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I have 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, turkey vegetable soup that’s perfect for those times after heavy holiday meals.
Why You’ll Love This 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
- Naturally healthy, low carb, and gluten-free
- The best turkey soup recipe to make with leftover turkey!
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. You can also use kosher salt instead of sea salt, but might need to adjust the amount a bit. For an extra savory flavor, add a teaspoon or two of poultry seasoning.
- Leftover Turkey Meat – I make this recipe for turkey soup most often using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but you can also shred slow cooker turkey breast or even meat from turkey legs or turkey wings. 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. You can also add a bay leaf for extra flavor, and just remove it before serving.
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.
- Saute aromatics . Heat oil in a large Dutch oven and saute the onion until soft. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Cook veggies. Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, and salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to soften.
- Simmer. Stir in turkey, broth, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the flavors develop.
- Season. Taste and season as desired. Serve your homemade turkey soup recipe with additional chopped parsley, if desired.
Variations On Turkey Soup
- Creamy – For a creamy turkey soup, add up to 1/2 cup heavy cream in the last 5 minutes of simmering. You can also blend some softened cream cheese with some broth from the soup instead, then return to the pot.
- Noodles – Turkey noodle soup is an easy and popular option! 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.)
- Rice – Add 2 cups of rice together with the turkey, and double the amount of broth. You can use white rice, wild rice, or brown rice, but make sure to add it uncooked. If you want to use up cooked rice or use cauliflower rice for a rice soup, add it just in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Potatoes – Make the soup more hearty by adding a pound of diced potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes, and double the amount of broth. Add the spuds at the same time when you add the leftover turkey.
- Store: Keep leftovers in a covered container up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Reheat: Pour the turkey vegetable soup into a pot or saucepan, place over medium heat on the stove, 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.
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
A bowl of this easy turkey soup isn’t the only thing you can do with your leftovers! Try these other leftover turkey recipes:
- Casseroles – One dish casseroles are perfect for busy schedules! Try this leftover turkey casserole or make chicken cordon bleu casserole with turkey meat instead.
- Salads – This turkey salad recipe is my favorite. You can also swap chicken with turkey in avocado chicken salad, buffalo chicken salad, or Mediterranean chicken salad. Or, add plain meat on top of fall dishes like butternut squash salad and kale salad.
- Sandwiches – Use turkey in cucumber subs, lettuce wraps, or between slices of your favorite bread (almond flour bread is one of my fave healthy options).
Tools To Make Leftover Turkey Soup
- Dutch Oven – A stunning pot that takes your turkey soup from stove to table beautifully.
Turkey Soup Recipe
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.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
Add garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well and continue cooking until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
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.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with more fresh parsley, if desired.
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Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
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