The absolute best way to use Thanksgiving leftovers, this turkey and brie panini with cranberry and spinach is one of my all-time favorite sandwiches!

Turkey Cranberry Brie Spinach Panini

When you have surfaced from all things turkey brining, roll making, pie baking, and anything else you may be tackling for tomorrow’s big Thanksgiving feast, come back here, and read up on this sandwich.

Don’t do it now. It’s not a priority. The kitchen needs you! (But before you skedaddle, make sure you have the extra ingredients for this sandwich, ok? You’re going to want them.)

Tomorrow or Friday when you are swimming in turkey and cranberry leftovers, this sandwich will be waiting for you.

I am a sandwich lover through and through. In fact, can I tell you a story?

About eight years ago, I was going through a difficult health situation and found myself on a treatment plan that required me to literally eat next to nothing (oatmeal and avocados) for several weeks to prepare for radiation. If I ever realized how much my life revolved around food, it was then. I was miserable (on so many levels – food, or the lack of, was just one of them).

As my treatment was nearing it’s end, Brian kept asking me what I wanted for my First Meal when I got the all-clear. Repeatedly, I told him, “I just want a really, really good sandwich.”

He kept asking the question (actually, he was hollering it down the stairs because he wasn’t allowed to be in the same room with me until the radiation was over), sure that if I could choose any one thing, it would not be a sandwich.

Turkey Cranberry Brie Spinach Panini

I think he was questioning my mental state just a little bit. A sandwich? Really?

But I never wavered. I knew I wanted an over-the-top, incredible sandwich that would make my heart sing.

I don’t recall the exact sandwich Brian made me the day I could eat anything I wanted, but I remember I cried because it was so delicious. And then I asked for a second one.

I loooove sandwiches. Really, really good sandwiches. Sandwiches over soup any day of the week.

One of my favorite sandwiches is this turkey brie cranberry panini. It’s the perfect way to use turkey and cranberry sauce leftovers – smothered with creamy, dreamy Brie cheese and dotted with fresh spinach, this golden, grilled sandwich is amazing.

The recipe below is more a guideline than anything. A recipe profile, if you will. Change it up as you see fit. If Brie isn’t your thing, a lot of other cheeses would work here (havarti, gouda, white cheddar, fontina).

And I think there’s a really good possibility you could swap out the bread altogether and panini this sandwich with a leftover roll from Thanksgiving. If you do that, please (pretty please) invite me over.

Love ya. I hope you survive the holiday. In a week focused on gratitude, among many other high priorities in my life, I am so grateful for YOU. Thank you for coming here, commenting, making the recipes, and giving me all the support I need to continue this blogging thing.

See you on the flip side with a few more gift guides and a ton of great recipes to see us through December.

Turkey Cranberry Brie Spinach Panini

One Year Ago: Holiday Pomegranate Guacamole
Two Years Ago: Yummy Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Three Years Ago: Triple Chip Pumpkin Oatsies

Turkey Brie Cranberry Spinach Panini

Yield: Makes 1 sandwich

Turkey Brie Cranberry Spinach Panini

You can see this recipe is mostly a guideline to the flavor profile of this sandwich, and it can be extrapolated to as many sandwiches as your little heart desires to make.

If you have leftover Thanksgiving rolls and they are conducive to sandwich making (i.e. probably not crescent-shaped rolls), most definitely swap out the bread and panini this sandwich on a roll. Yum.

I personally like the rind sliced off Brie cheese for's easier if the Brie has been popped in the freezer for 10-15 minutes so it's not impossible soft to slice.


  • 2 slices hearty white or wheat bread (see note above)
  • Dijon mustard, optional (but delicious)
  • Brie cheese, thinly sliced (rind removed, if preferred)
  • 2 slices deli turkey meat or leftover cooked turkey
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce, more or less to taste
  • 6 to 8 baby spinach leaves
  • Butter, for grilling/panini-ing


  1. On one slice of bread spread Dijon according to taste.
  2. Layer on Brie, turkey, cranberry sauce, spinach, and another layer of Brie cheese.
  3. Top with the other slice of bread. Butter the outsides of the bread or heat butter in a nonstick skillet, a griddle or panini press until sizzling.
  4. Cook the sandwich in the hot skillet/griddle/panini press, pressing down with a spatula or a heavy saucepan (if you aren't using an actual panini press), flipping halfway through, until the bread is golden on both sides, and the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

42 Responses to Turkey Cranberry Brie Panini

  1. Ellisa says:

    There’s a place in Costa Mesa, CA that makes something similar to this sandwich but with added bacon, apple slices and basil mayo. I can’t wait to try it with your cranberry sauce!

  2. Emily says:

    Turkey brie grilled sandwiches have been my go-to for Thanksgiving leftovers for years. Just a tip…Trader Joe’s has a slicing brie that’s even easier to cut into nice uniform square slices that I love to use. Also we usually put super thin slices of apples. They end result of melty brie, turkey, cranberry sauce, mustard, and apples is truly life-changing!

  3. Holly K says:

    I made this last night complete with the instant pot cranberry sauce (sidenote: SWOON that is amazing stuff) on sourdough bread and it was THE BEST SANDWICH I’VE EVER EATEN. In fact, we’re having them again tonight for dinner because I can’t bear the thought of using the decreasing supply of leftover turkey for anything else, get away from me turkey pot pie, I have a delectable sandwich to eat!

    • Mel says:

      Hahahaha. Seriously, I totally laughed out loud. “get away from me turkey pot pie” – yep, that sums up my feelings about turkey leftovers in relation to this amazing sandwich.

  4. Michelle says:

    I was just curious about the radiation treatment you had and why you had to eat only certain foods. I will be having radiation treatment in the near future and was wondering if you or your doctors know something that I and my Dr’s don’t! Thanks for your awesome blog–I love it!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Michelle – probably a difference in treatment/disease. I had thyroid cancer and was getting treated for that (the treatment is a very specific I-131 radiation treatment which involves going on an extreme low-sodium diet several weeks prior). Good luck with your upcoming radiation!

  5. Beth says:

    We made this tonight with a pretzel baguette. Delish! It was my 7yr olds idea after having it the night before with Ciabatta. Both were amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Laura says:

    Keep the rind on the brie cheese! It’s sacrilege to remove it! 🙂

  7. Yum, need to try this with my leftover turkey 🙂

  8. Anna says:

    I made a variation of this with Brie, leftover turkey, your spinach artichoke dip(which I am putting on everything!) on a toasted baguette. Delicious! Thank you!

  9. Malinda says:

    Hey Mel, I just made this for dinner. I used our regular sandwich bread and cheddar cheese. My husband said it is the best sandwich I’ve ever made him! Props to you my friend. He also said the coconut cream pie of your that I made for Thanksgiving was the best he’d ever tasted. Thanks for all the love in your posts and in your food! You are definitely help in me rock it!

    • Mel says:

      Well, your husband and I are on the same page; it’s one of my favorite sandwiches, too! Thank you for letting me know (and that the pie was a hit, too!).

  10. Sara says:

    thanks for the recipe idea – just tried it! we used a tart cherry-honey preserves instead of cranberry sauce and added thinly sliced red onion!

  11. Mamalala says:

    What a very fancy way to repurpose the leftovers. I will be making this tomorrow.
    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you have posted on here. I am a loyal reader and can’t wait to make your black licorice camels this holiday season. Made them last year and they were a huge hit.

  12. Jocy says:

    I want to join the other readers in saying Thanks to you Mel for this beautiful space. Also thanks to all your readers who make the recipes and comment back, i really like this community! Thanks for your love! Happy Thanksgiving to all 🙂

  13. Leslie says:

    Thanks for answering my question even though you already had in the post. Ugh hate when that happens! I didn’t read it, just knew I had to have this sandwich on Friday!! Thank you so much!!

  14. Emma says:

    Wow! This sounds amazing. A good excuse to go buy some brie!

  15. Amy W. says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mel!! We love you back!!! So happy that those days of radiation and no food are far behind you!! We are thankful for YOU- you, who have impacted our lives in such amazing, simple, meaningful ways…. the world is a better place because you are in it. Sending love your way!

  16. Cyndi B says:

    Mel, Happy Thanksgiving! This sandwich looks divine. I just finished the fluffy rolls you posted earlier this week. As usual, any suggestion from you means the recipe will turn out amazing. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  17. Tanya M. says:

    This looks delish! I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving with your family!! There really are many many of us who are very grateful for all the hard work and effort you put into your blog! Thanks for feeding our families!! It was so fun to meet you at BYU! I made your chicken curry in a hurry this week for about the 15th time.. one of my favorites from your site!!!
    XOXO Tanya

  18. Grace says:

    Sandwich lovers unite! After I had my first son, all I wanted was a really good sandwich. I loved it so, so much! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! Thanks for all the recipes pulling us through every holiday, weekend, and weekday. 😉

  19. Annie says:

    Well, I am off to the store. Since I live in Canada, and I do not have turkey left from our Thanksgiving in October, I have no choice but to immediately go and buy the ingredients. That is how much I am craving this sandwich. Update to come in an hour! 😀

  20. Leslie says:

    I want to have this Friday but I cannot go to the store again! Is there another cheese that might work? Huge thanks for all the recipes!! Almost our entire meal will be your recipes!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Leslie – I gave a few suggestions for alternate cheeses in the post but yes, I definitely think you could sub here: havarti, gouda, fontina, white cheddar, even monterey jack. Of course the overall flavor changes, but as long as you love the cheese you use, it should taste great!

  21. Kristi says:

    This looks amazing! I wish I’d seen this recipe a few weeks ago when we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada! However, I will definitely keep this in mind for the next time we have turkey leftovers :). Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Kristi – every year, I’m determined to get my Thanksgiving recipe up and ready for those celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving~ Sorry it didn’t happen quite like I had planned!

  22. Teresa R. says:

    Tomorrow is a day to be thankful so I thought I would tell you how thankful I am for all the recipes you’ve shared over the years. I’ve been using your recipes to feed my family since about your fifth post. For Thanksgiving I’m using your recipes for all my desserts (lemon cheesecake bars, pumpkin pie, chocolate caramel pecan pie), cranberry sauce, lion house rolls…..the list goes on. In fact, everything I’m making except the dressing (old family recipe) comes from yout site. Thank you! Have a happy Thanksgiving with your beautiful family! (Oh, I almost wish Thanksgiving was over so I could make this sandwich.). Teresa

  23. Liz says:

    I’m with Angie – I could eat that now!

    One of the things I am grateful for is you, Mel – and all that you share on this blog … food and friendship!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  24. Angie says:

    It’s 8:30 a.m. and I want that sandwich Right. Now.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  25. Janet says:

    That is a mouthwatering picture, thank you for a great idea!!!!

    My daughter introduced me to the Bobby……bread of choice, miracle whip, leftover turkey, homemade or whatever cransauce, stuffing, lettuce/spinach……she even puts a T. of gravy on the stuffing and heats it up. This goes really well on the French Bread Rolls we make.

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