Leftover Turkey Soup

The holiday season often leaves you with a mountain of delicious leftover turkey. Instead of letting it go to waste or taking days to eat through endless turkey sandwiches, why not transform those leftovers into a hearty, flavorful soup?

This Leftover Turkey Soup recipe is the perfect solution to enjoy your turkey in a new and tasty way.

Preparing this soup is incredibly simple, and the result is a comforting, nutritious, and satisfying meal. You can easily modify the recipe to cater to your personal preferences and dietary needs by incorporating different vegetables, spices, and herbs, making it a versatile dish everyone can enjoy.

Not only does this Leftover Turkey Soup give new life to your holiday feast, but it also helps you to reduce food waste, stretch your budget, and keep your family full and happy. So, gather up your favorite ingredients and let’s warm up with a delicious bowl of Leftover Turkey Soup!

Ingredients for Leftover Turkey Soup

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

To make a delicious leftover turkey soup, gather the following ingredients:

  • Leftover turkey (around 2 cups, shredded or diced)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups turkey stock (preferably homemade, but store-bought works as well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Optional: 1 cup rice or diced potatoes, cooked
  • Optional: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: Fresh parsley for garnish

Start by washing and chopping the vegetables. You’ll need the onion, carrots, and celery. Remember that the size of the vegetables should be relatively equal to ensure even cooking.

Next, shred or dice the leftover turkey meat until you have about 2 cups. This amount can be adjusted depending on how meaty you would like your soup.

Now let’s turn our attention to the seasonings. For this recipe, you’ll need thyme, garlic, black pepper, and kosher salt. These flavors will come together perfectly in your turkey soup.

To bind the soup and create a slightly thicker consistency, you have the option of using a mixture of all-purpose flour and water. This step is optional, depending on your preferred soup texture.

When it comes to cooking your soup, olive oil is excellent for sautéing the vegetables. Alternatively, you can use butter for a richer taste.

Lastly, if you want to give your soup a little extra body and creaminess, heavy cream can be added at the end of the cooking process. Finish off your creation with a garnish of fresh parsley for added flavor and presentation.

Preparation Method

How to Make Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup | Thanksgiving Recipes | Allrecipes.com

To make your delicious leftover turkey soup, start by assembling all of the necessary ingredients. Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need:

  • Leftover turkey, shredded or diced
  • Turkey carcass (optional)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup mirepoix (diced onions, carrots, celery)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup wild rice or wild rice blend
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
  • Optional: tomatoes, chili, noodles, or cream

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour

Before beginning the cooking process, ensure that you have a Dutch oven or large pot available. Alternatively, you can use an Instant Pot or slow cooker if you prefer a hands-off approach.

First, sauté the mirepoix by heating the olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

To create the roux, sprinkle the flour over the sautéed vegetables and stir well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the flour has absorbed the oil.

Next, pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven, stirring continuously to combine the broth and roux. For added flavor, you can use the turkey carcass—just add it to the pot along with 2 cups of water. Then, add the bay leaf and your choice of herbs.

Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the flavors have melded. If you used the turkey carcass, remove it at this point and discard.

After the soup has simmered, it’s time to add the rice. Whether you’re using white rice or wild rice blend, ensure it is thoroughly rinsed before adding it to the pot. Cook according to package instructions until the rice is tender.

While the rice is cooking, prepare your leftover turkey by shredding or dicing it into bite-sized pieces. Once the rice is done, add the turkey to the soup to heat through. Season the soup with salt and ground black pepper to your preference.

Feel free to customize your easy leftover turkey soup further by adding in tomatoes or chili for a more robust flavor, or stirring in some cream for a creamier texture. If you’d like noodles, add them in during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.

Lastly, divide the soup into servings and enjoy your protein-packed dinner. Remember that you can always freeze any leftovers – just be sure to allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to storage containers. Enjoy your reimagined post-holiday feast!

Storage and Substitutions

Storing Leftover Turkey Soup: To properly store your leftover turkey soup, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. It will typically stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. If you’d like to extend its shelf life, you can also freeze the soup in airtight containers for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat.

Substituting Vegetables: There are various ways to customize your leftover turkey soup to your liking. For example, if you’re not a fan of spinach, feel free to substitute it with other leafy greens such as kale or chard. You can also experiment with additional vegetables like:

  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes

Meat Substitutions: If you don’t have any roast turkey leftovers on hand, you can easily swap it out for other meats. A few alternative options:

  • Roast chicken
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Cooked ham

Gluten-Free Variations: To make your leftover turkey soup gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles or rice as a substitute for traditional pasta. You could also opt for a more whole-food approach by using diced potatoes or other hearty vegetables instead of noodles.

In conclusion, the storage and substitution possibilities in your leftover turkey soup recipe are not only practical but also versatile, allowing you to cater to different dietary preferences and use up available ingredients in your kitchen.

Nutrition Facts

This Leftover Turkey Soup recipe offers a healthy and nutritious way to use your remaining Thanksgiving ingredients. Rich in protein and other essential nutrients, it provides a satisfying, nourishing meal that’s both delicious and filling. In this section, we’ll break down the nutritional components of this hearty soup so can understand its value.

The primary source of protein in this recipe is, of course, the turkey. On average, each serving of soup contains about 20 grams of protein. This nutrient is essential for maintaining and repairing muscle tissue, as well as supporting the immune system. Pairing turkey with an assortment of vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery, not only enhances the flavor but also increases the overall nutritional value of the soup.

Here are some estimated nutritional highlights for each serving of Leftover Turkey Soup:


The vegetables in the recipe provide a good amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber contributes to feeling full and promotes a healthy digestive system. Each serving of this soup contains approximately 4 grams of dietary fiber, which makes it a filling meal. Vitamins such as A, C, and K, as well as essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, are also found in this dish, contributing to your overall wellness.

It’s crucial to note that the nutritional content of your soup may vary depending on the ingredients you choose, such as the type of broth or the addition of extra vegetables or starches. Feel free to customize the recipe to your own preferences and dietary needs, keeping in mind that making healthy choices will result in the best nutritional outcomes.

In conclusion, the Leftover Turkey Soup recipe is an excellent way to repurpose your holiday ingredients while enjoying a satisfying, nutritious meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Best Creamy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe | Thanksgiving Leftovers

What are the key ingredients for a flavorful turkey soup?

To create a flavorful turkey soup, start with a rich homemade turkey broth, using the leftover turkey carcass. Incorporate aromatic vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery, along with fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. Feel free to add in your favorite spices and seasonings, like salt, pepper, and garlic, but remember to taste and adjust as necessary.

How can I utilize the turkey carcass to enhance the soup?

The turkey carcass is packed with flavor and can be used to make a delicious broth. To do this, simply place the carcass in a large pot, cover it with water, and add any leftover bones and skin. Add some aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, along with a few herbs such as bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Simmer the mixture for a few hours, then strain it to remove solids and use the resulting broth as the base for your turkey soup.

What type of noodles work best in leftover turkey soup?

The choice of noodles is up to you, but for a classic turkey soup, egg noodles or wide egg noodles are popular options. You can also experiment with pasta shapes like fusilli, farfalle, or even orzo if you prefer. When making the soup, cook your noodles separately in boiling water, then add them to the soup just before serving to prevent them from becoming soggy.

How can I make my turkey soup creamy?

To make a creamy turkey soup, you can add a dairy product like heavy cream, whole milk, or half-and-half to your soup near the end of cooking. For a lighter, dairy-free option, you can puree cooked potatoes or white beans and mix them into the soup. Additionally, you can create a roux by combining equal parts butter and flour, cooking it over medium heat until bubbly, and then whisking it into your soup to thicken and add a creamy texture.

How long can I store leftover turkey soup?

Leftover turkey soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you’re not planning on eating it within that timeframe, consider freezing the soup in smaller, portion-sized containers for easy reheating. Frozen turkey soup can maintain its best quality for 2-3 months but can be kept for up to six months if stored properly.

How can I avoid a bland taste in my turkey soup?

To prevent a bland taste in your turkey soup, make sure to properly season the dish throughout the cooking process. Regularly taste your soup and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings as needed. Utilizing fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and rosemary, can also add depth and flavor to your dish. Additionally, adding a splash of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, can brighten up the taste and bring out the flavors in your soup.

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us