Leftover Roast Turkey Soup Recipe

Overhead view of leftover turkey soup

Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

Why It Works

  • Simmering a leftover roast turkey carcass in store-bought or homemade chicken broth adds plenty of turkey flavor.
  • Any leftover vegetables can be added to the soup, in addition to turkey meat and bacon.

At my family's place, when Thanksgiving is done right, there are a few things you're sure to find strewn about the place the morning after: A couple guitars and some half empty bottles of scotch. Turkey meat and a carcass. Plenty of mild hangovers to nurse.

I don't know about you, but if it's not staying in bed and wishing I were never born (or at least that the damned Scotsman who first decided to distill fermented barley had never been born), my next course of action to cure a hangover is to cook my way through it. There's something quite soothing about the repetitive task of cutting carrots into bite sized cubes, or very deliberately slicing an onion, one sliver at a time. Force of habit from working too many Sunday morning shifts at restaurants, I suppose.

So it makes sense that turkey soup is up there on my list of Thanksgiving leftovers.

As far as leftovers recipes goes, it's pretty much a no-brainer. You have the turkey carcass lying around, so all you need is a bit of store-bought or homemade chicken broth to simmer it in and you'll end up with a flavorful turkey base in just about an hour. Meanwhile, carrots, celery, onions, and some chopped up lardons of bacon are my go-to additions, though really any leftover vegetables will work. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts leaves, whatever you got, the soup pot can take it.

The beauty with Thanksgiving food is that we're used to mashing all those flavors together on one plate, which means they'll work just as well in one bowl.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 75 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 2 quarts low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken or turkey stock

  • 1 leftover roast turkey carcass, cut into rough chunks

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2- by 1/2- by 1/4-inch batons (optional)

  • 1 large onion, finely sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 medium carrots, diced medium (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 ribs celery, sliced on the bias (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 pound leftover roast turkey meat, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Combine stock, turkey parts, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook for 1 hour. Strain broth into a medium saucepan and discard solids.

    Straining broth into a saucepan

    Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

  2. Add bacon, onions, carrots, and celery. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in turkey pieces and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve.

    Two image collage of soup being cooked and turkey being added to soup

    Serious Eats / Fred Hardy


This soup can also be made with a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
196 Calories
4g Fat
9g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 196
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 87mg 29%
Sodium 1179mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 696mg 15%
*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.)