe and guess what… it worked!! I defrosted the turkey breast using warm water just enough to remove the gravy packet. We put the breast in our pressure cooker with a little broth, garlic powder, oregano and cooked it on high for 30 minutes. It came out perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious. Looong story short, if you happen to need an easy Instant Pot recipe for turkey breast (frozen or not), here’s the recipe!

Bowl of creamy turkey salad with celery, cranberries and almonds.

Needless to say, this turkey salad recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s light, flavorful and can be used in so many ways (see ideas below).

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • turkey – leftover Thanksgiving turkey is perfect for this recipe!
  • celery and red onion – these both add flavor and crunch
  • dried cranberries
  • salted and roasted almonds
  • mayonnaise – I like using avocado oil mayo, but any type will work.
  • plain Greek yogurt – I used full fat but you could use low fat or zero fat if you’d like.
  • lemon juice apple cider vinegar also works.
  • dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper
  • fresh dill or parsley
Mixing bowl with mayo, chopped turkey, celery, cranberries, onions and herbs.

Substitutions & Notes

One of my favorite things about protein salads is that you can switch up the recipe and use what you have!

  • Protein – obviously this recipe is for leftover turkey, but if you don’t have turkey on hand you can certainly used chicken.
  • Fruit – I chose to use dried cranberries to keep the Thanksgiving/holiday theme but you can use a different dried fruit or even fresh grapes or apple chunks. All of these work great in protein salads for a little sweetness.
  • Nuts – Any nut works in place of the almonds. I love using toasted chopped pecans as well!
  • Greek yogurt – If you don’t have yogurt on hand and want to use all mayonnaise, go right ahead. I used half and half to keep the recipe a bit lighter, but you certainly don’t have to use the yogurt.
  • Fresh herbs – I love the fresh dill in this recipe, but you can use a different fresh herb like oregano or parsley if that’s what you have on hand.
Bowl of creamy turkey salad with celery, cranberries and almonds.

How to Serve This Salad

I feel like I can’t stop raving about protein salads… and for good reason! There are so many ways to enjoy this turkey salad, you could eat leftover for days!

  • As a salad – Enjoy the turkey salad on top of a bed of greens.
  • In a wrap – Scoop turkey salad into a lettuce wrap or traditional tortilla wrap.
  • As a sandwich – Eat the turkey salad on regular bread, in a pita or on a croissant roll. You can add some greens (crunchy romaine works great) to the sandwich as well.
  • With crackers or chips – Serve with pita bread, chips or crackers for a quick, satisfying snack (or meal). This works great as a party appetizer too.
Bowl full of turkey salad topped with fresh dill and chopped almonds.

How to Store Leftovers

As you can tell from all the ways to enjoy this, this salad stores really well. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Sometimes later in the week, I need to mix in additional mayonnaise if it’s a little dry but you can adjust to your liking!

More Turkey Recipes to Try

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4.32 from 16 votes

Leftover Turkey Salad

This lightened-up turkey salad with celery, onion, dried cranberries and almonds is the perfect recipe to make with leftover turkey.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 cups


  • 4 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced celery, about 2 stalks
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup salted and roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, I like avocado oil mayo
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, I used full fat, but you could use low fat
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, parsley also works


  • Add turkey into a large bowl along with celery, onion, cranberries, almonds, mayo, yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, salt and fresh dill. Toss to combine.
  • Enjoy salad on top of a bed of greens, in a lettuce wrap, as a sandwich with regular bread, on crackers, in a pita or on a croissant roll. Store leftovers in an airtight covered container for 3-5 days.


Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 174mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turkey salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks so yummy! We opted for a full turkey this year, even though there are only a few of us. I will use leftovers to make this.

  2. 5 stars
    This was amazing! After several days of eating plain turkey, this recipe was just what I needed to take it up a notch! My family was very skeptical about me branching out and trying something new, but we all loved it and I think this will become a part of our yearly Thanksgiving tradition! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. Isn’t it so good?! I’m obsessed. I’m glad this salad was a hit with your family. Thanks for giving this recipe a try and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Yay! So glad you loved this salad, Maren. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Ah YAY! I am so happy that you are loving this recipe, Ashe. Thank you for your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!

    1. WOO! I am excited to hear that you loved this recipe, Linda. Thank you so much for sharing your review & star rating, it means so much to me.

  3. This recipe looks great but I don’t have any cooked turkey, do you think I could make it with canned turkey?
    Thank you

    1. Hey Victoria, I’m sure that would work. Or you could sub the turkey for shredded chicken!

      1. I used canned turkey and dill seasoning because that’s what I had and it got rave reviews. I will make it again when I have left over turkey. Great recipe! Thank you

  4. 5 stars
    Will absolutely make this again and look forward to trying different fruit and nut options. This is a delicious way to make your turkey a fresh new meal!

    1. YUM! I am so excited you gave this recipe a try and it was a hit for you, Lynda. Thank you so much for your review + star rating, it means so much to me!

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! I tried it both with and without the yogurt and I definitely prefer it as written! So yummy! Thank you again!!

    1. YUM! So glad you are loving this salad and it is a hit for you, Elissa. Thank you so much for your review & star rating, I truly appreciate it!