Our easy to adapt Leftover Turkey Soup is one of the best ways to use up leftovers from Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner and it is ready in under 20 minutes. A filling and hearty turkey soup that is quick to make and it makes a nice change from all the rich indulgent food during the festive season.
We always have plenty of leftover turkey at Christmas and after we have had a few leftovers sandwiches, we are craving something a little healthier. A base of carrot, celery and shallots with shredded turkey and a flavour packed stock, this turkey soup recipe is delicious and nutritious.
We then bulked it out with some pasta to make it more filling turkey soup. It's kind of a festive twist on chicken noodle soup.
Why you will love it
- A great way to use up leftover turkey - If you are anything like us, you always make way too much turkey at Christmas and turkey sandwiches can get boring pretty quickly. Turkey soup is a great way to use up all those leftover bits so nothing goes to waste.
- Ready in under 20 minutes - This is such an easy soup, because the turkey is already cooked. Just what you need when you have cooked so much over the festive season.
- Budget friendly - It doesn't get much cheaper than this. Leftovers and a few kitchen staples and you have a delicious soup.
- Warming and comforting - We love making a big batch of this turkey soup recipe when we have just got back from a cold walk. It will definitely warm you up.
- Good for feeding a crowd - If you have guests over for Christmas and the days that follow, make up a big batch of this. I guarantee it will be a hit!
- Easy to adapt - Use this as a base recipe and then adapt it with whatever veg you have and what needs using up.
- Shallots - These add a nice sweetness to the soup. You could swap them for a small brown onion instead if that is all you have.
- Carrots - These add a nice chunky texture to the turkey soup. If you are making it for younger children, then you can dice the carrot.
- Celery - Not everyone likes celery (and some people are allergic), so it can be left out, but we find it adds lots of flavour.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best, however save yourself some time by using crushed lazy garlic that you can keep in the fridge.
- Thyme - This adds so much flavour to the soup. Fresh is best, however dried can be used instead. If you don't have thyme, you could swap it for fresh rosemary.
- Stock - We used a really good quality stock pot to save some time. However, if you have a bit longer then you can make your own stock using the turkey carcass. You can also use our Chicken Stock recipe.
- Turkey - If you don't have leftover turkey then you can use leftover chicken instead.
- Pasta - Tiny pasta shells really bulk this soup out, however we have given suggestions below on what else you can use.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make leftover turkey soup - Step by step
One: Add the oil to a large soup pan and heat. Once hot, add the shallots, celery, carrot, garlic and thyme and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
Two: Add the shredded turkey, stock and season.
Three: Add the pasta and cook on a gently heat for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
Leftover Shredded Turkey
This soup is a great way to use up leftover turkey from Christmas or thanksgiving. You can use any part of the turkey, however using the breast will keep this soup nice and lean. Although, the legs will give the soup more flavour. You can use leftovers from our Roasted Turkey Breast or Slow Cooker Turkey Crown.
If you aren't having turkey at Christmas and you are having chicken instead, then you can use shredded chicken in this recipe. Why not try our Best Roast Chicken Recipe?
How to bulk out the soup
The great thing about this turkey soup is how filling it is. That is down to the addition of pasta. We used the smallest shells that we could find, however you could use chunkier pasta shapes. It's a great way to use whatever you have in the cupboard.
Some other things that you can add to this leftover turkey soup are:
- Rice - white, brown or wild rice all work
- Giant couscous - this makes the soup look really presentable. We wouldn't recommend using regular couscous, as it will get lost in the soup.
- Noodles - this is a twist on chicken noodle soup, so why not add some noodles.
- Beans - chickpeas or butter beans add a protein boost to this soup.
- Orzo - this is kind of a cross between rice and pasta.
What to serve with Turkey Soup
This is a pretty hearty and filling soup as it is, as we have bulked it out with pasta. But, soup needs some bread to scoop it up with in our opinion. We served it with some slices of crusty sourdough smothered in butter. But ciabatta, bagels, Slow Cooker Bread or a simple white loaf will work too.
You could also make our Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia to go with it.
If you fancy something a little different, then make your own garlic bread by spreading some homemade garlic butter on chunks of French stick and putting it until the grill. The garlic flavours go perfectly with the leftover turkey soup. Or try our Cheesy Garlic Bread.
Yes, this is a healthy and hearty soup. The turkey is protein packed and it is a good opportunity to add lots of vegetables. We have used carrots and celery, however you could also use bell peppers, courgettes and broccoli. We also like to stir some spinach in just before serving too.
Yes, this turkey soup can easily be made in the slow cooker. Follow the first step and then put everything in the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
If you prefer your soup a little thicker, then you can add a cornstarch slurry.
We have used a really good quality stock pot to save some time and make this an easy leftover soup. However, you could make full use of the turkey carcass and make your own stock. Any leftover stock will then keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you love creamy and indulgent soups, then you could stir some double cream or creme fraiche and some grated cheddar or parmesan in to the soup before serving. This will change the nutritional value considerably though.
If you use a gluten free stock, and gluten free pasta then this can be a gluten free soup. Just make sure there is no cross contamination.
As this soup uses leftover turkey, it will need to be eaten right away as the turkey has already been reheated once.
• If making this for small children, leave out the extra salt and use low salt stock.
• If you don't have any fresh thyme, then you can use dried instead. But it won't have the same flavour, as it isn't cooked for long enough to let the flavours of the dried herb to come out.
• To add extra flavour, you can cook the shallots, carrots and celery in a mixture of butter and oil.
More leftovers turkey recipes
If you’ve tried this leftover turkey soup recipe, then let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Leftover Turkey Soup
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 4 Shallots - diced
- 2 Carrot - small; sliced thinly
- 1 Celery - sliced thinly
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 3 sprig Thyme - chopped
- 1.5 l Chicken stock - using stock pot
- 200 g Leftover turkey - shredded
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 50 g Tiny pasta pieces
- Add the oil to a large soup pan and heat. Once hot, add the shallots, celery, carrot, garlic and thyme and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until softened.1 tablespoon Olive oil, 4 Shallots, 2 Carrot, 1 Celery, 2 Garlic clove, 3 sprig Thyme
- Add the shredded turkey, stock and season.1.5 l Chicken stock, 200 g Leftover turkey, 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Add the pasta and cook on a gently heat for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.50 g Tiny pasta pieces
- If making this for small children, leave out the extra salt and use low salt stock.
- If you don't have any fresh thyme, then you can use dried instead. But it won't have the same flavour, as it isn't cooked for long enough to let the flavours of the dried herb to come out.
- To add extra flavour, you can cook the shallots, carrots and celery in a mixture of butter and oil.