Slow-Cooker Leftover Turkey, Lemon, and Couscous Soup Recipe

The slow-cooker turns leftover turkey, lemon, and couscous into an easy next-day comfort food.

Overhead shot of a bowl of slow cooker turkey soup.

Serious Eats / Jennifer Olvera

Why It Works

  • Turkey wings, plus a mix of white and dark meats, help build the foundation for a flavorful broth.
  • Leftover white or flat, sparkling wine and a lemon half provide a hit of acidity, while fragrant bay leaves, thyme, and a bit of poultry seasoning keep the soup classic.
  • Israeli couscous soaks up the flavor of the broth while maintaining its invitingly chewy texture.

Stuffed with turkey and ready to catch that afternoon nap? Go ahead, but before you hit the sack for the night, throw together this easy turkey, lemon, and couscous soup for pitch-perfect next-day comfort food. And for even more leftover turkey soup variations, check out this turkey and chile verde stew or turkey andouille gumbo.

All it takes is a quick sauté of some chopped mirepoix (read: carrots, onions, and celery), some chicken or turkey stock, bay leaves, thyme, some lemon, and some leftover wine or—gasp!—flat Champagne. A dash of poultry seasoning and Worcestershire sauce round out the profile of the broth. Throw in some Israeli couscous at the end to just cook through and you're ready for lunch.

November 2014

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 8 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • 2 cooked turkey wings, including bones and skin

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey meat, preferably dark and light

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped

  • 1 medium onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey stock

  • 1 cup dry white wine or leftover dry sparkling wine

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous

  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley or cilantro


  1. Place turkey wings and meat in the bowl of a slow cooker.

  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion and sauté, stirring often, until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

  3. Transfer vegetables to slow cooker along with bay leaves, thyme, poultry seasoning, lemon, Worcestershire sauce, stock, and wine. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on low setting for 6 1/2 hours.

  4. Remove turkey and pull meat from bones. Discard skin and bones and return meat to slow cooker. Add couscous and continue cooking until couscous is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer.

  5. Discard bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and lemon half. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Ladle into bowls, garnish with herbs and serve.

Special Equipment

Slow cooker, Dutch oven

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
250 Calories
10g Fat
12g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 250
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 848mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 548mg 12%
*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.)