~ These easy, 4-ingredient Homemade Dog Treats are the perfect way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! (Or, try them any time of year with leftover chicken.) Even better, though? They freeze beautifully, and make darling DIY holiday gifts for all the beloved pups in your life! ~
This Recipe Is: • Freezable • Make Ahead •
Got some leftover turkey you’d like to use up? (Or even leftover chicken – that’ll work just fine, too!)
Well, then you’ve definitely got a happy pooch!
Our pup, Finn, can vouch for that.
He’s kind of a picky little guy, and I’m often surprised at how many store-bought dog treats he doesn’t like … or he eventually gets tired of. (I mean, seriously – what dog gets tired of treats?!?)
But these Sweet Potato-Turkey Treats never get boring. And – trust me – throughout our testing these last several months, Finn’s eaten a lot of these. (He’s dedicated that way.) With these treats, he never stops being excited to have another …
and another …
I modeled this new dog biscuit recipe after our wildly popular 4-Ingredient Chicken and Biscuits Homemade Dog Treats, hoping to hit on a pup-pleasing flavor combo that would be absolutely perfect for using up leftover bits of Thanksgiving turkey. (Because you know I hate food waste, and I’m always looking for handy little tricks to use up leftovers.)
No doubt – leftover turkey is a problem a lot of us face this time of year! You know … that moment when you just can’t make one more cold turkey sandwich …
Well, now you know exactly what to do!
Here are a few tips for making these dog biscuits (which will totally make your pup’s day!):
The Right Sweet Potatoes
On the recipe card, I specify grabbing a bag of frozen, cubed sweet potatoes. This works perfectly any time of year, whether or not you’ve just enjoyed a huge Thanksgiving feast.
Of course, though, you can use leftover sweet potatoes if you have them. Just be sure that you’re using only plain sweet potatoes – not ones that have been mashed with butter or topped with marshmallows or sprinkled with spices. You want absolutely plain-jane sweet potatoes here.
The Right Turkey (Or Chicken)
When you’re picking over the leftover turkey, make sure to avoid any little bones, and try not to include too much of the fatty skin (especially if your holiday bird was roasted with a lot of spices or salt that’s still clinging to it).
And, just like with our Chicken and Biscuits Dog Treats and our 2-Ingredient Frozen Dog Treats – you can use leftover bits of chicken here, too – instead of turkey. I guarantee your pup will be okey-dokey with either choice!
Handy tip: If you don’t have time to make these dog treats right away, you can always freeze the bits of meat in pre-measured baggies, so you can whip up a batch of these later, when you’ve got a spare moment.
Choose Your Shape (Hint: We’re Going for EASY Here!)
So, shapes. You’re not seeing any adorable little doggy-bone cookie cutters here, are you? Nah – who’s got the time?!?
As I mentioned in the recipe for our Chicken and Biscuits Treats, I don’t see the point in wasting time with cute cookie-cutter shapes. I’m not sure about your dog, but Finny couldn’t care less whether his treats come in circles or rectangles or adorably-time-consuming-cut-out-doggy-shapes. He’s all like “JUST GIVE THEM TO ME!”
I’ve got two simple ideas for you (no cookie cutter required!):
Round Biscuits (Easy) – First, if you like the idea of a round, biscuit-like shape, you can use the strategy I showed you with the Chicken and Biscuits Treats.
All you have to do is drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto your parchment-lined baking sheet, and flatten them slightly with the back of your measuring spoon. Yep – easy!
Rectangles (Even EASIER!) – I was perfectly happy with that first method, until a reader (thanks, Mark! 😉 ) suggested an even easier idea that I adore and highly recommend.
Just roll your doggy-dough out flat, and use a knife (or – easier still) a pizza cutter to score the dough into rectangles or squares before baking.
Once your dog treats come out of the oven, you can cut or break them apart along the score lines.
So simple, either way!
You’re done in a jiffy, with lots of extra time to play fetch or do some serious, behind-the-ear scritching.
Adjust the Size
You can definitely adjust the size of these treats, depending on how big your own dog is, and whether you’d like to use these as little training biscuits or larger “good boy” treats.
Start with our basic guidelines, and adjust as needed.
If you’re shaping round “drop biscuits,” a good guide is that you’ll need about 12-14 minutes to bake these in a larger tablespoon-size. Or, if you’re shaping smaller biscuits by the teaspoon, you can bake them for about a minute or two less.
If you’re using our “easiest” option of rolling these out flat and scoring them before baking, then your bake time will remain the same (about 30 minutes), no matter what size of rectangle-shapes you score into the biscuit dough, as long as the thickness of the dough remains consistent at about 1/2-inch.
And honestly, it’s nothing to stress over if these go a few minutes too long in the oven (you know … when your kids sidetrack you by asking for homework help on stuff you learned 20 years ago and haven’t used in your life even once since then *eeek*). If these over-bake a little, they’ll just be a bit crunchier (they’re not inherently super crunchy – they’re intended to be a bit soft).
An Easy Make-Ahead Gift Idea
These dog biscuits freeze beautifully. (I actually keep Finn’s stash of these in an air-tight zippered bag in the freezer, and they last for weeks and weeks.)
Soooooo … guess what you’ve got here?
The perfect make-ahead gift idea for all the treasured pooches in your life!
Bake up a batch or two after Thanksgiving, and store them in the freezer for a couple of weeks until the holidays. They make for an adorable little DIY gift for family, friends, and neighbors who have dogs!
Because wasn’t the 10th Day of Christmas “10 Puppies a Munching”? (Or was it “10 Maids a Milking”? “Lords a Leaping”???)
Well anyway … Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
And Happy “Puppies a Munching” … whatever day that happens!
- 1/2 cup PLAIN mashed, cooked sweet potatoes (see note)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups finely chopped, cooked turkey or chicken (see note)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, water, and egg, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Add chicken and flour and stir again until combined. Batter will be very thick and sticky.
- To make rectangular biscuits (see notes below on how to make round "drop" biscuits), use a rubber spreader to spread the dough evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a rectangle (approximately 10" x 14") at about 1/2" thickness.
- Use a knife or pizza cutter to score the dough into rectangles of whatever size you'd like. (When I make these as shown in my photos, I score 8 rows x 12 rows to equal 96 treats.)
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the dog treats are lightly golden brown.
- Cool completely and then break along the score lines or use a knife/pizza cutter to cut along the score lines.
- Store in the refrigerator or (for longer storage) in zippered freezer bags in the freezer (thaw before serving).
Sweet Potatoes: I usually grab a bag of frozen, cubed sweet potatoes for this recipe. A 10-ounce bag of cubed sweet potatoes (cooked according to the package) should yield about 1 cup of chunks (about 1/2 cup once mashed), which is enough for a double batch of these dog biscuits. Alternately, you can use leftover sweet potatoes, but be sure that they are completely plain (without spices, butter, marshmallows, etc.).
Turkey / Chicken: As discussed in the post, this recipe is an opportunity to use up leftover turkey OR chicken, and we often utilize the bits of unused meat that we have left after making other recipes. Any cooked, chopped turkey or chicken will work for this recipe, but be very careful not to include any bones. Also, don't use too much of the fatty skin, particularly if the skin has spicy seasonings or a lot of salt on it. Once you've finely chopped your leftover meat for this recipe, you can pre-measure it and store it in a labeled, zippered freezer bag in your freezer until you have time to finish making your dog treats.
Baking round "drop" biscuits: To shape these dog treats into round biscuits, drop the batter by level spoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. (Because these dog biscuits spread very little during baking, you can crowd them together more than typical cookies.) Using the back of a spoon, flatten the dog treats slightly. Bake until lightly golden brown (which depends on the size of biscuits): about 12-14 minutes for tablespoon-sized biscuits, or 11-12 minutes for teaspoon-sized biscuits. Your yield will be about 48 tablespoon-sized biscuits, or about 130 teaspoon-sized biscuits.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 96 servings Serving Size: 1 treat
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 16Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.