Hands down, this is the best Homemade Turkey Soup recipe to make with your leftover turkey! Delicious soup from scratch that is pure comfort food in a bowl!
How To Make Turkey Soup From A Leftover Turkey Carcass
My love for soup started goes deep. It might have started with our famous Beefy Tomato Soup recipe, but there is something to be said about turkey soup made from a turkey carcass.
Leftover turkey bones, don’t throw them away!
Every year we take turns going to the wife’s family or mine on Thanksgiving and every time we got to my mom’s house we take a big pot with us. She doesn’t make homemade turkey soup with her leftover turkey bones…so we grab them and take them home with us.
Crazy, right? Not that she doesn’t make homemade turkey soup, but crazy that we bring pots with us for leftover turkey bones.
So once you devour that big, beautiful turkey…get most of the meat off of the bones and break the carcass down to fit into a pot. The largest pot you’ve got!
Homemade Turkey Soup Ingredients
Now these are all the basic ingredients you’re going to need to make this turkey soup recipe…
Celery, carrots, onions, noodles, seasonings like kosher salt and black pepper, leftover turkey and the rest of the turkey carcass.
How to Make Turkey Soup
As you’ll see in the recipe below, you can cook your noodles right in the soup or you can make them separately and add them in to each bowl.
Once you have your turkey in your soup pot you can add the rest of the ingredients for making the turkey stock.
Throw in a couple of onions cut into large pieces, some celery and carrots. Add in a few bay leaves, salt and peppercorns and water.
The key to making the most flavorful turkey broth is that you want to cover the bones and vegetables with water just to the top of the ingredients.
Not too much over the top because then your broth will be weak.
As you can see we added a few seasonings in here too – lots of salt, peppercorns and a bay leaf or two.
Let the pot come to a boil and then reduce the heat down to medium heat, cover and simmer.
Depending on how big your turkey was will depend on how long you need to simmer the broth, but I’d say a good average is about 3 hours. Our bird was huge so I did 3 1/2 hours.
Once the stock is done, strain it into another large pot, let it cool and stick it in the refrigerator. You’ll want it to chill for a few hours so you can strain off whatever fat rises to the top.
Strain as much fat off the top as you can, no one wants greasy broth! Now you have delicious, hearty homemade turkey stock.
If you don’t want to make soup with all of your turkey stock just take out what you need and save or freeze the rest. We usually make the whole thing because we eat a ton of soup in my house.
Now, when you go to make turkey soup from that homemade turkey stock you’ll simply be adding fresh vegetables and noodles to the stock, following the recipe below.
The hard part is over!
If you weren’t a soup junkie before you certainly will be after making this homemade turkey soup recipe!
Looking For More Soup Recipes?
Homemade Turkey Soup
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
Turn your leftover turkey into a meal that lasts for days! We love making this soup with our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
For the stock
- 1 leftover turkey carcass, picked clean of meat and large pieces of skin and fat
- 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
- 2 large onions, peeled and cut in fourths
- 5 celery stalks, including the leafy tops, cut into large pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tablespoons – 4 Tablespoons of salt
- 1 T. peppercorns
For the soup
- 1 batch of turkey stock
- 4–5 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cups leftover turkey meat
- 1 bag (12 oz) egg noodles
- fresh thyme for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the turkey carcass to a large stock pot.
- Add in the onions, bay leaves, carrots, celery, salt and peppercorns.
- Fill the pot with enough water to just cover the turkey, too much water will result in a weak stock.
- Set the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down to a good simmer and let cook for 2-3 hours.
- Drain the stock into another smaller stock pot and let cool.
- Once cooled for about an hour on the counter, put in the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or overnight until you can see the fat start to separate to the top.
- Skim the fat off the top as much as you can and place your pot back on the stove.
- Add in the diced carrots, celery and salt and pepper to taste and cook 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the pasta and turkey pieces and cook until the pasta is done, another 10 minutes.
- Test for seasonings again and serve.
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.
The key to this recipe is that whatever size chicken or turkey you use, just add enough water to cover the top of the bones and the vegetables. So a larger turkey or chicken will yield more soup than a smaller one.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: turkey soup, homemade turkey soup, leftover turkey bones, the best turkey soup recipe, leftover turkey soup
Awesome recipe Dan! Looks hearty! What restaurant have you had the best turkey soup? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/mantitlement
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?
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!
Have made this recipe many times. Absolutely delicious. I usually serve it with a nice turkey sandwich. It’s easy, too!
It is a lot easier than it seems, thanks so much for letting us know Mary Ann!
Do you freeze this recipe?
Yes, Kelly you can definitely freeze this soup!
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.
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?
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.
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! ????
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!
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.
Thanks so much for letting me know Carla! I think your additions to the recipe are perfect!
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.
Great Soup recipe however, adding a 1/4 c of salt is way too much sodium. Perhaps this an error in the directions?
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.
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!
We sure did, hope your family did too! Let me know how you like the soup, I definitely get needing to watch the salt!
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 ????
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!
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!
Just what I was looking for! This is truly a classic recipe!
Thank you so much, Dan!
You are welcome!
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?
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.
“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.
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.
Do I cover the pot?
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.
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
You can do it that way too, Let me know how it turns out!
Can potatoes be added?
Definitely, throw them in. You can add potatoes instead of the pasta or get them both in there!
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.
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.
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!
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!!!
We just made this again, too! I’m so glad to hear that you liked this, we make it pretty often!
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
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.
Thanks for sharing!