Leftover Turkey Soup

November 25, 2020
24 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth Food Stylist: Lauren Lapenna.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

The best part about holiday cooking: the leftovers, especially turkey. This delicious, chunky, vegetable-studded soup is my favorite way of putting it to good use. I mean, what’s not to love? Creamy and comforting, with tender bits of meat, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, it comes together super quick, so you can get back to spending time with your family.

You could use the turkey carcass to make a stock with a mirepoix of carrot, celery, and onions—or go the easier route of using a store-bought broth. Make sure to grab a low-sodium option as that will give you more control over the seasoning.

The creaminess in this soup comes from a roux, which is when equal parts of flour and fat are cooked together. This helps thicken the sauce without the addition of dairy. It’s mild, nutty, and adds a nice silky texture to the broth. Feel free to throw in any turkey drippings from the night before—that will add a ton of flavor to your soup.

I like to serve it with a generous sprinkle of herbs, like parsley or cilantro, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for some heat. You can even eat it over rice to make this an extra hearty meal. This soup is open to interpretation, so feel free to experiment with your favorite toppings.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Five Two Wooden Spoons
- Five Two Essential Stock Pot
- Casafina Modern Classic Ceramic Soup Bowl (Set of 4)

Rachel Gurjar

What You'll Need
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Leftover Turkey Soup
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium chicken or turkey stock (or homemade)
  • 2 pounds cooked turkey meat, shredded or cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, lemon wedges, and red pepper flakes, for garnish
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until translucent and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery and sweat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until all the vegetables are coated. Slowly pour in the chicken or turkey stock, stirring continuously to break up any lumps of flour.
  2. Add the turkey meat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced a little and the soup has slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melissa Case
    Melissa Case
  • Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
    Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
  • BarnOwlBaker
  • Nancy Stahl
    Nancy Stahl
Rachel Gurjar

Recipe by: Rachel Gurjar

Rachel is an immigrant from Mumbai, India now based out of Brooklyn, New York. She is a chef, photographer and food editor who loves to cook and develop delicious recipes from her culture and beyond. In her free time, you will find her exploring street food around the city!

13 Reviews

Nancy S. October 18, 2023
FABULOUS! Truly! For something that comes together in 30 minutes, it’s incredible! The addition of flour to thicken the broth is the best part. And the thyme adds such a great flavor. I used a rotisserie chicken shredded. Tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day.
Melissa C. December 9, 2022
This soup is absolutely FABULOUS. I made it exactly as directed and I wouldn't change a single thing. This will be my go-to for both turkey AND for chicken soups. Perfect.
LAurie November 30, 2022
Just finished making this delicious soup! Highly recommend this recipe. Ty Food52
VictoriaL November 29, 2022
Don’t skip the add ins! Made the basic soup for my parents to freeze. They then added the lemon, pepper flakes, parsley and orzo when reheating. Definitely a keeper!
Nancy S. November 29, 2022
Could not get the recipe to copy to my pages, so unfollowing your site. Where is the food friendly community?
Tamara March 28, 2022
This was a delicious soup. I've made it twice now and plan to make it again. I used oat flour instead of white flour and also I've used whole milk instead of including cream. Both options were excellent. I also increased the recipe to 1.5 and took a kettle full of soup to my friends' house who recently had a baby.
CindyH January 1, 2022
just made this with no substitutions, delicious!
Rebecca K. December 12, 2020
I made this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and 2 cartons of chicken stock, and substituted gf flour for the all purpose. With 10 minutes left on the timer, I crumbled in a box of Jovial gf egg noodles. This made such a thick, creamy and satisfying stew; the kids swore it was similar to and as good as homemade chicken and dumplings. There were no leftovers.
Shenriver December 1, 2020
I love this recipe, as did our family. Our son had 4 bowls when we served it and he liked it so much, he had the leftovers. We had to double to triple the broth, but other than that, it is a perfect meal!
marjorie K. December 1, 2020
Delicious! I used broth from thanksgiving turkey breast and added about a 3/4 cup of uncle bens rice. Thank you!
Carol November 27, 2020
I'll be sure to share this delish recipe with my other mommies! I replaced the caramel in the recipe with sugar-free coconut oil, and it really spicened up the meal!
augie@7Holly December 1, 2021
I added Black Strap molasses in stead of caramel….game changer
BarnOwlBaker November 27, 2022
I think you must be reviewing another recipe……? No caramel in turkey soup.