Leftovers into Potato Pancake

Leftover Ham, Turkey & Mashed Potatoes


What in the world to do with them?? And how I’ve learned to approach them by…

Reinventing Leftovers

Growing up, leftovers were not common in my home.

I think because there were 6 of us to cook for (my parents, my sister & brothers). So if there were any extras on the table you can bet the men in my home polished them off.

Leftovers were a challenge to me after I got married. I honestly didn’t know what to do with them.

I think leftovers just frustrated me, because I only saw them as eating the same meal over & over again.

Why would I eat the same thing for several days?

Since eating leftovers was not something I did often, I guess I avoided them.

Which makes me cringe for all the times I’d end up throwing out food because I wouldn’t eat it.

EEK!!! I feel awful admitting that.

Have you done this before, too? I am sure I’m not the only that’s done that.

I’m not always looking to reinvent leftovers, unless the leftovers are a plenty.

Enter in: The leftover holiday ham, leftover holiday turkey and leftover mashed potatoes. 

I was throwing away leftovers because my approach was all WRONG

Not knowing what to do, I would have a hodge-podge of leftovers one night a week. Eating the same thing for lunch or dinner until we ran out.

Or just throwing them out because they went bad. But that had to stop!

It really bothers me to throw food away especially if it is leftovers I let go bad.

I needed to make a change and fast.

And that’s when it dawned on me I was approaching leftovers all wrong.

I had to take something already made and just make a new Big Eats for another time.

I needed to reinvent my leftovers and give them new meaning

Reinventing them also meant whatever I am cooking can usually come together super fast. And this means a BIG time saver for those busy week nights.

What about you-do you typically have a free for all leftover night at home?

Or do you reinvent leftovers?

I’d love to know what you do with your leftovers. Will you share that with me?

Something Old into Something New…

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I’ve made several large meals which means lots of food to work with that just can’t go to waste.

I am so excited to share some ‘Reinvented Leftovers’ with you here.

I hope you will give one or all of these recipes a shot whenever you find yourself with leftovers.

Ham and Cheese Muffins from $5dollar Dinners

I got introduced to Erin Chase at $5 dollar dinners this year from a fellow blogger. Maybe you’ve seen or heard of Erin before?

Maybe you follow her blog, too?

leftover holiday ham
My holiday ham

She creates all kinds of budget friendly & complete real meals for her entire family that are $5 per dinner.

You should check her out!

I jumped right into researching Erin and the recipes she post.

And I’ve made a couple of her recipes which I’ve really enjoyed.

Recipes like Erin’s are what I call Food-Spiriation. New recipes that keep me from making the same Eats and inspire me.

Leftover ham into muffins
My muffins using Erin’s ham & cheese muffin recipe

Erin has given me permission to share her recipe with you here on Little Kitchen Big Eats.

Leftover ham now got turned into  Erin’s Ham & Cheese muffins.

And these muffins are DELICIOUS and easy to make!

This recipe is great for breakfast (especially if you are on the go) or perfect for a light lunch with a salad.

I hope you check out Erin’s recipe and give it a try. If you do, let us both know!


By the way, I will take the ham bone if I have one and any scraps to make soup. But it is good for me to step out of the norm and try something different. These muffins were the ticket!

Tex-Mex Pot Pie with Leftover Turkey or Leftover Chicken

I have shared my recipe for Tex-Mex Chicken Pot Pie but this recipe translates SUPER easy with leftover turkey. Check out the recipes here if you have Leftover Chicken or Leftover Turkey.

Don’t have leftover chicken or turkey but want to make these? Grab a rotisserie chicken, or roast small turkey breast and start there with my Tex-Mex recipe.


Leftover Mashed Potatoes became French Onion Dip Potato Pancakes

This one is a new family favorite recipe!

I don’t make mashed potatoes often but when I do I make extra just so I can reinvent them into potato pancakes.

Leftover potatoes into pancakes
Getting ready to make French Onion Dip Pancakes with leftover (dry) mashed potatoes

TIP to share: when I make baked potatoes I bake a couple extra depending on the size just so I can whip up a quick hash for breakfast during the busy week.

French Onion Dip

This recipe came together when I was planning to make potato pancakes. Reaching for those leftover potatoes I needed to move the tub of leftover French onion potato chip dip out-of-the-way,

WAIT!!! I came right back to it that tub of dip.

Who doesn’t like French onion dip with potato chips-right? It had to go well with mashed potatoes somehow.

leftover potatoes
ingredients in the bowl

I had to try out this recipe a couple of times, but each time it came out DELICIOUS!

I do have to fight the hands that try to sneak off with them as I cook them.

Variables you should know about:

I want to give you a heads up-there are variable you to be aware of:

It really comes down to how you made your original batch of mashed potatoes.

If your potatoes were runny (or gummy) to begin with, you need to add flour and an extra egg to your mixture to bind your pancake mixture.

Or if your potatoes were dry, you may need to add a little water or milk to loosen up the potatoes.

My potatoes pictured were dry. I just added liquid a little at a time to get it to loosen up.

You wouldn’t know it was dry after it was reinvented!

You need to judge when you get the right consistency since I won’t be with you when you cook these. Look at my picture for the consistency I achieved.

Any questions about moving forward? Just ask me in the comments below.

This is what I look for: not runny or gummy and not a dry tight lump of mash. And if I am able to stir cold mashed potatoes without breaking my wrist or the spoon, that’s a good place to start.

If you aren’t sure about your pancake, make a small test pancake. This test will show if it falls apart you need to add more flour or cheese to help bind the pancake. 

When it looks right to you (see my mixture below to help guide) then you can rock out this recipe.

I hope you do because it is delicious!

leftover potatoes
getting ready to smashed
smashed and dredged ready to cook






French Onion Dip Potato Pancake

I hope that I can inspire you to reinvent your holiday or any day leftovers!


If you make any of the recipes, would you share that with me? Snap a picture and share it on Instagram and Twitter. #novalkbe or #LKBE

I am also on Pinterest!

When you subscribe to my post, you’ll be the first to receive my recipes and tips I share here first.


Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings!


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Yields about 6 pancakes

Leftover Mashed Potatoes Pancakes

12 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

24 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (sharp works well here or a blended mix)
  • 2 scallion or green onion-white & green parts for pancake mixture, green part only for garnish
  • 1/2 cup French onion dip (plus more to garnish on each pancake)
  • Salt & pepper to your preference
  • 1 egg (maybe 1 more if your original mashed potatoes were runny and need more of a binder to become a pancake)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour for mixture (plus for your potatoes if they were runny and need more of a binder to become a pancake)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
  • 1/4 cup of water or milk if potatoes were dry and need to be loosened up
  • Oil for frying (I use Avocado oil-it is flavorless with a high fry temp)


  1. Stir 3 cups of cold leftover mashed potatoes to a consistency that you can stir in a bowl without a lot of effort.
  2. Add ingredients listed until evenly combined.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop (that is the largest I have) scooped 2 level mounds on top of each other and gently mashed together to form pancake. You can use a 1/2 cup scoop or measuring cup instead of doing this step.
  4. Dredge in all purpose flour, knocking excess flour off. Pan fry in shallow pan to brown each side.
  5. Serve immediately with a dollop of French onion dip & sprinkle of green onion. ENJOY!
  6. **If you aren't sure about your consistency, test a spoonful amount in your pan. If it falls apart, add more of flour to bind your pancakes. Add flour in increments. This will keep from wasting your leftover potato mixture.**
Recipe Type: Easy


If your potatoes were runny (or gummy) you will need to add some flour and maybe an extra egg to your mixture to thicken and bind your pancake. Add 1/4 cup of flour at a time. Mix and if it's not thickened enough, add more but only 1/4 cup of flour at a time.

Or if your potatoes were dry, add little water or milk to loosen up the potatoes 1/4 cup at a time. Stir if not loosened up enough continue to add liquid 1/4 cup at a time. (My potatoes pictured were dry. You wouldn't know it after it was reinvented!)

You will need to be the judge of when you get the right consistency since I won't be with you when you cook these. Look at my picture for the consistency I achieved. Any questions about moving forward? Just contact me


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