Leftover Turkey Soup

Use every part of your turkey…carcass and all! This Leftover Turkey Soup starts with a homemade turkey broth and adds in loads of vegetables for a comforting soup recipe.

Thanksgiving dinner is done. You’re left with such delicious leftovers. It’s good to reheat them on a plate and have a second Thanksgiving dinner, but what do you do with the rest of the turkey….and even the turkey carcass?

We don’t like to waste food. And if you don’t either, this recipe is for you. We’re showing you how to make turkey broth from a turkey carcass, plus a delicious turkey soup full of veggies.

A bowl of food on a table, with Soup and Butternut squash

Leftover Turkey Soup

There are two basic steps to making this soup.

  1. Make the turkey broth. This step takes about 2 hours, but is hands off.
  2. Make the turkey soup from the broth and the leftover turkey. This takes about 30 minutes at most.

How to Make Turkey Broth

Homemade broth may seem hard to make, but it is actually really easy. It’s a great way to get all of the nutritional benefits out of your turkey. After you cut the meat off, there is still good stuff left.

You’ll need a large stock pot to make broth with. Especially if you have a large turkey carcass. We love this large stock pot.

Here’s how to make turkey broth:

  • Place turkey carcass in a large stock pot.
A pot of food, with vegetables and turkey
  • Begin by chopping and peeling butternut squash, celery, and carrots and placing vegetable scraps into the pot with the turkey. If you have any scraps left over from earlier in the week, put those in there as well. Place skin of butternut squash in pot as well. (Side note: I chose to leave out the butternut squash seeds for the stock, but you can use them if you’d like.)
  • Quarter one onion, leaving the skin on, and set inside pot.
  • Add in thyme and 1 tablespoon salt.
  • Fill the pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
A bowl of soup, with turkey
  • Once stock is boiling, turn heat down and simmer for about 2 hours or until skin falls off of the turkey carcass.
  • Once the stock is finished simmering, pour liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a separate container. Discard carcass and food scraps.

This is what you’ll end up with:

A bowl of soup broth

What to Put in Turkey Soup

This turkey soup is a great “leftovers” soup because you can throw in veggies that you have in your freezer or in your fridge. If you’re still not sure what to put in, you can follow our suggestions (along with the turkey of course):

  • butternut squash
  • fresh thyme springs
  • salt & pepper
  • celery
  • carrots
  • onions
  • ground cumin
  • Italian seasoning
  • heavy cream (this makes the soup creamy!)

How to Make Turkey Soup

The broth takes about 2 hours to make, but once that is made, the rest of the soup is really quick.

  • While stock is cooking, deseed butternut squash and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • Chop celery, carrots, and onion.
pan with onions, celery and carrots
  • In the now empty stock pot, heat oil and add chopped vegetables. Cook on medium high heat until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes.
pan of soup with veggies
  • Once tender, pour in 4 cups of fresh turkey stock, cumin, Italian seasoning, and heavy cream. Stir until completely incorporated.
  • Take pot off heat and immediately add in chopped turkey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
bowl of chopped turkey

We like to garnish the soup with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Important Tip: Add the turkey at the very end of making the soup. It is already cooked and will get tough if it boils in the soup too long.

Can you use store bought broth?

Yes! You can use chicken broth, vegetable broth or turkey broth in this soup.

A bowl of food, with Soup and Butternut squash

Turkey Noodle Soup

This soup doesn’t have noodles in it, but you can totally add them in if you’d like! Add in about 8 ounces of your favorite pasta (already cooked) at the same time that you add the turkey.

Turkey Rice Soup

Because this soup cooks so quickly, it’s best to add rice that is already cooked. Or you can use minute rice.

A bowl of soup with turkey

How long is turkey soup good for?

Turkey soup is safe to keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure it is sealed well.

What to Serve with Soup

We love a nice side salad, dinner rolls and fruit salad with this recipe. It’s comforting and delicious!

Leftover Turkey Recipes

You may also love our chicken vegetable soup!

overhead view of Leftover Turkey Soup
overhead view of Leftover Turkey Soup

Leftover Turkey Soup

5 from 1 vote
Use every part of your turkey…carcass and all! This Leftover Turkey Soup starts with a homemade turkey broth and adds in loads of vegetables for a comforting soup recipe.
Servings 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • Leftover turkey carcass
  • 4 quarts water ( about 16 cups)
  • 1 small to medium sized butternut squash (about 3 ½- 4 cups, set aside skin)
  • 3 fresh thyme springs (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped, set scraps aside)
  • 2 carrots (chopped, set scraps aside)
  • 2 onions (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or half and half)
  • 2 cups leftover turkey (roughly chopped)
  • Cilantro or Parsley (to garnish)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

To make turkey stock:

  • Place turkey carcass in a large stock pot.
  • Begin by chopping and peeling butternut squash, celery, and carrots and placing vegetable scraps into the pot with the turkey. If you have any scraps left over from earlier in the week, put those in there as well. Place skin of butternut squash in pot as well.
  • Quarter one onion, leaving the skin on, and set inside pot.
  • Add in thyme and 1 tablespoon salt.
  • Fill the pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, turn heat down and simmer for about 2 hours or until skin falls off of the turkey carcass.
  • Once the stock is finished simmering, pour liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a separate container. Discard carcass and food scraps.

To Make the Soup:

  • While stock is cooking, deseed butternut squash and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • Chop celery, carrots, and onion.
  • In the now empty stock pot, heat oil and add chopped vegetables. Cook on medium high heat until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once tender, pour in 4 cups of fresh turkey stock, cumin, italian seasoning, and heavy cream. Stir until completely incorporated.
  • Take pot off heat and immediately add in chopped turkey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro or parsley and enjoy!

Notes

I chose to leave out the butternut squash seeds for the stock, but you can use them if you’d like.
Vegetable scraps include the tops and bottoms of the celery and carrots as well as the skin of both the butternut squash and onion.
I added the entire onion into the stock for more flavoring.
It’s important to add in chopped turkey at the last second because it can become really rubbery if cooked for too long in the soup. The soup heats the turkey up very quickly once it’s taken off the heat.
**If you don’t have time to cook the turkey stock, feel free to add 4 cups of chicken broth or stock.**

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1272mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 13651IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 247
Keyword easy soup recipe, leftover turkey recipe, turkey soup
A bowl of soup with leftover turkey

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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