What to do with turkey leftovers: Make turkey-kimchi fried rice

[Insert something here] and kimchi friend rice is a staple in our household. In most cases, we wing it with whatever is hanging out in the fridge and freezer, inspired by this kimchi and spam fried rice from Kenji Lopez-Alt. (Though I have to say it – I’m not a spam fan.) This year after Thanksgiving, I realized it’s a perfect vessel for leftover turkey. And with our pantry and fridge staples, we didn’t even have to buy anything to transform those turkey leftovers into something completely different. Not to mention the kimchi is way gut healthy – and who doesn’t need that after a fat kid fest??
turkey leftovers made into kimchi fried rice

Here’s my take on kimchi fried rice, using leftover Thanksgiving turkey:

How to make leftover turkey and kimchi fried rice


  • About 3 cups leftover, cooked rice (or, start with one cup dry and give it a day or so in the fridge after cooking)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • About one thumb-length chunk of 2-inch thick ginger (or to taste)
  • 1 c packed kimchi, drained with liquid reserved, and chopped
  • About 8 oz leftover turkey – use the irregular chunky bits, not the nice slices!
  • 2 eggs (optional, but delicious)
  • About 1 c frozen peas
  • 5-6 chopped green onions
  • Soy, fish sauce, and sesame oil to taste (for me this was about 1 T soy, 1 t fish sauce, and 1 t sesame oil)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Other herbs if you want them and have them on hand: cilantro, basil, etc.


Heat about 2 T vegetable oil in a wok or skillet. Add onion, just a little salt & pepper, and stir-fry until starting to become translucent and brown a bit. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until soft, fragrant, and they’ve lost their raw edge. Add kimchi and stir-fry until soft/done. Remove from pan onto a plate.

Add more oil to the pan and toss in the turkey. If you’ve got brown bits sticking to the pan, add the reserved kimchi juice now. Depending on how well seasoned your turkey is, maybe add a little soy now too.

Once hot, remove turkey from pan and add to the plate with the veggies on it.

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in your cold rice. Add a splash or two of soy sauce and stir fry until starting to turn golden. Make a well in the rice and toss your eggs into the center (if you’re using them). Stir until they barely start to set, then make another well and add in the green onion, stir, then add peas and stir until just starting to defrost. Next, add back in your turkey and veggies and mix everything up well. Pour in some soy, fish sauce, and sesame oil, stir it around, and taste. Oh and if you wanted to add herbs, add them now, too. Adjust seasonings until it’s delicious and you’re happy. 🙂

To serve: Top with additional green onions and herbs if you’d like. For extra credit (and extra noms), sprinkle some Crunch Dynasty on top.

Side note: If you’re more of a ham for the holidays person – this is even better with that. I’d just reduce the soy and fish sauce a bit since the ham is saltier, and maybe hold the kimchi juices or pour them on everything toward the end rather than directly on the meat.

Here’s another option for leftover turkey: Turkey and dried fruit biryani.

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