Loaded Turkey Panini (For Thanksgiving Leftovers)

Turkey Panini on a white plate.

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.

Loaded Turkey Panini stacked.

Loaded Turkey Panini

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


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

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