Loaded Turkey Panini (For Thanksgiving Leftovers) Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Loaded Turkey Panini (For Thanksgiving Leftovers)

4 reviews / 4.8 average

Oh hi there.

Meet my golden brown panini of melted Muenster cheese, turkey, cranberries, crisped sage, pear slices, goat cheese, and bacon. No but seriously. THAT JUST HAPPENED.

Bjork has had this long-time obsession with a panini slash grilled cheese that I made way back when – it was a really simple one with pear slices and raspberry jam and it stole his heart in zero seconds flat.

Of all the Pinch of Yum recipes he’s eaten over the years, this is the one that he claims as The Favorite. I mean, it was really good, but Favorite? Ever? Whatever, man. Someday he’ll discover the true awesomeness of lentils and curries and veggie pastas. Someday.

….And then there’s that moment I realize that I’ve become a person who fries sage on a panini press. How are you even on this blog right now? I don’t understand it.

Herbs on a grill and on a sandwich.
Turkey Panini on a white plate with melted cheese.

When we were still living our lives out of the basement, I became reeeal close with our panini press. I used it to make scrambled eggs at one point, which was simultaneously the high and low of our basement existence.  There were many nights when I just needed to make something, anything, like literally any single thing in the WORLD, that would make both of us lose the hangry edge and forget, for three seconds, about the fact that we were eating on a dusty black card table with a single creeper lightbulb dangling above us. Shudders.

And the beauty of the panini is that in these dire situations, it just knows what we need.

It just knows.

Turkey Panini on a white plate.

This cheese bomb I MEAN PANINI is actually perfect for Thanksgiving-time, because it can use leftover turkey and the Thanksgiving-y foods and pack it all between two bread slices with EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. If someone could put stuffing on this and send me a picture of it, I would cry happy tears. You don’t even know.

And if a person might not have Thanksgiving leftovers because they already ate the stuffing and mashed potatoes (what? we’re hungry!), that is no problem for this monster sandwich. Sage, goat cheese, pears, and bacon are all non-holiday-discriminatory and the cranberry sauce is easily replicated with any sort of jam that you’re feeling. Like raspberry, like so. HOLLA.

The truth is that I *almost* feel inappropriate posting this today because it’s one of these sandwiches that you love to the point of awkward, and you might not want anyone to see your face diving right into it. Like, by the time you actually list out everything that’s on the sandwich and explain how much you love each and every ingredient and how they combine perfectly, your people are long gone.

But we’re all friends-borderline-food-family here, right? This is a safe zone. We embrace this together.

Just get up in there and…

Turkey Panini on a white plate.

YEP. You got it.

And now, to gush about a kitchen appliance like I do. You guys, this little Cuisinart Griddler pretty much single-handedly kept this blog in business during our time living in the basement.

This panini press (five in one!) makes incredible paninis that press together easily and perfectly. I use this to make paninis all winter long and I swear those buttery, crispy, cheesy paninis are what keeps Bjork loving me when I get a little cold-weather-cranky. I got this for a birthday gift a few years ago and it might just be the best foodie gift I’ve ever received. We have gotten a ridiculous amount of use out of it for paninis, pancakes, and even just good old grilled chicken. SO fantastically delicious.

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Loaded Turkey Panini stacked.

Loaded Turkey Panini

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaded panini 1x


This Loaded Turkey Panini is perfect for all your Thanksgiving leftovers! Pack them into this sandwich and grill to golden brown perfection.


  • 2 slices of thick, sturdy white or wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • a few slices of turkey
  • a few sage leaves
  • a few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce (or raspberry jam!)
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 2 slices cooked bacon
  • 1 slice Muenster cheese


  1. Heat a skillet or panini press to medium high heat.
  2. Place the bread on a plate. Layer the ingredients between the two pieces of bread: turkey, sage, cranberry sauce, goat cheese, bacon, and Muenster cheese. Spread each piece of bread with butter on the outside.
  3. Transfer to the hot skillet or panini press and press together gently to help the whole thing stick together. When the outside is golden brown and the inside is melted and warm, remove from heat, slice, and serve.


You can also add another other Thanksgiving leftovers to this sandwich – I have this sixth sense that stuffing would be ahhhmazing on this. Also, if you have a little extra time (or a little extra grease in your pan from cooking the bacon) fry your sage leaves to get them nice and light and crispy!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: thanksgiving panini, loaded turkey panini, thanksgiving leftover sandwich

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I remember the first time I had a Thanksgiving sandwich…and yes, it absolutely had stuffing on it and it was divine! I love your combo of flavors here and I adore crispy fried sage…what a perfect addition!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    In our family we swear by a little goat cheese on our leftover sandwiches, and I think this year we might add the panini press sage!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My sister and I asked for a panini press for Christmas when we were in high school and oh boy did we get good use out of that thing. There’s something about a panini sandwich that’s just 10 times better than any other. Love the addition of goat cheese, too!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      It really is. Sometimes I make them for company because they feel “special” somehow, even though they’re just.. uh.. sandwiches. 🙂

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am hesitant to confess to holiday/food sacrilege: we rarely have turkey for Thanksgiving, as most of the family thinks it’s just meh…sooo we have weird Thanksgiving traditions! 😛 However, I cooked an early turkey this year, so we have leftovers in the refrigerator. I am literally having this melty-heart moment, wanting this for lunch TODAY, except that I don’t have the cheeses on hand or the – ahem – panini press (been wanting one for a long time though)…I will make this sometime though, because I just need it. Big monster ginormous sandwiches are my thing (ask my sibs); like, as in, the fillings are usually like 3x as big AT LEAST of both slices of bread combined! 😛

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What is wrong with frying sage on the panini press? It is brilliant! I attempted to fry sage once and it was a complete and utter disaster. Ever since my failure I see a recipe that looks fabulous but am dissapointed when I am reminded of my attempt to fry sage. This new method has me hopeful!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am obsessed with savory + sweet combos, which is why I think turkey + cranberry sauce is pretty much the best thing ever. So doing it up in a panini is totally my style.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I got the Cuisinart Griddler for Christmas last year and I LOVE it! Use it all the time!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Last year, since our Packers were playing on Thanksgiving and I wanted to join the fun, I served build-your-own paninis. All the fixings’ went on…turkey, stuffing, Trader Joes cranberry goat cheese, and then they were dunked into turkey gravy!! Yum! Folks had fun planning and preparing their masterpieces, and I was still able to watch the game! We put into service two waffle irons and two panini-machini’s! Fun had by all! And the sandwiches were delicious!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I absolutely LOVE your vocabulary & style of writing!!! I just had to tell you. Each day when I read your blog, it feels like I am just sitting with you having a cup of java (a little Bailey’s, please) & chatting away. I wish you all this best with this blog & your new career. (Reveal: retired elementary teacher/34 years!! YIPES!!)
    You are terrific!
    Blessings to you & Bjork this Thanksgiving!!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love the combination of the flavors in this panini. Who would have thought a panini press would have saved you in the basement. I am going to have to check out this panini press!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What if you made a bread with all things you would find in stuffing, including spices, onions and celery bits and then used that bread for this? Does that count as stuffing with your sandwich? Can’t wait to make your sandwhich.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Leftover turkey is always a hit with us. The seasoning has settled just nicely. We use a bit of cranberry spread atop of the warmed toast….delicious!