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Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe. A Classic Thanksgiving Left-Over Turkey Soup

Updated on October 15, 2008

Soups on

Ah, the beauty of a turkey carcass…

That pile of bones and pickings that tends to sit drying in the fridge for a week or so until the family revolts against even one more meal of leftovers – and it gets tossed.

Such a tragedy! Ah well…

I make soup a lot. The from scratch kind with the boiling of bones and all that. Most people never do, and that's such a shame…especially when a lot of these never-make soup-from-scratch people are in possession of a primed poultry carcass in the fridge once or twice a year!

So this year, after the big dinner and after a day or two of leftovers, take what's left of that bird and make up a big batch of really really great, late fall turkey soup.

The beauty of this soup is really in its simplicity. Even after you've removed all the meat you can off of the turkey, what's left retains a lot of that roasted turkey flavor, and if it was stuffed, that stuffing perfumes the broth with a ready made herb and spice mix. This soup really needs little more than a few veggies and salt!

Disclaimer – this is not fancy food. This is plain Jane good eating warm homey home food. And it's good.

Leftover Turkey Soup

  • 1 leftover roasted turkey
  • 2 carrots, chopped roughly
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • A bit of butter
  1. In a large soup pot, heat a good spoonful of butter over medium, and when melted toss in the chopped onion.
  2. Sautee the onion until softened, but not browned, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrots and sauté for a couple of minutes as well.
  4. Take your turkey carcass and place it into the pot. If possible, squish it down so that it becomes more densely compacted (Meaning you will need less water to cover)
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low
  6. Add enough cold water to just barely cover the turkey bones, and bring the water up to a gentle simmer. (This will take a while, but starting with cold water and bringing the heat up slowly will make for a tastier and more flavorful soup. And besides, it's a late fall afternoon – sit back with a book and relax already!).
  7. Toss in a bay leaf or two.
  8. As it comes to a simmer, skim off any scum that accumulates on top, and then just let it be, simmering gently away for about 2 hours.
  9. 2 hours later, remove the bones from the soup, and if there is any meat left on the turkey, strip it off and add it back into the soup.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This soup can be eaten right away, but is even better served the day after, after getting a day to mellow in the fridge. Additionally, letting the soup cool in the fridge prior to serving allows the fats to solidify atop the broth for very easy removal (If desired).

That's it - Warm and homey and very satisfying – and a far preferable alternative to yet another meal of boring leftovers.

Video demonstration of turkey soup making

Have you ever made soup from scratch?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great receipe but video and directions totally different.but use your your imagination ,it's good.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have had my turkey carcass up to a week before making the soup, so good. I used a strainer to make sure no bones got into the soup. Making some dumplings to go in too.

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Isaac,

      That's a real tough question to answer as it depends on the temperature of your fridge and how quickly you transferred the meat to the fridge after cooking it originally, amongst other factors. For home consumption, I would say 3 days would be fine, but again, it all depends...Ideally, (hindsight is 20-20!) you freeze the carcass if you know you're going to be a few days before you make the soup.

      Sorry I can't be of more assistance


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      how old may the turkey be until you can not make the soup?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      how d i do it without using the bones, i already threw them out


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