Craft your Thanksgiving leftovers into these turkey hushpuppies with cranberry aioli

Southern Kitchen
Turkey Hushpuppies

About the recipe

Adding chopped turkey to sage-spiked hushpuppies, served with cranberry aioli dipping sauce, gives this bite-sized appetizer classic Thanksgiving flavor.

You can use any type of cooked leftover turkey you like, but we found that dark meat works best. Apply cooking spray to your spoons to keep the batter from sticking.

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


Cranberry Aioli:

1/2 cup cranberry sauce, homemade or canned

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil, plus additional vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed

4 ounces chopped cooked turkey

1 tablespoon finely chopped sage


To make the sauce: Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pureé until smooth, then season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To make the hushpuppies: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, begin heating 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Alternatively, heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer following the manufacturer’s directions. Line a large plate with paper towels.

While the oil is heating, combine the buttermilk, egg and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, pepper, baking soda, cayenne and celery seed in a large bowl. Gently whisk the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined, taking care not to overwork the batter. Fold in the turkey and sage.

When the oil is hot, use a small, 1-ounce scoop or spoon to gently drop 6 to 8 balls of the batter into the hot oil. You should use about half of the batter. (If using a spoon, spray the surface with cooking spray to allow the batter to more easily slide off of the spoon). 

Fry until the exterior is golden brown and the hushpuppies are cooked through, about 4 minutes. Let drain on the prepared plate and then transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot with the cranberry aioli.