Leftover Turkey Soup
This Leftover Turkey Soup is a fantastic way to use up leftover turkey (both meat and the bones!) from Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s such a delicious soup that is ideal to keep in your freezer for a cold day when you are looking for a quick and comforting meal.
This is a grain free spin on a soup that my Mom used to make a few days after Thanksgiving each year. No matter the number of people or size of turkey that we would have on thanksgiving, we always seemed to end up with so much turkey, and after a few days of turkey sandwiches for both lunch and dinner, we would finally hit our turkey leftovers limit. My Mom would whip up a batch of this soup with the remainder of the roast turkey and it was always my favorite way to enjoy it. This soup has a base of turkey stock made using the bones and carcass of the bird, and is packed with chunks of leftover turkey meat (both white and dark meat) plus cubes of carrot, onion, celery, garlic, herbs and cauliflower rice which helps to bulk it up. This is the best leftover turkey soup and thankfully it freezes well, so if you have hit your post Thanksgiving turkey quota, you can freeze it in batches for later.
Why You Will Love This Leftover Turkey Soup:
- It’s the perfect way to use up thanksgiving leftovers: I love that this soup uses up absolutely all of the leftover turkey, including the carcass!
- It’s easy to make: Although it takes some time for the bones to simmer and create a rich broth, once you have the broth, the rest of the soup takes just minutes to make.
- It’s comfort in a bowl: this soup is so dang comforting! It’s perfect for a cold winter’s day, or when you are feeling under the weather.
- So healthy: turkey stock (like other bone broths) is highly nutritious. It contains collagen which is good for everything from gut health and joints, to your skin, nails and hair. The stock also helps to reduce inflammation and is high in calcium, magnesium and vitamins a and k.
- This Leftover Turkey Soup recipe is Paleo, Whole30, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal.
Tips For Making This Turkey Soup:
- Make the stock in a slow cooker: The key to the best homemade turkey broth is cooking the leftover turkey carcass for a long time to get out all of the nutrients and flavour. While simmering it on the stove top is quicker, I find a slow cooker to be the easiest and most hassle free option. Put all of the turkey bones in the slow cooker with water, lemon juice and seasoning after dinner, and wake up the next day to a rich and flavorful turkey stock.
- Leave the homemade turkey stock to cool before using it in the soup. The fat will rise to the top which will make it easy to scoop off.
- Make it oil free: although this soup is already very healthy, you can skip the oil entirely by sautéing the onion and garlic in one tablespoon of chicken or turkey stock. The stock will soften the veggies while also infusing extra flavour. This is a great tip to use any time you need to sauté vegetables.
Shortcuts For Making This Easy Turkey Soup Recipe:
- Use an instant pot: if you are short on time, an instant pot is a great option for quickly making the stock. Place your leftover thanksgiving turkey carcass into the instant pot and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure. So easy!
- Use store bought stock: rather than make the turkey stock from scratch using leftover carcass, you can use store bought turkey stock or even chicken stock.
Ways To Modify This Leftover Turkey Soup:
- Use chicken: This soup works just as well using leftover chicken. If you have a whole roasted chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken you can use the carcass to make the stock. Chop the cooked meat up and add it into the soup in place of turkey. You can also use chicken broth in place of turkey stock.
- Not on a grain free diet? To keep this soup Whole30, Paleo and Grain Free I use cauliflower rice which I love adding to soup because it adds substance without leaving you with that heavy feeling after eating it. Alternatively for anyone not following a grain free diet, brown rice, white rice, egg noodles, pasta, quinoa or a wild rice blend would all be a great way to bulk up the soup. I would recommend cooking the rice or quinoa before adding it to the soup, while the pasta can be cooked in the soup.
- Add in other veggies: Carrots, onion and celery are my go to trio of vegetables for soup, but there are many other veggies you could add in. Options include thinly sliced fennel, shaved brussels sprouts, green beans, mushrooms or cubed butternut squash.
- Don’t have poultry seasoning? Feel free to swap it for dried or fresh herbs including thyme, rosemary, sage and black pepper
- Make it keto: skip the carrots to make this soup low carb and keto
How To Store This Turkey Soup
- In the fridge: Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The soup can be reheated in the microwave or in a pot on the stove top.
- In the freezer: This veggie and turkey soup freezes really well and will last for up to 4 months in the freezer. You can freeze the soup before adding in the cauliflower rice and then add it in after thawing out the soup, this prevent the cauliflower rice from becoming overcooked and mushy in the cook, thaw and reheat process. Alternatively if you plan on making this soup to freeze, I would recommend slightly undercooking the cauliflower rice by a minute or two.
Here are a few more ways to use leftover turkey (just replace the chicken with turkey in the recipe):
- Whole30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Turkey Mulligatawny Soup
- Creamy Chicken, Broccoli & Bacon Casserole
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- BLT Chicken Lettuce Sandwich Wrap
- Chicken, Spinach & Artichoke Dip
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe
- leftover turkey carcass
- 10 cups water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 stalks celery (1 1/2 cups diced)
- 2 large carrots (1 1/2 cups diced)
- 6 cups turkey stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 3 cups diced leftover cooked turkey meat
- 2 cups cauliflower rice
- Place the turkey carcass into a large pot with water and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and lower the heat low. Leave to gently simmer for 3 hours. Alternatively you can put everything into a slow cooker and leave it to cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- Pour the turkey broth through a colander into a large bowl to remove the bones so you are left with just the stock (you should have approximately 6-7 cups). Set the stock aside while you prep the rest of the soup.
- Heat the olive oil in the pot on medium heat and add in the onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt. Saute for 2 minutes before adding in the carrot and celery and cook for 8 minutes.
- Pour the turkey stock into the soup and add in the bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and leave to simmer for 10 minutes before adding in the diced turkey meat and cauliflower rice.
- Leave the soup to simmer for 4-5 more minutes until the cauliflower rice is tender. Divide the soup between 6 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.