Leftover Turkey Orzo Soup is a great way to utilize your holiday or Thanksgiving leftovers. This recipe is made with a leftover turkey carcass but a leftover chicken carcass works well too.
Holiday season translates to turkey season. I rarely make a roasted turkey more than once a year and it always happens for Thanksgiving dinner. To be honest, my family members and I love all the sides of the holiday meal more than the turkey. I am also known to make several appetizers like Three Cheese Pepperoni Bread and Greek Shrimp Skewers.
But my favorite part of cooking a turkey dinner is having the leftovers to cook with and eat the next day. I love turkey sandwiches with leftover gravy but this easy turkey soup is one of my favorite ways to use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. If you prefer white meat over dark meat, you can also use a leftover roasted turkey breast too.
Ingredients Needed for Make Turkey Orzo Soup
- A turkey (or chicken) carcass - You can use a whole carcass from a chicken or turkey. A bone in turkey breast carcass works well too. Whatever you use should have enough leftover meat attached to make 2 cups of shredded chicken or turkey.
- water - cooking the tukey in water will create a homemade turkey stock.
- salt and pepper - season to taste
- veggies like carrots, spinach and/or celery - Use whatever leftover vegetables you have from Thanksgiving. I like onions, carrots, chopped celery stalks and spinach. The recipe below contains carrots and spinach because that is what I had on hand.
- dried basil or your favorite dried or fresh herbs - other herbs that work well are fresh thyme, tarragon, dill, fresh parsley or a bay leaf.
- dried orzo - regular or whole wheat is great for this leftover turkey soup recipe. Also check out the pasta and rice substitutions below.
How to make this Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe
- The first step is to boil the turkey carcass in a large pot of water or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about 2 hours on low heat. Skim any fat from the top. Or store in a container until you are ready to make the soup then skim the fat after the broth has cooled.
- Remove the turkey carcass and strain the broth. Throw away the bones and shred the leftover turkey meat.
- Add the strained broth and turkey to the soup pot along with the vegetables and herbs. Bring to a boil and cook the orzo. Your soup is ready to eat!
Soup leftovers and Storage
Store this hearty soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftover soup might thicken so add a bit of extra water when reheating.
This homemade turkey soup recipe freezes well but I like to cook it and leave out the orzo before freezing it. When I reheat the soup after defrosting I add the orzo to the boiling soup and cook for about 10 minutes or until the orzo is tender.
More Recipes using Leftover Turkey
Turkey Wrap with Asparagus and Balsamic Mayo
Turkey Vegetable Soup via Food Fanatic
Leftover Turkey Casserole via Dinner Then Dessert
If you like this recipe for Leftover Turkey Orzo Soup please give it a 5 star rating below.
Leftover Turkey Orzo Soup
- 1 turkey or chicken carcass (with some meat left on)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 ½ cups dried orzo
- Put the turkey or chicken carcass in a large pot and fill with water. Break in half if necessary to fit in the pot. Cook on medium high heat until water comes to a boil. Bring heat to low and simmer covered for 2 hours.
- Remove carcass from pot and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain broth and add about 8 cups back to the pot. Remove meat from the bones and discard skin and bones. Measure 2 cups of shredded turkey and add to the broth along with the carrots and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn heat onto medium and bring mixture to a boil. Add orzo and dried basil. Cook for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
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Yummy! This is the perfect way to use up leftover turkey.
This was such a cozy recipe to use some of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey! It's the perfect kind of comfort food. Delish.
This is a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It really transforms the ingredients into something comforting and delicious!
This soup looks amazing!! I have so much turkey leftovers, and this is so perfect to use it. Bookmarked to make this week, thank you so much for the recipe!
The ultimate comfort food, so good!
We made this yesterday from our Sunday roast chicken leftovers and this soup was superb, the perfect winter we all needed on a cold horrible Monday to warm us up:)
Thanks for sharing!!
This soup looks fantastic, warming, and satisfying. I will probably have turkey leftovers from Christmas dinner. This recipe will come in handy then. Thanks for the idea.
This was fabulous and there were no leftovers! Total nourishing comfort food. I used dried dill and it was a lovely addition- thanks for the tip!
Soup looks delicious! What a great way to use up leftover turkey.
so delicious - i literally didn't know what to do with the turkey bones/carcass - yes! so delicious!!!! love using orzo!
This soup looks positively slurp worthy - yum!! I love the simple ingredients and the combination of turkey and orzo sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it, thanks!
Oh yum! Such a wonderful use for leftover turkey. Sounds incredible and so comforting paired with the orzo.
I am having an orzo season, and I love the idea of making it in soup with thanksgiving leftovers!
So simple! Love this easy way to use up leftovers- tasty and easy!
Looking forward to enjoying this for dinner tonight! Looks too good to pass up and is a great way to use up all my leftover turkey, indeed!
I love soup season! This soup looks so good and it's definitely a great way to use leftovers. A great family meal for sure!
Yum! This soup looks so hearty and sounds so full of flavor. Great use of leftovers.
Great way to repurpose turkey! It looks so delicious! I cannot wait to share this recipe with the family this week. Happy Holidays!