This easy Turkey Salad with cranberries makes a quick and easy lunch using Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Shredded cabbage and chow mein noodles add a satisfying crunch, while the simple dressing packs in the flavor.
Serve this salad in a bowl, on a bed of greens, or in lettuce cups. Enjoy it at home or take it to work.
Easy Turkey Cranberry Salad
When it comes to using up Thanksgiving leftovers, you certainly can’t beat Turkey Tetrazzini or other casseroles when you have an excess of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. But I always have more turkey leftover than anything else, and after a few days, my body just wants something a little lighter.
This turkey cranberry salad is one of my go-to’s. With a simple sweet and tangy dressing, it’s creamy but not super heavy and in addition to the turkey, you have dried cranberries, cabbage, and celery. Chow mein noodles and toasted almonds are added just before serving, to add a bit of crunch to every bite. It comes together in just minutes for a quick and satisfying lunch.
What You’ll Need
This turkey salad is made with a simple mayonnaise and vinegar dressing plus leftover turkey and a handful of other complimentary ingredients.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Turkey: This recipe is great for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey. You can also use cooked chicken (like rotisserie chicken) in this salad.
- Green cabbage: Adds a nice crunch to the salad.
- Celery: For texture and crunch.
- Dried cranberries: Cranberries and turkey love one another. We love their flavor and pop of color. Make sure you use dried cranberries, not fresh for this recipe.
- Scallions: Diced scallions add a subtle sweet and peppery onion flavor without being over-powering.
- Chow mein noodles: Adds a satisfying crunch to every bite.
- Almonds: Sliced, toasted almonds add a nutty component.
- For the dressing: The combination of mayonnaise, milk, apple cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper create a creamy, sweet and tangy balanced dressing.
How to Make Turkey Salad
Preparing this Thanksgiving leftover salad could not be easier! 5 minutes of prep is all you need.
(Don’t miss the complete printable recipe card below with all the details.)
- Prepare the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except for the noodles and almonds. Chill, covered, for several hours.
- Serve. Add in the chow mein noodles and almonds. Serve in bowls, on a bed of greens, or as lettuce cups.
Tips for Success
There’s not much to this salad – it’s all but impossible to mess up. But here are a few things to consider.
- Prepare in advance. For the best flavor, you’ll want to allow this recipe to rest and chill for several hours. You could even make this the night before for lunch the following day.
- Use fresh, crisp vegetables. Opt for cabbage, scallions and celery that are crisp, not tender, for the best crunch in the salad.
- Use what you have on hand. While this is a great Thanksgiving leftovers recipe, you can easily make this throughout the year with leftover chicken breast or even rotisserie chicken.
How to Store Leftover Turkey Salad
Leftover turkey salad can be stored in the fridge overnight. Due to the ingredients, I don’t recommend storing it for more than a day or two. Note that once the chow mein noodles and almonds are mixed in with the salad, they will begin to soften, so if making this ahead of time, I recommend leaving those out until right before serving.
More Ways to Use Leftover Turkey:
- Turkey Tetrazzini practically begs for leftover Thanksgiving turkey!
- Add some to this Mushroom Rice and make a meal out of it.
- Make a Turkey Apple Pasta Salad.
- Cranberry-Turkey Enchiladas are a must!
- Swap out the chicken for turkey in these Chicken Pot Pie Crescent Bundles.
- Put some in Chicken Noodle Soup.
For the Dressing
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the Salad
- 3 cups cooked turkey , diced
- 2 cups green cabbage , shredded and roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery , diced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 scallions , diced
- 1 1/3 cups chow mein noodles
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds , toasted
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until incorporated and smooth.
- Add the turkey, cabbage, celery, cranberries, and scallions; toss to combine.
- Cover and chill for several hours.
- Just before serving, add the chow mein noodles and almonds; toss to combine.
- Serve in bowls or in lettuce cups and enjoy!