Forget Turkey Sandwiches — Make Thanksgiving-Inspired Egg Rolls

Some of us remember a time when the possibilities for Thanksgiving leftovers — all that turkey meat plus dribs and drabs of sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, or green bean casserole — were fairly unimaginative. The most likely outcomes were to simply reheat everything and dump it on a plate, turn the turkey meat into haphazard turkey sandwiches and the carcass into gallons of turkey soup. Luckily for all of us Thanksgiving fans, the ideas for repurposing that food are way more tantalizing today, so much so that leftovers may just be more anticipated than the big meal itself. 

Thanksgiving leftover eggrolls are one of the most exciting transformations by far. As any state fair crowd will tell you, everything tastes better when it's fried, and this holiday food is no exception. A thin eggroll wrapper holds layers of leftovers inside; once shaped the eggrolls are fried until the outsides are crisp and the fillings are hot. 

The key to good Thanksgiving eggrolls is NOT to overstuff

If you've never made eggrolls at home before, don't worry — it's not at all difficult to do. Pick up a refrigerated package of eggroll wrappers at the store. The Thanksgiving leftovers can be cold but they'll heat through more evenly if they're at room temperature. Finally, have a few inches of vegetable oil ready in a large shallow pan: this is where you'll do the frying. 

The fillings that go into the eggrolls are completely up to you, but great candidates are shredded, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, sweet potato, green bean casserole, collard greens, squash, and corn. You can even add sweet ingredients like pumpkin pie. And cranberry sauce ... don't forget a dollop of cranberry! Place fillings in the center of the wrapper, in thin layers. Most importantly, don't add too much filling. The wrapper needs to be wrapped up tightly with the edges firmly tucked in. If the egg roll is overstuffed, it will open up and spill the ingredients once it hits the oil.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to warm up the filling and brown the outsides without burning. Add the eggrolls one or two at a time, turning them often until they're brown all over; when they're done, place them on paper towels to drain. Serve the warm eggrolls with sauces for dipping, like warmed, leftover turkey gravy, cranberry sauce thinned with a little juice, or some hot sauce.

More options for Thanksgiving eggrolls

If you love the idea of Thanksgiving eggrolls but not so much the idea of frying them on the stovetop, the good news is that there are other ways to cook them up. To oven bake, place the filled and wrapped eggrolls on a lined baking sheet; brush the outsides with a little vegetable oil (or use a spray like Pam.) Bake the eggrolls at 425 Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, turning them once during baking, until they're browned and crispy. Got an air fryer? Your T-Day eggrolls can be made in there, too. Brush the outsides of the assembled eggrolls with a little oil, then add them to the air fryer basket. At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll air fry up in less than five minutes. 

The finished egg rolls can also be frozen for a quick and easy treat down the road. After frying or baking, let them cool completely. Freeze them in a single layer until firm, then transfer them to a freezer bag or storage dish; keep them frozen for up to three months. Reheat them from frozen in the oven. There's never been a better reason to make too much food this Thanksgiving when it means digging into a big batch of Thanksgiving egg rolls the next day.