This turkey noodle soup is chunks of turkey, vegetables and pasta, all simmered together in a homemade broth. The absolute best way to use up leftover turkey after the holidays!
Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I use my leftover turkey to make turkey noodle soup. The whole family loves this soup, and it’s a great way to make sure no food goes to waste!
How do you make turkey noodle soup?
Start by simmering the turkey carcass with vegetables to make a homemade broth. Melt butter in a large pot, then add carrots, onions and celery. After the vegetables are tender, add diced turkey meat, seasonings and the homemade broth. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is tender, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Tips for the perfect soup
- No time to make turkey broth? Store bought chicken broth or turkey broth will also work just fine.
- Turkey noodle soup will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months. If you’re planning to freeze the soup, you may want to omit the noodles, then add them later to the thawed soup when you reheat it.
- Serve your soup with a green salad and a loaf of bread to complete the meal.
- You can also make this soup in a slow cooker. Add the vegetables, broth, turkey and seasonings to a crock pot, then cook on low for 2-4 hours. Add the noodles during the last 20 minutes of the cooking time. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
How to make turkey broth
While you don’t have to make your own broth, I highly recommend it! Homemade broth has a greater depth of flavor and makes the soup taste richer. Place a turkey carcass in a large pot with carrot, onion, celery, herbs and spices. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 hours. Pour the broth through a strainer, then use right away, or refrigerate or freeze for later use.
Turkey noodle soup flavor variations
While this soup is delicious as-is, you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Swap out the turkey for chicken, or add a can of white beans for extra protein.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies to the mix such as corn, a can of diced tomatoes, potatoes, green beans or butternut squash. Fresh spinach or kale also pair nicely with the turkey and pasta.
- Noodles: I use rotini pasta, but other great options include orzo, shell pasta, egg noodles or farfalle.
This turkey noodle soup is so delicious that I make it year round! It’s a comfort food classic that’s always a big hit with both kids and adults.
More soup recipes to try
Turkey Noodle Soup Video
Turkey Noodle Soup
For the turkey broth
- 1 turkey carcass from a 10-12 pound bird
- 1 medium onion peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme can also use 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 bay leaf
For the turkey soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup onion diced
- 3/4 cup celery sliced
- 1 cup carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 3 3/4 cups diced cooked turkey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper or more to taste
- 8 cups turkey broth homemade or store bought
- 8 ounces rotini pasta uncooked
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves chopped
For the turkey broth
- Place all of the broth ingredients in a very large pot. Cover with 10 cups of cold water.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat to medium-low, then cook for 3-4 hours. Skim the surface occasionally.
- Pour the broth through a fine sieve into a container.
For the turkey soup
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 6-7 minutes or until vegetables start to get soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Place the Italian seasoning, diced turkey and turkey broth in the pot. Add the salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Add the pasta. Cook for another 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley, then serve immediately.