Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe 

By Rena Awada | Updated On November 25, 2022

This Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe is great to enjoy after the big feast! It’s easy to make, filled with nutritious vegetables and plenty of leftover turkey meat. So warm and comforting and the absolute best way to use up leftover turkey.

top view turkey soup with veggies in a white bowl

We love a delicious, home-cooked holiday meal, but sometimes the leftovers are almost as good as the main event! Every year after our big Thanksgiving feast, we love to use leftover turkey to make leftover turkey soup. It’s crowd-pleasing, and a great way to make sure no food goes to waste!

Other tasty ways to repurpose Thanksgiving turkey are White Bean Turkey Chili and Creamy Turkey Lemon Rice Soup.

Why you should make this recipe

  • Perfect use for holiday leftovers: When you’re stumped with what to do with all of the leftover turkeys, this is a wonderful solution. In addition, there are always extra carrots, onions, and celery around whenever we have a holiday meal, and this soup uses that up as well.
  • Easy to make: This soup is so simple to make. Sauté the veggies in a pot, then add everything else and simmer until piping hot.
  • So delicious: We love to enjoy this through the week after Thanksgiving, especially when it’s cold outside. Easy, flavorful, and comforting, it’s the ideal way to transform leftovers from blah to wow.
Soup made with turkey, carrots, peas and celery.

Ingredients needed

This cozy, comforting leftover turkey soup is packed with protein, LOTS of vegetables, and flavor. It’s going to be your new favorite soup recipe! Here are all of the essentials needed to make it:

  • Veggies: This is loaded with onion, carrots, celery, and peas.
  • Garlic: For that perfect savory flavor.
  • Turkey: Any leftover turkey meat you have works great, white meat or dark meat.
  • Stock: Feel free to use turkey or chicken stock to create the base of the soup.
  • Orzo: We love orzo pasta in this, but any tiny pasta will work.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh bay leaves, plenty of salt and pepper, and fresh parsley give the soup flavor.
Ingredients divided into small bowls for making turkey soup.

How to make this recipe

This turkey soup recipe is a breeze to make. Once you have your veggies sautéd, it’s just a matter of dumping everything in the pot. Here’s the simple process:

For the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Sauté the veggies: Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 4-6 minutes.

Simmer: Add the leftover turkey, bay leaves, and broth. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, then stir in the orzo and peas.

Cook the orzo: Cook for 10 more minutes, or until the orzo is done.

Serve: Taste and adjust the seasonings, then garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy.

Customize this recipe

This is wonderful as-is, but feel free to add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes and to use up other ingredients you may have on hand.

  • Protein: This recipe works just as well with shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken.
  • Veggies: Add more or just different vegetables, such as tomatoes, corn, green beans, zucchini, potatoes, and/or spinach.
  • Grains: Instead of the orzo pasta, stir in some cooked wild rice, Israeli couscous, or egg noodles.
  • Make it creamy: In the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup half-and-half.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t forget the herbs: Bay leaves add a nice herby flavor to the broth. For a pop of freshness, stir in a handful of chopped fresh parsley at the end. Other herbs will work, too. Try adding 3 sprigs fresh thyme or use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Rosemary would be great too. For the herbs at the end, try fresh chives for a mild onion flavor.
  • For the best flavor: Use high-quality stock/broth and season the soup early and check it often. Try adding a fresh squeeze of lemon just before serving to bring out all those delicious flavors!
  • Gluten-free: To make this soup gluten-free, omit the orzo or use a gluten-free substitute. Some options are short-grain rice, arborio rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, broken angel hair, or other small shapes of gluten-free pasta.
Leftover turkey soup served in a white bowl.

Frequently asked questions

What is turkey soup made of?

This recipe for turkey soup is made with tender chunks of leftover turkey, carrots, onions, celery, herbs, peas, and orzo pasta that is simmered in turkey stock (or chicken stock). 

How long can leftover turkey be used?

We recommend making this soup within 1 to 2 days of your turkey is cooked. If it’s been 3 to 4 days, you’ll just want to make sure that you eat the soup within a day or two.

What is the difference between turkey stock and turkey broth?

The main difference between broth and stock is that broth is made from meat and vegetables, but stock is made with bones. While both are flavorful, broth tends to be thinner. It’s cooked for less time, and it doesn’t contain the stock’s thick, viscous texture. Feel free to use either in this recipe and sub with chicken broth or stock, as needed.

Storage recommendations

  • To store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Rewarm leftovers in a large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding a bit more broth or water, as needed. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave until hot. 
  • To freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the soup with the date, so you know when it went into the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

More delicious soup recipes to try

Soup in a white bowl served with a spoon.

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top view turkey soup with veggies in a white bowl

Leftover Turkey Soup

This Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe is great to enjoy after the big feast! It’s easy to make, filled with nutritious vegetables and plenty of leftover turkey meat. So warm and comforting and the absolute best way to use up leftover turkey.
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Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 241kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 2 cups leftover turkey
  • 6 cups low-sodium stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 4-6 minutes.
  • Add the leftover turkey, bay leaves, and broth. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, then stir in the orzo and peas.
  • Cook for 10 more minutes, or until the orzo is done.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Notes

  • To store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Rewarm leftovers in a large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding a bit more broth or water, as needed. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave until hot. 
  • To freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the soup with the date, so you know when it went into the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3714IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
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