The Thanksgiving Sandwich. A Leftovers Masterpiece

There's nothing like Thanksgiving leftovers. Add your turkey, cranberry, stuffing, mashed and gravy to this yearly Thanksgiving Leftover must have sandwich

The History of the Thanksgiving Sandwich

Imagine this: a delicious symphony of flavors nestled between two slices of fresh bread. The Thanksgiving sandwich, a true masterpiece of culinary art, is a delightful creation that brings together all the Thanksgiving feast leftovers into a single, mouthwatering bite. As an expert on all things culinary, I am here to take you on a journey through the rich history of this beloved sandwich.

The origins of the Thanksgiving sandwich can be traced back to the early 19th century in the United States. It all began with the tradition of Thanksgiving itself, a holiday deeply ingrained in American culture. Families would gather around a bountiful table filled with roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, savory stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce, and sweet pumpkin pie.

As the tradition of Thanksgiving grew, so did the need for creative ways to use up the inevitable leftovers. It was during this time that resourceful home cooks first started experimenting with transforming the remnants of the grand feast into a delectable sandwich. The Thanksgiving sandwich quickly became a cherished tradition, offering a delightful way to savor the flavors of the holiday long after the main event had ended.

The beauty of the Thanksgiving sandwich lies in its versatility. The basic components of a classic Thanksgiving sandwich include slices of roasted turkey, a generous spread of cranberry sauce, leftover stuffing, and a slathering of creamy gravy. However, the beauty of this sandwich is that it can be customized to suit individual preferences. Some choose to add a layer of tangy pickles for a burst of added flavor, while others opt for a sprinkle of crispy fried onions or even a dollop of sweet potato casserole.

Over time, the Thanksgiving sandwich has evolved and adapted to suit the changing culinary landscape. Chefs and home cooks alike have put their own spin on this timeless creation, exploring new ingredients and combinations. Today, you can find variations that feature everything from sliced ham to melted cheese, turning the Thanksgiving sandwich into a blank canvas for culinary creativity.

As the Thanksgiving sandwich continues to captivate taste buds across the nation, it has become more than just a way to use up leftovers. It is a symbol of togetherness, a tangible reminder of the joy shared with loved ones during the holiday season. Whether enjoyed as a post-Thanksgiving treat or savored year-round, the Thanksgiving sandwich is a culinary triumph that celebrates the spirit of Thanksgiving.

A thanksgiving sandwich which has turkey, stuffing, cranberry, mashed potato and gravy on a bulky roll

Recipe for the Perfect Thanksgiving Sandwich

As a seasoned sandwich connoisseur with decades of experience, I present to you the ultimate recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving Sandwich. This harmonious blend of flavors will transport you straight to the heart of Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 1 roasted turkey breast (sliced)
  • 8 slices of freshly baked bread (try a rustic sourdough or whole wheat)
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon
  • 1 cup of leftover stuffing
  • 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons of gravy
  • 4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of baby spinach or arugula


  1. Start by selecting high-quality ingredients. Opt for a roasted turkey breast that is juicy and tender. If possible, freshly bake or purchase artisanal bread that will add texture and flavor to your sandwich.
  2. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of each bread slice. This will act as both a binder and a flavor-enhancer.
  3. On four slices of bread, layer the roasted turkey breast, ensuring even distribution.
  4. Next, add a slice of cheddar cheese on top of each turkey layer. The sharpness of the cheese will complement the savory flavors.
  5. Now, it’s time for the stuffing. Place a generous portion of leftover stuffing on top of the cheese slices. This will add a wonderful stuffing flavor and a pleasant moistness to the sandwich.
  6. Add a layer of baby spinach or arugula on top of the stuffing. This fresh and vibrant component will bring a touch of color and balance to the sandwich.
  7. On the remaining four slices of bread, spread a dollop of cranberry sauce. This tart and sweet condiment will create a delightful contrast that perfectly complements the turkey and stuffing.
  8. Place a couple of cooked bacon slices on the cranberry sauce layer. The smoky and crispy texture of bacon adds a heavenly touch to the sandwich.
  9. To bring it all together, carefully place the bread slices with the turkey, cheese, stuffing, and spinach on top of the bacon slices and cranberry sauce slices. Press gently to ensure everything stays intact.
  10. Finally, warm your gravy (if it’s not already warm) and serve it as a dipping sauce on the side. This optional step adds an extra layer of indulgence to your Thanksgiving sandwich experience.

Now that you have the recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving Sandwich, it’s time to enjoy this delectable creation and savor the exquisite flavors of Thanksgiving. Happy feasting!

Thanksgiving Sandwich with cranberry and gravy on a white plate

Different Variations of the Thanksgiving Sandwich

The Thanksgiving sandwich, also known as the “Thanksgiving leftover sandwich,” is a delightful creation that offers countless variations. While the classic version typically consists of sliced turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise on bread, there are numerous ways to put a unique twist on this beloved sandwich. Some variations include adding gravy, sliced ham, bacon, or even incorporating turkey leftovers into a panini or wrap. Additionally, creative chefs have experimented with using different types of bread, such as ciabatta or cornbread, to take this sandwich to new levels of deliciousness.

Best Places to Find the Ultimate Thanksgiving Sandwich

While many people prefer to make Thanksgiving sandwiches at home with their own leftovers, some restaurants and specialty sandwich shops have gained recognition for their exceptional Thanksgiving sandwich offerings. In cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, renowned delis and sandwich spots have perfected their own versions of this iconic treat. These establishments often use high-quality ingredients, such as organic turkey and artisanal bread, to elevate the overall taste and experience. So, if you’re looking to indulge in a mouthwatering Thanksgiving sandwich but don’t want to do the cooking yourself, these locations might be worth exploring.

Popularity and Pairings

The Thanksgiving sandwich has gained immense popularity over the years, particularly among those who are eager to enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving beyond the holiday itself. Its appeal lies not only in the nostalgia it evokes but also in the harmonious combination of sweet and savory flavors. Many fans of this sandwich find that it pairs exceptionally well with a warm cup of soup, such as butternut squash or turkey soup, which amplifies the comfort factor. Other popular drink options to accompany the Thanksgiving sandwich include sparkling apple cider, a crisp autumnal beer, or a light-bodied red wine.

Times and Holidays to Enjoy the Thanksgiving Sandwich

While the Thanksgiving sandwich is commonly relished in the days following the Thanksgiving holiday, its enjoyment is not limited to that time alone. Many people enjoy recreating the sandwich throughout the year using various roasted meats, celebrating the flavors of Thanksgiving all year long. Furthermore, some individuals may turn to the Thanksgiving sandwich as a delicious option during other festive occasions, such as Friendsgiving or Christmas leftovers. Its versatility and unique combination of flavors make it a delightful treat that can be enjoyed whenever the craving strikes.

The Thanksgiving sandwich offers a delightful way to savor the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving long after the holiday has passed. With various delicious variations to choose from and establishments offering their take on this iconic sandwich, you’re sure to find a combination that satisfies your taste buds. Whether it’s served with a side of soup, paired with a refreshing drink, or enjoyed on different occasions, the Thanksgiving sandwich has become a beloved culinary creation that continues to delight food enthusiasts across the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *