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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. 

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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 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

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. 
4.95 from 240 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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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

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!

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Elena Lowe says

    I have made this soup twice now, so delicious, first time added egg noodles instead of rice, second time, small pasta and sweet potato. Will be experimenting with different herbs, this soup is so versatile. Will never throw any meat bones again. Thanks.

  2. Dan says

    Happy New Year!
    Will using a brined turkey carcass for soup or stock be to high in sodium?
    Thanks,
    Dan

  3. Serena Poloni says

    The soup was amazing. So much flavour and not salty at all. It was my first time and it turned out great.
    I did substituted rice for minestrone noodles. I was very proud. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  4. Ang says

    so I read the instructions wrong lol .. first time making soup with carcass l.. I threw the veggies in with the carcass… now what??? it’s simmering for the next 3-4 hrs. did I mess it up? any help would be appreciated lol

    • Sue says

      , it will make a great broth and the recipe states you put in discard and add new ones when you discard turkey carcass bones new Vegetables when 2nd step after discarding bones

    • Karl says

      I have been making soup from Turkey carcasses for well over 30 years! It’s never exactly the same. That being said get more veggies and after you’ve strained the soup add them to the broth. They’ll only add more color and flavor to the broth, also if you have access to Sage or Thyme, or Rosemary add sprigs to the stock pot as well, and if you have the time let it simmer for hours. The longer you cook it the more you’ll rend from the bones. Another trick is to save all your onion, garlic, carrot, and celery scraps in the freezer and use them while cooking the carcass, saves time and money.

  5. Julie Peterson says

    OMG – thank you for the tip of not using too much water. The soup is delicious. I have always gotten watery soup so have refrained from making. This is so good.5 stars

  6. Vicky says

    Great recipe except for salt. I know better but it’s a lot of water and I thought it would be okay. Next time I’ll just add 1-2 tsp to broth and add more later if needed. After straining, I added yellow split peas and cooked another hour before adding to vegetables. Also squeezed in lemon to cut down on salty taste. Cooked rice separately.4 stars

  7. Pete says

    Why add all those delicious vegetables, boil them with the bones, then throw them away?!
    Can I just throw all the ingredients in a stock pot, simmer them for 4 hours, pull out the bones and wala, soup!4 stars

  8. Derek says

    I made my first turkey carcass soup a couple of years back using this recipe, and it was fabulous. The only issue I has was that bits of backbone kept showing up in the finished product. I know I’m misinterpreting an instruction here and that’s where I’m looking for help. How do I filter out any small remaining bones in the finished soup? I know I can strain it through a cheesecloth, but that strains out the meat as well as the bones… Any advice will be appreciated (as I’m about to try it again with this year’s turkey remnants…). 🙂

  9. Sheryl says

    Mine turned out way too fatty. So, it’s a no from me. I’ve got to wait overnight and let fat rise to the top I guess.1 star

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      If you remove the fat like instructed, it definitely won’t be too fatty! There’s no added fat other than what you don’t clean off the bones.

  10. Martha says

    I added 1 tablespoon of salt and it was too salty. I recommend salting to taste after making stock.

  11. Cindy says

    I made this recipe for the first time tonight, and it was so flavorful and delicious! I’m asking myself who I never made soup using the turkey carcass before. Didn’t feel like we were eating leftovers. It felt like a whole new meal. Will definitely make this soup again! Thank you!5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      SO glad you liked it and found a new favorite!

    • Yasmin Carlson says

      Great recipe! Turned out great. I made it in two steps though. I refrigerated the finished stock overnight to let the fat solidify. Makes it easy to skim off. Also, I replaced the rice with pasta.5 stars

  12. Jen Tackett says

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! I’m not a soup maker by nature but this recipe was easy to follow and the only ingredient I had to buy was bay leaves. I substituted cauliflower rice to lower the carbs and my hubby (a reputed cauliflower hater) didn’t even notice lol the only thing I’ll do differently next time is to chop the carrots thinner so they’re a bit more tender. Loved it!5 stars

  13. Nan says

    Made this today from our Thanksgiving turkey carcass. It was delicious. My husband — who used to run the turkey dinner at church and make soup after — said it’s probably the best turkey soup he’s ever had. I didn’t have all of the ingredients, so I went to the store. I don’t like substitutes when copying someone’s recipe. Again, it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  14. marion boley says

    have mine cooking right now! can’t wait to try it… already is smelling good thanks for sharing! think i’ll make some bread to eat with it! whoo hoo

  15. Germaine says

    Marlene,
    First of all, you need to understand the recipe titles, in it.
    1. Ingredients:Turkey stock
    ingredients
    2. Turkey soup ingredients
    3. Instructions (=For the
    Turkey stock part)
    4. Turkey soup ingredients
    (=Instructions for the
    Turkey soup ingredients)
    So Marlene, your answer is in the Number 3:Instructions (=For the Turkey stock part)
    That is where you add the large onion, the 2 carrots and the 2 celery stalks.
    I hope this helps.

    • Karen says

      I have been making turkey soup from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass for 40+ years. This recipe is by far THE most flavorful and delicious. I am definitely passing this down to my children and grandchildren! Thank you Karlynn!5 stars

  16. Susan says

    The broth was very favourable but I also cut back on the salt. First recipe I have not had to add chicken stock to get more flavour. No wild rice on hand, so just cooked some regular rice separately and spooned the soup over it in the bowls. Delicious!

  17. Mary McKinney says

    Loved this! The wild rice rice was a great alternative to noodles.5 stars

  18. Maria says

    Absolutely delicious! So flavorful and hearty. Perfect meal for a cold winter’s night.5 stars

    • Julie Schaeffer says

      WOW! I made this earlier this year and have never been more proud of anything, my stock was SO pretty! The soup was so incredibly good, my husband (not a big soup guy) loved it. My daughter in law had a bowl of leftovers said “it’s like eating Thansgiving in a bowl, but better” Anyway, I just finished my stock and soups getting started for my 2nd time with more times coming. Great recipe, thank you!

  19. Christina Hunter says

    Can the soup be cooked in a crockpot or will the rice overcook?

  20. Michele says

    Best Turkey soup recipe! My Turkey soup never tasted soooo good!
    I added frozen green beans, peas & corn. I had extra stock & a Turkey breast carcass in the freezer so I will be making another batch.
    Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

  21. Marlene says

    This sounds good.
    I see nowhere that we are told what to do with the 2 celery, 2 carrots, & quarted large white onion that was used to make the stock?
    please let me know your thoughts.
    Thank you.

    • Germaine says

      Marlene,
      First of all, you need to understand the recipe titles, in it.
      1. Ingredients:Turkey stock
      ingredients
      2. Turkey soup ingredients
      3. Instructions (=For the
      Turkey stock part)
      4. Turkey soup ingredients
      (=Instructions for the
      Turkey soup ingredients)
      So Marlene, your answer is in the Number 3:Instructions (=For the Turkey stock part)
      That is where you add the large onion, the 2 carrots and the 2 celery stalks.
      I hope this helps.

    • Elaine says

      Hi Marlene, when I make chicken or turkey soup like this, I toss out the vegetables that I used to flavor the stock.

  22. Mike T says

    This was absolutely superb, the one change I would suggest — and I say this as someone who usually oversalts things and likes it — is that I’d suggest dialing the salt back by about a third because with 8 1/2 cups of broth it came out very, VERY salty.

  23. Whitney says

    i followed this recipe exactly and everyone loved it
    i used potatoes instead of rice was the only “change”.this will be my soup recipe every year now
    thank you5 stars

  24. Christina says

    This is the most easy and wonderful tasting soup ..I have always had concerns about the broth being rich enough. This came out splendid . I did not have poultry seasoning so used Italian.
    This recipe is a KEEPER ..

  25. Ellen Wilson says

    Since turkey time is typically limited to a certain time of year (well, maybe Easter too), the same process can be used with the chickens from Costco, which usually render more flavor when including the skin when boiling the carcass. In addition to the recipe above, I use Better than Bullion to add more flavor if the broth is a little weak, and also add thyme and a bit of garlic to contribute to the richness in flavor. Just as a hint if you’re new to ‘kitchen sink’ soups, which I consider this carcass recipe, since it’s essentially made with ‘leftovers’, I choose the protein (chicken, pork, beef, turkey, etc.), and add either rice, pasta (there are so many!), or beans (lentils, pintos, mayocoba, etc.), in order to create a unique meal.4 stars

  26. Elsa B Walton says

    No grandma. I am self-taught and have an interest but little cooking talent. Every year I cover the turkey carcass with water and try to make turkey soup. Whether with turkey meat, noodles, or potatoes, the soup has always been tasteless and forgettable. Most recipes do not say how much stock is to be used in the soup recipe. The amount of liquid is left blank. This is the only recipe I’ve found that gives the amount of stock to be used for the soup. I began with 18 cups of stock and I boiled it down to the recommended 8 – 10 cups. Then I followed this simple soup recipe. With tomatoes and rice, It is flavorful and delicious. I am delighted and amazed. My husband loved it and ate two bowls. Hurray. Now I can look forward to making turkey soup!5 stars

    • Jen says

      The stock was soooo delicious! A bit salty as others mentioned, but I loved it. That being said, would reduce or eliminate the poultry seasoning in the soup part of recipe. I enjoyed the flavor of the stock more than the flavor of the soup. Can’t wait to make more!5 stars

4.95 from 240 votes (178 ratings without comment)

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