Easy Homemade Turkey Soup
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!
Serve this with some no yeast bread with herbs and cheese for a truly cozy meal!
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 I've made a million times, or once a year since I was probably 19 so not actually anywhere near a million. Sidebar → I think I may have been the only 19-year-old on the planet geeky enough to make homemade turkey soup after her Thanksgiving dinner.
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 my 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.
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, break the bones into a few pieces so that they fit in your largest pot or crockpot, then fill 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 I don't add anything other than the turkey bones to the pot. I've made it plenty of times by adding different herbs, peppercorns, onions, carrots, etc. but I don't notice a major difference in flavor at the end so I've stopped doing that. The roasted turkey is all the flavor you need.
You can either make the soup right away from the turkey stock, or you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for at least 3 months.
Butter up some bread and dig in!
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.
Serve, preferably with a thick slice of well-buttered no yeast bread with herbs and cheese.
The recipe below is how I 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 or Whole30, simply leave the noodles out.
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.
- Thanksgiving Leftovers Eggs Benedict
- Blue Cheese and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Pizza
- Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes
- Crockpot Leftover Turkey Bolognese
- BBQ Pulled Turkey Pizza
- Butter Turkey Curry
More turkey soup recipes
- Healthy Creamy Turkey Mushroom Soup
- Thai Coconut Turkey Soup
- Chicken Vegetable Soup (delicious made with turkey and turkey broth!)
Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 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.
I made this soup with some leftover turkey bones I’ve had in the freezer since Easter. It turned out great!
Kristen this is an amazing recipe, loved the soup. I used leftover roasted turkey as garnishing on top and it was delicious.
Hmm..I was barely left with any liquid once I strained out the bones and bits. Is that normal? I definitely do not have 6 cups worth. Did I do something wrong?
The amount you end up with will vary depending on the size of the pot you use (and so how much water you add), the time you simmered it for, and how high it simmered. Next time, I would simply use a bigger pot so you have more room for more water.
Plan to make tomorrow…will add a few of the spices suggested by others, and perhaps some wild rice and/or lemon. Sure hope I can freeze it!
As long as you don’t put the noodles into the soup it will freeze very well!
Perfect! Thank you!
I never made much soup, my mom always did and I missed it so much after she passed away. My sister started making stock with our turkey left over from Thanksgiving and she gave me some, she said it was wonderful. I found this recipe and followed it, I did add a smidgen of garlic. I didn’t add too much salt because you can always add more. It is lovely, just as good as mom’s!
I added 2 basil leaves and a tablespoon each of dried thyme, oregano, parsley, and two tablespoons of garlic powder. Delicious.
I painstakinglingly made the stock from two turkeys cooked on stove for 6 hours. then placed in fridge to get the fat off…. and had a family accident and just found it today. 8 days later, obviously have to trash it, But yesterday I defrosted all the turkey meat and must use it by today I guess. I think Im going to have to use the boxed turkey stock from swansons and chicken broth… any other ideas?
If you can get your hands on some chicken bone broth – that would be the best option. It’s often available in the freezer section of grocery stores. Another option is to make something other than soup with the turkey meat. We have a bunch of options here: https://www.theendlessmeal.com/thanksgiving-leftover-recipes/. Hope that helps!
This soup is perfect! So SIMPLE, but nourishing and satisfying. I made the turkey stock Thanksgiving night using your Crock Pot recipe. I had more stock and turkey than called for so just added the extra and added al dente cooked egg noodles. Love this soup and will be making it a lot this winter. I can’t wait to try the Healthy Creamy Turkey Mushroom Soup! Thanks so much!
Just what was needed! I added garlic, turmeric & pepper, and chopped spinach (last 10 mins). My family has come down with the sniffles after Thanksgiving. Made this and all 3 sick family members went for seconds! It was really good! Thanks!
I’m not much of a soup maker but i tried this and it’s wonderful just added a few things. Plus roommate is diabetic and it’s a plus to our newnew diet. Thank you
I do exactly as your recipe states, except, once I have the turkey broth all strained from the pot, I put it in the refrigerator overnight. That way, I can skim the layer of fat that has solidified on the top of the broth. It makes for a less greasy soup.
Made it with a few added spices. Bay leaf and a little poultry seasoning and some others for more flavour.
I like your recipes, they are easy to learn and yummy to eat
This was easy and delicious!! Just added some poultry seasoning for a little extra flavor.
Truly appreciate the way you made this delicious soup. Everything is so nicely described that really helped me.
So all the bones in the crock, but no timer. So lm hoping that putting it on low is correct. There is meat on the bones which will fall off so do l remove it and store it or can l freeze it in the broth?
Hi Barbie! When making turkey stock in my crockpot (which is my favorite method) I remove the meat from the bones, put them in the crock and cover them with water, then cook it on low for 10 hours. You can easily cook it for even longer, making sure to top off the water if it’s getting too low. Here’s the full recipe: https://www.theendlessmeal.com/crock-pot-turkey-stock/
Making this soup tonight looking forward to enjoying it with my family
Are you able to use drippings to make gravy with the broth in the bottoms of the roasting pan?
You could definitely use some of the broth to make gravy!
Very easy to make. I used the crockpot method for the broth. Used a variety of seasonings as it defiantly needed more than just salt. Turned out absolutely delicious!
This is a totally decent recipe. I didn’t have any turkey meat, so got some chicken thighs as recommended and cooked in the broth. I would highly recommend either using breasts or trimming as much fat as possible from the thighs- I trimmed a lot off them and it was still too fatty. Also, I seasoned the soup with fresh ground pepper, it really needs more than just the sea salt.
Perfect Easy Soup…. I just add a little garlic and spinach ?
I’m a newbie at making soup and get frustrated because I have questions and do not wish to ruin this great turkey stock. 1. Do i skim the fat off the stock before using for soup? 2. If I saute the vegetables, do I still need to boil them? Stupid questions I know, but I so would like to make something good.
Most of the time, I leave the fat in turkey stock. (I do remove it from beef stock though as there’s usually a lot of it.) If you want to remove it, strain the turkey stock into a large mixing bowl then put it into your fridge for at least 24 hours. The fat will solidify on top and you’ll be able to easily scrape it off. You can use the fat for cooking; it’s tasty!
Sauteeing the veggies makes them more sweet and flavorful so you don’t want to skip this step. They only need to be simmered briefly to soften then completely. 🙂
Can you use vegetable broth or chicken broth if you don’t have turkey broth? Thank you!
Chicken broth would be the best substitute in this recipe. Just make sure it’s either homemade or a quality store-bought bone broth for the best flavor.
Kristen, your writing is so cute and a joy to read. And this soup sounds delectable. ☺️
Thank you, Alex!
Nice ‘Rosol’ soup you have there 😉
haha I had to look up what that meant! Looks like Poland has their own version of chicken/turkey soup. 😉
Love this recipe and making it with the bone broth is so rich and healthy. Nice basic recipe and easy. (I do bone broth in pressure cooker.) Thank you for recipe.
Also to defat the broth, being very cold outside, I put the pot outside in garage overnight. Besides there was no room in refrigerator.
I almost always do the same with mine!
You’re so welcome, Joan!
Try putting all the carrots, onions, celery along with the spices you have listed as well as a package of frozen peas and a half pound of barley or rice and not making stock but a hearty soup! I cook it basically 2 hrs, pull all the bones and skin etc and serve!!
The soup turned out rancid. I kept it at low all night for 10 hours until the next morning. Then I refrigerated it. We were going to have it for lunch, but it was sour.
This recipe is horrible. We could have all gotten extremely sick. Luckily I tasted it before hand and realized it was rotten.
Please do not make this for your family.
I suspect that the temperature was too low. When making the stock, the water should be hot enough to move around with little bubbles rising. If it’s not moving at all, it won’t be hot enough to be safe to eat.
That wasn’t nice of Mr. Anonymous. He clearly messed it up. You took the time to write out a nice recipe that reminds you of happy family times and he had to say all that?
Maybe you shouldn’t have used that turkey you bought out of that guy’s trunk on that NYC street corner in the South Bronx.
Turkey soup has been a family tradition in my family for a long long time. Im almost 70 an learned it from my grandma.. But were going back many a years where u used everything. in it. with that said lets see how strange this get an if anyone wants to experament wth it. Dont forget the little dab of (homemade ofcourse) stuffing ,an that dab of cranberries. an if you had a vegie like corn yes throw that in too. even peppers are good. Like said no waste in this family. youll be surprised @ how good it can be. an if you love garlic like us throw in a dash of it to.
I’ll have to try adding a little cranberry sauce and stuffing next year!
Thank you Very Much!
You’re so welcome!
Yet another great recipe Kristen.
If I’m short on meat I’ll roast turkey neck bones then painstakingly separate the meat & use the bones for stock. Gives the soup a stronger turkey flavour but a real pain.
That’s dedication! But a really good idea. 🙂
I could go for a big bowl of this right now. It looks amazingly delicious.
Thank you! We love it. 🙂
This is the perfect soup to make with leftover turkey! It’s so heartwarming and delicious and my family devours it.
I’m so happy to hear that you and your family love the recipe!
Love it! So warm and comforting and was the perfect way to use up leftover turkey!
I’m so happy to hear that the recipe was a hit!
This is total comfort food! Can’t wait to whip this up tomorrow 🙂
It totally is! I make a batch after every Thanksgiving!
I forgot how much I love this soup! Will be making this again soon. Pinned!
It’s a yearly favorite for us, too!
Dear Kristen I’m trying out your “Easy Homemade Turkey” soup tomorrow & so my husband accentally bought turkey broth would that do? Bc I didn’t save the bones to make that stock before I saw this recipe & we have only the turkey leftover in the freezer from thanksgiving thank-you Kristen
While you can make it with store-bought broth, it won’t be nearly as flavorful. One trick I often do is to add chicken bones (skinless, bone in thighs work well) to store-bought stock and let them simmer for an hour or more. They’ll add a ton of flavor. You can pull the meat off the bones and add that into the soup, too. 🙂
No idea how much noodles to use! Am I not reading thoroughly enough?
There’s not an exact amount listed as they are optional. I generally cook a bag of noodles then add a scoop to my bowl before I ladle in the soup. If you like noodles more than I do you can load them up. 🙂
I also like to cook my noodles separate, with the extra, the next day for breakfast brown up in butter then scramble couple eggs with it and few green peppers ?
You are wonderful, Kristen.
You should come inhale the aroma!!! Doing this soup now.
Scotty in Seattle
It smells amazing, doesn’t it?!!
I made this soup today. It is delicious. Beyond yummy. I added green peas on the second round. Only vegetables was carrots, chopped celery then the peas. A light sprinkle of salt.
I’m so happy you liked it!
I’m a bachelor that drinks then wants to eat noodle soup so what I do is freeze the soup in 500ml. containers 3/4″ full then when frozen add the al dente prepped no yoke egg noodles on top of the frozen soup and freeze. To reheat simply run hot water on the plastic container, dump it in a glass bowl & nuke it.
Also I love turkey drums & buy them on $1.49 day (a pound) 10-20 at a time, peel back the skin and season the meat with turkey rub, pull the skin back up & roast 2 trays at a time, freeze and eat them individually with a meal, save the bones for stock. When making stock I use my vise in my shop to crush the bones, simmer with a stove top defuser to get a low temp for up to 36 hours mashing the bones down periodically. The stock I get is awesome, so rich in marrow that it is a meal in itself, never mind the soup it makes. I Don’t waste the drippings either, I make 1 quart of gravy, pour into ice cube trays,freeze to use individually on potatoes & veggies when eating the drums as a meal.
That’s a really great idea to freeze the egg noodles on top of the frozen soup!!!
DUDE! I read your post with a smile on my face, why didn’t I think of that eyebrows, and a I could try to enter this far out zone of epicness at some point and on any level in this 2020.
The Dreya xx
I don’t have the turkey carcass, but do have wings and one drumstick.
Is this enough to make turkey stock?
Yep! Just put them in a pot and cover them with about 2 inches of water. It’ll make enough for some soup!
I made this with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey and it was perfect. Loved the addition of the noodles. Will make it again after Christmas!
I’m so happy to hear you liked it! Happy Thanksgiving!!
This is EXACTLY how my whole family makes this soup. It’s amazing and brings back memories every single time I have a bowl. I haven’t made any in a while but today, I made a big turkey just for the soup. Yay! ??
That makes me so happy to hear! Hooray!
When making the stock in the crock pot do you have it on high or low? 🙂
I always set it to low and cook the stock overnight. If you’re short on time you could cook it on high. I think it’s even better though if you let it cook low and slow. 🙂
You are not the only 19-yr-old geeky enough to make home made turkey soup. Still making the family recipe since high school , but thought this year as the family monarch at 47, I’d look for somethIng new. Thanks for sharing.
We must be kindred spirits! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
I’m 18 and also making this soup, and I have a feeling it’ll become traditional.
My turkey carcass is in the freezer waiting patiently to be turned into stock for soup. Yours looks great, and I can’t wait to make some!
What a great post-Thanksgiving dish! I usually end up doing something boring with my leftover turkey like sandwiches, but this soup looks so manageable and far better tasting 🙂
It is totally manageable, perfect for after the big meal. But even if they’re a little boring, I still love turkey sandwiches. Maybe it’s nostalgia but I can’t imagine post Thanksgiving or Christmas without them 🙂
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