Turkey leftover ideas: Vietnamese bì cuốn!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! Sorry I’ve been lax about posting! The holiday weekend has given me a bit of free time, so I’m back with another recipe! Hope you guys had a wonderful holiday stuffed (heh) with lots of turkey, potatoes, green beans, and copious amounts of gravy. I’m flying home in a couple weeks, so I figured it’d be best to not fly back and forth unnecessarily so I stayed here in Denver. Despite being relatively new to Colorado still, I managed to rally together a few friends to share Thanksgiving with. Yay friends!

See that pile of turkey in the back? It’ll be just as big by the end of the meal.

There were three super hungry ladies sharing a hefty little 12-lb turkey, and despite stuffing ourselves silly, we still managed to have a mountain of pretty much everything we made at the end of dinner. Endless food! While I did get one of the girls to take a bunch of stuff home, I still have quite a bit of turkey left in the fridge waiting to be eaten.

I don’t know about you, but by my 5th or so consecutive meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans, I get rather tired of the typical Thanksgiving meal. And despite all of that eating, there’s still probably about 4 lbs of turkey left in the fridge! Leftovers are difficult to deal with sometimes, but luckily, I have a plan! My family back home actually has had this similar problem every Thanksgiving since I was a kid-—lots of leftover Thanksgiving food despite eating tons of it. My mom, who is brilliant in the kitchen, hates eating leftovers day after day, so she came up with two main ways to repurpose our leftover turkey:

  1. bì cuốn– spring rolls!
  2. phở gà tây – turkey pho

I’m going to share both with you! Let’s start with the bì cuốn recipe since my pho is still bubblin’ away.


Let’s first break down what “bì cuốn” means! “” is a meat dish, and “cuốn” means rolled. Literally, this dish means “rolled bì”. So what exactly is in this bì? Bì a meat mixture that is traditionally made with julienned pork mixed with thinly cut pork skin and rice powder. This is actually a relatively common dish that’s served as an appetizer at many Vietnamese restaurants, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve eaten it before! While I’ll be showing you how to make bì cuốn, bì is equally as delicious if you eat it with rice (or traditionally, broken rice!)–that dish is called “cơm tấm bì”.

Before we get to this receipt, here are my usual notes!

img_9888Rice powder is a bit of a weird, uncommon ingredient, but you definitely need it for this recipe. This fine powder of roasted rice gives the dish a unique nutty flavor that you can’t really replicate with anything else, so there’s no substitute that I know of. You can probably find this at your Asian supermarket in the spices section.

img_9886Pork skin is another crucial component of this dish, although if you really can’t find pork skin (and it has to be this specific ingredient) or you don’t like pork skin, you can skip it.
It won’t be as balanced as the dish usually is, but it’s not as make-or-break as the rice powder. Do make sure that you’re getting this specific type of pork skin though. Normally, I love making stuff from scratch and I would encourage making things from scratch, but this is not one of those things you can make from scratch. You can usually find this item in the frozen section of your Asian supermarket.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE PORK SKIN: You’ll be blanching the pork skin in a bit of hot water in this recipe. Once you blanch the skin and take it out, don’t let it sit too long to drain. If you let it sit for too long, you’ll have a giant clump of pork skin. If that DOES happen, no worries. Just toss the pork skin back into some warm water, swirl for a sec until the strands separate from each other again. Once that happens, drain again and don’t let it sit for too long this time!

Dark meat? White meat? Which parts of the turkey do you use? Personally, I like a mix of both. For your own bì, add what you’d like/what you have! Just make sure to julienne all the turkey evenly so the mix gets an evenly coating of rice powder and seasoning. Depending on how seasoned your turkey is, you can omit salt or just season to taste. Mine wasn’t super salty so I added a sprinkle of salt to make sure my mixture wouldn’t be too bland (since you are adding pork skin that’s not flavored!).


All right, are you ready? Here we go!

Leftover Turkey Bì Cuốn

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1-1.5 cup of leftover turkey, julienned
  • 3 oz sliced pork skin
  • 1 tbsp rice powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste!)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • green leaf lettuce (red works too!)
  • 1 oz vermicelli noodles
  • mint
  • Thai basil
  • pickled carrots (optional)
  • rice paper
  • deep plate with warm water
  • prepared fish sauce (recipe here)


  1. Julienne your turkey so you have little even sticks of turkey and place into a bowl. You should have about 1 to 1.5 cups of turkey.
  2. Bring some water (about a 1 cup) in a small saucepan to a boil. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, drop in the sliced pork skin. Give it a little swirl, then drain it in a colander. Run some cold water over it to cool it down, then once most of the water is gone, toss it in with the turkey.
  3. 3.img_9918Add in the roasted rice powder, salt, and garlic powder, and mix everything together. There should be enough rice powder to coat everything, so feel free to add a little more if it doesn’t look like you have enough. Taste to make sure you have it seasoned with enough salt. If it tastes good, then your bì mixture is done!
  4. Time to start our rolling! Dip a sheet of rice paper into the warm water and place it on a plate you can roll on.
  5. Add lettuce, herbs, and noodles about an inch from the edge closest to you. Add pickled carrots too, if you’d like!
  6. Add your bì mixture! You can add as much or as little as you’d like. I add enough to make about a 1-inch line of it on the rice paper.
  7. Taking the side closest to you, fold the paper over your pile and pull the pile in tight. Start rolling a little, then fold the sides in. Make sure you hold everything in nice and tight (but not too tight or you’ll rip the rice paper!) so your roll ends up tidy and even. Continue to roll until you have a completed roll.
  8. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your bì mixture.
  9. Dip your rolls in prepared fish sauce and enjoy!


Super easy, right? Hope you like this little recipe to help get rid of the turkey in your fridge! Let me know your comments, questions, and criticisms below! The recipe for the turkey pho will be up next—-I’m in the process of making it at the moment 🙂


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