Mom's Turkey Soup

A big turkey dinner means turkey soup is on deck! Use up leftover turkey and the turkey carcass in this delicious turkey noodle soup to enjoy for days.

Turkey Soup
Elise Bauer

Every Thanksgiving my mother takes what's left of the turkey carcass and makes a delicious turkey soup that we enjoy for days.

The first step is to make the stock, which you can get started on right after dinner.

Video: How to Make Turkey Soup

2:08

How to Make Turkey Soup

Storing Turkey Noodle Soup

Refrigerate leftover in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. However, the noodles may get a bit mushy and absorb a lot of the broth. Cook the noodles al dente, if possible, for better storage.

Another option is to cook the noodles on their own in broth or water and add them for serving. This works well for freezing the soup, too. You can freeze this soup for up to 6 months.

Other Vegetables To Add

  • Cubed potatoes
  • Zucchini or other squash
  • Diced bell peppers of any color
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Canned, frozen, or fresh corn
  • Green beans
  • Peas

Turkey Soup in Two Easy Steps

To make this turkey soup easier, you can make the broth one day, chill it, and finish the soup the next day. Even easier? Make the stock in a slow cooker overnight.

Removing the Fat From the Broth

You may be tempted to remove the turkey skin before making the broth, but for the best flavor, keep it on! The turkey skin adds a ton of body and depth to the broth, and you can just skim off the fat later.

To remove the fat, cool the broth. Then, place the whole stockpot into the refrigerator to chill overnight. The next morning you can easily scrape the fat off the top.

If you don't have the time for overnight chilling, you can also remove the layer of fat on top by placing plastic wrap on top. The fat will cling to the plastic and will be easily discarded. It's not an eco-friendly method, but it works when you're pressed for time.

More Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Mom's Turkey Soup

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Time to Make Turkey Stock 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

The amounts shown are a guideline. Improvise at will depending on the ingredients you have on hand and how much soup you are making.

Ingredients

For the stock:

  • 1 turkey carcass, leftover from carving a whole turkey, including any leftover drippings or giblets (not the liver) if you have them

  • Cold water

  • 1 medium to large yellow onion, quartered or cut into thick wedges

  • 1 to 2 carrots, roughly chopped (can include tops)

  • Several sprigs fresh parsley

  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 celery rib and some celery tops (roughly chopped)

  • 5 to 10 peppercorns

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 3 to 4 quarts of the turkey stock you just made

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups each chopped carrots, onion, and celery

  • A few sprigs fresh parsley leaves, chopped (2 to 4 tablespoons)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (more to taste), or a combination of ground sage, thyme, marjoram, and/or a bouillon cube

  • 2 to 4 cups leftover chopped or shredded cooked turkey meat (don't use any of the meat from making the stock, the goodness will have been cooked out of it by then)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 4 to 8 ounces egg noodles or 1/2 to 1 cup dry rice (optional, skip egg noodles for gluten-free version)

Method

Making the Turkey Stock

  1. Remove the usable turkey meat from the carcass:

    Save the meat for making sandwiches or later and for adding to the soup once the stock is made.

  2. Put the carcass, vegetables, and drippings in large pot, then cover with water:

    Place the turkey carcass, neck (if you haven't cooked it with the turkey), leftover skin and bones into a large stock pot (at least 8 to 12 quarts depending on the size of the turkey), and cover with cold water by an inch.

    Simple Tip!

    If you are working with a large turkey carcass, you may want to break up the bones a bit so they fit better in the pot.

    turkey-stock-method-1
    Elise Bauer

    Add any drippings that weren't used to make gravy and any giblets (not the liver) that haven't been used already. Add thickly sliced onion, chopped carrots, celery, celery tops, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns to the pot.

    turkey-stock-method-2
    Elise Bauer
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then skim the foam:

    Bring to a boil on high heat, and then lower the heat to keep the stock to a bare simmer. As it simmers, skim off any foamy crud that may float to the surface of the stock from time to time.

    turkey-stock-method-3
    Elise Bauer
  4. Add salt and pepper:

    Add about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, depending on how big your turkey is.

    Simple Tip!

    Don't be heavy handed with the salt. You can always add salt to to the soup you make with the stock.

  5. Simmer at least 4 hours:

    Simmer the pot partially uncovered, continuing to skim off any foam that comes to the surface.

    turkey-stock-method-4
    Elise Bauer
  6. Strain the stock:

    After 4 hours of a low simmer, remove the bones and vegetables from the pot. Then strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve or strainer.

    Simple Tip!

    If you have a strainer but it isn't a fine mesh strainer, you can line it with cheesecloth or several layers of dampened paper towels and strain the stock through that.

    turkey-stock-method-5
    Elise Bauer
    turkey-stock-method-6
    Elise Bauer
  7. Reduce the stock:

    If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by cooking it longer, uncovered, to make it more concentrated and easier to store.


Make the Turkey Soup

  1. Sauté the carrots, onions, and celery:

    Heat butter or olive oil (or turkey fat rendered from the stock) in a large pot on medium high heat. Add carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts (about a cup each). Cook until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, stock, and seasonings:

    Add garlic, and cook for a minute more, until fragrant. Then, add the stock to the pot. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning (or the sage, thyme, marjoram, and/or a bouillon cube).

  3. Bring to a simmer:

    Cook until the vegetables are cooked through, at least more minutes.

  4. Add the noodles or rice and turkey meat:

    Add the noodles or rice If adding noodles, cook for 4 minutes. If adding rice, cook for 15 minutes.

    Simple Tip!

    If you're cooking gluten-free or low carb, skip the noodles or rice. The soup is delicious with just vegetables and turkey.

  5. Add the turkey meat:

    Take some of the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite-sized pieces and add it to the soup. Cook for 1 more minute to warm the turkey meat.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Simple Tip!

    You may also want to add some chopped tomatoes, either fresh or canned. Sometimes a dash or two of Tabasco gives the soup a nice little kick.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
302 Calories
9g Fat
22g Carbs
33g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 302
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 814mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 40mg 200%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 850mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.