Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Thanksgiving Turkey Panini

Chef von Bargen Uses Leftover Turkey in a Delicious Way

Chef Hinnerk von Bargen knows just what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers...make paninis!

"I love this recipe because it’s a phenomenal way to use up leftover turkey—and because it’s portable! These paninis are great served with sweet potato chips or fries."—CIA Chef Hinnerk von Bargen

Thanksgiving turkey leftovers panini recipe by The Culinary Institute of America




  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin filling
  • Salt, as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, or as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, or as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or as needed


  • 2 cups yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked
  • Salt, as needed


Makes 8 Servings

  • 16 slices artisanal sourdough bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 18 ounces pepper jack cheese, sliced thinly
  • 18 ounces smoked or roast turkey, sliced thinly


Spread and Filling

  1. Make the spread by combining all of the spread ingredients and adjusting the seasoning as needed. The texture and flavor should resemble a creamy pumpkin pie filling.
  2. Make the filling by sweating the onions in the vegetable oil over moderate heat in a saucepan or similar pan until very tender and evenly caramelized. Add the raisins, sweat for one more minute, adjust the seasoning with salt, and set aside.

Assemble the Panini

  1. To assemble your paninis, lay out the sliced bread on a clean work surface and apply the spread.
  2. Top the spread with the pepper jack cheese to cover in one single layer. Top with the turkey in one single layer.
  3. Top with the caramelized onion and raisin mix and again with one layer each of sliced turkey and pepper jack cheese. Top with another slice of sourdough bread and gently press. Cook the sandwich on a panini press until well-browned and heated through.

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