Save your turkey bones after Thanksgiving to make our Homemade Turkey Soup from scratch! A rich turkey stock turns into the best bowl of turkey soup you’ve ever tasted. Homemade turkey stock can be frozen for months and pulled out to make soups or used in many other dishes.
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe
Not only are we excited to share our Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe with you, we have lots of helpful tips and details to make this recipe look and taste it’s best!
However, if you’re ready to dive right into making this turkey soup, scroll down to the recipe card or click the “jump to recipe” button above the first photo.
- Best Way To Transform Leftover Turkey: While we have lots of leftover turkey recipes that we love, this homemade soup is definitely at the top of the list. So comforting and hearty, it warms you from the inside out and cures all that ails you.
- Feeds A Crowd: This turkey soup recipe can feed 8 people or up to 12, depending on how much stock is produced from your turkey carcass. A larger carcass will yield more broth than a smaller one.
- Frozen For Easy Meals: Freeze this turkey soup (or even just the stock) for easy meals another day. The noodles can be added in separately so they don’t get mushy after freezing.
- SO Much Better Homemade: There’s nothing quite like the flavor of homemade soup made with homemade stock.
How To Make Homemade Turkey Soup
Making this soup from scratch does take some time, but we promise you it’ll be worth it. We can never bring ourselves to throw away turkey or chicken bones after a meal! You can use this recipe to make just the turkey stock and freeze it, or continue to make a pot of turkey soup with the stock.
Make The Turkey Stock
- Start the turkey stock by adding carrots, onions and celery to a large, at least a 15 quart stock pot, along with your leftover turkey carcass. Most of the meat should be removed and saved for the turkey soup, but some meat left on the bones will add flavor to the stock.
- Add water to cover the tops of the turkey bones and vegetables by about 1 inch. Add salt, pepper and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the stock for 2 – 3 hours, tasting for depth of flavor after 2 hours.
- Drain the stock into a colander on top of another stock pot (discarding the vegetables on bones) and let cool for an hour.
- You can transfer the stock to the refrigerator at this point and let chill overnight, or continue to making the turkey soup. Be sure to skim the fat off the top of the stock before adding it to the soup.
Make The Turkey Soup
- Once your turkey stock is finished and degreased, you can start the making the soup. Add carrots and celery to a dutch oven or soup pot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until softened, then add 2-3 cups of leftover turkey, salt and pepper and 8 cups of the turkey stock. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add egg noodles or your pasta of choice and cook for another 10 minutes until the pasta is tender. Taste for seasonings and serve.
This is the way that my family loves making homemade turkey soup, but there are a lot of ways that you can switch up the flavors and ingredients.
- Different Vegetables: Besides carrots and celery, you can add many other vegetables like peas, fresh spinach, chopped broccoli, even diced potatoes. Add a knob of ginger to the stock and a bunch of garlic cloves (even a whole head split in half) to give extra flavor to the stock.
- Fresh Herbs: We love adding fresh herbs to this soup recipe. Our go to is parsley, but you can also add rosemary, thyme, tarragon or oregano.
- Seasonings: We stick to a basic flavor profile for this homemade soup by using just salt and pepper. Other seasonings can include garlic or onion powder, turmeric, ground ginger or cumin.
- Different Noodles Or Pasta: You can really add any noodles or pasta that you like to this soup recipe, even cooked rice or leftover diced potatoes.
Tips For Success
- Make sure to simmer the turkey stock until it’s flavor tastes like a rich, flavorful stock. Only adding water to just cover the ingredients will help to achieve this. If your stock tastes weak after the cooking time, just keep simmering until the desired flavor is reached.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings as you go. Everyone cooks their turkey differently, and that will affect the flavor of your turkey stock. A lot of people are surprised at the amount of salt needed, keep in mind that your starting with a large turkey carcass.
- Don’t forget to degrease your turkey stock. Even if you only have time for the stock to cool on the counter for an hour, you can still skim off most of the grease on of the stock. If you refrigerate the stock several hours or overnight, the grease will harden and can easily be removed.
- If you’re making the soup to freeze, don’t add the noodles or pasta. Add cooked pasta, rice or noodles to the soup after defrosting and warming up.
Looking For More Ways To Use Leftover Turkey?
- Turkey Stew
- Turkey Salad
- Creamy Turkey Rice Soup
- Hot Turkey Sandwich
- Turkey A La King Casserole
- Turkey Tetrazzini
Save your turkey bones after Thanksgiving to make this Homemade Turkey Soup from scratch! A rich turkey stock turns into the best bowl of turkey soup you’ve ever tasted!
For The Stock:
- 1 leftover turkey carcass from about a 15 – 18 pound turkey, with most (but not all) of the meat removed along with any large pieces of skin (See Note*)
- 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
- 1 large onion or 2 smaller onions, peeled and cut in fourths
- 5 celery stalks, including the leafy tops, cut into large pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns (or lots fresh ground black pepper)
For The Soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 celery stalks, sliced or diced
- 8 cups of turkey stock
- 2 – 3 cups of leftover turkey meat
- 6 oz egg noodles (about 1/2 a bag)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
To Make The Turkey Stock:
- Add the turkey carcass to a large, 15 quart stock pot. You can break the carcass down a little if you need it to fit in your pot better.
- Add in the onions, bay leaves, carrots, celery, salt and peppercorns (or fresh ground black pepper).
- Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the turkey bones and vegetables, too much water will result in a weaker stock. Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and let cook for 2-3 hours. As the stock simmers, skim off any foam (or scum) that bubbles up on the top. After 2 hours taste the tock for depth of flavor and seasonings and then cook longer if needed.
- Drain the stock into a colander over another stock pot and let cool. Once cooled for about an hour on the counter, you can put the stock into the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or overnight until you see the fat separate to the top. Or let the stock sit on the counter for an hour and skim off the grease that has come to the top of the stock.
To Make The Turkey Soup:
- Add oil to a clean soup pout or dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the diced carrots, celery and salt and pepper to taste and cook 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add leftover cooked turkey along with the homemade turkey stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the noodles, stir and cook another 10 minutes until the noodles are soft.
- Test for seasonings again and serve.
You can make this same recipe with a larger or smaller turkey or chicken. For a larger carcass you can add a few more vegetables to the pot and maybe a bit more salt and pepper. The key to making the most flavorful stock is to only add enough water to cover the bones and vegetables by about an inch. So a larger turkey will yield more stock than a smaller one.
Everyone cooks and seasons their turkey differently so the salt and pepper are to taste depending on how salty the stock is when it’s done.
Store: Leftover turkey soup or just the stock will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After that it’s best to freeze any leftovers.
Freeze: To freeze the stock or the prepared soup, let cool completely and then add to freezer bags or a storage container. If you’re planning on making the soup to freeze, leave the noodles out and then add cooked noodles to the soup upon reheating.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American