So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and much to nobody’s surprise – you have leftover turkey. Happens to us all the time! Especially, when there’s a spread of other yummy, tantalizing dishes on the table.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for good reasons: incredible food, family, and friends!
What I don’t like, though, is the food wastage. To overcome this, we have now gotten into the habit of pre-planning our Thanksgiving leftovers. Nope, I do not mean pre-planning the meals (though it is such a good habit – read about it here).
We plan what to do with the leftovers.
Walt and I have agreed that if we host Thanksgiving at our place, we will always prepare containers for our guests to take home food at the end of the night. Our vow is also to only keep the food we will enjoy eating, or to use leftovers in a new recipe. That’s when this idea for turkey cranberry sliders came about.
These turkey cranberry sliders turn your holiday leftovers into a cheesy slider packed with flavor. Simply buy a packet of dinner rolls, and sandwich it with turkey, cheese, cranberry sauce, and a secret sauce. Brush it with butter and bake the buns in the oven. It’s that easy!
The sliders will be crispy on the outside, yet still manage to melt in your mouth.
Does this recipe work if you don’t have leftover turkey? Absolutely, my friend! You can still make this recipe all year-round with turkey slices from the deli. For anyone who doesn’t like turkey, this recipe will change their minds forever.
Let’s get this show on the road.
This recipe serves 12 sliders. Most people eat about 2 sliders. Simply double or triple the recipe if you are expecting more guests.
- Dinner rolls – Dinner rolls come in many shapes and sizes, but for this turkey cranberry slider, we will be using soft, round buns. Buy a packet of 12 small dinner rolls (like Hawaiian rolls).
- Turkey – The meaty bit of our slider. Buy thick-cut turkey deli meat. Or, use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner!
- Cheese – Melty, cheesy goodness for days. I suggest getting 6 to 8 large slices of Gouda, Havarti, Swiss cheese or Provolone cheese. Use your favorite cheese if you please.
- Cranberry sauce – Prepare 1 ½ cups of cranberry sauce for spreading onto the sliders, though it never hurts to have more.
- Pro Tip: If the cranberry sauce you have is a little clumped and jelly-like, it’ll be hard to spread across the rolls. Put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 30 to 40 seconds to soften it.
- Dijon mustard and mayonnaise – This combination makes a sharp, creamy sauce that goes perfectly with the turkey and cranberries. Measure 2 tablespoons of each.
- Salt and pepper – To season the Dijon mustard sauce.
- Unsalted butter and parsley – Brushed atop the buns before baking, this gives a shiny, crispy texture on the bun with a hint of fresh parsley.
- Sea salt – As a topping.
- Turkey stuffing – Optional, but if you have extra turkey stuffing, they will go perfectly in these sliders. Follow the recipe for turkey stuffing here.
Step One: Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Pro Tip: We will want to bake the sliders in a single layer. If the buns don’t fit in your baking pan, go ahead and use more than one dish or bake it in batches.
Step Two: Slice the dinner buns in half while keeping all of the buns attached to one another. Remove the top buns and place the bottom half of the buns in the baking dish.
Step Three: In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard and mayonnaise seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly on the inside of the top half of the dinner rolls; set aside.
Step Four: Layer the bottom half of the buns in your baking dish with cranberry sauce, turkey, and cheese. Cover with the top half of dinner rolls.
- Pro Tip: If you happen to have extra portions of the ingredients, fill up the sliders with them. I love a fully loaded slider!
Step Five: In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and parsley. Brush the mixture over the top of the buns. If desired, sprinkle in some poppy seeds for a pop of color and just a fun seedy texture.
Step Six: Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes to crisp up the bread and brown it.
- Pro Tip: It is crucial to cover with the tin foil in the first round so that the buns don’t burn.
Step Seven: Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the buns sit for 5 minutes. Then, slice the dinner rolls into individual sliders and serve immediately.
- Pro Tip: Sliders are best served right after being removed from the oven. These don’t store or re-heat very well.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Whether you are choosing turkey leftovers or buying turkey deli meat, remember to slice it or dice it into thin, small pieces. Bite-sized pieces are best to match the size and portions of the sliders.
- These turkey sliders are best when served fresh and hot from the oven. However, nothing is stopping you from enjoying these warm, at room temperature or even cold. Whichever floats your boat! They are already baked and cooked through, anyway. And some people even enjoy cold pizza, so why not these?
- Need to shorten your prep time? Make these sliders in advance. They can last in the fridge for up to 4 hours before baking.
- I love the combination of turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s iconic for Thanksgiving! However, switching up some ingredients can easily change the flavor profile and feel of the cranberry sliders. Get creative!
- Like a cheeseburger – Instead of cranberry sauce, use tomato ketchup and add pickles and chopped red onion to the turkey.
- Go Mexican – Scatter some pickled jalapeños and spread pico de gallo or some guacamole. Yum!
- Add fried bacon – Need I say more? I can already smell it!
- Italian Caprese style – Spread some basil pesto instead of cranberry sauce. Scatter with basil leaves, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and a balsamic reduction.
Turkey Cranberry Sliders Recipe
- 1 package dinner rolls 12 rolls
- 3 cups leftover turkey or thick cut turkey deli meat
- 6-8 large slices Gouda Havarti, Swiss or Provolone cheese (or other favorite cheese) to cover
- 1 ½ cups cranberry sauce or enough to cover all sliders
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- pinch of salt + pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt for topping
- 2 cups stuffing or enough to cover all the sliders (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Slice dinner buns in half while keeping all of the buns attached to one another. Remove the top buns and place the bottom half of buns in the baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine Dijon and mayonnaise then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread mixture on the inside of the top half of dinner rolls; set aside.
- Top bottom half of buns in your baking dish with cranberry sauce, turkey, cheese and top of dinner rolls.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, parsley and brush the mixture over the top of the buns.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then slice into individual sliders and serve immediately.