Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry Sauce

Looking to use up leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and veggies? This Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry Sauce is super tasty and ridiculously simple!

We’re very good at using up leftover meat. Most of my recipes are made using up Sunday lunch leftovers and we very rarely have a cold meat sandwich on a Monday. 

We never, ever throw leftover meat away, and we’re in no danger of living off turkey sandwiches for a week after Christmas. 

But I am terrible when it comes to cranberry sauce! 

It’s not that I don’t like it. I do. But I have a terrible habit of just completely forgetting about it. 

We buy a jar for Christmas dinner, use a bit of it, pop it in the top of the fridge and leave it there until sometime in the middle of the year (usually when I’m trying to fit a cake in) when we realise that half of our fridge is taken up by sauces, pickles and other condiments and have a good clear out. 

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This year I’m trying to be better. So before Christmas, I’ve been working on recipes like this Cranberry Pasta Sauce and my Leftover Christmas Dinner Pizza that mean I’ve got plenty to do with my Leftover Cranberry Sauce and absolutely no excuse to forget all about it!

Leftover Turkey Pasta with Creamy Cranberry Sauce is filling, easy and a great way to use up any leftovers that you might have.

close up of turkey, peas and bacon in black frying pan. Bowl of pasta to the side.

Ingredients for Leftover Turkey Pasta 

The main ingredients of turkey with Creamy Cranberry Sauce are perhaps unsurprisingly turkey, soft cheese and cranberry. Oh and pasta!

ingredients for leftover turkey pasta. White bowls. Shredded turkey, diced red onion, chopped bacon, soft cheese, spring onion, jug of stock, frozen peas, jar of cranberry sauce, mixed herbs, cloves of garlic.

I use:

  • Leftover Turkey – I shred this while it’s cool, but you can slice or roughly chop if you prefer
  • Bacon – This is just to add some flavour and is ideal for bulking it out if you don’t have much turkey, but you could skip
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cranberry Sauce – store-bought or homemade
  • Soft Cheese – if you don’t want a cheesy flavour, you can swap this for a good splash of double cream 
  • Chicken Stock
  • Mixed Herbs
  • Frozen Peas – Swap for any leftover veg that you might like to add
  • Spring onions 
  • Pasta – I use tagliatelle, but any will do
Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry sauce in frying pan, served portion to the side.

How to Make Creamy Cranberry Pasta Sauce

Cranberry Sauce on Pasta would perhaps be a little sweet. 

So I add some soft cheese and chicken stock, and then just simmer it all together with mixed herbs to balance the flavours. Nothing fancy. 

6 process shots for making leftover turkey pasta with cranberry sauce. 1. pan frying onions and garlic. 2. added bacon. 3. added turkey. 4. stirred in cheese and cranberry. 5. simmering in stock. 6. added peas and spring onions.

To make my Cranberry Sauce for Pasta I first fry the onions, garlic and bacon and add the turkey. 

I then stir through the cranberry, cheese and stock and add the herbs, before simmering for around 20 minutes. Just until the sauce is thickened, and the flavours have mellowed a little. 

If your sauce tastes too sweet, add more stock, or a little more soft cheese. 

I only use around 50g of cheese when I make this Creamy Turkey Pasta, I just find the cheese flavour too strong with more, but by all means, taste and add if you want to. Find your balance. 

close up of served leftover turkey pasta in cranberry sauce in white bowl.

Can You Make This Recipe with Uncooked Turkey?

Absolutely. 

Turkey is a lean and tasty meat, ideal for family dinners at any time of the year. 

To make Cheesy Turkey Pasta with raw turkey, I’d chop the turkey, and fry for a few minutes to brown before removing it from the pan and following this recipe. Just make sure the turkey is always cooked through and piping hot before serving. 

Another option is making this recipe with leftover chicken.

Can You Make Cranberry Pasta Sauce with Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Yes, you can make Leftover Turkey Pasta with cranberry sauce that you’ve made yourself. 

I always use a ready-made jar though. A lot is going on at Christmas, I’m all for making life easier. 

served pasta with turkey and cranberry in white pasta bowl. Cooking pan and bowl of pasta to the sides.

Making a Lighter Leftover Turkey Pasta

This Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry Sauce is pretty heavy and maybe not what everyone wants on Boxing Day. 

Using less soft cheese and skipping the bacon is perhaps the easiest way to make it lighter, and you only need a teaspoon of soft cheese to add some flavour. 

You might need to simmer it for longer to thicken it though. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend using low-fat cheese, as this can separate when added to stock. 

If you are looking for a healthier Leftover Turkey with Pasta dinner, making your own lighter cranberry sauce can be a great idea too.

Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry sauce in frying pan, served portion to the side.

Other Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

If you’ve got lots of cranberry sauce there are some other ways to use it up. Here are some ideas:

Other Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

What Can I Make with Leftover Turkey is one of the most popular questions at this time of the year, and the good news is there are plenty of options. These are some of my personal favourites:

fried rice with turkey, peas, corn and carrots in a white bowl. Frying pan in background.
Yield: 4 Servings

Leftover Turkey Pasta in Cranberry Sauce

served turkey and peas in cranberry sauce on top of pasta in bowl.

Looking to use up leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and veggies? This Leftover Turkey Pasta with Cranberry Sauce is super tasty and ridiculously simple!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray – or 1tbsp oil
  • 0.5 Red Onion – Finely Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – Crushed
  • 150g Bacon – Chopped roughly
  • 350g Leftover Turkey – Shredded or chopped
  • 80g Cranberry Sauce
  • 50g Soft Cheese
  • 300ml Chicken Stock
  • 2 Teaspoons Mixed Herbs
  • 200g Frozen Peas
  • 4 Spring Onions – Finely Sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan
  2. Add the onions and garlic and fry for 3 minutes until they are starting to soften
  3. Add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often
  4. Stir in the turkey
  5. Spoon in the cranberry sauce and stir well until it’s evenly spread
  6. Stir through the cream cheese
  7. Pour in the stock and add the mixed herbs
  8. Stir and bring to a simmer
  9. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more stock if it starts to dry out
  10. While it’s simmering prepare pasta to package instructions and drain
  11. Add the peas and spring onions, stir through and cook for a further 5 minutes
  12. Serve with pasta and top with parmesan cheese if desired

Notes

  • If you are using raw turkey, chop and brown in the pan before removing and following this recipe. Make sure the turkey is cooked through and piping hot before serving.
  • If you don’t want a cheesy flavour, swap the soft cheese for a good splash of double cream.
  • Nutritional information doesn't include pasta, refer to your package for more accurate information.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 Portion

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 534Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 953mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 46g

The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors.

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