Leftover Turkey Soup

5 from 17 votes
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My Leftover Turkey Soup with orzo and spinach combines all the best Italian flavors in a belly-warming bowl of soup! This hearty and nutritious soup recipe is my favorite way of using leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

A bowl of leftover turkey soup with orzo and spinach.


This homestyle turkey soup, brimming with Italian flair and a tangy tomato broth, is ideal for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. A staple after our family’s holiday gathering, it is the best comfort food. Packed with tender turkey, nutritious veggies, orzo, and herbs, it’s reminiscent of a Tuscan retreat in a bowl. Simple to love, this one-pot soup is hearty, flavorful, and ready in just 30 minutes, drawing inspiration from my easy and delicious Turkey Corn Chowder recipe.

A pot of leftover turkey orzo soup with spinach, with a wooden spoon.

Turkey Soup Ingredients

  • Olive Oil and Butter: I use both when sautéing the veggies.
  • Onion, Carrots, and Celery: Diced and sautéd with garlic for the soup’s flavor base.
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Turkey: You’ll need about four cups of cooked, shredded (or chopped) turkey meat.
  • Tomato Paste & Diced Tomatoes
  • Herbs: A combination of thyme, oregano, and rosemary, and throw in a bay leaf for flavor.
  • Broth: Use your choice of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. 
  • Orzo: This is a type of small pasta that looks a lot like long-grain rice.
  • Spinach: Baby spinach is full of nutrients and softens up easily.

How to Make Leftover Turkey Soup

  1. Sauté: Warm up the olive oil and butter in a large pot. Stir in the diced onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add Turkey: Toss in your shredded leftover turkey to cook for a couple of minutes. 
  3. Combine: Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and herbs. Add the broth, orzo pasta, and a bay leaf. 
  4. Cook: Bring the soup to a boil, then leave it to simmer over low heat. It should take about 10 minutes for the orzo to become tender.
  5. Finish and Serve: Lastly, stir in the baby spinach and give your soup a final seasoning to taste. Fish out the bay leaf, ladle the soup into bowls, and dig in!
A pot of leftover turkey orzo soup with spinach, with a wooden spoon.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Use up your veggies. I’ll frequently mix up the ingredients that go into this soup depending on what’s taking up space in my fridge, from adding diced bell peppers to chopped broccoli. Nothing is off-limits.
  • Make chicken orzo soup instead. I make this soup year-round with shredded chicken, too! I’ll use leftover Easy Roast Chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Make it spicy. If you’re after a soup with a bit of spicy kick, toss in a pinch of crushed red chili flakes.
  • Different pasta. If you don’t have orzo, other good pasta options are rotini, ditalini, fusilli, or rotelli.

Serving Suggestions

Serve a bowl of zesty leftover turkey soup with a side of crusty Focaccia, Skillet Bread, or Naan to soak up that delicious broth. Other easy sides include a fresh green salad or Easy Butternut Squash SaladRoasted Butternut Squash, Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots.

Overhead view of a bowl of leftover turkey soup with orzo and spinach.

Storing and Reheating Soup

Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat leftovers, stir a little extra broth or water into the soup, then warm the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave.

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5 from 17 votes

Leftover Turkey Soup

A hearty Italian-inspired soup recipe loaded with tomatoes, spinach, orzo pasta, and leftover turkey meat. It's the best way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small yellow onion,, diced
  • 2 large carrots,, diced
  • 3 ribs celery,, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked and shredded turkey meat
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14-ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • cups orzo pasta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 to 8 ounces baby spinach
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  • Heat the oil and melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a large stock pot set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley; season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the turkey meat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the tomato paste and stir in the canned tomatoes; stir in thyme, oregano, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth, orzo, and bay leaf; stir to combine and bring the soup to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.
  • Stir in the baby spinach and cook for 1 more minute or until the spinach is wilted.
  • Remove from heat and taste for seasonings. Adjust accordingly.
  • Remove bay leaf and serve.


  • Use up your vegetables and make this soup with anything from bell peppers to broccoli. It’s an excellent way to clear out your fridge.
  • Try it with chicken. Substitute turkey with shredded roast or rotisserie chicken for year-round enjoyment.
  • Add heat. For spiciness, include some crushed red chili flakes.
  • Switch the pasta. No orzo? Use rotini, ditalini, fusilli, or rotelli instead.
  • To Store: Transfer completely cooled turkey soup to an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. To reheat, add more liquid, stir, and reheat over medium heat on the stovetop.
  • To Freeze: Make sure the soup is completely cooled. Transfer the soup to large, heavy-duty freezer bags (I divide it into two freezer bags), and freeze it for 3 to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3960IU | Vitamin C: 14.5mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2.8mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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Recipe Rating:


  1. Rita says:

    This was so delicious and adaptable. I used some broken skinny egg noodles as I thought I had orzo and didn’t! Just shared with a friend!

  2. Brenda says:

    Thinking about making this earlier in the day on Thanksgiving to have in a Crock Pot for anyone who needs a small lunch before dinner is ready …. do you think the Orzo would hold up for a couple of hours warming in a Crock Pot, or is it going to turn to mush?

    1. Katerina says:

      I have not tested this recipe in the slow cooker so to stay on the safe side, can you make the orzo on the side and then add it to the soup before you are ready to serve it? That’s what I would do so to avoid the mushy texture.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Found this recipe while looking to use up leftover smoked Turkey . Had ripe Roma tomatoes so oven roasted them instead of using canned. Added a Parmesan rind when adding the broth for additional depth. Really tasty!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Colleen Benedict says:

    Made this last night, this was super good. I only had 3/4 c of orzo left so I added Ditalini as well, and it was fantastic! Served with Grated Parm on the top, YUM, a keeper. Thanks!

  5. Jamie Fadely says:

    This was delicious! It turned out perfect and also looks beautiful!

  6. Krista says:

    This makes me want to have leftovers as the main dish on Thanksgiving! It looks amazing!

  7. Allyson Zea says:

    The soup looks perfect for cold days! I’m going to add it for my meal plan next week! Thanks!

    1. Cinthya Castro says:

      Hi! Can I make this in a slow cooker? If so, would u be so kind to give me the instructions, please? Thanks

  8. Jamielyn says:

    Yum! Perfect recipe to use with leftovers! Love the added orzo!

  9. Toni | Boulder Locavore says:

    This is awesome!! Such a great way to use up leftover turkey!

  10. Lora says:

    Looks so good! I want a bowl today for lunch!!