These giant pierogi are stuffed with all the best Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
Don't have Thanksgiving leftovers? You can make these thanksgiving leftover pierogi using boxed stuffing and instant mashed potatoes, too. Each of these stuffing and turkey pierogi are a whole Thanksgiving meal in every bite!
Why I like these turkey and stuffing pierogi
- They use up lots of Thanksgiving leftovers at once. I love Thanksgiving leftovers but I get tired of eating the same plate of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy over and over again. It's a lot of containers to get out of the fridge, they never heat up evenly, it's extremely annoying. These leftover turkey pierogi use up a bunch of leftovers at once!
- They can be frozen for later. I like to think of freezing leftovers as a way of giving a gift to my future self. If you want to put your Thanksgiving leftovers to use but don't feel like eating them right away, you can freeze them for later. These are super tasty on busy weeknights when you're tired and hungry and want dinner ASAP!
- They're big, and they're filling. These are fairly large pierogi. They've got potatoes and turkey and stuffing and gravy in them, so you might be surprised by how quickly you feel full. The larger size also means you have fewer of them to make (compared to my dal pierogi and tikka masala pierogi recipes). Less time spent on tedious dough rolling, cutting, and folding is a win in my book.
- They're easy to make. Just mix your leftovers together, knead together a quick yeast-free dough, and all you gotta do is assemble. Because the dough and the filling are so easy to make, you can really just focus on getting the shaping right. And pierogi are a rustic dumpling anyway, so if they're not perfect, don't sweat it.
Helpful ingredient notes
For consistency's sake, I used instant mashed potatoes and boxed stuffing while developing this recipe. But you really can use whatever Thanksgiving or holiday dinner leftovers you have around. I've included notes for how to adjust based on what you've got. Just know the instant/boxed versions are just as good!
- Mashed potatoes - I like super creamy, buttery mashed potatoes but you really can use whatever kind of mashed potatoes you like. If you have chunky mashed potatoes with the skins on, you might want to break up some of the chunkier chunks so they don't take over a whole pierogi.
- Stuffing - If you're using leftover homemade stuffing with chunky pieces of bread (1" or bigger) or even pretzel stuffing, I recommend blitzing it in a food processor or chopping it up with a knife before mixing it in. If you're using boxed stuffing, you can just stir it right in — the pieces are small enough already.
- Turkey - Dark or light meat, shredded or diced. It's up to you! You can even use rotisserie chicken if you're not making this with leftovers.
- Turkey Gravy - This acts as a binder to help hold the turkey pierogi mixture together. You might need a little more than the recipe calls for depending on how dry your stuffing is.
- Dried cranberries - These are optional but also not. If you really hate dried cranberries, feel free to skip them. But I can't imagine these turkey pierogi without them. They're tiny little gems bursting with sweet tart flavor. You'll only get one or two in each pierogi, and they help break up some of the sameness of the turkey-stuffing-potato flavors.
- Pierogi dough - This is my standard vegan pierogi dough. It's a riff on this recipe from Epicurious.
- All-purpose flour - Measure by weight, and dust in more if the dough feels sticky.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you're using a different brand, use half as much salt.
- Hot tap water - Not boiling, but as hot as your kitchen tap will go. Hot water gives you a smoother dough.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil - Whatever brand you like best. I like using Filippo Berio's Extra Light Olive Oil which has a very subtle flavor and functions like a neutral oil.
How to make pierogi dough
Pierogi dough is a yeast-free hot water dough. It's super easy to make, even if you're new to the world of making dough. I promise you can do this.
- Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
- Make a well in the center; pour in the hot water and olive oil.
- Use a fork to whisk the water and oil, gradually adding more flour from the sides until you have a thick paste in the middle. Basically, keep going until the fork feels like the wrong tool for the job.
- Switch to a sturdy spatula or a dough whisk and continue mixing until everything is incorporated.
- Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth. Dust more flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest at least 20 minutes at room temperature before using, or at least one hour in the fridge if not using immediately.
You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but I find sometimes the dough hook is too powerful for kneading; you end up adding a lot more flour to get the dough to clear the sides of the bowl. If you want to use a mixer, stick to low speeds. And if you can, once the dough comes together, turn it out on to the counter and knead by hand.
Troubleshooting: If your dough seems sticky, dust in more flour. If it seems super dry, flick a few droplets of water onto it as you knead. Resist adding more water unless you think it's absolutely needed. The flour will finish hydrating as it rests.
Why and how to use a pierogi press
While you absolutely can shape and fold these turkey pierogi by hand, I recommend using a pierogi press for a few reasons.
- You can use the bottom of the press to cut your rounds of dough. Most sets of ring cutters stop at 3" — for these pierogi we want 5" rounds. The bottom of the press functions as a built-in cutter. We love a tool that does it all!
- Less risk of air pockets. This is a pretty stiff pierogi filling and won't smush into all the gaps the way a softer filling would. The pierogi press helps you shape the filling into the perfect half-moon so you're less likely to have air bubbles trapped inside.
- They just look nicer. Pierogi are rustic, yes, but the pierogi press will just help give them a more uniform shape and size.
Roll the pierogi dough about ⅛" thick. Then, use the bottom of the press to cut as many circles out of the dough as you can. (Knead any dough scraps back together and wrap well — you can re-roll them later.)
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough rounds out from the center once in each direction. This will stretch them just a little bit bigger than the pierogi press to make room for the filling inside.
Drape one of the pierogi wrappers over the pierogi press. Align the curve of the pierogi wrapper as perfectly as you can with whichever side of the press will be the "bottom." Make sure the wrapper sinks comfortably into the divot in the center without stretching or pulling. There might be some overhang on the "top" side, that's okay.
Scoop the filling into your hands and shape into a half-moon crescent. Place it down in the "bottom" half of the pierogi press. Make sure it fills the space and isn't crossing the center line. Press it down so it's somewhat flat on top.
Bring the "top" half of the pierogi wrapper up over the filling. Press it down with your fingers to hold it in place so it doesn't move when you use the press. Brush a little water onto the edges of the dough to secure it if it doesn't want to stay.
Carefully lift the top half of the press and move it forward slowly. Watch how the dough moves. You may need to adjust the wrapper slightly, particularly in the corners where the hinge is.
Press firmly to seal the pierogi shut. Then unfold the pierogi press and carefully remove the pierogi to a sheet pan dusted with flour or lined with parchment paper while you make the rest.
How to shape pierogi by hand
If you don't have a pierogi press, you can shape these leftover turkey and stuffing pierogi by hand.
In the gifs below I'm shaping a much smaller dal pierogi. For the chunkier 5" Thanksgiving pierogi, you'll want to shape the filling into a log or half-moon shape instead of a ball. And you'll probably find it easier if you work on the counter instead of holding it in mid-air.
How to cook pierogi
There are lots of ways to cook pierogi — some people pan fry for a crispy exterior, other people boil for a softer texture. And some people, myself included, combine elements of both of those for a two-step cooking process that gets you the best of both worlds.
The best way to cook pierogi is to pan fry them on both sides until golden brown, then add a splash of water to the pan and cover it immediately to steam them. This gives you the crispy, golden brown goodness you love, but keeps the dough soft and tender enough to cut with the side of a fork.
- If making multiple batches of pierogi, wipe out the pan in between each batch.
- If cooking from frozen, add an extra few minutes to the steaming time to give the filling in the middle time to warm up.
- Butter or oil are fine for pan frying — it's really up to you which you prefer!
How to freeze pierogi
Arrange the pierogi on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and dusted lightly with flour or corn starch. You want them to be in an even layer, and try not to let them touch. You don't want them to stick to each other!
Freeze, uncovered for 30-60 minutes. When they feel solid to the touch, transfer to a large freezer-safe airtight container. They'll stay good up to 3 months, though I've definitely had some stay good much longer than that.
Defrost frozen pierogi in the fridge overnight before cooking for best results.
CAUTION: Do not leave pierogi uncovered in the freezer for longer than 12 hours. The delicate dough will start to crack and your pierogi will fall apart when you cook them.
Equipment and tools
You don't need many fancy tools to make these leftover thanksgiving pierogi, but here's what I use. The right tools will make the process a lot easier!
- 5" Pierogi press — Make sure you get one that has a built-in ring cutter on the bottom!
- (OR) 5" round cutter — If you're planning on shaping these leftover turkey pierogi by hand.
- Rolling pin — Any rolling pin is fine, but I prefer a small 10" lightweight bamboo dowel rolling pin designed for dumplings.
- Dough whisk — For mixing the dough efficiently while breaking up any sneaky hidden lumps of flour.
- 3 tablespoon cookie scoop — For getting the same amount of filling every time.
Practical tips and recipe notes
- You may find the filling easier to mix if you warm the components up slightly first. They don't need to be hot, but lukewarm-to-warm will make them easier to combine.
- If you need to adjust the consistency of the filling, add more gravy to make it softer and add more mashed potatoes to make it firmer.
- Pierogi dough doesn't have yeast in it, which means you don't need to let it rise. Resting allows the gluten strands to relax which will make it easier to roll and shape. Any time the dough feels tough or fights back, just cover and let it rest for a few minutes.
- You can re-roll the pierogi dough scraps as many times as you need to. Just knead them back together, wrap, and let rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
- You might end up with 10 pierogi, or you might end up with 15 or 16! You may also find you have some filling or some dough left over. Since this recipe uses leftovers, there are a lot of variables that can change how many pierogi you end up making.
- The pierogi filling is already cooked, so when you cook the pierogi what you're really looking for is the browning of the dough and that the filling is warmed throughout. Adjust the cooking temperature and cooking times as needed! It can vary based on how chilled the pierogi are, how hot your stove runs, etc.
- Serve these Thanksgiving leftover turkey pierogi with gravy or a dollop of cranberry sauce.
Get creative with other pierogi fillings! Mashed potatoes are your base, and then mix in anything else you want — onions, scallions, herbs, tomato sauce, spices, cheese, etc. My tikka masala pierogi filling is very simple; it's just flavored mashed potatoes!
Skip the turkey and add an extra cup of stuffing. If you don't have a vegetarian gravy you can use heavy cream or melted butter instead.
I used Stop and Shop's store brand "Stuffing Mix for Turkey" and "Homestyle Butter Mashed Potatoes."
Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Pierogi
Turkey and Stuffing Pierogi Filling
- 1½ cups leftover stuffing (blitz in a food processor if needed)
- 1½ cup leftover mashed potatoes
- ¾ cup leftover turkey (shredded or diced)
- ⅛ cup turkey gravy (you may need more)
- ⅛ cup dried cranberries (optional)
- Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour hot water and oil into the middle and mix with a fork, gradually incorporating more flour from the sides until a thick paste forms.
- Switch to a dough whisk or wooden spoon and mix until the dough comes together into one shaggy mass in the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and knead with your hands until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using (or up to 3 days in the fridge).
Thanksgiving Pierogi Filling
- Mix leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Stir in turkey pieces until evenly distributed.
- Add gravy and dried cranberries (if using) and stir until everything is all mixed together. Add more gravy if needed to get a cohesive mixture. It shouldn't be wet, but you should be able to scoop it and shape it in your hands without it completely falling apart.
Thanksgiving Pierogi Assembly
- Divide the pierogi dough in half. Wrap the piece you're not working with and set aside.
- Roll the dough about ⅛" thick. You don't have to be super precise with this, but it should be pretty thin but not feel like it's going to tear on you. If it becomes see-through, you've rolled too far.Dust additional flour down as needed to prevent sticking, and rotate or flip the dough frequently as you roll.If the dough fights you or shrinks back, cover it with a towel and let it rest for 3-5 minutes, then resume rolling.
- Use the bottom of the 5" pierogi press to cut as many circles as you can out of the dough. Knead the dough scraps back into a ball, wrap in plastic, and set aside for later.
- Working one pierogi wrapper at a time, roll each dough circle a little bit bigger to make room for the filling. Place the rolling pin in the center of the circle and roll outward, rotating 90 degrees each time to keep the circle even.
- Align the circle of dough in the pierogi press. There will be some hanging over, but try to get one half of it as perfectly aligned as possible. That will be the "bottom" side of the pierogi.
- Scoop 3 tablespoon of the stuffing mixture into your hands and shape it into a half-moon/log. Press it into the bottom half of the pierogi press and gently smush so it fits.
- Fold the other half of the dough round up over the filling, align it with the bottom layer of dough, and gently press down with your fingers so it stays in place.If the dough seems dry, brush the bottom edge with a few drops of water.
- Slowly fold the empty half of the press over the pierogi. Adjust the pierogi wrapper as needed if it shifts, particularly in the corners by the hinges. Press it firmly shut for a few seconds, then release. Gently remove the pierogi and set it aside on a parchment lined sheet pan or sheet pan dusted lightly with corn starch.
- Repeat with remaining pierogi dough and filling. Cook immediately or freeze until ready to use.
- Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons oil or butter and heat until shimmering.
- Add pierogi to the skillet. They should start sizzling immediately. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, then add a splash of water (2-3 tablespoons) and cover immediately to steam for an additional 1-2 minutes.If cooking from frozen: Increase steaming time by a few minutes to ensure the filling in the center is heated throughout.
- Serve with gravy or cranberry jam.
- If the bread chunks in your leftover stuffing are ½" or larger, blitz it in a food processor or give it a rough chop with a knife before mixing.
- Prep time includes making the filling and assembling pierogi. These steps don't have to be done all at once, and you may need to pause to let the dough scraps rest before you re-roll them.
- To freeze pierogi, arrange them on a sheet pan dusted with flour or corn starch. Freeze 30-60 minutes, then transfer to an airtight bag in the freezer. For best results, defrost in the fridge overnight before cooking, then follow standard cooking instructions.