Leftover turkey paella

Uses Up: cooked protein, rice, vegetables, stock

A one-pan wonder, paella is one of the most flavorful ways to use up a whack of leftover proteins and veggies. This leftover turkey paella recipe is my go-to for when I’m craving something a little more exotic than your basic stir-fry. It’s also a recipe I make when I really want to impress my guests, because all you need is a little Spanish flair to really step things up. The best paellas are made with rich-flavored stock. I personally love to make this with leftover gravy or braising liquid topped up with homemade stock.

Chorizo can swapped for ham or any other cured type of sausage, even pepperettes, kielbasa, or bacon. Turkey can be swapped for any other poultry, cooked protein, plant based protein such as firm tofu, or even cooked shrimp.

Leftover Turkey Paella

Christine Tizzard
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine spanish
Servings 6 servings


  • 4 cups poultry stock
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 7 oz cured chorizo, mild or spicy cut into cubes or rounds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup white or red wine of choice
  • 2 cups short grain rice such as Bomba or Arborio
  • 1-2 cups chopped or pulled cooked turkey or chicken

Optional Add Ins

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas or corn, thawed
  • 1/2-1 cup leftover cooked vegetables

Optional Garnishes

  • 2/3 green onions, chopped
  • chopped parsley
  • lemon or lime wedges


  • Heat the stock in a large sauce pot over medium heat so it is hot when starting to cook paella. Then mix the saffron with 1 cup of the hot stock, set aside to steep.
  • In a large cast-iron pan or skillet, brown the chorizo in olive oil and set aside on a plate. In the same skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the chorizo-flavored oil, adding more oil if necessary, until softened.
  • Stir in the tomato, pepper, smoked paprika, bay leaves, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the wine and rice and let simmer for an additional few minutes. This is a good time to lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the rice out in an even layer over the bottom of the pan and ladle in the hot stock from the saucepot (not the saffron infused stock). Do not stir the rice. Let the rice absorb the liquid over low heat (simmering), tasting the rice along the way to check doneness. The total cooking time is about 25 minutes.
  • Halfway through the rice cooking time, nestle in the cooked turkey and reserved chorizo. Pour the steeped saffron broth over top.
  • When the rice is almost fully cooked, add the peas (or corn) and vegetables of using, and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once cooked, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired.

Food Waste Tip: If you have any leftover turkey gravy, mix this in with your poultry stock/broth to add even more flavor to your paella.

    Keyword chicken, chorizo, leftover protein, leftover turkey, leftover vegetables, paella, rice, rice recipes, turkey

    Have more leftover turkey? Check out my Mexican Pulled Turkey Stuffed Poblanos recipe.

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