How to Make Turkey Carcass Soup

4.97 from 168 votes
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One of the best ways to use up your holiday leftovers is to make a turkey carcass soup when you are done with your roast turkey. This is a great waste not, want not recipe to make sure you are making the most out of your food!

Turkey Carcass Soup and a spoon in a marble table
How to Make Turkey Carcass Soup

How to Make Turkey Soup From Scratch

If you want to make turkey soup from scratch you are going to have to start with using up your leftover turkey, whether it’s from my deconstructed turkey This is the best way to use up your roast turkey, making a soup that is loaded with healthy vegetables, lean turkey meat and a homemade broth. I like to also add in wild rice to make it a meal in a bowl!

1.Break Down The Roast Turkey

Take the roast turkey and remove all of the meat from the bones and place in a container. Break the turkey carcass apart at the joints where you can, in order to be able to fit it into the soup pot. Remove all the skin and fatty parts as well.

2.Simmer the Turkey Carcass

Place the turkey pieces into a large stock pot. You now have to add the seasonings. Throw in a large onion cut into quarters, 2 carrots  cut in thirds, 2 celery stalks ( if you have the leafy tops those are amazing for flavour, add them in!) . Add in 2 tbsp of salt,  5-6 peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, 2-3 springs fresh parsley if possible and then cover the turkey with water, just to the top of it. Simmer for 3-4 hours until the turkey bones are starting to break down, the meat is falling off the bone and the broth is looking nicely colored.

3.Remove the Carcass and Strain

Remove the carcass from the soup pot carefully and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer then return to the pot.

4.Add the Remaining Soup Ingredients

Add in the rest of the soup ingredients and cook until the vegetable are soft and the rice has cooked completely.

top down shot of Turkey Carcass Soup in a marble table with some wild rice mix

Tips & Tricks for Making Turkey Soup from a Carcass

  1. The key to this fast and easy turkey carcass soup recipe is removing the fat BEFORE you make the broth. A lot of recipes will have you cool the turkey broth and then skim the fat off the top, but when I am making the soup I want it THAT DAY, and I’m not usually making it for another time. Remove the skin, the fat and clean up the bones and you will have a soup that has just the right amount of flavour from fat.
  2. When you are removing the meat, chop it into the small pieces for the soup and measure out the two cups of meat while you are doing that, it saves a ton of time.
  3. Only use enough water to cover the bones and vegetables in your soup pot. If you use too much water you are going to have a weak broth.
  4. If you want to make more broth, you can add more water but you will have to compensate for diluting the flavour by adding store-bought  chicken or turkey stock of you own to the homemade broth.This is totally ok if you want to make a large batch and have a smaller turkey!
  5. Skim any foam off the top of your simmering soup while you are cooking it for the three hours. This does NOT need to be in the soup!

close up soup bowls of Turkey Carcass Soup in a marble table with some wild rice mix

Make This Turkey Carcass Soup From the BEST Roast Turkey Recipe!

Now, if you need a foolproof method to make the best, most render and juicy turkey ever, try my Roast Turkey recipe. That recipe is the best method of cooking a turkey, period. I have tried it all. Breast down, red wine, convection, low and slow, fast and furious, and THAT method in that recipe yielded the best turkey I have ever made. if you are looking for another great leftover turkey recipe, try my Turkey Pot Pie, that is a great recipe for using up the extra meat, while this turkey carcass soup uses up the bones.

This turkey carcass soup will definitely be simmering on my stove top on Boxing Day if we make turkey for Christmas this year! I think we might be having prime rib this year, but if I know my Mom, there will be a small roast turkey at some point during the holidays, I just know it. You can make this into a turkey noodle soup, simply skip the rice and add in precooked egg noodles once the vegetables are done cooking.

Happy cooking!

Love,

Karlynn

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One of the best ways to use up your holiday leftovers is to make a turkey carcass soup when you are done with your roast turkey. This is a great waste not, want not recipe to make sure you are making the most out of your food! #turkey #soup #broth

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How to Make Turkey Carcass Soup

One of the best ways to use up your holiday leftovers is to make a turkey carcass soup when you are done with your roast turkey. 
4.97 from 168 votes
top down shot of Turkey Carcass Soup in a marble table with some wild rice mix
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Total Time
3 hours 10 minutes
Course
Soups
Cuisine
American
Servings
8
Calories
261
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

Turkey Stock Ingredients

  • 1 turkey carcass cleaned of skin, fat and meat
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh parlsey or 2 tsp dry
  • water to top

Turkey Soup Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 4-5 large carrots diced large
  • 3-4 stalks celery diced large
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups diced turkey meat
  • 8-10 cups turkey stock
  • 1 cup wild rice mix

Instructions
 

  • Break the turkey carcass apart at the joints where you can, in order to be able to fit it into the soup pot. Remove all the skin and fatty parts as well. 
  • Place the turkey pieces into a large stock pot. Add the onion, the carrots and the celery stalks ( if you have the leafy tops those are amazing for flavour, add them in!) . 
  • Add in the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves,,fresh parsley, and then cover the turkey with water, just to the top of it. 
  • Simmer for 3-4 hours until the turkey bones are starting to break down, the meat is falling off the bone and the broth is looking cloudy.
  • Remove the carcass from the soup pot carefully and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer then place in another pot.

Turkey Soup Ingredients

  • Chose the soup pot that you want to use, then add in the butter. Fry the onions until soft, then add in the celery and carrots. Fry for another 4-5 minutes, then add in the poultry seasoning. Fry for 1 minute.
  • Add in the turkey meat, the broth and the rice, Stir. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the rice is done and the vegetables are soft.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want to reduce the stock, after you strain it you can return it to the same pot and boil it until it's reduced. This will make it stronger tasting.
  • I have estimated that you will have around 8-10 cups of broth when you are done cooking to use in your soup. If you made more than that, simply store the extra in a container and freeze for later!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 261kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 459mg, Potassium: 656mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 6160IU, Vitamin C: 4.5mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1.7mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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  1. Cathy says

    Do you use the vegetables you put into the stock initially? Sorry if I missed it but ready the directions a couple of times. It appears there is no mention of using the carrots, celery and onion used in the stock. Does that get tossed with the bones?

    • seeley says

      Yes. toss them. They’ll be mushy. They are just helping flavor the broth. 🙂

  2. Susan Turcsany says

    I have been making turkey carcass broth every year since I’ve been married (44 years) and my recipe is basically the same as yours. I read recently that if you add about 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar (it said that you don’t even taste it ) to the broth while it is simmering the acidity breaks down the collagen and makes it more abundant in the bone broth by drawing out the nutrients. Have you ever hear of this, I haven’t tried it yet. Since I hosted Thanksgiving again this year, I have 2 turkey carcasses as we always have a big crowd, I’m going to make 1 pot with the ACV and the other without and see if it affects the taste. Will let you know the results.5 stars

  3. Lisa says

    Yum! I learned to make Turkey carcass soup from my grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression when nothing went to waste. I always leave the skin and meat on the carcass and boil it. It adds incredible flavor. I sometimes add a can of diced tomatoes for a little color at the end. This is yummy and making it (every year) takes me back to the ranch where my grandmother and grandfather ranched the homestead. Thank you for your take on the recipe.5 stars

  4. JennEstes says

    Turkey Carcass Soup. What an unfortunate name. If someone told me they were going to serve me something called Turkey Carcass Soup I’d have to pass. I will admit that it does look tasty, but I don’t know if I could get past the name.

  5. S says

    Put a little, a Tablespoon or two, of ACV in the broth while cooking as it will allow the nutrients from the bones to end up in the soup.

  6. Angela W Broyles says

    This really is the best! I make it every year the day after Thanksgiving!5 stars

  7. Jean says

    to make this soup super easy I throw the carcass in cheesecloth leaving everything as is but the meat removed. Add your carcass, water ,veggies and seasoning in stock pot and just place in refrigerator overnight. It makes the best flavored stock and the fat helps in flavoring the stock. Just skim the fat off and remove the carcass and you’re ready to make the soup without having to cook it all day. I taught myself to do this as I didn’t have time to make stock all day. It is a nice shortcut.

  8. Lisa says

    I learned how to make Turkey carcass soup from my grandmother who grew up in the depression era when nothing went to waste. This is very similar to how she made her soup. I don’t take off the skin or meat when I boil it – they add so much flavor and the soup can always be strained before adding the rice, etc. I sometimes add a can of diced tomatoes for a little punch of color. This soup is delicious!5 stars

  9. Josh says

    OH MY DAYS!!! I cannot TELL you how ecstatic i am to tell you how this turned out .
    let me just say that i Will not be going with any other turkey soup recipe , THIS take the cake ! Absolutely full of flavors thaaaaaank you SO SO SO MUCH for this recipe !5 stars

  10. Donna says

    Hello everyone,

    I tried a slow cooker recipe and made mine throughout the night. Threw everything in and added boiling water to the top along with the author’s ingredients listed above. Somehow? I forgot the salt. I’m glad I did! Thankful that the slow cooker did all of the work and I did not have to stand over a pot, checking every hour. What I like about this recipe though, and it was easily laid out for me to follow on my computer, was the actual turkey soup recipe. Fry everything then add the stock…sure thing! Thank you Karlynn. Going to strain it now 🙂

  11. Mlrnewman says

    Too salty. Cut the salt in half. Otherwise a good recipe.4 stars

  12. jean-guy baribeau says

    Thank you for this excellent recipe.

    What size turkey would provide 8-10 cups of stock?

    Thanks,

    jgb

  13. Charlie says

    We pretty much followed the recipe exactly except that used orzo pasta instead of rice. Soup came out fantastic! This day after thanksgiving cook up gave us plenty of leftover soup to placing the freezer.5 stars

    • Ed says

      Why are the ingredients listed LAST in the step-wise Instructions/directions on how to make turkey soup? Following along, there is suddenly a note to do something “until the the rice is cooked.”
      What rice? Where? How much? It takes a lot of fishing around this site in order to find out the ingredients which are assumed. It’s as if this is backwards. It would be nice to know FIRST what all the ingredients are, and THEN go from there. Not the other way around. Thank you.

      • Krista says

        It shows the ingredients on my phone first then directions next….also it shows how much rice to use in the ingredients section…super simple to read on my end..

  14. Joanne says

    Yum! I used fresh veggies that were left over from Thanksgiving fresh thyme, sage & parsley. I added halved small tomatoes and a handful of penne pasta. Topped the soup with shredded Parmesan. Oh so good!5 stars

  15. Starla Kennelly says

    This is so tasty! Thank you! Question: what size is each serving that the nutrition facts are based on?

  16. Gail says

    Recipe for turkey stock is way over salted -2Tablespoons of salt. GauRuined my whole pot of soup.Tried to correct. But it was impossible.What a waste!!!

    • DLehmann says

      Out of curiosity if you’re not a salt person why on gods green earth would you put in the full 2 tablespoons knowing how much sodium that is? So it did not ruin your stock if you made the decision to put the full amount in, in my eyes you ruined it by putting it in. I thought it was delicious 😋
      Salt is something that always can be added after so if anything error on the side of two little knowing you can add more

  17. Adsach says

    It makes for a much better soup if you leave the skin and fat on. Once the stock is finished, let it cool and skim the fat off. You’re losing a lot of flavor if you don’t.3 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      There is so much meat, fat and cartilage left on Turkey at the joints -and not to mention that the bone marrow is fatty as well- that you don’t have to leave gobs of fat in it. The reviews speak for itself, everyone loves the soup done as is. No waiting for it to cool so you can skim fat off. Just making soup right away. I am all about homemade soup from scratch,

      All of the three stars and less reviews come from people who have never made the soup!5 stars

  18. Bev says

    It was great and I particularly liked how you wrote up the instructions making it very easy to follow the steps!5 stars

  19. Sherry says

    Absolutely delicious!! I was uncertain if it would taste as good as it looked, but it exceeded my expectations! A lot of steps and chopping but well worth the trouble.5 stars

  20. Jan says

    I like to cut my vegetables–onions, carrots, celery and potatoes up in smaller cubes–the only time I like large cut vegetables is in a beef stew. Serve with a choice of soda crackers, French or Italian Bread.5 stars

  21. ginger peck says

    This recipe was both easy and delicious. The tips REALLY helped (I wanted to put waaaay to much water in the pot). I added a small lemon to the turkey bone water which I do for chicken soup.5 stars

  22. Yvonne says

    Hello Karlynn,
    I wanted to write and thank you for your roasted turkey recipe.
    This is the first time I have used an oven bag for a turkey, and your recipe using the added broth was also new to me.
    I had homemade chicken broth in my deep freeze and also had purchased oven bags some time ago.
    So, it was good to use these items up.
    My turkey was moist and juice, also beautifully browned. Very little clean up which was a plus. I also roasted a shoulder of lamb in an oven bag with a little broth, and it was so good.
    Thank you so much for this recipe, and know it will be used again and again for other types of meat also.. Very thankful and may you have a blessed Transgiving.

  23. Michelle Pinter says

    Having removed most of the meat, I always, always roast the carcass and any left over bones and scraps with onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for at least an hour in a dutch oven at 375⁰. The carcass should be deep brown. Add cold water to cover, more garlic, onion, carrot, plus parsley and rosemary, sage, and whatever other herbs you want. Simmer for 2 hours at least. Refrigerate overnight – this is essential. Skim the hardened fat off. Warm and strain the broth, pressing hard on the solids.

    At this point you should have a couple quarts of broth. I add some salt or broth concentrate. – Better than Bouillon Chicken is my choice. Make sure you undersalt a bit. If your turkey had additives or had been brined the meat will add significant salt.

    You can take this in any direction with the seasonings and veggies you add. Asian noodle or rice soup, tortilla soup, mulligatawny soup. Turkey and dumplings is awesome. Turkey pot pie. Just like chicken broth.5 stars

  24. R says

    I only ended up with a very small amount of broth after 3 hours of simmering. I only had a 10lb turkey to start with. Suggestions moving forward with the soup? Add water, broth? I don’t want to lose the flavor.4 stars

    • Kenz says

      Same thing happened to me, I simmered for about 3 1/2 hours last night and only came out with about 5 cups of broth.. so I added a little bit of campbells chicken broth and it turned out great

  25. Dale Ernst says

    This is a good basic recipe, but removing the fat and skin is removing flavor. Leave the fat and skin on, and after straining, let the broth sit for about 10 minutes. The fat will form a film on the surface which can easily be removed with a paper towel or piece of bread.5 stars

  26. Mark says

    Great use of the turkey carcass. Followed the recipe except I did not remove the skin and fat but did the broth a day ahead and allowed to cool and strained the fat layer off. Plus it allowed the house to spell good for 2 days! Also used fresh herbs of rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage tied in a bouquet in the final product. The broth is the richest I have ever made. Thanks!5 stars

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