Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

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There are dozens of ideas for what to do with leftover turkey, especially after Thanksgiving and Christmas — and you can find lots of them in my Thanksgiving turkey recipe post. One of my favorites is this leftover turkey soup recipe, because it’s made with common ingredients and it’s so easy to prepare. Shredded turkey, colorful herbs, and tender veggies combine for a comforting, yet light, soup that’s perfect for those times after heavy holiday meals.

Why You’ll Love This Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

  • Fresh flavors in a savory seasoned broth
  • Tender shredded turkey and veggies
  • Simple ingredients you’ll have on hand
  • Done in one pot
  • No noodles, rice, or potatoes needed
  • Naturally healthy, low carb, and gluten-free
  • The best turkey soup recipe to make with leftover turkey!
Leftover turkey soup in a Dutch oven.

Ingredients & Substitutions

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for leftover turkey soup, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Olive Oil – For sauteing. You can substitute any neutral cooking oil you like.
  • Vegetables – Onion, carrots, celery, and cauliflower. You can use other veggies such as green beans, peas, and zucchini, frozen bagged vegetables, or even leftover veggies from holiday meals.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper – As needed. For an extra savory flavor, add a teaspoon or two of poultry seasoning.
  • Leftover Turkey Meat – I like using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, slow cooker turkey breast, or even meat from turkey legs in this recipe for turkey soup. (It’s one of the best things to do with leftover turkey of any kind!) If you don’t have any, you can use store-bought shredded turkey, or other poultry like shredded chicken. Another option is to add pieces of raw chicken or turkey directly to the soup, and let them cook while the soup simmers.
  • Chicken Broth – I use a reduced sodium version. If time allows, make homemade bone broth instead using your leftover turkey carcass.
  • Fresh Herbs – Including fresh parsley and fresh thyme. If you need to use dried herbs, replace with 2 teaspoons dried parsley and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
Turkey soup ingredients.

How To Make Turkey Soup

This section shows how to make this leftover turkey soup recipe, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Saute aromatics . Heat oil in a large Dutch oven and saute the onion until soft. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  2. Cook veggies. Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, and salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to soften.
Sauteed onions in a pot.
Sauteed celery, carrots, cauliflower, and seasonings in a pot.

  1. Simmer. Stir in turkey, broth, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the flavors develop.
  2. Season. Taste and season as desired. Serve your homemade turkey soup recipe with additional chopped parsley, if desired.
Broth added to a pot with vegetables and turkey.
Finished soup in a pot.

VARIATIONS: Make creamy turkey soup or turkey noodle soup!

VARIATIONS: Make creamy turkey soup or turkey noodle soup!

  • To make the turkey soup creamy: Add up to 1/2 cup heavy cream in the last 5 minutes of simmering.
  • For turkey noodle soup: Replace either all or half of the cauliflower with your favorite dry pasta, and add it in the last 8-12 minutes of simmering. (That’s how long noodles will take to cook, and you don’t want to add them too soon to prevent overcooking.)

How Long Is Leftover Turkey Good For?

Leftover turkey will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. If you make leftover turkey recipes with it, they will still be good for the same time frame from when the turkey was originally cooked.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Keep leftovers in a covered container up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat: Pour leftovers in a pot over medium heat and simmer until warm.
  • Freeze: Place portions in freezer safe containers or zip lock bags, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight or reheat directly from frozen.
This bowl of turkey soup is one of the best things to do with leftover turkey.

More Leftover Turkey Recipes

Turkey isn’t just for soup… try these other leftover turkey recipes:

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe (Easy & Healthy!)

What to do with leftover turkey? Make this easy leftover turkey soup recipe, loaded with cozy meat and veggies in a seasoned broth.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 (adjust to scale recipe)


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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until softened.

  3. Add garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

  4. Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well and continue cooking until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.

  5. Stir in the leftover turkey, chicken broth, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flavors develop to your liking.

  6. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with more fresh parsley, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories 170

Fat 8.6g

Protein 16g

Total Carbs 7.3g

Net Carbs 5.5g

Fiber 1.8g

Sugar 3.5g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

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