This is an easy recipe for turkey cranberry panini. Use the leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner to create this easy and quick grilled turkey sandwich packed with flavors!
I love a good sandwich and this toasted turkey cranberry sandwich – a.k.a. panini is definitely one of those!
What is a panini?
Panini is a grilled sandwich originally using Italian bread like ciabatta.
To make this turkey cranberry toasted sandwich I used sourdough bread because that was what I had on hand. If you prefer ciabatta bread, then go ahead and use it.
How to make turkey cranberry panini?
Sauté the onion with a little olive oil. This takes about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the onion from burning. When ready, stir in the cranberry sauce. Now I used 3 tablespoons but you can add more (or less). This depends entirely up to you.
If your sauce is very thick, thin it with water. I used about 3 tablespoons of water but this can also vary. Every sauce is different.
Transfer it into a bowl. Pour about a tablespoon of oil into the same skillet/frying pan and add turkey pieces. I personally like thin slices. Fry the meat until brown or to your liking.
When done, you are ready to assemble the turkey cranberry panini: Spread the cream cheese over both bread slices (Parmesan Chive Butter is a great substitution. Mayonnaise will also work well).
Top one of them with turkey meat, cranberry & onion sauce, grated cheddar and cover with the second slice.
Put it into a pre-heated panini machine and grill to your liking. It only takes 1-2 minutes to grill this turkey cranberry sandwich so keep an eye on the machine.
How do you make cranberry sauce for turkey sandwiches?
I used Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce made with dried cranberries as it is quite difficult to buy fresh or frozen cranberries here in Spain. It is a pretty straight-forward recipe that is ready in no time and without a hassle.
Now you can also make homemade cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries or frozen or buy it ready-made from a store. It is entirely up to you.
What can I make with Thanksgiving leftover?
Apart from this turkey cranberry panini you can also make casseroles, pies, pizza, soups (use turkey instead of chicken to make this Instant Pot Chicken Lentil Soup. Simply add the meat at the very end.
How long is leftover turkey good for in the fridge?
Always store the leftovers in an air-tight container to stop the meat from drying out. I recommend using up the leftovers within 2 days.
Tips for making toasted turkey cranberry sandwich
- If you don’t have a grill or panini machine then simply toast the bread either using a toaster or skillet.
- The type of bread you use is up to you. Just note that artisan bread, ciabatta, baguettes or sourdough breads are preferred.
- You can omit the onion but I recommend trying it. It adds some extra flavor to this turkey cranberry panini.
- In a skillet/frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add sliced onion in. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. When done, add cranberry sauce and stir it around. If the sauce is too thick, add little water (2-3 tbsp). Simmer for a minute before transferring the mixture into a bowl.
- Put the skillet back on the stove and add the remaining oil. Throw in sliced turkey breast pieces and let it brown slightly. When ready, turn off the heat.
- Assemble the sandwich: Spread both slices with cream cheese, top with turkey, onion cranberry sauce and a cheese. Cover with the second slice, cream cheese side down.
Drizzle the top with little olive oil (½ tsp). Grill in a pre-heated panini machine for about 2 minutes or until it looks to your liking.
- I used turkey breast but you can use any turkey leftovers you have. The amount you use is entirely up to you.
- Cheddar cheese can be substituted with Gouda or Mozzarella. Again, you can increase or decrease the amount of cheese.
- Olive oil – use extra virgin olive oil or cooking olive oil. I don’t recommend using vegetable or sunflower oil.