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Leftover Turkey Soup

My Leftover Turkey Soup with orzo and spinach combines all the best Italian flavors in a belly-warming bowl of soup! This hearty and healthy soup recipe is my favorite way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Looking for even more delicious turkey recipes? Try my quick-to-cook Turkey Corn Chowder!

One-Pot Leftover Turkey Soup with Orzo

This homestyle turkey soup is loaded with nourishing, Italian-inspired ingredients wrapped up in a zesty and cozy tomato broth. It’s definitely the BEST way to use what’s left of that juicy Thanksgiving Roast Turkey! I make it every year in the days following our family shindig and it’s just the perfect post-holiday comfort food.

All those tender turkey leftovers, healthy veggies, hearty orzo, and herbs come together in a cozy bowlful that tastes like a totally-needed Tuscan vacation.

There are so many reasons to love this easy soup recipe. It’s made in one pot, fills us up, and the flavors are pretty darn amazing. Even better, you only need 30 minutes to make it!

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

The Ingredients

So, what is turkey soup made of? I break down the ingredients below. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and details!

  • Olive Oil and Butter: I use both when sautéing the veggies. Feel free to use only one or the other if you prefer.
  • Onion, Carrots, and Celery: These are diced and sautéd along 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: You’ll add a couple of spoonfuls of tomato paste and a can of diced tomatoes. I use fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor.
  • Herbs: I season the soup with 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 or stock. 
  • Orzo: This is a type of small pasta that looks a lot like long-grain rice. You’ll find it in the pasta aisles of most grocery stores!
  • Spinach: Baby spinach is full of nutrients and softens up easily.
Orzo pasta is added into a pot of sautéed vegetables and leftover turkey.

How to Make Italian Turkey Soup

After the roasting, baking, and dishware-juggling marathon that is Thanksgiving, it feels SO GOOD to have a meal ready in a single pot in under half an hour. Here’s how to make this tasty leftover turkey soup:

  1. Sauté: Begin by warming up some olive oil and butter in a large pot. Stir in the diced onions, followed by carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley. While the veggies sauté, give them a quick seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Add Turkey: Once the veggies soften up, you’ll toss in your shredded leftover turkey to cook a little. 
  3. Combine: After a couple of minutes, stir in the tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, and herbs. Add your choice of stock, along with the orzo pasta and a bay leaf. 
  4. Cook: Now, 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. Don’t forget to stir occasionally! 
  5. Finish and Serve: Lastly, you’ll stir in the baby spinach leaves and give your soup a final seasoning to taste. I also like to fish out the bay leaf before serving, but that’s optional. Then, ladle the soup into bowls and dig in!
Spinach leaves are added into a pot of turkey soup.

Tips and Variations

Here are more helpful hints and easy variation ideas for this hearty turkey soup:

  • Use up even more leftovers. Nothing is off-limits here, friends. I’ll frequently mix up the ingredients that go into this soup depending on what’s taking up space in my fridge. Other good add-ins are leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots.
  • Make chicken orzo soup instead. This Italian-style soup is so yummy, I’ll make it other times of the year 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, or to taste.
  • Different pasta. If you don’t have orzo, other good pasta options are rotini, ditalini, fussili, or rotelli.
A pot of leftover turkey orzo soup with spinach, with a wooden spoon.

Serving Suggestions

Serve a bowl of zesty leftover turkey soup with a side of crusty French bread, Whole Wheat Focaccia, or Skillet Bread for soaking up that delicious broth. Or, enjoy it with a Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Other easy sides include a fresh green salad or Easy Butternut Squash Salad (using leftover butternut squash!). 

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

Storing and Reheating Leftover Turkey Soup

This recipe makes a decent-sized batch of soup, even further extending the life of those leftovers! Store your turkey soup airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

To reheat leftovers, stir a little extra broth or water into the soup, then warm the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can I Freeze Turkey Soup? 

Certainly! Once the soup has had a chance to cool completely, I like to divide the soup into freezer bags and keep it frozen for up to 3-4 months. It’s easy to thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat as usual for cozy dinners or lunches.

ENJOY!

A bowl of leftover turkey soup with orzo and spinach.

Leftover Turkey Soup

Katerina | Diethood
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!
5 from 15 votes
Servings : 6 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups cooked and shredded turkey meat
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14-ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) baby spinach

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and melt butter in a dutch oven or a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion 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 turkey meat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in tomato paste and stir in the canned tomatoes; stir in thyme, oregano, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add broth, orzo, and bay leaf; stir to combine and bring soup to a boil.
  • Lower heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done.
  • Stir in the baby spinach and cook for 1 more minute, or until spinach is wilted.
  • Remove from heat and taste for seasonings. Adjust accordingly.
  • Remove bay leaf and serve.

Notes

How to Store and Reheat Turkey Soup:
  • 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 stove top.
How to Freeze Turkey Soup:
  • Make sure the soup is completely cooled.
  • Transfer soup to large heavy duty freezer bags (I divide it into two freezer bags), and freeze the soup for 3 to 4 months.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 6

Nutrition

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

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.

Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: leftover turkey recipes, thanksgiving leftover recipes, turkey noodle soup
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24 comments on “Leftover Turkey Soup”

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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!

  4. Avatar photo
    Colleen Benedict

    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!

    1. Avatar photo
      Cinthya Castro

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

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