Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

Turkey & Cranberry Panini with Goat Cheese Aioli

I may not be ready for Thanksgiving, but I have your leftover turkey problem covered with this Turkey & Cranberry Panini with Goat Cheese Aioli. Talk about the ultimate sandwich!

Yikes! Thanksgiving is only 4 days away. I’m not going to lie, I’m shaking in my boots a little. I’m not remotely ready for Thanksgiving this year.

I have nothing checked off of my list. The shopping hasn’t been done. I’m in charge of dessert this year, and I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to make. Oh, and there’s the sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese to think about, which, by the way, I haven’t done either. See what I mean about shaking in my boots? I need to jump on the Thanksgiving band wagon and get things rolling.

One thing I have thought about is Thanksgiving leftovers. I know this sounds a bit backwards, but our #SundaySupper theme this week is all about what to do with the fifteen pounds of turkey, five pounds of sweet potatoes, three pounds of mashed potatoes, two containers of green bean casserole, and half a pumpkin pie you have left over because you decided to make dinner for an army instead of your family of five.

Hey, Thanksgiving is an exciting holiday, so I can see why we tend to go a bit overboard. Plus, there’s also that looming fear of not having enough food for everyone (which is never the case). There are so many delicious recipes floating around on the Interweb that it’s hard to decide which dishes to make so you end up making them all. No? That’s just me?

I always overdue it during the holidays and end up with leftovers for an entire week after the main event. My fridge is always packed to the brim after the BIG day that opening the fridge can be a bit tricky. If you’re not careful, you chance being knocked out by a tupperware container or two.

If you’re anything like me, then I have good news. The #SundaySupper crew is here to save the day and rescue everyone from the pile of leftovers that are taking over the fridge.

I always seem to have an abundance of turkey and cranberry sauce left over, so I decided to go with a turkey & cranberry panini with goat cheese aioli. The sweet cranberry sauce pairs perfectly with the tangy goat cheese and anise flavored tarragon. I tell ya, it’s a match made in heaven.

I always had this idea that a panini required a panini maker. It doesn’t! I rigged one up with two heavy pans and a piece of aluminum foil. What I don’t need is another useless gadget to store in my kitchen.

All you have to do is heat a cast iron skillet, place the assembled panini in the pan, top it with a piece of aluminum foil, then place a heavy pan (or an aluminum foil covered brick) directly on top of the panini and press down. Viola, panini maker. Here’s what mine looked like:

This Turkey & Cranberry Panini with Goat Cheese Aioli is great for the following days when you’re in a turkey stupor and require a meal that takes little effort. Slap the leftovers on some bread and warm it up until the bread is crispy on each side. That’s it!

Turkey & Cranberry Panini with Goat Cheese Aioli

Yield: 1 sandwich

Total Time: 9 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes



  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Salt & pepper


  • 2 pieces of crusty bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked turkey, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach
  • 1-2 tablespoons Goat Cheese Aioli (recipe above)


  1. In a small bowl, add goat cheese and lemon juice. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine. Stir in tarragon, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating assemble the panini.
  3. Slice the bread about a 1/2-inch thick. Smear one side of the bread with the goat cheese aioli. Place the turkey on the other slice of bread and top with the cranberry sauce and spinach. Place the cheese smeared slice on top and place assembled panini in the skillet.
  4. Top the panini with a slice of aluminum foil, then place a heavy skillet (or aluminum foil covered brick) directly on top of the panini and press down.
  5. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the bread is golden brown.


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73 Responses to “Turkey & Cranberry Panini with Goat Cheese Aioli”

  1. #
    CCU — November 18, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Haha I’m sure some thanksgiving magic will come up and give you a hand :D
    This looks fantastic!

    Choc Chip Uru


  2. #
    Susan — November 18, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I want that aioli! Actually the entire sandwich sounds good. Ship one up to me please? :-)


  3. #
    Megan — November 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

    This panini looks amazing! I like you have been in Thanksgiving denial. We head out of town in 72 hours and I have nothing done. AAK! Happy Thanksgiving!!


  4. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — November 18, 2012 at 9:12 am


    This may sound weird but I’m most interested in that goat cheese aioli! IT SOUNDS SOOOOO GOOD!


  5. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — November 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

    absolutely gorgeous!!!


  6. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — November 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I finally just finalized my menu yesterday so don’t feel so bad about not being ready for thanksgiving! This holiday completely crept up on us! And this sandwich is absolutely gorgeous! I’ll have to try your “panini maker frypan” way!


  7. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen — November 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    This is worth it for the aioli alone. Fabulous! I also cook for a million instead of the actual amount of people that are coming over, and then there are leftovers everywhere and I need another fridge for a few days. Happy Sunday Jennie!


  8. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — November 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Yum! What a killer sandwich! We are traveling this year, so luckily I don’t have to make anything (which is both good and bad).


  9. #
    Jen @JuanitasCocina — November 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Is it impolite that I’m drooling. K…just checking.


    • Jennie replied November 18th, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Not impolite at all. Drool away!


  10. #
    Amanda @ MarocMama — November 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

    You had me at goat cheese. A local restaurant used to make something similar but went out of business a few months ago. Sad. Now I can make it myself!


  11. #
    veronica gantley — November 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Oh my those look good, I love all the flavors that you have put into this. It screams thanksgiving. This panini with a bowl of soup and I have the perfect lunch!


  12. #
    Kristi Rimkus — November 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    It’s time to get out my panini maker. This looks delicious!


  13. #
    Jenn and Seth — November 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

    oh my gosh this looks wonderful!! such a delicious sandwich!


  14. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — November 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Best sandwich in the world? Oh, yes!!


  15. #
    Susan 30A EATS — November 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    A hot pressed cheesy panini is a great use for Thanksgiving leftovers! Yum!


  16. #
    Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen — November 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    You had me at goat cheese! This is just mouth watering!


  17. #
    Martin D. Redmond — November 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Funny when I saw the recipe title my first thought was I don’t have a Panini Press…lol…now I don’t have an excuse to not make this tasty treat. The combo of cranberry and goat cheese! Yum!


  18. #
    Patti — November 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I have never used tarragon! Would love to try this combination!


  19. #
    conni smith — November 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Mmmmm…I love paninis and this version looks scrumptious!


  20. #
    Sarah — November 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Yes! A thousand times!


  21. #
    Dara — November 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    This look sooo yummy! I love a good panini.


  22. #
    kale — November 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    i just love that piggy cutting board!


  23. #
    Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) — November 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    This sounds pretty damn good. I love the cranberry goat cheese combo!


  24. #
    Laura Hunter — November 19, 2012 at 5:19 am

    I love that you used goat cheese. I think goat cheese is such an overlooked kind of cheese. We just recently bought some goat cheese gouda that was absolutely amazing and I think would go so well in a sandwich like this.


  25. #
    diabeticFoodie — November 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

    So I’m not the only one who worries about not having enough food? And, by the way, if goat cheese is involved, I’m so there!


  26. #
    Lane @ Supper for a Steal — November 19, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Love me some paninis. Cranberry and goat cheese is the perfect combination. I make salads all the time with craisins, goat cheese, and pecans.

    In my sorority in college we would have panini day and we would all go nuts of the turkey cranberry paninis. Yours look even better! Can’t wait to try.


  27. #
    Sarah — November 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Your goat cheese aioli sounds so amazing. I probably wouldn’t even need to put that on a sandwich. I could eat it straight out of the bowl. But putting it into a panini made it even better. I know how good my sandwich was but I think your’s sounds so much better.


  28. #
    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — November 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    It’s 10 in the morning and I’m dying for a bite of this crazy delicious sandwich! Forget about after Thanksgiving, I could and would eat this all year round. And what else is a holiday for other than to stuff yourself silly (guilt-free of course), fall into a food-induced stupor and then wake up to gorge on all the glorious leftovers the next day? I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend, Jennie. I know you’ll pull off an amazing feast!


  29. #
    Bethany — November 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve done something similar with brie and it tastes FANTASTIC! It’s our traditional Boxing Day lunch now! :)


  30. #
    Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) — November 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    We should get together and have a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich party! I love your sandwich…goat cheese sounds amazing!


  31. #
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking — November 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Now that would be a tasty turkey sandwich!


  32. #
    Liz — November 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Oh, Jennie, this looks outstanding! I wasn’t going to make cranberry sauce, but I think I must so I can make this panini! Have a marvelous Thanksgiving, my friend!


  33. #
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips — November 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

    I LOVE goat cheese, and goat cheese with cranberry – I may have to make something with that combo for lunch, since I have both in my fridge!


  34. #
    Anne @ Webicurean — November 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I think I’ll be making one of these around 11pm tonight!


    • Jennie replied November 24th, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Enjoy, Anne! Let me know how you like it.


  35. #
    Faye Leong — November 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Love the combination with goat cheese with turkey, its definitely taste good with it! Great leftovers recipe!


  36. #
    kita — November 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Why hello beautiful! You had me at Goat Cheese Aioli… drooling (seriously. trapped at work and staving).


  37. #
    Meghan — November 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    You had me at goat cheese aioli… I wish this sandwich could just magically appear in front of me right now!!


  38. #
    Olga Lopez — December 2, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Delicious Sandwich.


  39. #
    Sinea Pies — May 14, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Jennie,
    This sandwich looks so delcious. Pinned it!
     It is featured as one of the 10 best grilled cheese sandwiches on my blog tomorrow. :) 
    Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row



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