These leftover turkey nuggets are a great way to repurpose leftover turkey breast! They are lightly pan-fried to form crisp, yet tender nuggets, great for lunch or dinner!

Leftover turkey nuggets served with a side of gravy and green beans

This post may contain affiliate links. If you shop with one of our links we may earn small a commission.

On Thanksgiving Day, the turkey is usually the star of the show, but oftentimes, the dark meat is what everyone goes for first. My family members are definitely dark meat lovers and the white meat is usually last to be eaten. I wanted to find a way to repurpose some of the leftover turkey breast in a way that my boys would love. Thus, these leftover turkey nuggets were born!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Here is what you’ll need to make these leftover turkey nuggets:

Ingredients to make leftover turkey nuggets. Specifics provided in recipe card.
  • Leftover Turkey Breast: The main ingredient for these nuggets. Turkey breast is best to use for these nuggets.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Be sure to use plain Panko breadcrumbs as some varieties contain extra added salt.
  • Parmesan Cheese: For added flavor to the breadcrumb mixture. Parmesan cheese also helps the nuggets crisp up and obtain that golden brown color.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: For added flavor to the nugget mixture.
  • Egg: Used as a binder to help the nuggets hold their shape.
  • Flour: Used as a binder to help the nuggets hold together.
  • Greek Yogurt: Adds moisture to the turkey meat.
  • Butter/Oil for pan-frying

PROCESS

  1. Add the turkey breast to a blender and blend until it fully grounds up. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, and flour until it is smooth.
  3. Add the ground turkey breast and mozzarella cheese into the bowl and mix until it is well combined and incorporated.
  4. Scoop out tablespoon-sized portions and shape them into nuggets.
  5. Mix the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl and dip the nuggets into them, making sure to fully coat and press them in.
  6. Cook the nuggets in a pan with a little oil on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown.
Steps to make leftover turkey nuggets. Detailed instructions provided in recipe card.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS

Once cooled, the nuggets can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Since you are working with leftover turkey, this time includes how long you had your original turkey in the fridge. The nuggets can also be frozen for 1-2 months. To reheat, you can place them on a pan and heat them until warmed through. You may also reheat in an air fryer for a few minutes, or in the oven for the best crisp texture. These nuggets also reheat well in the microwave! Microwave them for 20-30 seconds, or until warmed through.

Leftover turkey nuggets breaded and ready to pan fry
Leftover turkey nuggets after breading and ready to pan fry.

SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Egg: For an egg-free version, substitute the egg in the mixture with a flax egg by mixing one tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water and letting it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes to set and thicken. 
  • Breadcrumbs: I use panko breadcrumbs in this recipe, but for a gluten-free version, replace the breadcrumbs with almond flour.
  • Cheeses: The mozzarella and parmesan cheeses may be replaced with another type of cheese, though I have not tested this out.
Leftover turkey nuggets served on a white plate
Turkey nugget cut in half

RECIPE NOTES

  • The leftover turkey nuggets can also be made in an air fryer! If you are cooking them in an air fryer, make sure to spray the nuggets with a cooking spray so that they have enough moisture to brown well while air frying. Air fry the nuggets at 380 degrees F for about 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  • I used this nutribullet blender to blend up the turkey to be finely ground. You may also shred up the turkey using a fork, but I found that blending it helped obtain a texture most similar to regular nuggets.
  • This same method can be used to make leftover rotisserie chicken nuggets! Other parts of the turkey or chicken may work, but I only experimented with using breast meat.
  • Most of the flavor for these nuggets comes from the turkey meat, which would have been precooked and seasoned beforehand. If your turkey meat is a bit bland, you may want to add in a few spices (ex: paprika, onion powder, etc.) to give the nuggets a little more flavor.
Leftover turkey nuggets served with a side of gravy and green beans

You may also like:

Leftover turkey nuggets served on a white plate

Leftover Turkey Nuggets

These leftover turkey nuggets are a great way to repurpose leftover turkey breast! They are lightly pan-fried to form crisp, yet tender nuggets great for lunch or dinner!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: leftover turkey nuggets
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 16 nuggets

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups leftover turkey breast
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2.5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • oil/butter (for pan frying)

Instructions

  • Preheat a pan to medium-low heat with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Add the turkey breast to a blender and blend until it fully grounds up. 
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, and flour until it is smooth.
  • Add the ground turkey breast and mozzarella cheese into the bowl and mix until it is well combined and incorporated.
  • Scoop out tablespoon-sized portions and shape them into nuggets.
  • Mix the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl and dip the nuggets into them, making sure to fully coat and press them in.
  • Cook the nuggets in a pan with a little oil on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown.

Notes

  • The leftover turkey nuggets can also be made in an air fryer! If you are cooking them in an air fryer, make sure to spray the patties with a cooking spray so that they have enough moisture to brown well while air frying. Air fry the nuggets at 380 degrees F for about 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  • I used this nutribullet blender to blend up the turkey to be finely ground. You may also shred up the turkey using a fork, but I found that blending it helped obtain a texture most similar to regular nuggets.
  • This same method can be used to make leftover rotisserie chicken nuggets! Other parts of the turkey or chicken may work, but I only experimented with using breast meat.
  • Most of the flavor for these nuggets comes from the turkey meat, which would have been precooked and seasoned beforehand. If your turkey meat is a bit bland, you may want to add in a few spices (ex: paprika, onion powder, etc.) to give the nuggets a little more flavor.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Leftover Turkey Nuggets
Amount per Serving
Calories
57.06
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2.02
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.87
g
5
%
Trans Fat
 
0.01
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.21
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.67
g
Cholesterol
 
29.32
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
115.14
mg
5
%
Potassium
 
67.35
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
2.45
g
1
%
Fiber
 
0.12
g
1
%
Sugar
 
0.25
g
0
%
Protein
 
7.16
g
14
%
Vitamin A
 
49.08
IU
1
%
Calcium
 
38.95
mg
4
%
Iron
 
0.3
mg
2
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
TRIED THIS RECIPE?Rate in the comments below or tag @feedingtinybellies on Instagram!

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. I have not made this yet. I’m going to try them tomorrow ! I do have a question for you, can you freeze them? How well do they freeze? And what is the shelf life for the fridge and freezer? If you mentioned the fridge I must have missed it, I apologize. Thanks Lisa Stevens

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes, these do freeze well! Once cooled, the nuggets can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Since you are working with leftover turkey, this time includes how long you had your original turkey in the fridge. The nuggets can also be frozen for 1-2 months. To reheat, you can place them on a pan and heat them until warmed through. I hope that this information helps and that you like them!😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating