A delicious treat for the day after, this leftover turkey soup makes the most of all that wonderful food leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas.
So, keep that cooked turkey meat and turkey stock and whip it up into something to tantalize those taste buds!
Products you need for this recipe
- Large saucepan – a large pot or saucepan will be needed to cook up this easy turkey soup
- Soup bowls – serve up your soup in style, with some eye-catching soup bowls
- Soup spoons – you can’t have a good spoonful without a good spoon!
- Christmas soup tureen and ladle – festive soup deserves to be served up in this!
Why You Will Adore This Recipe
When it comes to comforting winter food after the holidays, nothing beats an old fashioned turkey soup. Well, this recipe takes those delicious turkey leftovers to deliver the best leftover turkey soup you’ve ever tasted!
All that leftover turkey meat and homemade turkey broth work best when used to make turkey soup. Trust me… just one spoonful of this delicious soup and you’ll be making this leftover turkey soup recipe every single year!
Best of all, making turkey soup is so easy! You need the classic vegetable trivet trio – carrots, celery and onions – then that wonderful homemade broth made from the turkey carcass (chicken broth will do), a bit of salt and pepper, the leftover turkey meat, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.
Then, in goes your pasta of choice. Within a few minutes, you’ll have the most wonderful soup to soothe your soul and set off your taste buds. Chicken soup has got nothing on this one!
What kind of pasta should I use for this soup?
This turkey soup made with leftover turkey meat tastes great without adding anything. Yet, I prefer my soups with a bit more substance, so my turkey soup recipe calls for the addition of pasta.
When it comes to adding pasta to your turkey soup, there are a few options:
Normally called ‘pasta shells’ or ‘seashells’ because of their shape, they are normally rigid on the outside and smooth on the inside, which gives them an interesting contrast in textures.
They come in three sizes – small (conchigliette), medium (conchiglie) and large (conchiglioni) and are great to use in soups as they hold up well when boiled, keeping their shape and texture.
These potato-based pasta balls would be excellent in turkey soup, soaking up all the juices to make an even better turkey soup recipe. If you do go with gnocchi, keep in mind that they cook very quickly, so add towards the end of the recipe.
Fusilli / Rotini
Known as fusilli in the UK and rotini in the States, these tasty little tubes are also a good option to serve in soup. They soak up the flavors and, while they don’t hold their shape quite as well as conchiglie, they do bring a nice texture when added to soups.
Little pasta twists, tortellini are traditionally stuffed with ingredients. Although they are not normally served up in soups, find the right type of tortellini and these little beauts would make turkey soup even more wonderful.
Go for a spinach and ricotta tortellini for the best match for this turkey soup recipe.
If you like the idea of a rice soup, this type of pasta might be the one for you. Orzo is a form of short cut pasta that is traditionally made from semolina flour, but can also be made from wheat grain. Go for this option if you want to soup on the lighter side.
Of course, if turkey noodle soup is more your thing, you can replace the pasta with noodles. I recommend going for egg noodles, although udon noodles or ramen noodles would be great as well.
What turkey cuts are best for leftover turkey soup?
When it comes to leftover turkey, don’t be picky about the meat. Use all of it!
Of course, the dark meat of the turkey normally brings more flavor than the breast meat, but this leftover turkey soup recipe is about using up all of the meat that’s leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas.
So, throw it all in there and enjoy!
How do you thicken leftover turkey soup?
If you follow this recipe to a T, it should end up with the perfect consistency. Not too thick and not too thin – just right!
However, of course cooking is subjective, so maybe you’ll find that you would prefer it to be a little bit thicker. In which case, there are a couple of things you can do to change the consistency of this leftover turkey soup recipe.
First, try adding a tablespoon of flour to the carrot, celery and onions just before you add the stock. Then, cook the flour in for a minute on a medium heat. When you add the stock, the liquid will be slightly thicker and the final consistency will be thicker.
Another option is to add cornflour at the end of the recipe. This involves a paste in a separate bowl, using a teaspoon or two of cornflour and an equal amount of water. Then, stir and when you have your paste ready, stir it into the soup. Repeat as necessary.
Finally, adding a touch of cream is a great way to thicken your soup without compromising on flavor.
Can I use oil instead of butter?
Absolutely! If you prefer cooking your carrots, onions and celery in olive oil, you can easily substitute it for the butter.
What other flavors can I add?
One of the great things about this leftover turkey soup recipe is that it’s so easy to tweak to your personal preferences. For a little inspiration when it comes to finding your perfect flavor profile, here are a few ingredients you could add to your soup.
The king of herbs when it comes to pairing with poultry is thyme. You could also use tarragon, marjoram, oregano, sage or rosemary. Go for poultry seasoning, which is a mix of most of these herbs, for a great all-round blend.
You could also add a bay leaf (don’t forget to remove it before serving up the soup).
Be subtle with the spices. Just a pinch here and there and you can make this soup really sing. Try some paprika or cayenne pepper for some smoky charm. Also, a little cumin and turmeric can give it an interesting angle. Try grinding some fenugreek for a wonderful aroma.
If you’re looking for a big hit of umami flavor, go for a teaspoon of Marmite or a splash of Worcestershire Sauce.
Another great option is a teaspoon of mustard. It will add some earthy heat to your soup and mustard just goes so well with turkey and any kind of meat.
Can you use chicken for this recipe?
How do you store leftover turkey soup?
You can store this soup in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store it in an airtight container.
Can you freeze it?
Yes you can. The only thing I would say is to leave out the pasta if you think you’re going to freeze it. Then, when you’re ready to serve it up later, you can cook the pasta.
This leftover turkey soup will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze it, place it in an airtight, freezable container and place in the freezer. Don’t forget to label the container with the content and the date of freezing.
You can also free your leftover Thanksgiving turkey soup in smaller batches. That way, you can defrost only what you need each time.
How do you defrost this soup?
I recommend defrosting your frozen turkey soup in the fridge overnight.
How do you reheat it?
Reheat it in a saucepan on a medium heat on the hob, stirring continuously until piping hot.
What should I serve with leftover turkey soup?
If you want to keep it simple, serve your soup with some delicious crusty bread and creamy butter. You could also make simple sandwiches to serve alongside it.
More leftover turkey and stuffing recipes
Don’t waste those wonderful leftovers! With a little bit of ingenuity, you can give new life to your leftovers and bring even more delicious holiday cuisine to the table!
Here’s a selection of my favorite leftover turkey and stuffing recipes for the holiday season:
- Leftover turkey lasagna – fans of Italian food, this one’s for you! Oh so rich and creamy, my leftover turkey lasagna is pure decadence! Make it once and you’ll be hooked
- Leftover turkey curry – for fans of Indian cuisine, this recipe is unmissable. Lightly spicy with a rich sauce, it’s the perfect recipe to keep that delicious turkey meat tender and tasty
- Leftover turkey chowder – a smooth, smoky, chowder that’s rich and delicious. You won’t forget this one in a hurry!
- Leftover stuffing waffles – if you’ve got a waffle maker, these bad boys make a delightful surprise the day after the feast. Easy to make and impossible to resist, this is another brilliant way to use up those holiday leftovers
More holiday season recipes
Need some inspiration for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Look no further!
- Whole roast turkey – the all-important main-attraction to your Thanksgiving or Christmas lunch, this whole roast turkey recipe brings a huge amount of flavor
- Dried cranberry sauce – well it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it, now would it? The perfect accompaniment to your roast turkey, this recipe is super simple and full of flavor
- Marmite roast potatoes – making use of a classic favourite Brit ingredient, which works a charm as the ultimate flavor bomb, my special roastie recipe is proving very popular and it’s easy to see why. These delicious roast potatoes are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The ideal side for your festive feast
- Apple cider turkey brine – If you want to take your turkey to another level this Thanksgiving or Christmas, you have to try this wonderful brining recipe. You’ll end up with a perfectly juicy turkey that's like nothing you’ve ever tasted!
- Turkey giblet broth – an incredible broth that deserves to be made in every household. When it comes to ingredients, giblets get a bad rap, but this recipe proves that you can get so much flavor out of those often discarded parts of the turkey. Full of flavor and very simple to make, this is a classic broth recipe that can be used with so many different dishes
- Apricot stuffing – a tasty vegetarian stuffing that has a great blend of savory and fruity flavors. Make a large batch and use it as a stuffing in the traditional sense or as a sensational side