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What’s your favorite Thanksgiving leftover?

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Homemade Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Sandwich with Cranberries on Wood

More than two-thirds of Americans think Thanksgiving dinner leftovers taste better than the original meal, new research suggests.

In a recent survey of 2,000 respondents who celebrate Thanksgiving, nearly seven in 10 said a next-day Thanksgiving sandwich tastes better than that day’s fresh dinner. 

Half (49%) agreed that the main course makes the best leftovers — more so than the side dishes (23%).

Where traditional foods are concerned, 62% said that turkey makes the best leftovers, while 46% opted for mashed potatoes and stuffing/dressing.

While 45% cited pumpkin pie as the best for leftovers, 38% also declared that it shouldn’t be eaten any other time except the holidays.

People love their holiday meals so much, 35% usually eat them for five days or more after the initial meal.

However, nearly two-thirds (65%) said they wish they could eat stuffing/dressing more frequently.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stasher bags, the survey also asked respondents about the best ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals.

Sixty-three percent have created an old-fashioned “leftover” plate out of Turkey Day dishes they didn’t finish, while 38% opted for a “franken-sandwich” or casserole. 

Most (72%) usually prepare Thanksgiving dinner with the intention of having leftovers, which may be why 56% believe the holiday is ruined if there isn’t any food left at the end. 

Popular ways to revive holiday leftovers included microwaving (64%) and baking (47%).

Half look to their own recipes for inspiration on how to reuse their holiday fare, while 45% rely on their parents/grandparents’ recipes — much more than food-related social media accounts (24%).

Who usually eats the most Thanksgiving leftovers? Forty-two percent pointed the finger at themselves, while 30% named their partner or spouse.  

But unfortunately, eight pounds of Thanksgiving leftovers still make their way into the trash can every year.

The reason? Sixty-three percent said they were no longer edible, while 37% admitted they’d forgotten to save them properly.

“Our survey shows that people love — and even prefer — the taste of Thanksgiving leftovers, but don’t always store them properly to reuse them later,” said Hilary McGuigan, senior brand director at Stasher. “As a result, Thanksgiving meals can often result in quite a bit of food waste.”

Nevertheless, 64% said sustainability is important in their Thanksgiving celebration.

One way people are manifesting this is through their holiday menu; respondents said that on average, a quarter of their Thanksgiving leftovers are vegetarian/vegan.

“Making more planet-friendly choices for the holiday is about more than just selecting sustainably-sourced food,” noted Shannon Morgan Stearns, vice president of marketing at Stasher. “There are a variety of products like Stasher bags that help families keep their leftovers longer, reducing not only food waste but also single-use plastic waste that enters landfills and oceans.”


  • Turkey - 62%
  • Mashed potatoes - 46%
  • Stuffing/dressing - 46%
  • Pumpkin pie - 45%
  • Apple pie - 41%
  • Green bean casserole - 37%
  • Rolls - 34%
  • Candied yams - 33%
  • Gravy - 32%
  • Cornbread - 29%
  • Cranberry sauce - 28%


  • “Turkey Tetrazzini.”
  • “Reprocessing the rest into a barbecue is my favorite way.”
  • “With a dish from my country called bollos, and I use the turkey to put it inside bollitos.”
  • “Pot pies, soups, sandwiches.”
  • “Turning it into a casserole.” 
  • “One of the easiest ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers is to stuff everything in an avocado and bake it.” 
  • “Breakfast potato pancakes.”
  • “Pizza from the rest of the food.”
  • “Made a savory waffle!”
  • “Mix all leftover food into a pot and make soup. Or pan fry all mixed food.”
  • “In an omelette.”

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