Got leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Make this simple and comforting homemade Leftover Turkey Soup. It’s fast to make in only 20 minutes and incredibly hearty filled with veggies, turkey and noodles.
One of the bonuses of having a big turkey dinner is that you get to enjoy all the leftovers. I love to use the turkey to make this easy turkey soup.
It’s hearty, simple to make and tastes delicious. This is what I would call post-holiday comfort food, but with a healthy twist.
Next time you’re out shopping for a turkey, don’t be scared to go big. You can always use those leftovers to make delicious meals for days. Turkey Thai Curry is another tasty leftover turkey recipe.
To make this turkey vegetable soup, you’ll need a few ingredients.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Feel free to use grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or coconut oil instead. You can even use butter as long as you cook it on a lower heat setting. If you choose to use butter, you will need to cook your veggies longer.
- Carrots: Frozen carrots are also an option here. However, since the frozen carrots are essentially cooked already, don’t add them into the sauté. Instead add them to the soup when there are five minutes left of simmering.
- Yellow onion: Other onions (like red, sweet or white) can be used in lieu of a yellow onion.
- Garlic salt: I like using garlic salt because it adds a nice garlic flavor and salt at the same time.
- Ground black pepper: You can also use freshly ground black pepper if that’s your preference.
- Leftover turkey: If you want to make this soup during another time of the year, feel free to use rotisserie chicken, pulled pork or shredded beef.
- Turkey broth: You can also use chicken broth or even beef broth if turkey broth is hard to find.
- Ditalini pasta: I love ditalini noodles in soup, but you can also use elbow, penne, rigatoni, rotini, shell or farfalle. Even egg noodles will work, but make sure to to decrease your cooking time by 3 to 5 minutes since egg noodles cook pretty quickly.
How to Make
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot for 1 minute or until it begins to sizzle.
2. Sauté carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil until the onions become translucent and the celery and carrots have begun to soften, about 3 minutes.
3. While sautéing, season the vegetables with garlic salt and ground black pepper.
4. Add in the leftover turkey, turkey broth, water, and ditalini pasta. Stir everything together.
5. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ditalini pasta are al dente and the carrots are fork tender.
6. Use a ladle to pour your soup into bowls and serve warm with chopped parsley as a garnish, if desired.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
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To store this recipe, first let the soup come to room temperature. Then placed in a covered container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
This soup also freezes well. Place the cooled soup in an air tight freezer safe container and store in the freezer for up to 4 to 6 months. You can thaw it on the stovetop when you’re ready to eat again.
Can I add more seasonings to my turkey soup?
Yes, you can definitely add more spices to this recipe. Here are some spices that pair well with turkey:
- Chili powder
Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make this easy turkey soup in a slow cooker. Simply add all the ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook for 7 to 8 hours on HIGH. Super easy!
What if I don’t have enough leftover turkey for this recipe?
4 cups of turkey is a LOT of turkey! Hopefully, your family already ate a LOT at your holiday dinner. However, if your family didn’t overdo it with the turkey, like my family always does, you might not have quite that much.
No worries! You have a few different options if you can’t quite fulfill the turkey requirements.
- Try also adding rotisserie chicken, pulled pork or shredded beef.
- Use whatever turkey you have on hand and don’t worry about the rest. It’s okay if your soup has a little less turkey meat. No big deal!
- Add a cup or two of diced potatoes instead. Make sure they aren’t more than 1 inch cubs since potatoes can take a little while to cook and we want them to be done with the carrots and noodles.
- Include an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of noodles. You can use more ditalini noodles or include a different type of noodle variety. To be honest, I’m a noodle fanatic and always love the excuse to add more!
- Include some other vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, zucchini or yellow squash. They need about the same amount of time as the carrots to cook.
How long can you keep a turkey carcass in the fridge?
I’ve read multiple suggestions on this very topic from anywhere from 3 days to up to 10 days. I tend to err on the side of caution and store mine in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
You can make this soup recipe with your leftover turkey the next day or the day after. I know I never feel like cooking right after preparing a big meal so I won’t even start this recipe till the next day.
Homemade Soup Recipes
You’ll also enjoy these Thanksgiving Sliders.
What are your favorite leftover turkey recipes?
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
Leftover Turkey Soup
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large carrots sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
- 3 stalks celery sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 yellow onion chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 cups leftover turkey shredded
- 3 ½ cups turkey broth or chicken broth
- 3 ½ cups water
- 2 cups ditalini pasta uncooked
- chopped parsley for garnish, optional
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot for 1 minute or until it begins to sizzle.
- Saute carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil until the onions become translucent and the celery and carrots have begun to soften, about 3 minutes.
- While sauteing, season the vegetables with garlic salt and ground black pepper.
- Add in the leftover turkey, turkey broth, water, and ditalini pasta. Stir everything together.
- Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ditalini pasta are al dente and the carrots are fork tender.
- Use a ladle to pour your soup into bowls and serve warm with chopped parsley as a garnish, if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.