Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (2024)

Jump to Recipe

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

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (2024)


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 do you make turkey soup less bland? ›

You can add more herbs and different spices to add more flavor to turkey soup, but sometimes a bit of salt is all you need. The other clincher is cooking the carcass low and slow to get as much flavor from the roast turkey as possible. Try sauteeing your vegetables in a bit of olive oil before adding to the soup.

Why is my turkey soup so bland? ›

Not Adding Acid

If a soup is tasting bland in the bowl, consider adding acid rather than salt.

How do you make soup more flavorful? ›

Use fresh vegetables, high-quality meats or broth, and fresh herbs to add depth of flavor. Add acidity: A squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a dash of vinegar, or a splash of wine can brighten the flavors of a soup and make it taste more complex.

Can you use 5 day old turkey in soup? ›

USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less).

Can 5 day old turkey go in soup? ›

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.

How can I thicken my turkey soup? ›

Add Flour Or Cornstarch

Instead, ladle a small amount of broth into a separate bowl and let it cool. Add a few tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to the bowl and whisk until it's blended smooth. Next, bring the soup to a simmer and add the mixture back to the pot. Pro tip: Don't dump in the entire mixture at once.

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.

What adds flavor to bland soup? ›

Perk up a Bland Soup With Simple Pantry Staples

Add a splash of vinegar (any kind!), or a squeeze of citrus. Chances are, you could use a little more salt. Go ahead—it's ok. Salt perks up flat flavors and helps balance out bitter-tasting ingredients.

What not to put in soup? ›

The Worst Things to Put in Your Soup
  1. By Sara Butler. If there's one good thing about fall and winter, it's soup. ...
  2. Heavy Cream. Heavy cream creates an inviting texture for soups but that's where its positive contributions end. ...
  3. Juice. ...
  4. Turkey Bacon. ...
  5. Cheese. ...
  6. Croutons.

What vegetables can you not put in soup? ›

any veggie can be used in soup, but unless you're making a very delicate, exceptional soup, I'd steer clear of lettuce. some veggies have a strong flavor, so you may enjoy using them, but in moderation. For me, parsnips and rutabaga fit this category.

Why is my turkey soup foaming? ›

When soups and stocks are about to boil, proteins start to congeal and create foams that rise to the surface. It's usually whitish or brownish and you need to remove the form as quickly as possible before it boils and mixes up the scum with the soup/stock.

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.

How do you fix Flavourless soup? ›

Use fresh, good quality ingredients like vegetables and herbs. Add a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice to your soup to make it taste better. Use a high-quality broth or stock as a base for your soup. Roast or caramelize your vegetables before adding them to your soup to bring out their natural sweetness.

What is the secret to soup? ›

7 Tips for Successful Soup Making
  • Use a Sturdy Pot. It is worth investing in a heavy pot with a thick bottom to use for making soup. ...
  • Sauté the Aromatics. ...
  • Start with Good Broth. ...
  • Cut Vegetables to the Right Size. ...
  • Stagger the Addition of Vegetables. ...
  • Keep Liquid at a Simmer. ...
  • Season Just Before Serving.
Oct 9, 2022

Can you make turkey soup with 3 day old turkey? ›

Leftover turkey lasts for up to four days. So, I'd recommend making this soup a day or two after Thanksgiving, so the soup is still good for at least a day.

How long can you eat turkey in soup after Thanksgiving? ›

Turkey: 3-4 days.

If you use the turkey in a new dish like a soup or casserole, only consume within those initial four days. Another option is freezing the cooked turkey. Turkey can last up to four more months if frozen.

Can I eat leftover soup after 5 days? ›

After 3 to 4 days, germs, also called bacteria, may begin to grow in refrigerated leftovers. This growth increases the risk of food poisoning, also called foodborne illness. Bacteria typically don't change the taste, smell or look of food. So you can't tell whether a food is dangerous to eat.

Is soup still good after 7 days? ›

How Long Can Soup Be Stored in the Fridge? The general rule of thumb is that leftover soup can safely be stored in a fridge for up to three to four days. However, these stored soups should always be tasted or smelled before consumption to detect signs of rancidity.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated:

Views: 5914

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.