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Thanksgiving Sandwich Turkey Melts

You’ll melt for this turkey sandwich recipe.

Thanksgiving dinner is great. The leftovers? Maybe better. This sophisticated but easy turkey melt recipe combines leftover turkey, a little cranberry sauce, and brie into a next-level leftover turkey meal. Read on and melt for turkey melts.

turkey melt recipe
A beautiful mess.

How to make a good turkey melt sandwich

We all know and love the traditional Thanksgiving sandwich, that glorious mountain of post-Thanksgiving goodness. The traditional Thanksgiving sandwich is a pile of leftovers — mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce — layered between slices of plain bread.

But this leftover turkey sandwich takes the view that less is more. Rather than a mile-high mound, this recipe makes turkey melts that are simple, sophisticated, and absolutely delicious thanks to a combination of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors coupled with different textures.

Here, cranberry sauce, roasted turkey meat, and brie takes things in a better, more simplified direction. You’ll love these turkey melts. Read on for the recipe.

You’ll also like: 3 Classic French Sandwiches and How to Make Perfect Grilled Cheese

turkey melts ingredients: turkey, brie, cranberry sauce, bread

Turkey Melt Sandwich Recipe Steps

Two Thanksgiving leftovers — roasted turkey and cranberry sauce — in one new dish! This leftover melty turkey sandwich is so simple, it barely needs a recipe. Here’s what you do to make this turkey, cranberry, and brie melt.

  1. Take a slice of bread such as sourdough bread or whole wheat (day-old is fine) and toast it until golden brown. Butter the toast or spread with mayonnaise as desired. A crisp flatbread works well, too.
  2. Layer the toast with cranberry sauce, leftover carved turkey, and brie cheese. Cheddar or Gruyère are other good options for a melting cheese that has strong flavor to complement the cranberry.
  3. Bake for a few minutes until warm and melty, top with some fresh black pepper, and enjoy.
turkey sandwich before melting cheese
Place the melt in a 375 degree F oven until warmed through and the cheese melts over the turkey.

Turkey Melts: Recipe Substitutions and Notes

Substitutions and additions.

Though this open-faced turkey sandwich was conceived as as simple Thanksgiving leftovers turkey sandwich, it can be eaten year ’round.

  • Substitute roast chicken, sliced carved turkey, or deli meat turkey for leftover Thanksgiving turkey
  • Raspberry jam makes the best alternative to cranberry sauce
  • If you do not have brie, a sharp cheddar or aged Gruyère or Comté would also be very good and have a little “bite” that complements the cranberry’s sweetness. Something like pepper jack would work for those wanting a little spice.
  • Want to gild the lily? A slice of crisp bacon or caramelized onion would not be amiss. You could also do a little whole-grain mustard. Tomato, however, could clash with the other flavors here — especially the cranberry sauce (plus, they’re out of season in November). That said, you could certainly leave out the cranberry sauce and add a few tomato slices if you’re going for more of a BLT-esque experience.

How to Bake a Turkey Melt So It’s Warm and Melty

Cook the assembled turkey melt in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. This lets the whole sandwich warm through, and the cheese melt. Think of this temp as the equivalent of medium heat over the stove.

However, if you do not mind cold turkey, you can speed things up by putting the sandwich directly under the broiler. The turkey will not have time to warm through, but the cheese will melt in under a minute or two. Watch carefully to make sure it does not burn. Also, do not line the rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper when you use a broiler; it will burn.

turkey melt recipe

Did you make this open-faced turkey melts recipe? You’ll also like:

turkey melt sandwich recipe

Ultimate Turkey Melts

A warm, melty, open-faced sandwich that hits all the right flavor notes of tart, sweet, and savory, this turkey melt recipe combines carved turkey meat with cranberry sauce and brie for a simple but sophisticated lunch. It's the perfect thing to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or year 'round.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: brie, cranberry, easy, sandwich, tartine, thanksgiving, thanksgiving leftovers, turkey, turkey melt
Servings: 1 turkey melt
Print

Ingredients

  • A few thick slices of cooked turkey meat, white or dark
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce or tart jam, or to taste
  • 1 slice good bread, toasted until golden brown
  • 2 or 3 ounces brie cheese, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise or butter, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Toast the bread until golden brown. Spread with butter or mayonnaise (if using), the cranberry sauce, and a generous amount of roast turkey slices on top of the toast slices. If you have a little gravy, you can add a spoonful or two. Top with the brie slices.
    TIP: The turkey is best if not refrigerator cold. I microwave mine for about 30 seconds first.
    PRO TIP: The proper way to slice brie is to slice longways to keep the shape of the triangle; don't cut off the pointy tip!
  • Bake on a rimmed baking pan for 7 to 10 minutes, until warmed through and the cheese has become melted and gooey.
  • Top with fresh-cracked pepper, and serve warm, perhaps with some leftover salad, green beans, or other side.

Notes

Recipe substitutions:
  • The meat. Substitute roast chicken or sliced deli carved turkey for leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
  • The cranberry sauce. Raspberry jam makes the best alternative to cranberry sauce.
  • The cheese. If you do not have brie, a sharp cheddar or aged Gruyère or Comté would also be very good.
If you do not mind cold turkey and want to speed things up, you can place the assembled melt directly under the broiler. The turkey will not have time to warm through, but the cheese will melt in under a minute or two. Watch carefully to make sure it does not burn. Also, do not line the baking sheet with parchment paper when you use a broiler; it will burn.
Want to gild the lily? A slice of crisp bacon or caramelized onion would not be amiss. I think, however, that tomato would detract from the other flavors (plus, they're out of season in November). That said, you could certainly add a few tomato slices if you're going for more of a BLT-esque experience. 
 

3 comments

  • T.Tindall

    5 stars
    This is the best turkey melt I have had. It’s not a huge sandwich, but it has excellent combo of flavors from the brie and cranberry. I substituted raspberry jam and it tasted wonderful.

  • Molly Clayton

    5 stars
    This sandwich was better than the main event which produced the leftover components. Really, really good.

  • 5 stars
    I made this for lunch yesterday with leftover roasted chicken and I loved it! (I already made my cranberry sauce for Thursday.)

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