Quick Leftover Turkey Soup – Just a Taste

Got leftover turkey? You’re already half way to a hearty, comforting dinner with this recipe for Quick Leftover Turkey Soup that’s loaded with fresh veggies and herbs.

A top-down view of two bowls filled with the best leftover turkey soup next to a lemon cut in half and a small bowl containing micro greens

There’s something so satisfying about using up all of your leftovers, whether it’s last night’s meatballs or yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast. When it comes to the latter, leftover turkey gets my vote for the easiest ingredient to transform into a day 2 delight. It stars in everything from the Internet’s favorite Best Leftover Turkey Salad to quick and hearty 30-Minute Leftover Turkey Chili to warm and comforting Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust.

It’s time to add one more fast, fresh and family favorite recipe to the lineup: Quick Leftover Turkey Soup!

A large stockpot containing mirepoix

How to Make Turkey Soup from Leftovers

In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the butter, onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook an additional 2 minutes. 

Next, you’ll add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling, stir in the couscous (or for alternatives, see below!), then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Now, it’s showtime for the shredded turkey(or rotisserie chicken).

From there, it’s time to season. I love how a squeeze of lemon adds brightness to this soup, almost like my Quick Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, but feel free to get creative with your seasonings.

A hand holds a measuring cup filled with couscous over a large stockpot

Alternatives for Couscous

Not into couscous or looking for a gluten-free alternative? Feel free to swap in your favorite short pasta shape (like rotini, ditalini or even pastina) or substitute short-grain rice, quinoa, or another grain like barley. Just be mindful of the cook time of whichever route you take so you don’t have undercooked rice or more-than-al-dente noodles.

How Long Does Homemade Soup Last in the Fridge?

A soup with a clear broth (so, no added dairy) will last in the fridge for about three days. You may be even surprised it lasts longer in the fridge, but three days is always a safe bet.

Two white bowls filled with easy leftover turkey soup next to a small bowl containing micro greens, a small bowl containing black pepper and a lemon cut in half

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Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 40 mins

  • In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the butter, onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook an additional 2 minutes. 

  • Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. 

  • Stir in the couscous, then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. 

  • Stir in the chopped turkey then taste and season the soup with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Kelly’s Note:

  • Leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken both work great in this recipe. You can also cook chicken breasts or thighs then chop them up for use in this soup. 

  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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