This Leftover Turkey Rice Casserole is a great way to use up holiday leftovers, and tastes amazing too. Make your own cream of chicken soup for a healthier creamy texture, and enjoy this delicious family favorite!
Turkey and Rice
This recipe is a recreation of a recipe from a church cookbook, given to me by my beloved mother. I’ve made this so many times over the years, and my boys love it.
Since I no longer use cream of chicken soup in my cooking, I decided it was time to recreate this family favorite for all of you! If you want to use the canned version, I get it. But just take a look at how EASY it is to make your own. A simple 10-minute (at most) process with just a few ingredients.
After all of the holiday cooking, I love making a simple casserole or soup with the leftover protein. Using up the extra turkey or ham in a new recipe adds an interesting spin to dinner plus it’s smart economically!
My favorite way to cook a turkey is to spatchcock it and smoke/grill it. More room in the ovens for sides PLUS the flavor is absolutely incredible. In fact, why wait for the holidays to make one?
Why this recipe works:
- Uses up leftovers. This casserole uses up four cups of leftover turkey (or even a little more if you wish. You can use a combo of dark and white meat or just one kind as well.
- Simple to make. This casserole is simple. While you’re making the rice, cook the substitute for cream of chicken soup and sauté the veggies. It’s also a good idea to prep in advance and bake later.
- Makes a great post-holiday meal. When we’re getting tired of all of the mashed potatoes and cranberries, this recipe is perfect to shake things up a bit while using the leftover turkey.
- Turkey – I used my leftover turkey from the most delicious Smoked Spatchcock Turkey recipe! People, if you haven’t tried this, do it now!
- Rice – I prefer using white rice, but you could try brown as well.
- Cream of Chicken Soup – This homemade version is just a few simple ingredients, and much better than the canned stuff. Try it!
- Mayonnaise – I use a mayonnaise with olive oil version, and it’s a little bit healthier.
How to make Turkey Rice Casserole
Make cream of chicken soup substitute. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth and milk. Heat over medium heat, without boiling. Then add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously. Add the seasonings – onion powder, salt, and pepper. When the mixture is thickened, remove from heat.
Sauté onions and garlic. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions, and cook until softened, approximately 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat.
Combine ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, cooked rice, frozen peas, mayonnaise, sautéed veggies, and the cream of chicken mixture. Stir well to mix.
Transfer mixture to casserole dish. Then spoon the turkey rice mixture into a 9×13 (approximate) casserole dish.
Add crackers. Combine the crushed crackers and melted butter in a small bowl. Then add to the top of the casserole.
Bake. In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake casserole for 30-45 minutes, or until hot.
Leftover turkey is normally good for 3-4 days, if properly stored in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for a couple of months, and thaw it out to use later.
You can use whatever rice you normally cook with. However, I think long-grain white rice is best in this casserole.
Yes, you can definitely use leftover chicken or even a rotisserie chicken, if desired.
You CAN use the canned version of cream of chicken soup. However, I recommend trying my homemade version because it’s healthier and easy too.
You can prep this casserole a day before baking. Store it covered in the refrigerator and then bake until hot.
Yes, you can freeze the leftover casserole, if desired. You can also freeze it before baking, but I’d wait to add the cracker topping.
What to serve with leftover turkey casserole
- Bread – Try my blog fav Chewy French Bread or some Italian Focaccia Bread.
- Salad – A healthy Kale and Quinoa Salad or a Broccoli Salad would be perfect.
- Or use up some other holiday sides, like my boys favorite Raspberry Pretzel Salad, some Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms, or these delicious Teriyaki Brussels Sprouts!
Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)
Leftover Turkey Rice Casserole
- 4 cups leftover turkey – combo of white and dark meat
- 4 cups cooked long grain white rice
- 1 ½ cup mayonnaise with olive oil
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion – chopped
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
For the homemade cream of chicken soup
- 1¼ cups lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt – to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the cracker topping
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
- 20 Ritz crackers – crushed
- Make the cream of chicken soup mixture. Combine milk and chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat. When it's hot (not boiling), add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously. Add the onion powder, salt, and pepper – and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- In a saute pan, add olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl. combine turkey, cooked rice, the cream of chicken soup mixture, mayonnaise, frozen peas, and sautéed onions and garlic. Stir well and pour into a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Combine crackers and melted butter and add to casserole.
- Bake casserole for 30-45 minutes, or until hot.
- Leftover turkey is normally good for 3-4 days, if properly stored in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for a couple of months, and thaw it out to use later.
- You can prep this casserole a day before baking. Store it covered in the refrigerator and then bake until hot.
- You can freeze the leftover casserole, if desired. You can also freeze it before baking, but I’d wait to add the cracker topping.