Traditional recipes

Leftover Turkey Carcass Soup

Leftover Turkey Carcass Soup

Use up every bit of your holiday leftovers by turning what remains of your roast turkey into an authentic homestyle soup. Impress everyone with the easy made-from-scratch broth, then add in tender sweet potatoes, succulent pearl onions, colorful mixed vegetables and leftover turkey meat.MORE+LESS-

Make with

Progresso Broth


turkey carcass, trimmed of the meat


packs (32 oz) Progresso™ chicken broth


celery stalks, cut into 3-inch chunks


onion, peeled and quartered


carrot, cut into 3-inch chunks


tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


cup frozen pearl onions


lb package frozen vegetables or Cascadian Farm™ Frozen Organic Mixed Vegetables


cups shredded turkey meat


pinches salt and pepper, to taste


cup fresh parsley, for garnish

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  • 1

    In a large stock pot, add the turkey carcass, stock, water, celery, onion, carrot and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • 2

    Remove the carcass with tongs and discard. Pour the stock through a large strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids.

  • 3

    Back in the stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potato and pearl onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bloom for 30 seconds. Add the frozen veggies, turkey meat, remaining bay leaf and reserved turkey stock. Let simmer another 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes have become tender.

  • 4

    Serve with parsley and crackers!

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • This leftover turkey soup is a serious case of waste not, want not! Make use of every scrap of your roasted bird by cooking up a classic broth-based soup using the remaining carcass of the turkey. Looking for more ways to cut down on holiday waste? We have lots of ideas for reinventing leftover turkey meat.

Leftover Turkey Soup

I love soup weather. As soon as it starts to get even a little chilly at night I want to make soup all week long. Our family loves Verde Pesole, it is a staple in our house. And Chicken Tortilla Soup also make a very regular appearance.

But this turkey noodle soup is something we look forward to every year. It is our go to use for the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you are a fan of chicken noodle soup, you are going to love this too. It is such a great use of leftover turkey and you can load it with veggies to make it filling and good for you. Which after a holiday meal, you know is probably a good idea.

My mother-in-law has always made her Roasted Turkey for Thanksgiving in a Nesco Roaster. And as soon as dinner was over she would put the turkey carcass and water back in there, and make turkey broth. And the next day leftover turkey soup is always on the menu.

If you don’t want to use the turkey carcass to make your own broth, you can use chicken broth or if you can find turkey broth in the store you can use that as well. Trust me, after cooking a holiday meal all day, I am not always in the mood for more work. So there is no judgement for store bought broth!

What goes into the best turkey noodle soup

This recipe is a two-in-one: first, we share how to make a delicious turkey broth recipe from scratch then we share how to turn that turkey broth into an ultra flavorful and rich turkey noodle soup!

The turkey broth recipe calls for:

  • turkey carcass
  • roasted turkey wings
  • roasted turkey drumsticks
  • onion
  • garlic
  • salt
  • poultry seasoning
  • peppercornss
  • fresh herbs (we use thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley)
  • water

And this is what you will need for the turkey noodle soup:

  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • celery ribs, sliced
  • large carrots, peeled and cubed
  • chopped garlic cloves
  • sliced mushrooms
  • homemade turkey broth and turkey meat (from the above turkey broth recipe)
  • bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • dry noodles or pasta

Recipe Summary

  • 5 quarts water, or as needed
  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pinch dried thyme, or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 cup barley
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch dried thyme

Bring water and turkey carcass to a boil in a large pot add 1 1/2 cup chopped onion, 3 stalks celery, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, peppercorns, 1 pinch thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Simmer, skimming excess fat and foam from top of stock as needed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add more water to stock as it evaporates. Remove carcass from stock and cool. Pull meat from bones and shred refrigerate until needed. Strain stock and return liquid to pot.

Mix 1 1/2 pounds carrots, 2 onions, 6 stalks celery, barley, mushrooms, 2 bay leaves, salt, marjoram, black pepper, and 1 pinch thyme into turkey stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup, stirring occasionally, until barley is fully cooked, 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add turkey meat to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 turkey carcass, broken into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 3 carrots, halved crosswise
  • 2 celery stalks, halved crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 5 cups kale leaves, shredded
  • 3 cups leftover diced cooked turkey
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Place the carcass in a large soup pot or stockpot and add cold water to cover by 2 inches (about 14 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.

Add carrots, celery, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Return to a boil reduce to a simmer and cook until the broth is rich and flavorful, about 2 hours.

With a wire skimmer, remove and discard turkey carcass and vegetables. Strain and transfer 8 cups of broth to a large saucepan freeze the remainder.

Bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add red-pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary season with salt. Add kale, reduce to a simmer, and cook until kale is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in turkey, corn, beans, and scallions and cook just until corn is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.


Let soup cool and transfer to an airtight container. Leftover turkey noodle soup will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezing/Make Ahead

If you’d like to prepare this recipe ahead and freeze it, you’ll want to assemble everything like normal, but hold off on the noodles. Sadly thawed noodles don’t retain their texture very well. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for 4 – 6 months.

When you’re ready to thaw out the soup, heat it up on the stove and incorporate the noodles then.

Turkey Carcass Soup

Don't throw away that leftover turkey carcass. Turn it into a warm and comforting turkey soup.

Recipe: Turkey Carcass Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 2 hours 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 leftover turkey carcass
  • 2 (32 ounce) cartons of turkey or chicken stock
  • Water to cover, if needed
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  • 1 celery rib with leaves , cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot , cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion , quartered
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • 1-2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery , sliced
  • 1 large carrot , sliced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey , chopped
  • Egg noodles or cooked rice
  • Parsley for garnish, if desired
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas or whatever veggies you want

Pick the carcass pretty clean and break it up, splitting off the bones. Place the carcass in a tall stockpot, add the turkey or chicken stock, and additional water only if needed to cover the carcass. Cover pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat, remove the lid and simmer (do not boil) uncovered, skimming off any foam that accumulates. When foam subsides, add the salt, celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaf. Cook, uncovered, at a steady, slow simmer for about 2 hours.

Strain, but reserve the broth - don't pour the broth out!! Discard the vegetables. Put the broth back into the stockpot. To the broth add in the chicken base, garlic, celery, carrot, and onion. Sprinkle in thyme and pepper. Allow to low simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add the leftover turkey meat, peas and the noodles* to the broth and simmer until noodles are tender. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley if desired taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Cook's Notes: *Alternatively you may also cook the noodles separately and then spoon cooked noodles into a serving bowl and ladle the soup on top. I personally prefer this way because the noodles tend to soak up a lot of the broth of the soup otherwise. If you are making this ahead and have time, you may also let the broth cool and refrigerate. Once well chilled, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can easily scoop it off.

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    1. Break down carcass into smaller pieces. Simmer carcass, water, reserved leek greens, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 7- to 10-quart heavy pot, uncovered, skimming froth, 3 hours.
    2. Discard large bones with a slotted spoon or tongs, then strain stock through a large sieve into a large bowl (discard solids).
    3. If stock measures less than 10 cups, add water. If it measures more, boil until reduced.
    4. If using stock right away, let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. If not, chill (covered once cool) before removing fat. (It will be easier to remove when cool or cold.)
    5. Cook garlic in oil in cleaned pot over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in chopped leeks and rosemary and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and stock and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    6. Stir in pasta and briskly simmer soup, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Add spinach and stir until wilted.

    Thanksgiving Leftovers: Roast Turkey Soup

    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 distil 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, 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. How shocked I was when I realized that we don't have a recipe for it on the site!

    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 addition, though really any leftover vegetables will work. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, brussels sprouts leaves, whatever you got, the soup pot can take it. Heck, you can even dump some gravy in there if you'd like.

    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.

    Great question! I used some leftover whole grain Thanksgiving rolls and sliced into cubes and pan-fried into crispy croutons. No specific recipe, but a basic how-to is in the recipe notes below. You can also garnish with a spoonful of pesto, sliced avocado, or anything else that sounds great to you.