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Turkey Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop


This delicious soup is made from all your Thanksgiving Leftovers.


2 Turkey Carcasses, picked clean, along with any leftover turkey bones, including Turkey Confit legs, saving and separating all the any desirable meat for the soup 

2 whole carrots + 1½ cups carrots, sliced 

3 celery stalks + 1 cup celery, sliced 

½ onion whole + 1 onion, chopped

½ cup cilantro, chopped, optional (or substitute parsley if you prefer)

1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

1 chicken breast, bone-in and skin-on

½ cup white rice

½ teaspoon real maple syrup 

1 can 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes, blended 

Chopped parsley, optional, to garnish


In a very large stock pot, over high heat, combine the turkey bone leftovers, 2 whole carrots, 3 celery stalks, ½ an onion and just enough water to cover everything. Add 1 tablespoon salt, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about three hours. Add the chicken breast and poach for 15 – 20 more minutes. Turn off the heat.


Remove the chicken breast and shred the chicken. Set aside. 


Begin to empty the large pieces out of the pot. Then strain, drain, retain: strain everything that remains, leaving just the beautiful liquid. 


Add the golden turkey liquid back into the stock pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for 10 minutes. Add the remaining carrots, remaining celery, remaining onions, cooking for 10 more minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Add the crushed tomatoes, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the maple syrup, turkey meat, and shredded chicken, stir to combine. Turn off heat. Serve topped with parsley and enjoy!


Other Additions: 

Use leftover turkey meat in the soup from the day before. 

Turkey broth.

Add a spoonful of mashed potatoes, and/or stuffing.

Notes: if using boneless skinless chicken don’t put it in until you add the rice as it only takes about 8 minutes to poach with no bone. Then remove and shred.

In keeping with tip to tail, I absolutely delight in making my annual homemade turkey soup. This soup that my family has been waiting for all year is the reason I do two Thanksgiving turkeys and all those confit turkey legs. I place all the bones and carcasses (picked clean) in a large pot, cover with water, and add goodies like onions, carrots, and cilantro then gently cook for several hours before the arduous task of draining, straining, and removing. Delicious and worth the wait. I sometimes make a turkey in February, because I long for this soup. But if I’m having a group of friends over and happen to roast couple of chickens, this soup is delightful made with them instead.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI use two turkey carcasses, picked clean, saving any desirable meat for the soup, and all of the confit turkey legs.  For me, the more the merrier. Chop four carrots, four celery stalks, and an onion, and throw it all into a pot with a half bunch of cilantro and a tablespoon of salt. Add just enough water to cover, and allow it to slowly simmer for about three hours. Toward the end, add a chicken breast on the bone and allow it to poach for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove, cool, and rip it into pieces. Strain everything out so just the beautiful liquid remains.

Now you will begin to build a soup starting with this liquid gold.  I like to add carrots and onions, but it would also be lovely with handfuls of peas and celery, or whatever you have on hand. Think of this as more a guide than a recipe. I like my soup really brothy, but adding a bit of rice is delicious. It would also be lovely with homemade noodles instead. I use about a 1/2 cup of rice, and when that is simmering, I add the carrots, onions, a lemon, chopped cilantro and salt and let cook. When rice is getting near done, I add a can of crushed tomatoes and a 1/2 tsp of real maple syrup. As the rice finishes, add any reserved chicken or turkey meat that came off the bone. I often add an extra quart of turkey or chicken broth reserved from a previous batch, and it’s likely you’ll want to add some too if you prefer a brothy soup. You can add the broth at any point – after the rice is done, when the soup is simmering, or even the day after. Add as much as you need, to make your soup the consistency you like. Top with lots of fresh parsley when serving.