Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (2024)

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This leftover turkey soup recipe is a delicious and simple way to use up leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken! It is flavoured with onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves and parsley evoking the memories of homemade soups your granny used to make! It is also extremely speedy, wholesome and satisfying!

If you still have more leftover turkey in your fridge, give my Chicken and Dumpling Soup a try but use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (1)

Every year I buy a small turkey for Thanksgiving to make sure I have as little leftovers as possible. My personal preference is for a small turkey as it cooks faster and doesn’t dry out as much.

No matter how small my turkey is, I still end up with leftovers. So this year I decided to finally share a few of my leftover turkey recipes. This simple and delicious turkey soup is top of the list since it’s so easy and requires barely any ingredients.

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (2)

Turkey leftovers

It’s a bit of a shame that we end up just throwing turkey leftovers in the microwave and recreate a lesser version of our Thanksgiving meal. There is so much space to get creative and find all sorts of ways to make interesting and tasty meals from the leftover meat.

Any recipe that is made with chicken can also be made with turkey, so recipes for leftover chicken and turkey are pretty interchangeable.

While throwing extra turkey into a sandwich or salad may seem like the obvious approach, I don’t think it gets the best from the meat. To keep the turkey as moist as possible, I’m a big believer in cooking it into a pie, soup or stew.

This ensures tender turkey and infuses it with moisture while stretching leftovers out even further. To really take it the distance and beyond a single time of year, try freezing leftover turkey for as long as 6 months for later use (although quality will go down after three!).


I always start my soup base with three main vegetables. Onions, celery and carrots with a choice of herb and this time I went with fresh thyme. I still had some left from the big Thanksgiving dinner. You can use dried thyme just as successfully.

I also add bay leaves and a clove of garlic for an aromatic and delicious soup.

The recipe for this homemade turkey soup recipe is based in the traditional chicken noodle soup but I added a little twist. Besides homemade turkey stock I add leftover turkey pieces and instead of traditional egg noodles I throw in half a cup of giant couscous also known as Israeli couscous or pearl couscous.

Giant couscous is a perfect choice as it has the same taste as pasta, It looks great and it’s so fun to eat! If you can’t find it, regular noodles will work as well.

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (3)

How to make it

When I say this soups is easy I am not exaggerating in the least! The method is very simple and it only takes about 30-35 minutes to make. The turkey is already cooked and the vegetables and couscous cook fast!

There are a few things I’d like to mention, which make this easy turkey soup recipe extra flavourful. I start by sautéing the vegetables in a mix of olive oil and butter. Do use butter! It adds incredible flavour.

I love using homemade stock that’s been made using leftover turkey carcass and aromatics. You can definitely use already made stock or a stock cube, including chicken stock. Not everything has to be homemade. I often opt for a stock cube myself.

Fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary and bay leaves also contribute to a beautiful aroma and a delicious broth.

Giant couscous only takes 10 minutes to cook just like any pasta, so I throw it in the broth after it just boils. I take the soup off the heat as soon as Israeli couscous is soft.

Sprinkling the turkey soup with some freshly chopped parsley or dill before serving is a real treat!

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (4)

Serving suggestions

This hearty soup is delicious on its own or with a bread roll. However, if you are up for something more adventurous, try it with garlic cheesy rye toast.

All you have to do is to rub sliced rye, homemade sourdough or any bread of your choice with a clove of garlic sliced in half lengthwise. Sprinkle with your favourite grated cheese and broil in an oven or a toaster oven until melted and golden.

Recipe tips and notes

  • I’ve suggested using Israeli (pearl) couscous as the starch in this soup, but pasta is another great option. Choose a short pasta shape such as orzo, macaroni or conchiglie, or even gnocchi!
  • To keep it gluten free, use rice. White rice will work just fine but brown rice would add the most flavour and texture. Or try hearty wild rice for a nutty twist!
  • To use up leftover roasted vegetables from your turkey dinner, dice to them to be the same size as the other vegetables and add them to your soup with approximately five minutes of cooking time left. This gives just enough time for them to be heated through.
  • Even though this is a recipe designed for leftover turkey, the exact same recipe can be used for leftover roast chicken.
  • If you don’t like the idea of a soup, how do you feel about a creamy stew, also using up any leftover turkey?

Storage and leftovers

Leftover soup can be kept in a fridge for 3-4 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months, both in an airtight container.

While the microwave is an option, the best way to reheat soup is in a saucepan on a stovetop. Keep the pan lid on to retain moisture and bring the soup to a rolling boil.

Leftovers should only be reheated once. So if you make a large amount to eat over a few days, only heat up what you plan to eat immediately. If freezing, it may be convenient to store in individual portions.

More Thanksgiving leftovers recipes

  • Chicken Pot Pie with Roasted Vegetables (Use leftover turkey instead)
  • Turkey Marsala Pot Pie
  • Salmon Cakes (Use leftover mashed potatoes)
  • Hearty Mulligatawny Soup (leftover turkey)

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (5)

Leftover Turkey Soup

Julia Frey of Vikalinka

This leftover turkey soup recipe is a delicious and simple way to use up leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken!

4.79 from 14 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Course Soup

Cuisine American, European

Servings 6

Calories 142 kcal


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots
  • 1 carrot, large
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 litre /6 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 75 g / ½ cup giant/pearl couscous
  • 250 g /2 cups cooked turkey or chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped


  • Saute chopped onion, celery, carrots and a clove of garlic with thyme leaves in oil and butter over low heat for 5 minutes. Add turkey or chicken stock, cooked turkey, bay leaves and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Add the giant couscous or noodles and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until the couscous is tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


  • Homemade or ready made turkey or chicken stock is suitable.
  • You can use noodles instead of Israeli couscous


Calories: 142kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 9gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 458mgPotassium: 181mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1919IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg

Keyword leftover turkey soup, turkey soup

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Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (2024)


How to make bland turkey soup taste better? ›

Add thickly sliced onion, chopped carrots, celery, celery tops, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns to the pot.

How long is leftover turkey good for soup? ›

How long is leftover turkey soup good for? Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to four days.

How to make soup more flavorful? ›

7 Easy Ways to Make Any Soup Better
  1. Brown or Sear the Meat.
  2. Roast the the Veggies.
  3. Mix up the Texture.
  4. Use Homemade Stock Whenever Possible.
  5. Put Your Cheese Rinds to Work.
  6. Perk up a Bland Soup With Simple Pantry Staples.
  7. Add Fresh Herbs or Dairy When Serving.
  8. Recipes Pictured.

What spices are good in soup? ›

To season it, we recommend starting with our Vegetable Soup Mix. It contains celery salt, parsley flakes, garlic powder, sea salt, summer savory, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, turmeric and sage, which are all excellent with root vegetables, so you can incorporate things like carrots or potatoes into the soup.

How do you add depth of Flavour to soup? ›

"If your broth is lacking in savory richness, try adding roasted onion, tomato paste, mushrooms, seaweed, soy sauce, or miso. These ingredients add umami flavor and depth to broth," she says. The choice of ingredient depends on the recipe, though.

Why is my homemade soup so bland? ›

Let the Broth Evaporate and Cook Longer

If your broth tastes thin and bland, you may want to cook and let it evaporate for longer. That helps concentrate its flavors and gives you a better-tasting soup broth. Be sure to remove the lid to let the steam escape.

Can you make soup with a 5 day old turkey? ›

Cooked turkey should be refrigerated within two hours after being cooked . Stuffing should be removed and stored separately in air tight containers . Assuming your soup would include the carcass you want to make your soup within three days . And the soup itself has a life of three to four days in the fridge.

Can I eat leftover turkey after 7 days? ›

USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. Turkey can be frozen for 3 to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer.

Can you eat leftover turkey on the 5th day? ›

According to foodsafety.gov, a website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the following foods are safe in the fridge: Turkey: 3-4 days. Eat turkey within three to four days of cooking. If you use the turkey in a new dish like a soup or casserole, only consume within those initial four days.

What is the most important ingredient in soup? ›

For clear, brothy soups, stock is your most important ingredient. If you want to make a good soup, you need to use an excellently flavored stock — otherwise, the entire pot could be tasteless.

What not to do when making soup? ›

The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking Soup
  1. Boiling instead of simmering. You want a small bubble or two to rise to the surface of the liquid every few seconds. ...
  2. Not using enough salt. ...
  3. Ignoring water. ...
  4. Overcooking the vegetables. ...
  5. Adding tomatoes at the beginning. ...
  6. Neglecting to garnish. ...
  7. Not trying a pressure cooker.
Nov 19, 2014

How to fix tasteless soup? ›

If a soup is tasting bland in the bowl, consider adding acid rather than salt. A squeeze of lemon or lime, or a dash of yogurt or sour cream can add brightness to the bowl.

What is the secret ingredient in soup? ›

It may sound a bit strange and unusual for some, but vinegar is a common ingredient in some soup recipes, and there is a good reason for it. If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That's why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. The same is true with soups.

What dulls spice in soup? ›

A squeeze of lemon or lime juice or a little vinegar can help cut through spiciness. Acidic foods tone down the spiciness in foods and can add some flavor, making this a good trick for seafood dishes or creamy soups and chowders.

What is the best herb for soup? ›

A mix of Italian parsley, chives, and dill, with the option of lemon thyme, is a much used combination in chunky meat and vegetable soups or simply vegetable soups. Italian parsley is a better option than moss curled parsley because it stands up better to long cooking.

How do you fix bland turkey stock? ›

Make sure you season your turkey stock/broth with herbs (save your carrot tops from making Glazed Carrots), fresh parsley, herbs, peppercorns and bay leaf. If you add too much water, it can water down the stock making it bland (in this case, once you strain it, simmer it to reduce and intensify flavor).

How do you spice up a bland turkey? ›

There are two main ways you can season a turkey.
  1. Dry brine: Combine salt, pepper, dried herbs, and spices and rub the mixture under the turkey skin, inside the cavity, and then over the skin. ...
  2. Compound better: Combine butter, salt, pepper, fresh chopped herbs, citrus zest, and other flavorings.
Nov 3, 2023

How do you make turkey not taste bland? ›

Before you start cooking, be sure to season the ground turkey well with salt and pepper. Also consider including dried herbs and spices for additional flavor. If you're cooking meatballs or meatloaf, pinch off some of the seasoned mixture and cook it in a skillet to taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly.


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