Use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the very best way when you make Turkey Salad! Chopped turkey breast is tossed together with celery, red onions, cranberries and more in the best tangy and creamy mayo mixture. Enjoy it all by itself or as a sandwich!

A bowl filled with turkey salad is placed in front of a sandwich.

Turkey Salad

There’s nothing quite like staring at that zip-top baggie in the fridge that’s full of turkey and thinking… now what? It’s that day-after Thanksgiving conundrum all Americans face year after year! While I do have quite a few leftover turkey recipes I love (scroll to the bottom of this page to find them listed), this year I’ll definitely be tossing together this simple turkey salad recipe.

Every bite of this turkey salad has a lot going on – in the very best way! Different textures are at play. Tender bites of turkey breast, crunchy pecans, chewy dried cranberries, crisp celery and and red onions are all held together by the best creamy dressing. Somehow, as different as everything is, they all come together beautifully in a medley of complimentary flavors and textures.

The very best thing about this turkey salad recipe is how easy it is to make. After Thanksgiving (which I lovingly refer to as the Olympics of home cooking), it’s nice to relax with a low-stress recipe like this one. Essentially, you just chop up all of your ingredients, toss them together in a big bowl, and enjoy! You can either serve turkey salad all by itself or as a sandwich/wrap, it’s impossible to go wrong.

A glass bowl is filled with turkey salad.

How to Make Turkey Salad

Chop, whisk, toss, and enjoy! It’s really that easy. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see more in detail instructions.

  1. Combine the main ingredients. Toss together the turkey, celery, and red onion in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Make the dressing. Whisk together the mayo, honey mustard and lemon juice/zest until combined.
  3. Toss together. Pour the dressing on top of the turkey and veggies. Toss to combine.
  4. Add the final touches. Fold in the dried cranberries, pecans, and thyme. Season with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.
A croissant has been turned into a sandwich with microgreens and turkey salad.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s what you’ll need to make this leftover turkey salad recipe!

  • Turkey – This is a great recipe for using up the leftover Thanksgiving turkey in your fridge!
  • Celery – Always give your celery a rinse before chopping.
  • Red Onion – Red onions offer the best pop of bold onion-y flavor. I don’t recommend swapping them with any other color of onion.
  • Mayonnaise – You can use low-fat mayo! It just might not be as creamy as regular mayo.
  • Honey Mustard – This gives the dressing a wonderful sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Lemon – You’ll need both the zest and juice of a fresh lemon.
  • Dried Cranberries – If you have any left over, use them in my favorite broccoli slaw recipe!
  • Chopped Pecans – These give the best crunch to the salad. Omit if you don’t want the crunch.
  • Fresh Thyme – If you have to use dried thyme instead, cut the amount in half so it’s not too potent.
  • Bread – Optional! Serve your turkey salad as a sandwich or wrap with the bread of your choice. As you can see in my photos, I love a good croissant turkey salad sandwich.


Keep turkey salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Once it’s all tossed together, it’s really best within the first 24 hours so the celery and onions maintain their crisp consistency. I do NOT recommend freezing turkey salad.

A croissant is stuffed with lettuce and turkey salad.

Check out more of my favorite leftover turkey recipes!

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A croissant has been turned into a sandwich with microgreens and turkey salad.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Salad Recipe

The best thing about Thanksgiving is this Turkey Salad recipe made with leftover turkey and dried cranberries. Flavor packed and so easy.
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  • 4 cups chopped turkey breast
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Croissants, rolls or multigrain bread for sandwiches, optional


  • 1 mixing bowl


  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, celery and red onion.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey mustard and lemon juice/zest.
  • Add there dressing to the turkey and toss to combine.
  • Fold in the cranberries, pecans and thyme.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve as a salad or make sandwiches.
Calories: 350kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 116mg, Sodium: 2134mg, Potassium: 957mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 132IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 2mg