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

Leftover turkey soup is made in the slow cooker, with the help of flavor-boosters like lemon, thyme, bay leaves and leftover wine. Jennifer Olvera

Leftover turkey soup incorporates oft-bypassed turkey wings and sautéed carrot, celery, onion and garlic, plus a mix of white and dark meats; aromatics, such as bay leaves, thyme and poultry seasoning; and some surprises, among them a lemon half, leftover white or sparkling wine and toothsome Israeli couscous.

Why this recipe 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's classic.
  • Israeli couscous soaks up the flavor of the broth while maintaining its invitingly chewy texture.

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, finely chopped
  • 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 saute, 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 the 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

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