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Making homemade turkey soup after your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is super easy and a delicious way to use all the leftovers. This is the basic, easy homemade turkey soup recipe you remember your mom making. It's delicious!
It's that time of year again, friends! Time to grab our soup pots and get ready to dig into a warm and delicious bowl of post-Thanksgiving turkey soup!
This is a recipe that we've made a million times. Or at least once a year for the past 20-something years – pretty close to a million.
Why we love this turkey soup recipe
- It reminds us of home and family and being a kid. It's the same exact recipe that mom made after every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner so there's big-time nostalgia going on here.
- It's super easy to make.
- The broth, made from simmering that pile of turkey bones you have, is unbelievably flavorful.
- Eating a bowl of this turkey soup is like getting a big hug. Honestly, it's all good feelings here.
Ingredients in turkey soup
To make homemade turkey soup, you'll start by simmering the bones from your roast turkey in water to create a wonderfully rich and flavorful broth. Once you have your turkey stock, you'll need these ingredients for the soup:
- Olive oil – to sauté the vegetables.
- Onion, carrots, and celery – the classic turkey soup trio.
- Turkey meat – this comes from the roast turkey. If you don't have enough leftover turkey, you can use chicken instead.
- Sea salt – helps to bring out all the other flavors.
- Cooked egg noodles – we love noodles in our turkey soup! It's best to cook them separately and add them to your bowl otherwise the noodles will go mushy if you have leftover soup.
How to make homemade turkey soup
The recipe goes something like this:
- Grab your biggest pot (or crockpot!), pop in the turkey bones, and fill the pot with water.
- Simmer. Keep simmering. Strain.
- Sauté some onions, carrots, and celery.
- Now add the turkey broth you just made and some leftover turkey meat. Easy!
What makes this the best homemade turkey soup
This soup is 90% about the delicious homemade turkey stock. You could drink the stock on its own it's so good.
It's also ridiculously easy to make. All you're going to do is remove as much of the meat as you can from the turkey carcass, break the bones into a few pieces so that they fit into your largest pot or crockpot, then fill it with water. You'll slowly simmer the stock overnight and wake up to the most amazing-smelling home and a pot of tasty turkey broth.
You'll notice that we don't add anything other than the turkey bones to the pot. While you certainly can add herbs, onion, carrots, etc., it's really not necessary. The roasted turkey is all the flavor you need.
How to store turkey soup?
If you have leftover turkey soup, store it in an airtight container in your fridge. It will keep for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze turkey soup?
Yes! Turkey soup freezes very well! Simply let it cool completely and then store it in freezerproof containers for up to 3 months. We love reusable Stasher freezer bags for freezing soups.
Wondering what to do with all your Thanksgiving leftovers?
If you have a pile of turkey dinner leftovers in your fridge, here are a few of our other favorite recipe that put them to good use.
For more inspiration, check out all of our turkey dinner leftover recipes!
Can I make turkey soup with storebought broth?
While you certainly can, it will alter the recipe significantly. Homemade broth is wonderfully flavorful and has a rich mouthfeel that storebought broth simply doesn't match.
How can I add more flavor to turkey soup?
Using homemade turkey stock is the best way to ensure your turkey soup has lots of flavor. But if you'd like even more, you can reduce the stock by boiling it. Or you can add a pinch of poultry seasoning. Also, don't forget to salt the soup!
What is the best way to thicken turkey soup?
Homemade turkey stock has a rich, viscous mouthfeel because of the natural collagen and gelatin. But if you would like it to be a little thicker, you can add a tablespoon of all-purpose flour after you saute the vegetables.
Do I need to add the noodles?
This recipe is how we typically make homemade turkey soup. If you choose to add egg noodles and turn this recipe into a homemade turkey noodle soup, cook them separately and add them to each bowl of soup to prevent them from getting over-cooked and mushy. If you'd rather have a homemade turkey vegetable soup, or you eat paleo/keto/gluten-free, simply leave the noodles out.
- Bones from your roast turkey
Homemade Turkey Soup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (minced)
- 3 large carrots (chopped)
- 4 stalks celery (chopped)
- 6 cups turkey stock
- 3 cups reserved turkey meat (see notes)
- Sea salt (to taste)
- Optional: cooked egg noodles
- Remove all of the meat from the turkey and reserve 3 cups for the soup. If you've cooked your stuffing in the turkey, make sure to remove it all.Bones from your roast turkey
- Break the roast turkey into 3 or 4 pieces that are small enough that they will fit into your largest pot. Fill the pot with cold water so that the water comes 2-inches above the bones. Bring the pot almost to a boil then reduce the heat so that it is barely simmering. You want the water to move around and a few small bubbles to rise, but not to boiling. Cook for 8-10 hours, leaving the lid off. (See notes if you'd like to use your crockpot instead.)
- Strain the turkey stock through a colander into a large bowl and discard the bones. Strain the stock once more through a fine-mesh sieve. You can either use the turkey stock immediately or let it cool and refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Homemade Turkey Soup
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and cook until it begins to brown in a few places, about 5 minutes.1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 medium onion, 3 large carrots
- Add the celery, turkey stock, and reserved turkey meat to the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are soft. Season to taste generously with sea salt.4 stalks celery, 6 cups turkey stock, 3 cups reserved turkey meat, Sea salt
- If you're using the egg noodles, add them cooked to your soup bowl, ladle in the soup, and garnish with a little sprinkle of parsley.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.