Homemade Turkey Soup

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.

turkey soup with noodles in a bowl with spoons and bread

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.
close up of bowl of turkey soup

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.
turkey soup with noodles in a soup pot


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.
turkey and noodle soup in a bowl close up

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.
homemade turkey soup in a white bowl from the side

Looking For More Ways To Use Leftover Turkey?

turkey soup with noodles in a bowl with spoons and bread

Homemade Turkey Soup

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

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)
  • Water

For The Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced or diced
  • 8 cups of turkey stock
  • 23 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Add in the onions, bay leaves, carrots, celery, salt and peppercorns (or fresh ground black pepper).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Test for seasonings again and serve.

Recipe Notes

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

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47 Responses
    1. Joshua

      Hi I love soup but hatevwastong stuff..
      Couldn’t the vegetables used in the stock be put back in and blended in with an emulsion blender so they don’t get thrown away?

      1. Dan

        You can, yes. But it will change the consistency of the soup. The vegetables have given their all by this point, adding flavor and nutrients to the stock, so you really aren’t wasting them. They’ve done their job!

        1. Mary Ann

          Have made this recipe many times. Absolutely delicious. I usually serve it with a nice turkey sandwich. It’s easy, too!

  1. Colleen

    Hi Dan,

    When I made this soup I had to add water to my stock. Do you add water to yours? Otherwise it is super concentrated and salty…and I don’t have enough once I add the pasta and veggies.

    1. Dan

      Do you mean add more water to the stock once it’s finished? No, I don’t. If you add water to fill just to the top of your turkey and follow the cooking instructions it should come out just right. Did you cook the stock longer than 3 hours?

    2. Jay

      Hi Colleen,
      I think the 1/4c. of salt was an error. If you just add a little salt to enhance the flavor, then your soup will be perfect without having to add extra water.

    3. Tiffany

      I loved this recipe!! This was the first time I made my own homemade turkey soup. My husband is also very pleased with the outcome! Thank you! ????

      1. Dan

        Thank you for letting me know! We love this soup, it’s become a favorite family recipe of ours, I hope it does for you too!

  2. Carla

    Great recipe. The only changes I made was I sautéed my turkey neck in olive oil, then added in my vegetables and sautéed them as well. Used my leftover chicken broth and carcass topping off with water. Second time I made this recipe, it’s wonderful. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. Harry Wall

    Goodo recipe Dan. I do not discard any skin or fat. I take all of the picked over carcass pieces along with the rough cut carrots, celery and onion and cook them for about a half hour in my stock pot. This creates fond . I add 16 cups of cold water and never bring to a rolling boil. Simmering slow keeps broth clear and chance for flavors to meld.

  4. MAt

    Great Soup recipe however, adding a 1/4 c of salt is way too much sodium. Perhaps this an error in the directions?

    1. Dan

      It’s really not, this recipe calls for about 18 cups of water to cover the whole carcass so 1/4 cup is not a lot. You can adjust it to your liking though.

      1. Mat

        Dan, thank’s so much for the reply. I will make the necessary adjustments since we are watching our salt intake closely these days for health reasons…Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

        1. Dan

          We sure did, hope your family did too! Let me know how you like the soup, I definitely get needing to watch the salt!

  5. Pam

    Hi Dan
    Nicely written article, beautiful photos and wonderful classic recipe. Those noodles do look substantial. I might try making my own just for this soup.
    Last Christmas, my daughter had the holiday feast at her place. Well.. they made ham so I’ve been craving turkey soup for months! There’s a small frozen bird in my freezer that is about to become a VERY hearty soup.
    To your good health,
    p.s. that is too much salt ????

    1. Tara

      My first time making my own stock and the flavor is perfect! Followed the directions to a T. I will be using this recipe every year moving forward. I have a lot more stock in ratio to the 2 cups of Turkey, carrots and celery, etc for the soup. So I am going to freeze the rest of the stock for another batch of soup at another time and just add some rotisserie chicken. Delicious!

      1. Dan

        I’m so happy you liked it! We crave this soup after every holiday. And we do the same thing with rotisserie chicken – the stock is the key!

  6. Wayne

    what do you do with the meat and vegetables from the carcass cooking part? you said drain the stock do you throw out everything but the liquid?

    1. Dan

      Correct, this is just the stock. The next step is to use the stock to make soup with fresh vegetables. The directions say to clean most of the meat from the carcass first, which you can then add to the soup later.

      1. Allene

        “Correct, this is just the stock. The next step is to use the stock to make soup with fresh vegetables. The directions say to clean most of the meat from the carcass first, which you can then add to the soup later.”
        Could you please add the above information to your recipe? I had the same question and you don’t always have time to read all the comments to get your questions answered.

        1. Dan

          The above information is in the recipe card, you don’t have to read the comments. After you make the stock, you skim the fat and add the vegetables, turkey and pasta.

    1. Dan

      You can leave it uncovered or partially cover the pot while it’s cooking, just make sure some steam is coming out so that the stock reduces.

  7. Nikki

    I’m use to using raw meat and bones to make stock because that’s how I was taught in school but I remember my mom doing something similar. I have some whole garlic gloves in the stock pot as well, it’s on the stove now. To be continued

  8. Boots

    For additional information. I took a stock and base cooking class and was told if you add about 3/4 cup of really cold water half way through the cooking process it extracts more turkey flavour from the bones.

  9. Bernie

    Help. First time making my own stock. It’s fabulous. Beautiful. Clear flavorful. But I have about 5 quarts of beautiful clear stock
    So. To make my soup. How much of the stock do I use per batch of soup. My kids all ski and I know this would be a welcome meal at the end of a cold ski day.
    Can rice be used instead of noodles.

    1. Dan

      Bernie, you got a lot of stock! We usually make this and use all of the stock to make soup, but if you feel like you have too much then cut the stock in half and freeze the rest. Then follow the directions for making the soup. This part of the recipe is really forgiving, it’s really about how many vegetables and noodles you want in the soup so you really can’t mess hat part up! Yes, you can use rice or any other pasta shape you like!

  10. Val

    I made this recipe from my leftover Christmas turkey. This was my first ever attempt at turkey soup from scratch. The soup is easy to prepare and turned out absolutely delicious. I added water as it was simmering to keep the turkey carcass covered with water and found I needed it to have enough broth for the soup. I used 3 Tbsps of salt and that was plenty. My husband loved it! I will definitely be making this again!!!

  11. Dylis

    After cooking, how many times can this be reheated OR would you suggest freezing in batches and then defrosting before reheating.
    Great recipe, thank you

    1. Dan

      Yes, I would definitely suggest freezing in batches and reheating only what you need. If freezing the soup I like to leave out the noodles and add them to the soup after it’s been reheated.

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