You can make an amazingly flavorful turkey soup without a carcass. So, you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to enjoy a bowl of this incredibly comforting soup.
Every Thanksgiving my mom makes her Homemade Turkey Soup, and it is so delicious that there would be a revolt if we ever left it off the menu. She makes the turkey broth from parts of the bird that aren’t roasting in the oven and adds a few extra pieces that she buys separately. Then she adds loads of vegetables and pasta to create an unforgettable starter to our Thanksgiving dinner.
On Thanksgiving we practice forced portion control so that everyone gets a small bowl but not so much that they can’t eat their turkey dinner.
I’ve recreated mom’s turkey soup so that we can make it year-round, even if there isn’t a whole bird in the oven or a leftover turkey carcass to work with. Making the broth from scratch really makes this soup exceptionally flavorful. It truly is an easy recipe and a perfect meal to warm you up on cold nights all winter long!
How to make Turkey Soup
You won’t believe how much amazing flavor you can create with just simple ingredients and seasonings.
- Turkey Wings and Drumsticks: I like the flavor of dark meat, but you can use any parts that you like including thighs, neck, breast, etc.
- Celery, Carrots and Onions: For making the broth you can just cut them into large chunks, but for the soup you will want to cut them a small dice.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley
- Bay Leaves: Dried
- Olive Oil: This is going to be used to sauté your vegetables for the soup, so don’t use extra virgin olive oil. The flavor from the oil should be light not overpowering. You can even use vegetable oil if you like.
- Vegetable Broth: This is one of my mom’s secret ingredients. It provides more of that wonderful vegetable flavor.
- Chicken Bouillon Cube: This is one of my mom’s secret ingredients. Bouillon adds a lot of seasoning so go easy on the salt.
- Tomato: Seeded and quartered
- Cheese Rind: I love the flavor that a Pecorino Romano or Gran Padano cheese rind adds to soups and stews. Just be sure to fish it out before serving.
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
- Pasta: Mom always uses pastina at Thanksgiving, but for a heartier soup, I like elbows, ditalini or even egg noodles.
Step by step instructions
- To make the broth add the turkey, carrots, celery, onion, parsley, and bay leaves to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil at medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to a slow boil and cook for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the broth, strain it and discard the vegetables. When the meat has cooled enough to handle it, remove, and discard the skin, pull the meat off the bones and tendons, then cut it into small pieces and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and sauté the carrots, celery, and onions for about 3 minutes
- Add the turkey broth, vegetable broth, bouillon cube, tomato, and cheese rind to the pot. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Continue to cook the soup at medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender. Then add the turkey meat back into the pot.
In another pot cook the pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is done, strain it and return it to the pan. Divide the pasta between bowls and top with soup. Serve with grated cheese.
- If you have a leftover turkey carcass you can use those bones and meat to make bone broth to use in this soup. It is a perfect way to use those turkey leftovers in a meal the whole family with love the next day after a holiday.
- Place the carcass in a large stockpot or break the bones apart so that you can fit them into your pot. Add the vegetables and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a slow boil or simmer and cook for at least 4 hours.
- Follow the remainder of the instructions above to make the soup. Cut up any leftover turkey meat and add it to your soup.
- Don’t be afraid to add extra veggies, such as green beans, potatoes or green peas. They will only make the soup heartier!
- Don’t have pasta? Consider making a rice soup using white or brown rice instead pasta.
- Want a really easy version of this delicious soup? If you don’t want to make your own broth, you can substitute store bought turkey broth or stock. You can even use chicken stock.
Storing and freezing leftover soup
This soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if placed in an airtight container. Pasta absorbs the liquid that it is sitting in, so I recommend that you store the pasta and soup in separate containers so that it does not absorb a lot of the broth. You can also freeze the soup that has been stored in an airtight freezer safe container for up 3 months. I would not freeze the pasta.
Yes, you can use turkey stock and turkey broth the same way so you can substitute one for the other in your recipes.
I like to cook this soup with the lid off. This allows a little bit of the water to evaporate and the soup to get just a bit thicker.
I would let it cool slightly so that you can transfer it to whatever container you will use to store it in. But it does not need to be completely cooled before you refrigerate it. The longer food stays out at room temperature the greater the chances that bacteria can grow, so don’t be afraid to put your soup in the fridge as soon as you can handle it.
More easy soup recipes:
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Turkey Vegetable Soup
- 1 Soup Pan large
- 2 Turkey Wings
- 2 Turkey Drumsticks
- 2 Celery stalks with leaves, cut in large pieces
- 2 Carrots large, peeled and cut in large pieces
- 1 Onion large, quartered
- 2 Bay leaves
- 3 quarts Water
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 cups Carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 cups Celery sliced
- 2 cups Onion diced
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper ground
- 1 Chicken Bouillon cube
- 1 Tomato seeded and quartered
- 1 Pecorino, or Grana Padano cheese rind
- 2 cups Small dried pasta Elbow, Ditalini or Pastina
- Add all ingredients to a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a slow boil and cook for at least 2 hours.
- Remove any of the white foam with a spoon and train the broth into a large bowl or pot. Discard the vegetables. Set the turkey aside to cool down.
- When the turkey is cool enough to handle safely, remove and discard the skin. Remove all of the meat from the bones and tendons and cut it into small bite size pieces. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside.
- In a large soup pan, heat olive oil, then add the carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onion are tender.
- Add the turkey broth, vegetable broth, chicken bouillon cube, tomato and turkey meat to the vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until the carrots are tender then, turn down the heat to medium and add the cheese rind.
- While the soup continues to cook, fill another pan with water and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan. Remove the cheese rind from the soup and season to taste. Divide the pasta into soup bowls and ladle the Turkey soup over it. Pass grated cheese at the table.