Leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and Hawaiian buns are the not-so-secret ingredients behind these easy turkey cranberry sliders!
Cranberry and Turkey Sliders Recipe
Thanksgiving is that time of year when you look in the fridge and see a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers piled up. Or at least it is in our house. We always have a plethora of ham, turkey, and sides stacked up in the fridge.
It may be because I cook WAY TOO MUCH during the holidays, but I will not admit that. LOL! Today's Cranberry and Leftover Turkey Sliders Recipe is a great way to repurpose some leftovers in the fridge.
Because let's be honest with each other. You can only make a plain sandwich or ham and egg omelet so many times before you are on the hunt for new recipes.
I don't know about your house, but John starts to give me “the look” in our house when we’ve had too many repeats.
The one that says, “Are we going to go out for Mexican? Because I can't eat any more holiday leftovers.” LOL!
So I come up with fun new leftover recipes to keep him entertained and save on our dining-out budget.
These are so good! The flavor is epic! I love that leftovers can become a whole new meal!
The combination of turkey and cranberry sauce is fantastic. It’s the perfect way to use these two Thanksgiving staples that may languish endlessly in your fridge once the feast ends.
Here is a quick overview of the simple ingredients for making epic Cranberry Turkey Sliders! The printable recipe card at the bottom of the post includes specific measurements and step-by-step instructions.
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
- Sesame Seeds/Poppy Seeds - optional
- Bread Rolls/Hawaiian Rolls
- Large Pot
- Small bowl
- Bread Knife (for slicing the bread rolls in half)
- Measuring Spoons/Tools
- 9 x 13 Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Aluminum Foil (to protect the top layer of the bread rolls from getting too dark in the oven)
- Heat-Resistant Potholders: A couple of years ago, we had a fire scare when we didn't realize we had turned a burner on, and a cloth potholder caught fire. Thankfully, we walked by the kitchen, saw the smoke, and got it out ourselves. Since then, we have only used these heat-resistant potholders.
How to make Cranberry Turkey Sliders
I've included complete instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here's a quick version.
Step 1 - Preheat the oven, gather supplies and ingredients.
Step 2 - Combine turkey pieces and gravy in a large pot on the stove top. Bring to a boil.
Slice Hawaiian Bread Rolls in half and set in a parchment lined baking dish.
Step 3 - Evenly spread the turkey/gravy mixture over the top of the bottom half of the rolls.
Step 4 - Spread cranberry sauce over the turkey mixture, top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Step 5 - Top with the top half of the buns, brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Bake and enjoy!
Preparation and Storage
Make-Ahead: These Cranberry Turkey Sliders are the ultimate make-ahead recipe, using leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy from your Thanksgiving feast! You can assemble them up to a day before baking; just add the melted butter and sesame or poppy seeds (if desired) before they go in the oven.
Storage: Refrigerate leftover sliders in an airtight container and enjoy them within three days. You can wrap individual sliders in plastic for double-insulated, grab-and-go sliders!
Freezing/How to Freeze: Freeze leftover Cranberry Turkey Sliders in airtight, freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags, and enjoy them within three months. You can wrap individual sliders in plastic or foil for more insulation against freezer burn.
How to Reheat: Reheat leftover portions using your microwave, skillet, or oven, depending on how many servings you need to prepare. Let frozen sliders thaw overnight in the fridge to ensure they reheat evenly.
Depending on when you make these Cranberry Turkey Sliders, you may have leftover Thanksgiving turkey or deli turkey in your fridge. Either works for this recipe!
We use mozzarella cheese, but you can also use provolone, gouda, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, or Havarti cheese, brie cheese.
You can garnish the slider tops with sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, or poppy seeds for extra flavor and texture or omit them altogether if anyone in your household doesn’t consume or enjoy seeds.
Serve with Dijon mustard, Your favorite jam or jelly if desired.
Vegetarian Option: Vegetarians can make these sliders meat-free using a meatless turkey and gravy alternative.
Vegan Option: In addition to the guidance for vegetarians, vegans can make these sliders safe for a vegan diet by replacing mozzarella and butter with plant-based alternatives.
Gluten-Free: Make this recipe gluten-free with gluten-free bread rolls. Gluten-free eaters will also need to use gluten-free gravy, as this ingredient contains flour and can only be gluten-free if made with gluten-free flour.
Smaller Serving Size + Larger Group/More Servings: The serving size for this recipe is one slider, and we use a dozen bread rolls to yield a dozen servings. Scale the written recipe up or down, depending on your desired yield.
Make it Spicy: Adding heat to the cranberry sauce is a fantastic way to make these Cranberry Turkey Sliders spicy! Land O’Lakes has Cranberry-Chipotle Turkey Sliders for inspiration.
Sugar-Free: The written recipe contains 1 gram of sugar per serving. The sugar content will vary depending on the cranberry sauce you use.
Tips for the Best Cranberry Turkey Sliders
- Each oven is slightly different, impacting cooking time. Keep an eye on the buns as they bake in the oven; the main objective is for the cheese to melt, so feel free to remove them once the melting has begun.
- Cooking time also depends on the type of bread you use. Hawaiian rolls darken much faster than denser bread rolls since they’re softer and airier.
What to Serve with Cranberry Turkey Sliders
Make these festive Cranberry Turkey Sliders featuring Thanksgiving leftovers part of your next holiday cocktail night, lunch, or dinner shared with friends and family. Here are some menu planning suggestions.
Sides: Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies, Cheddar Bay Sausage Balls, Cheesy Green Beans, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Casserole with Canned Yams, Creamed Corn Casserole, Campbell's Green Bean Casserole, CrockPot Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
Main Dishes: Eggnog French Toast, Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole, Ham & Cheese Crescent Roll, CrockPot Turkey, CrockPot Ham, CrockPot Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs, Bourbon Baked Ham, CrockPot Orange Glazed Ham, CrockPot Coke Glazed Ham
Desserts: Eggnog Cookies, Sugared Cranberries, 4 Ingredient Christmas Crack, Reindeer Chow, Grinch Bark, No Bake Church Window Cookies, Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Glaze, No Bake Eggnog Pie, Cranberry Fluff Salad, Snow Ice Cream, Black Forest Cupcakes
Drinks: Broken Down Golf Cart Shot, Baileys Hot Chocolate, Grinch Jello Shots, Fireball Jello Shots, Cherry Bomb Shot, Cranberry Mimosa, Eggnog Coffee, Peppermint Patty Shot, Polar Bear Shot, Boozy Grinch Drink, Three Wise Men Shot, Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail
When to Serve
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Cranberry and Leftover Turkey Sliders Recipe
- Preheat oven to 300
- In a pot, combine the turkey and gravy. Bring to a boiling and then set aside.
- Cut the bread rolls in half HORIZONTALLY, keeping each roll connected. Set top aside.
- Brush a few tablespoons of butter on the top of the bottom portion of rolls
- Spoon the turkey and gravy over the buns, being sure to get as far to the edge as possible
- Spoon the cranberry sauce over the turkey
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the cranberry sauce.
- Replace the tops of the buns. Brush the remaining melted butter over the tops of the buns.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake in the oven for 12– 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cut each slider individually and serve! Enjoy!
- 9X13 Pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Parchment Paper
Recipe originally shared on December 11, 2016. Updated October 2020, November 2022